Injury update: Butch Jones provided an injury update on Monday morning, saying that he expects a host of injured players who have missed time recently to return to practice. Wide receiver Preston Williams, guard Jashon Robertson, tackle Brett Kendrick, safety Stephen Griffin and receiver Marquez North are all expected back for Tuesday’s practice, according to Jones.
Jones said North is dealing with a muscular issue that has required him to be a game-time decision the past few weeks. Jones also said quarterback Joshua Dobbs and Alvin Kamara were among the played who were “banged up” recently, though Dobbs said later in the press conference that he didn’t feel like he was. Dobbs and Kamara will be good to go at practice, though Jones did say they’ll have to “pick their spots” with Kamara going forward.
No contact with Mizzou: In the wake of a strike by Missouri student-athletes, Butch Jones said he hasn’t been in contact with Missouri or the SEC about Tennessee’s scheduled game in Columbia on Nov. 20.
“All our focus is on North Texas and looking to be a better football team and play our best game in moving forward. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t really know to the extent of what’s going on. I’ve been so focused on Tennessee football, so all our focus is on the next opponent like it is every week.”
Cornerback Cam Sutton added that he was aware of the situation at Missouri, but said, “It’s kind of hard to talk about it when you don’t know too much about it.”
(Update: It appears that Missouri will resume normal activity on Tuesday after the school president stepped down Monday)
Reps for Dormady?: With an overmatched and struggling North Texas (1-8, 1-5 C-USA) team coming to Neyland Stadium on Saturday, Jones was asked about the possibility of getting backup quarterback Quinten Dormady more significant reps. The true freshman from Boerne (Tex.) hasn’t thrown a pass in a game since he was 6-of-8 passing for 93 yards against Western Carolina on Sept. 19.
“Well, we’d like to, that’s our plan, but that’s our plan every week,” Jones said. “This game is a very, very big game for us because it’s the next game and that’s not coach-speak. It’s hard to win in college football … We’d like for him to gain some of those (game) reps, but we’ll see how the game goes. But we do have faith and we do have confidence in him because we’ve seen the progress.”
Kirkland honored: Tennessee freshman linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. was named the SEC’s Freshman of the Week after he recorded a career-high nine tackles and a QB hurry against South Carolina.
Huge favorites: Tennessee opened up as 40.5-point favorites against the Mean Green of North Texas, per Vegas Insider.