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Tennessee cancels Friday’s practice due to COVID-19 concerns

Sports: Tennessee Practice Caitie McMekin-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Volunteers skipped Friday’s planned practice session due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases, head coach Jeremy Pruitt announced this afternoon. The practice would have been the Vols’ seventh of fall camp, but Pruitt opted to play it safe heading into the weekend.

“Today we elected not to practice,” Pruitt said during Friday’s media session. “This week we had a few more positive tests. I elected to shut practice down.

“We re-tested everybody again this morning to see where we’re at. Our No. 1 priority here is to be able to protect everybody associated with our program, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do, and as we get the results back we’ll see exactly where we’re at and we’ll start practice up accordingly.”

Tennessee opened practice along with the rest of the SEC on August 17th. The conference opted to cut non-conference matchups for the 2020 season, along with pushing back the start date for football season to September 26th. After some schedule shuffling, Tennessee will open at South Carolina.

“We’ve had a total of 23 guys on our team test positive,” Pruitt said. “The first time we tested we had zero. Over the period of time we’ve been back we’ve had 23 total. There were lots of lessons for us to learn in there.”

Students have now returned to campus and football practices are now in full swing, so some positive cases were always a likely outcome. The key, of course, will be limiting the spread and quarantining those that have come in contact, like Tennessee did with quarterback Harrison Bailey last week.

Tennessee announced a 25 percent capacity for Neyland Stadium earlier this week, but that, along with the entirety of the sports world right now, is subject to change.