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Most Important Vol: Missouri

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Our writing staff makes its picks for this week’s most important player SLASH former assistant coach.

UCLA v Tennessee Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Will Shelton - Josh Dobbs

What the Vols did against Kentucky was an offensive masterpiece, and Missouri's defense may not offer much in the way of additional resistance. If the Tigers are able to match Kentucky's offensive output though, Tennessee will need to keep scoring points. On Senior Day, Dobbs needs to manage the offense well again. We've come a long way from that phrase being about not making mistakes and kicking field goals to being about getting ten yards per play. The Vols will again have plenty of options and opportunities at their disposal. We need #11 to be the maestro one more time at Neyland.

Justin Phillips - Cam Sutton

You could easily make an argument here for the entire Vols defensive backfield, since Kelly is banged up and Mizzou is one of the leading passing teams in the conference. If Sutton can continue to round into form and essentially take away half of the field, then there should be opportunities for our other defensive backs to make plays, and we need desperately need them. Stephen Griffin might be forced into more playing time along with the electric Nigel Warrior. Malik Foreman continues to battle injuries, and Emmanuel Moseley has shown that he needs help over the top. Drew Lock, while talented, will make some mistakes with the ball evidenced by his 54 % completion percentage and 8 interceptions. The Vols need some hawks to show up on defense this week, beginning with one of the best corners in the nation, Cam Sutton.

Incipient_Senescence - Micah Abernathy

Tennessee's defense has been all kinds of bad lately. They've struggled mightily defending the run against dual-threat quarterbacks from Texas A&M, Alabama, and Kentucky, and they've given up big plays in the passing game against more traditional quarterbacks. We could easily focus on Emmanuel Moseley in pass defense or your choice of linebackers against the run, but the play of Tennessee's safeties will affect both. The Vols are going to have corners get beaten and are going to let runners into the secondary. When that happens, the safeties need to make sure those plays result in 10-20 yard gains and not 50-yard gains. And with Todd Kelly Jr. questionable this week, that means we need a big game from Micah Abernathy.

Volundore - Darrin Kirkland Jr.

This year really has just been a rotating set of Most Important Vols, hasn't it? With Dobbs, Cam, and a safety off the board, it must be time for a linebacker!

As we've discussed at length, Tennessee got shredded on the ground on Saturday. With no infusion of talent coming at defensive tackle, it'll be up to DKJr to prevent Missouri from establishing their run game (currently 47th in the nation at 191 yards per game) and loosening things up for Drew Lock. Kirkland only had 2 tackles last week, so look for a bounce back game from him and a better, if not elite, performance from the defense.

Chris Pendley - John Kelly

Since someone stole my pick (I'm coming for you, Justin; sleep with one eye open), I'll opt for the guy who's come on strong with the departure of Jalen Hurd. Missouri's defense is, well, flammable; on the other hand, Tennessee's interior defense is basically paper mache and hope these days, so something like ball control actually wouldn't be the worst idea. Kelly in this case is the relatively stable force compared to Alvin Kamara and Dobbs, but whatever. Chain moving isn't a bad thing.

BONUS MOST VALUABLE VOL PICK: Ed Orgeron! Y'all are all thinking it, don't lie.

Hunter Turner - Drew Richmond

So my fellow RTT writers picked the starting quarterback, three defensive players, and the second string running back-- all solid picks to win a shoot out. What if it's not a shoot out? Mizzou has been somewhere between mediocre and terrible on defense all year, but the Other Other Tigers still have talent on the defensive line, including NFL hopeful Charles Harris. The Vols need Richmond and the rest of the misfit toys along the offensive line to keep Josh Dobbs upright and open holes for Kelly and Kamara. Let's hope that Tennessee's offense dominates Missouri's defense, but let's not assume that Barry Odom's group rolls over.