The hours are ticking down to kickoff on Saturday, and the Volunteers feel good about where the team is heading into the match-up against No. 1 Alabama.
"We have had two really good practices, and I think there is a lot of excitement any time you bring in the No. 1 team in the country," head coach Derek Dooley said. "It is obviously an exciting thing and a great opportunity and we are looking forward to an incredible challenge."
Vols offensive coordinator Jim Chaney believes the excitement at practice has helped the team in preparation for the Tide.
"The kids are enjoying it and they are flying around having good practices," said Chaney. "I am really excited about it, it's good."
After a great game against Mississippi State, the Volunteers will look to get the ball in SEC Offensive Player of the Week Cordarrelle Patterson's hands.
"He is a very good football player, so you have to find ways to get him the ball," Chaney said. "He seems to be good when you just hand it to him so maybe we will do that."
Patterson had 57 yards rushing on three carries, two receptions and a 98-yard kickoff return against the Bulldogs.
The Volunteers' defense has some holes to shore up before the Crimson Tide rolls into town if the Big Orange is going to slow down the No. 1 team's offense.
"They are a team that runs the football, so you better stop the run," defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri said. "They are very big up front, they are very strong. Their running backs are extremely explosive. You have to be a sound defense."
In three SEC games, the Volunteers have given up 1,565 yards and 129 points.
"You look at the kids, you see their highs and you see their lows, you see the consistency," Sunseri said. "(We have to) understand that we have to be more consistent. There are times we are out there and we are playing darn good football and there are other times when we make a mistake or we reach or we miss a tackle."
Dooley is concerned about keeping his team levelheaded and consistent for four quarters of play.
"The important thing is keeping a level of belief and a level of mental and physical stamina during the course of four quarters, because what makes them so good is that they will try and wipe out that belief that every team has when they play them about how physical they can play, the system they play and the disciplines," Dooley said.