An hour before kickoff against MTSU, Derek Dooley faced yet another situation he’d never dreamed of as a coach: He didn’t have a healthy kicker.
    
With Michael Palardy nursing an injury from earlier in the week, and his backup Chip Rhome pulling a muscle in pre-game warm-ups, UT scrambled to locate walk-on Derrick Brodus. Joseph Ayres, a 6-foot-3, 280-pound defensive tackle, even tried his hand at kicking before Brodus arrived.
    
“We had to make a call to the frat house. This is no lie,” Dooley said. “We called the frat house and had a policeman go get him and he goes out there, suits up and nails three PATs and a field goal.
    
“He got the game ball. I was proud of him. Great story. I’m going to write a book one day about the things that happened to me over the years. I had to find a kicker out of a frat. I didn’t know what we were going to do. Just when I think it has all happened to me, we are going out to pregame without a kicker.”
   
 Brodus, a redshirt freshman from Alcoa, was sitting on a couch when he received word of the crisis.
    
“I got the call around 6:10,” Brodus said. “I was planning on watching the game on TV. I am not sure what time I got to the stadium but I knew everybody was already out warming up. I was just in hurry when I got to the stadium. I got some stretching and some warm-up kicks in.”
    
Brodus performed well, especially given the situation, and was awarded the game ball in the Volunteers’ locker room after the game.
   
 “You have to give the guy credit,” Dooley said. “He went out there and stroked the field goal and all three extra points. But he did it in the spring game. Man, the team was jacked. They were fired up before the game. They were laughing. I’m over there going, ‘It’s not funny guys.’”
    
Toney’s time
    
Brodus wasn’t the only former Alcoa Tornado turned Vol walk-on who played a significant role for UT against the Blue Raiders.
    
Jaron Toney, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound tailback, didn’t have a carry in his career before Saturday, but the lack of production in the running game along with injures gave Toney the opportunity. He capitalized, leading the team in rushing with 52 yards on 19 attempts.
    
“We are searching for the running game,” Dooley said. “Jaron has run really well in practice for a long time. He is a walk-on so you just always dismiss him. But we are not lighting it up running the ball and I wanted to see Jaron. I should have played him last week (against South Carolina).”
    
The Vols ran for 120 yards against MTSU, but averaged just 2.7 yards per carry. Through nine games, UT ranks 118th out of 120 teams in FCS in rushing offense.
    
“At some point you just say we aren’t very good at running the ball,” Dooley said. “How many times can you get asked, ‘What’s wrong with the run game?’ We are not very good at running the ball.”