AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derrick Brodus has completed the improbable journey from his couch to Tennessee's starting lineup.
Brodus will take over for the slumping Michael Palardy as the 23rd-ranked Volunteers' main kicker Saturday in their Southeastern Conference opener with No. 18 Florida. Palardy, who has missed an extra-point attempt in each of Tennessee's first two games, will continue to handle kickoffs.
"We plan on kicking Derrick Brodus starting out as long as things stay the same during the week," Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said. "I still believe in Mike, but he's got some things he's got to work through. Derrick's certainly earned the right to be out there."
Brodus garnered national attention last year when he kicked a 21-yard field goal and three extra-point attempts in his college debut against Middle Tennessee after injuries to two other kickers forced him into action. Brodus didn't dress for most games last season and was lying on his couch less than an hour before the opening kickoff when he received a call to report to the stadium immediately. He made it to the game with the help of a police escort.
Palardy was 5 of 6 on extra points Saturday and also went wide left on a 39-yard field-goal attempt in a 51-13 victory over Georgia State. Brodus made a 25-yard field goal and an extra-point attempt after entering the game in the fourth quarter.
Palardy is 2 of 3 on field goals and 8-of-10 on extra points this year after going 9 of 14 on field-goal attempts as the Vols' main kicker last season. Brodus is 4 of 4 on extra points and 2 of 2 on field goals in his career, though that 25-yard kick against Georgia State is his longest attempt thus far.
"He's made every kick every time he's been out there," Dooley said. "He kicks it high. He's got a nice calm about him. We'll see."
ETC.: Tennessee officials said Monday morning that tickets remained for Saturday's game because Florida had returned "a significant portion" of its allotment. ... Starting linebackers Herman Lathers (shoulder) and Curt Maggitt (toe) are questionable for the Florida game after sitting out the victory over Georgia State. ... Linebacker Christian Harris (knee) and wide receiver Alton "Pig" Howard (foot) are available to play Saturday after missing the Vols' first two games.
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