While most of the time it's quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, or hard-hitting defenders receiving a majority of the attention in football, there is another portion of the game that can often be overlooked.
That mysterious area is special teams play.
In 2013, the newly-led Tennessee football team will rely heavily on a kicking unit that happens to be quite familiar with each other.
In fact, not a thing has changed from 2012 in the kicking game. Three seniors will retain the duties: placekicker Michael Palardy, holder Tyler Drummer and long snapper J.R. Carr.
"It all starts with confidence," Palardy said. "As a specialist if you don't have confidence you can't really do your job to the fullest. So having J.R. and Tyler back for the second year in a row is a confidence booster. They are two of the best if not the best long snapper and holder in the country."
Over the past year, the three have formed friendships that give them a group mentality and help them on the gridiron under the bright lights.
"We go out there and act as if each kick is its own," Carr said. "We don't think about previous kicks or future kicks and we don't let previous mishaps effect future kicks as well. We're all focused on that one kick."
With most of the playmakers on offense for UT gone from a season ago, the trio said they expect their names to be called more often from the sideline by Jones this season in crucial scoring situations. In the punting game – an area which first-year head coach Butch Jones harps on in practice – it will be important to pin opponents back in their own territory.
Carr said the unit's mental approach is no different in 2013.
"I don't feel like there's pressure as far as us to feel like we need to come out of ourselves and do more than what we are already supposed to do," Carr said. "When coach says 'field goal alert,' all of us lock in and we have that one and zero mentality. Whether or not it's to win the game or kick the first field goal, I think everyone's mentality in the unit is the same every time."
Throughout fall camp, Jones made sure that special teams play got as much attention as possible.
"We've practiced every single special teams unit in practice every day," Jones said. "A lot of people don't like to practice special teams live, but we've practiced every unit live including hands and onside. The game of unknowns occurs in the special teams game the first game of the season."
While there will be an ongoing position battle at the kicker position throughout the season, a position that includes George Bullock and Derrick Brodus, Jones believes Palardy has earned his full rights as a starter in placekicking, punting and kickoff duties.
"Right now Mike has full grasp of both positions and the right to handle all the duties," Jones said of Palardy, the former No. 1 high school kicker in the country according to Rivals.com. "He's responded. We challenged him with a high level of consistency and performance. That's what you want out of your kicking game. He's going to have to perform well for us."
While Palardy put up the best numbers of his career last season, converting 9-of-12 on field goals and 43.1 yards per punt – good for sixth best in the SEC – he still feels like he has room for improvement.
"I think there's another level I can hit and that's what it's all about," Palardy said. "It's reaching that level of consistency."
Like his teammates Carr and Drummer, Palardy is just ready to get out there and perform.
"I'm really anticipating going out there knowing it's my last go around," he said. "I want to get out there for all the seniors and do the best job that I can."