It’s BYU week, and Tennessee is looking to bring their season back to life with a key showdown in Neyland Stadium on Saturday night. Who will be available to play? Jeremy Pruitt updated us on Wednesday after practice.
LB Daniel Bituli
The Vols were without senior leader Daniel Bituli last week at the middle linebacker spot and boy oh boy did it ever show. The Vols were crushed by the speed option play, giving up chunks of yards on key third down situations.
“He was out there today, done a little bit today,” Pruitt said. “He’s close. There might be a chance that he could give us some snaps.”
Our take: That doesn’t sound great, does it? Bituli had his knee cleaned out the week before the season began and it sounds like he’s not quite ready. Some snaps are better than no snaps, but it sounds like Tennessee will be leaning on Henry To’oto’o and Will Ignont again.
OL Trey Smith
Smith played in week one after battling all the way back from his second stint with a blood clot issue. Obviously, Tennessee is taking this situation slowly and monitoring everything closely.
“Trey will always be week by week and see where he’s at,” Pruitt said. “It will be a game-time decision on what we do there.”
Our take: Smith is clearly the best offensive lineman that Tennessee has. It would be incredible to see him out there as a full go, but he’s on a pitch count right now. That’s where some of this offensive line rotation comes in to play. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like this situation is going to change anytime soon. But Smith’s health is the main thing here.
RB Tim Jordan
Apparently Jordan is dealing with an ankle injury this week, which has hurt Tennessee’s depth enough to make a position change. Aaron Beasley, who had been working with the safeties, is working with the running backs this week. Beasley signed as an athlete out of high school.
“We’ve got three running backs and Tim’s (Jordan) got a turned ankle, so now we’ve got two,” Pruitt said. “Fred Orr and Chip Omer have given us some looks back there and do a nice job.”
Our take: Carlin Fils-aime didn’t dress for the Georgia State game. Sounds like he’s dealing with an injury as well. Jeremy Banks is working with the linebackers with Bituli out. Eric Gray and Ty Chandler are set for a lot of work on Saturday — and Tennessee can’t really afford an injury to either guy.
Other situations to monitor
- DB Baylen Buchanan is still dealing with a spine issue. This could end up costing him his season, but has been seen practicing recently. He’s still not expected to play.
- OG K’Rojhn Calbert missed some time last week, but appears to be back and ready to roll.