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Tennessee Football: Vols may have to lean on new faces at Tight End against Georgia

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Injuries may force Tennessee to play a couple of fresh faces.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Georgia Tech Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

As if the Tennessee offense needed another problem, starters Ethan Wolf and Jakob Johnson left last weekend’s contest against UMass due to injuries. That left redshirt freshman Austin Pope and true freshman LaTrell Bumphus as the main options for the Vols as they limped to the finish line against the Minutemen.

Eli Wolf was already dealing with an ankle issue sustained a couple of weeks ago against Indiana State.

Both Eli and Ethan returned to practice on Wednesday, but Eli was spotted in a non-contact jersey. Jakob Johnson has already been ruled out against Georgia.

Tennessee could have both Wolf brothers play on Saturday, but how healthy will they be? Austin Pope and LaTrell Bumphus have already move up a spot on the depth chart with Johnson out, but it wouldn’t take much for either to see significant time against the Bulldogs.

Bumphus in particular received a ton of praise in training camp. He was one of the first to have his helmet stripes removed and was a consistent topic of conversation among coaches when they spoke to the media. Bumphus was rated as a three star recruit by most, but Rivals had him as a four star defensive end.

Pope — the 6-4, 230 pounder — caught his first career pass against Florida for 10 yards. He caught one pass and lost a yard against UMass. He’s a former three star recruit.

In a perfect world, Tennessee will roll on just fine with the Wolf brothers. But as we know (probably more than anyone), injuries happen. Pope and Bumphus are exciting prospects and we may just end up seeing some of them in an extended fashion against Georgia.