UPDATE: Tennessee officially rules Bru McCoy out for the season.
A rowdy Neyland Stadium got the air sucked out of it in the second quarter. Tennessee, looking to make up for last year’s blowout loss to South Carolina, was rolling along when one of their best and most important players went down with a brutal and obvious injury.
Bru McCoy made a catch and was twisted up awkwardly, and — well — you probably saw the replay. No further explanation needed. McCoy was carted off, and the severity of the injury was instantly known.
“Obviously, doesn’t look good,” Josh Heupel told SEC Network’s Cole Cubelic. “I hate it for the kid. Not a better kid, not a tougher kid in the country.”
The 6-3, 220 pound senior has been a starter since arriving in Knoxville. A former five-star recruit, McCoy transferred in from USC and finally found a starting role. He put up 667 yards and four touchdowns last season, and had 17 catches for 217 and a score so far this year.
Kaleb Webb and Chas Nimrod took the field after his departure, as Dont’e Thornton wasn’t available.
“Not any different than the guys you’ve seen lately,” Heupel said when asked who is going to have to step up. “Kaleb Webb is gonna have to play at a high level. Chas Nimrod. Dont’e (Thornton) wasn’t available tonight. We should be able to get him back, get him going too. Nathan Leacock. So we got a bunch of guys that gotta fill the roles and that’s the nature of this game. It inevitably happens. Next man up. They gotta be ready for their opportunity. They gotta go take advantage of it.”
Webb caught a touchdown last week against UTSA, and suddenly is in for an expanded role going forward. Dont’e Thornton is off to a slow start after a lot of hype this offseason, but now is going to have to get going for this passing attack to open up.
If there’s any good news at all here, Tennessee has a bye week to try and sort things out. The Volunteers will return to action on October 14th against Texas A&M.