October 18, 2006

Practice Report: Leaders stepping up

The Tide continued its preparation for rival Tennessee in Wednesday's shorts and shoulderpads practice session and after two days of intense practice, the Tide have shown that they aren't treating Tennessee week like any other week.

"Our guys were a little bit tired yesterday but they had great energy today," said head coach Mike Shula. "We've still got a lot to cover this week and we'll need to play catch-up since they've had an extra week to prepare for us with the bye week. They are really good on tape. They're fast, they're athletic, they move around, they're solid in all three areas. Combine that with playing them at home in a loud stadium it's going to make it difficult."

"It feels different out here this week for sure," Shula said. "Last year we had a bunch of guys that had played before but now there's a whole new group starting to figure out how important this game is. Even though these young guys haven't played in Neyland Stadium yet they heard from the upper classmen about it and you are starting to see some leaders step up, guys who normally are quiet are starting to speak up in practice."

With the Volunteer offense exploding this season and the Tide offense showing better production than a year ago, some are expecting this year's installment of the rivalry to be a considerably higher scoring affair than last year's 6-3 defensive struggle. But Shula pointed out that nothing is certain when it comes to the SEC.

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