It seems to happen every week.

At some point in his weekly 35-minute press luncheon, Butch Jones winds up illustrating his vision for the UT football program by sharing success stories from his previous stops as a head coach.

Monday was no different.

Except this time, Jones called himself on it and took an unsolicited opportunity to rave on one UT player who is actively exemplifying what Jones is striving to evoke from his entire team.

"I can sit here and tell you John Hughes illustrations and Derek Wolfe stories," Jones said, referencing two current NFL players that he coached while at Cincinnati. "But let's talk about our players."

The first one he mentioned? Michael Palardy.

Though already publicized for his game-winning heroics, Palardy is continuing to catch the eye of UT's first-year head coach with his consistency.

A senior kicker from Coral Springs, Fla., Palardy is 10-of-12 on the season as a placekicker – his only misses are from 46 and 52 yards – and he put the cap on UT's 23-21 win against South Carolina by kicking a 19-yarder as time expired.

More than just a stellar campaign for Palardy, 2013 represents the righting of a previously rocky career after he entered Tennessee in 2010 as the No. 2 overall kicker in his class, according to

He lost his job to walk-on Derrick Brodus for three games last season after missing extra points in UT's first two games.

During his first two years, Palardy converted on just 14-of-21 field goals while handling kickoff and punting duties only sporadically.

But under Jones, Palardy is handling all three kicking duties – averaging 44.4 yards per punt – and is 28-of-28 on extra points while 35 percent of his kickoffs are going for touchbacks.

Each is a career-best for the rejuvenated kicker.

"I would say it is a complete 180 on opposite ends of the spectrum," Palardy said. "My confidence while going out on the field was the biggest thing for me."

In UT's loss to Missouri, Palardy's performance also illustrated another necessity Jones preaches: the ability to play through adversity.

Palardy's back locked up two days before the game, making it painful to stand up or lie down, let alone kick footballs in full pads.

The pain got so bad that he thought he wouldn't be able to play against the Tigers.

"You talk about the stress and the life of a head football coach," Jones said. "He comes to practice on Thursday with major back spasms. He couldn't even walk."

Jones and Palardy played it by ear on Friday when the team flew to Columbia, Mo.

"I just kind of tried to get as much treatment as possible to get ready for Saturday," Palardy said.

He took it one step at a time on Saturday after waking up with the muscle still tight.

"I was hoping," Palardy said, "That when I went to warm up that my adrenaline would take over and I wouldn't think about it, and it wouldn't feel as bad."

Whether adrenaline, new found confidence or a combination of both, Palardy registered another stellar performance despite the uncertainty prior to the game.

"Any pain or discomfort, I just kind of had to play through it if I had any," he said. "I think we did alright."

Palardy blasted a 51-yard field goal for UT's only points of the game, and four of his seven punts stopped inside the Missouri 20-yard line.

His 42.7 yard per punt average included a shanked 25-yard effort that gifted Missouri with good field position.

But that too turned into a microcosm of Jones' teachings.

Players are taught to "snap-and-clear" under Jones and forget previous mistakes by focusing solely on the future.

Eight minutes later, Palardy punted the ball 51 yards and long snapper J.R. Carr downed it on the 1-yard line.

"He comes up to me and says, 'I got your back. That was for that missed punt the previous snap,'" Jones said. "He's playing with a lot of confidence and belief right now.

"And that's a great illustration for every player in our football program, that development process."

Though admittedly more confident than in previous seasons, Palardy stressed that a season, which is unfolding as a storybook ending to an otherwise tumultuous career, is not yet over.

He is staying away from any reflective overviews of his career, at least for a few more weeks.

"I appreciate all the praise and whatnot," Palardy said. "But at the same time, I've still got a job to do for three more games."