Injury update: Butch Jones updated the status of several injured Vols on Monday afternoon as Tennessee prepares to face South Carolina on Saturday (4:00 pm ET, SEC Network).
Jashon Robertson, who left early in the Kentucky game after getting rolled up on, is still battling the same nagging ankle injury, according to Jones. And while Jones couldn’t guarantee Robertson’s status going forward, he did say it wasn’t any worse than it has been. Robertson, who Jones officially listed as probable for the South Carolina game, has been in and out of the lineup for weeks due to the injury.
“He’s battled and battled,” Jones said. “It’s the same nagging injury. Unfortunately, wrong-place-wrong-time, he landed on it again, but it’s no worse than where it was. He’ll do his due diligence. You know, you talk about development, and you need to practice. His practice time has been limited because of the injuries, but to his credit when he’s played, he’s played well. I can’t wait to get a healthy Jashon Robertson back because the sky is the limit for him.”
Jones said Marquez North, another player who has been in and out, was a game-time decision at Kentucky, but got held out as he continues to battle back issues.
“We’re going to do some different things this week with him to try to get him ready to go, because we need him,” Jones said of North, who has five catches for 46 yards in six games appearances so far this season.
The Vols are also awaiting and MRI for defensive end/linebacker Curt Maggitt (hip) and more results for wide receiver Jason Croom (knee), two players who have been on the shelf long-term. Jones listed Croom, who has yet to play a snap in 2015, as doubtful for South Carolina. It remains questionable if Maggitt will be able to return in any capacity in 2015.
Vols preparing for “hungry” SC team: It’s been a tough year for South Carolina, which saw the resignation of legendary coach Steve Spurrier a few weeks back following a slow start.
Interim head coach Shawn Elliott, who took over on Oct. 11, led SC to a 19-10 win over Vanderbilt and a closer-than-expected 35-28 loss to Texas A&M in College Station on Saturday. It’s a long shot with a remaining schedule of UT, Florida, The Citadel and Clemson, but the Gamecocks (3-5) are still hoping for bowl eligibility.
“South Carolina comes in here as a very hungry football team,” Jones said. “Coach Elliott has done a really good job of infusing energy and excitement. They are playing loose. They are a hungry football team. We all know what Pharoh Cooper brings to the table. He is one of the most explosive and dynamic players – not only in our conference but in the country. Defensively, with Coach Hoke, you see some different things schematically. They are playing with a high level of energy. They are big and physical up front. They have the luxury of playing man-to-man on the back end. It’s going to be a great challenge for our football team this week to continue to improve and prepare.”
Moseley targeting update: Tennessee cornerback Emmanuel Moseley remains suspended for the first half of the South Carolina game after he was ejected at Kentucky in the second half on a controversial targeting call.
“Some things are with privacy, but we did have dialogue [with the SEC office],” Jones said. “Right now, we’re trying to figure it out. I don’t believe there is an appeal process, but we’re trying to do anything and everything. It’s a decision that they made, and you have to respect that decision and move on. The SEC has done a great job of getting back to us and responding. They’ve done a great job in that regard. I’ll know a little bit more as the week progresses with that. That’s really all I can say.”
Berry honored: Sophomore Evan Berry was named the SEC’s Special Teams Player of the Week after he returned a kickoff 100+ yards for a touchdown at Kentucky. More on that here.
Vegas likes the Vols: Tennessee opened as a 15-point favorite against South Carolina and has moved to a 16-point favorite already, according to Vegas Insider.
Homecoming game time set: Tennessee will host North Texas for Homecoming on Nov. 14 at noon ET on the SEC Network. That will be the first noon kickoff of the year for the Vols.