Injury update: Butch Jones gave his fairly status quo injury update on Monday afternoon, saying that all of the players who have been questionable the past few weeks should be at practice this week and available for the game at Missouri on Saturday .
Jones said that offensive guard Jashon Robertson, who has played just a handful of snaps in the past several weeks, is more game-ready than he has been all season. The other players who have been week-to-week and questionable in recent weeks include WR Preston Williams, WR Marquez North, Robertson and OL Brett Kendrick. All of them, with the exception of North, did not play against North Texas.
Jones discusses Pinkel’s impact: Saturday will be the final home game for Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, who announced on Friday that he will be stepping down for health reasons following this season.
Butch Jones discussed his career and legacy on Monday afternoon.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Pinkel, not just as a coach, but as a person and an individual,” Jones said. “I remember being a young coach in the Mid-American Conference and he was the head coach at Toledo, and you look at everywhere he’s been, he’s won. He’s done it his way. He’s developed programs and you always say when you leave a place, is it better when you leave it than where you found it? He’s left obviously Toledo – he set a foundation, a standard of excellence and he’s done the same at Missouri. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and it’s an honor and a privilege to be coaching in this game with him.”
Turf talk: Jones fielded at least five questions surrounding the playing surface at Neyland Stadium, which has been rapidly deteriorating over the past couple games against South Carolina and North Texas. The Vols have one home game remaining against Vanderbilt on Nov. 28 this season before the university can look into long-term solutions to improve the condition of the field or perhaps replace it altogether.
“Well, I think right now all their focus is on preparing for the short-term of having the best surface possible in another week and then we’ll move to long-term,” Jones said of the officials overseeing the field conditions. “That’s how you improve and get better. I know they’re doing anything and everything in terms of discussions and work ethic and everything. They’re trying to make it the best they possibly can. Rest assured, they’re doing everything they can.”
Game-time announced: The Vols will host Vanderbilt in their regular-season finale on Nov. 28 at 4 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.
Full schedule for that weekend:
— SEC Sports (@SEC) November 16, 2015
Heavy favorites: Tennessee opened as a nine-point favorite over Missouri, according to Vegas Insider.