No distractions as Vols prep for Northwestern

With finals and graduation in the rear view mirror, the Volunteers returned to the practice field Monday with one goal on their mind.  Tennessee will take on 12th ranked Northwestern Wildcats in the Outback Bowl January 1, in Tampa, Florida.

With 15 days between Tennessee's last game against Vanderbilt and the upcoming bowl game, most teams would have been on the field for practice, but not for Tennessee.   The Vols used the time to get players healthy and ready to practice.  "To me, this is one of the greatest times of the year," said head coach Butch Jones.  "You have no distractions, everyone is home for break.  It's just you and your football team preparing to play a bowl game."

"It's definitely good to be back out there with my guys," says junior linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin.  "No one is here on campus, so there aren't any distractions, we can just focus on football.  Practice was really up-tempo and upbeat."

Fans can watch Tennessee in the Outback Bowl on January 1st at 12 p.m., eastern on ESPN.


Beamer preparing for last game with Virginia Tech

For head coach Frank Beamer, the Independence Bowl on December 26th will be his last game as head football coach for the Virginia Tech Hokies.  Beamer, who has been with the Hokies for 29 years, will be taking his team back to Shreveport, Louisiana which is the location of the start of the current 23 consecutive bowl appearance streak.

The Hokies returned to the practice field December 10th for the first time since beating ACC rival Virginia 23 to 20 on November 28th.  After practice, Beamer was asked about his memories from his first trip to Shreveport.  "What I remember about that is how friendly the people were down there and how gracious they were," said Coach Frank Beamer.  "I want to finish this thing in a good way, but we've got to go play well."

Beamer isn't the only one excited to return to Shreveport, sophomore kicker Joey Slye is ready to give everything he has in Beamer's final game.  "It's another bowl game, and Coach Beamer is taking it like another bowl game." said  Joey Slye.  "We've got business to do, we've got business to handle, so let's go out and handle business." 

Fans can check out the Independence Bowl on December 26th on ESPN at 5:45 p.m. eastern time.