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How will Tennessee replace Josh Smith? Butch Jones isn’t short on options

The Volunteers will have to rely on some inexperience.

NCAA Football: Tennessee Volunteers Practice Calvin Mattheis-USA TODAY Sports

During his time with the media today in Knoxville, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones confirmed the injury to wide receiver Josh Smith. Jones didn’t offer a timetable for Josh Smith to return. He said that he would know more after the CT scan, which is set for later this afternoon.

He then offered some thoughts as to who would take over for Smith in the offense. Jones immediately mentioned Tyler Byrd, who was set to play a big role even before Smith went down.

Jones then mentioned three freshmen. “We’re gonna play Jordan Murphy as a true freshman — obviously Josh Palmer as well. Latrell Williams (Redshirt FR) has done some very good things as well.”

“Obviously we’ll miss the experience in the beginning with Josh, but we have some individuals that are very talented,” Jones said.

Smith was expected to play out of the slot position in Tennessee’s offense this year. This likely puts more pressure on Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway to perform on the outside, but it also opens a door for the guys mentioned above.

You get the feeling that nothing is really set in stone on the receiver depth chart to this point. It’s going to be a moving target, but I think they have plenty of capable bodies. It’s just a little concerning when you consider the inexperience.

I’d guess that Tyler Byrd and Latrell Williams fill this role pretty well, but I think they’re excited to see what guys like Murphy and Palmer can bring right off the bat. We’ll see how they can mesh with a new quarterback and a new play-caller in just two short weeks.