Tennessee Volunteers senior kicker Michael Palardy enters his final season in Knoxville. Since his arrival in 2010, the former St. Thomas-Aquinas standout has been a disappointment to Vol fans, as he has done little to live up to the high expectations of being the top high school kicker in the country.
Tennessee has struggled on special teams for about as long as they’ve been in rebuilding mode. After a disappointing tenure from former place kicker Daniel Lincoln, the Tennessee faithful hoped for an improvement after the commitment from Palardy, who chose UT over multiple home-state schools also vying for his services.
But Palardy has struggled to ever really shine for the Vols dating back to his first true test against LSU during his freshman season. The Vols lost a controversial game that saw them lose to the heavily favored Tigers 16-14 on the final play of regulation. What many forget about the memorable game was Palardy’s missed 45-yard field goal attempt, which would ultimately be a deciding factor to the loss.
Not to say that a 45-yard kick is a guaranteed three points, but it seems as though Palardy has never quite recovered since. As a fan, I was extremely optimistic about the Palardy hype entering his freshman season.
However, not only has he not lived up to the expected potential, but he hasn’t even been close to a productive kicker. Since his first missed attempt, Palardy has never quite capitalized on game-deciding field goal, while struggling on short attempts and extra points in many instances.
2013 will be the final season of Palardy’s career in Knoxville and his last chance to turn around the doubt he faces from an extremely passionate fan base. The Vols will have three other place kickers on their roster entering the upcoming season who will likely compete with the experienced Palardy.
Derrick Brodus has seen time in Palardy’s absence, but has also been inconsistent and lacks the range for longer attempts. It will likely be Palardy’s job to lose entering the season and he will have the opportunity to change his legacy for the better.