Day # 3 in Nashville for the Big Orange included practice and then a trip to Bridgestone Arena for some NHL action. In fact, both the Vols and Tar Heels were brought over for the hard hitting action. Speaking of which, Vol defensive lineman Malik Jackson told me at the Arena he hopes physical play fires his team up and carries over to Thursday nights game at LP Field.
We also spent some time at Tar Heels practice this afternoon. The Heels back out in the elements after working out indoors at the Titans training facility on Monday. I had a chance to speak with UNC head coach Butch Davis this afternoon. His 4th season in Chapel Hill has been his most challenging yet. NCAA related suspensions had Carolina back on it's Heels from the get go. But as he related to me, this team has been a resilient bunch and are inspired to finish strong Thursday despite the setbacks. Which also now include the loss of starting RB Anthony Ely for academic reasons. Fellow senior Shaun Draughn will get the start instead. Coach Davis also acknowledged the adversity the Vols have had to overcome, adversity which included another coaching change. A 2-6 start and even a quarterback controversy. Senior Nick Reveiz told us the credit goes to coach Dooley for this teams late season turn around.
We'll see if that turn around continues Thursday in the 13th annual and first Music City Bowl sellout since 2007. Bowl organizers expect more than 14 million dollars for the local economy. Much of that influx could very well come from Big Orange fans who are expected to make their presence felt here in the Music City over the next couple days.