Entering SEC play, Tennessee is actually as healthy as they’ve been all season long. They were able to get a key defensive piece back last week — and likely will get another back this week.
Here’s what we know at this point in the week.
LB Daniel Bituli
Tennessee’s senior leader at linebacker returned to the lineup last weekend against Chattanooga, ‘knocking some rust off,’ as he said after the game. He totaled two tackles in his limited return, but expect him to return to his full time roll against Florida.
Bituli underwent a knee procedure late in fall camp.
Tennessee struggled to just get lined up during the first week without Bituli. Unsurprisingly, Georgia State routinely gashed them for big gains running the speed option. The Vols should be a little more organized with Bituli in the lineup — and with Henry To’o To’o with three games under his belt.
RB Carlin Fils-aime
Tennessee rolled with two scholarship running backs against BYU with Fils-aime down with an injury. Jeremy Banks was filling in on the defensive side with Bituli out. With SEC play set to begin this weekend, Tennessee will have a little more depth in the backfield.
“He is a guy that I think has some really good one-step quickness and can get vertical on you and hit some seams,” Pruitt said on Wednesday. “He is back out there and he should be able to play this week.”
CB Bryce Thompson
After missing the first three games of the season due to suspension, Thompson is set to return to the field on Saturday. Pruitt confirmed that on Wednesday. Thompson will travel and play, but how much he will play remains a mystery. Pruitt noted that Thompson might not quite be in tip-top shape, saying that it would take some time to get back there.
Look for Thompson to play, but Warren Burrell and Kenneth George Jr. should see plenty of time as well.
LB Jeremy Banks
Banks was booked after the Chattanooga game for an unresolved traffic issue. That issue has since been taken care of and shouldn’t limit Banks on the football field. Pruitt confirmed that he will travel with the team on Saturday.