Tennessee went into Columbia last weekend and handled the Gamecocks with a few key elements left back in Knoxville. Shawn Shamburger, Dee Beckwith and Darel Middleton were unavailable, while Warren Burrell and Jaylen McCollough were limited due to injuries.
The result? Tennessee was forced to start true freshman Doneiko Slaughter at nickel, while moving cornerback Bryce Thompson to safety. The results were mixed, but the Volunteers should be stronger at the position this Saturday against Missouri.
Here are a few notes from Jeremy Pruitt’s media availability on Wednesday.
- Pruitt told reporters today that Burrell and McCollough will be back on Saturday, although Shamburger once again was unable to practice today.
#Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt after practice, says sophomore CB Warren Burrell and sophomore S Jaylen McCollough will be back this weekend against Missouri.— Ben McKee (@benmckee14) September 30, 2020
Both were banged up entering the South Carolina game. McCollough didn't start, but played in second half.
- Pruitt is also hopeful that defensive lineman Darel Middleton could play this week.
Pruitt: We got a lot of guys we think that can contribute. Darel Middleton will hopefully get a chance to play in this game.— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) September 30, 2020
- Sophomore Elijah Simmons actually started last week up front for Tennessee, getting his first extended playing time of his career. Pruitt mentioned John Mincey and Omari Thomas as guys that he would like to see more of on the defensive line going forward.
- On the offensive side of the ball, the big news of the week is that Cade Mays has been cleared to play by the SEC. The former five-star prospect will slide into Tennessee’s starting lineup on Saturday, but it remains to be seen where.
- Pruitt confirmed that senior guard Trey Smith was ‘fine’ and ready to roll for Saturday’s matchup. Smith was banged up following the game last Saturday, but it appears to be a minor issue at this point.
- Now with an offensive line that’s officially full of studs, Tennessee’s running backs are set to cash in. It was Ty Chandler and Eric Gray doing all the work last week, but Pruitt mentioned freshmen Jabari Small and Tee Hodge as guys that he would like to see get some more work.