KNOXVILLE — Lane Kiffin will embark on a Big Orange Caravan tour of the Southeast early next week. None of those stops could endear the new football coach to more University of Tennessee fans than today’s Orange and White game.
The second-largest spring crowd in school history is expected at 3 p.m. today.
Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin looks on during practice at Neyland Stadium. It was the first practice in pads for the Vols since Kiffin was hired to succeed Phillip Fulmer.
Fans arriving by 1:30 p.m. will witness Kiffin’s first Vol Walk. Those arriving at 11:15 a.m. can get in line for player and coach autographs at Haslam Field.
“It’s going to be unbelievable,” Kiffin said. “You know, the Vol Walk, the Fan Day earlier in the day to be around our people. And not one of our coaches has done this before. They’re all excited just like I am. We can’t wait.”
His father, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, echoed that.
“I love pro football, I really do, and Tampa Bay was awesome,” Monte said. “But like I’ve told you before, this is some kind of place around here. ... I’m excited for Saturday for the Vol Walk, and that’s just the spring game.
“With the pros, we needed a Buc Walk or something like that. I don’t know. We never had those types of deals. I’m having fun here.”
School officials said more than 30,000 tickets have been sold, and plenty of $5 walk-up tickets are available. Breaking the all-time record of 73,801 in 1986 might be impossible, but the second-best Orange and White attendance mark was 31,500 in 1988
“(Coaches) told us we’re expecting 50,000 to 60,000 people there, which is tremendous for the Orange and White Game, especially with the construction,” UT quarterback Jonathan Crompton said. “We’re going to try to have fun and give the fans a great show.
In today’s game, offensive points can be accumulated in standard ways, while the defense will earn four points for every stopped series, five points for every turnover and seven points for every touchdown.
“It’s going to be fun,” defensive end Chris Walker said. “We’re going to have a lot of people there, our families get to come up, and we get to showcase what we’ve been doing all these weeks.”