Sources close to the Tennessee program confirmed Dooley’s campaign “We feel that there should be opportunities for players to be honored for their contributions in promoting, and elevating the importance of the kicker position in college football.”
Coach Dooley has been extraordinary in his decisions to put his kicker in the spotlight of a nationally televised SEC conference game.
It’s obvious to anyone watching the Vols play this season that Palardy’s kicking has kept games close in the 4th quarter against Cincinnati, Florida, and especially Georgia.
Against Georgia, Dooley put his kicker into position to make a total of 3 field goal attempts and 1 extra point attempts in the game. Dooley even continued to put him into critical game situations even after missing a crucial kick at the end of the first half.
Nevertheless, Dooley continued to spotlight his FG kicker, time and again, in a friendly environment. This strategy may have backfired when Palardy faced with a game changing opportunity was thwarted on a crucial extra point in a Tennessee comeback. This missed extra point would have kept the Vols within 7 points of the upset minded Bulldogs.
Dooley and his offensive staff have, to their credit, humbly denied any efforts to intentionally lobby for the national award. They routinely cite “using high percentage plays” and “a buying into a conservative football philosophy” as reasons for their success.
Following the game in Knoxville, Dooley was asked about the decision to put his kicker in the game on for a crucial extra point try, Dooley responded:
“Those kicks are all down there inside the [5-yard line],” Dooley said. “He’s definitely made some improvements. You can tell the hard work is paying off. He’s got to make those kicks, though. We know now that we can count on those gimmes against LSU. We will continue to press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made.”
It’s obvious that this award is very important to the team and that gutsy call to attempt the extra point may end up not being the highlight of Palardy’s Lou Groza Award campaign. A campaign that is now full steam ahead in Knoxville.