Senior Day: Butch Jones said the Vols will honor 19 seniors on Saturday for Senior Day against Vanderbilt, which will include fifth-year senior defensive end/linebacker Curt Maggitt. Jones said the possibility of Maggitt exploring a sixth-year of eligibility is a possibility, but they will explore that option later.
Tennessee has 17 seniors currently on its roster, so a couple juniors who might be moving on as well could be in that lineup, but Jones didn’t give specifics.
“Big day Saturday, for a number of reasons,” Jones said. “First of all, we get to recognize 19 seniors in our football family. Some have been here longer than others, but they’ve meant so much to our program. They’ve been through a lot together, so it’s very fitting that we would honor them as we continue to move the football program forward.”
Injury update: Jones said he anticipates everybody being available for the Vanderbilt game this week and that he expects WR Jauan Jennings, who missed the Missouri game, to return to practice on Tuesday. G Jashon Robertson and WR Preston Williams were among the banged-up players who made played at Missouri. WR Marquez North and OL Brett Kendrick did not play against the Tigers.
“In terms of injuries, there are no new injuries from the game,” Jones said. “It was a hard fought game, but nothing serious.”
Talking Vanderbilt: Butch Jones discussed the challenges of facing a Vanderbilt team that has clearly shown some improvement this season, but is still just 4-7 and coming off a 25-0 loss to Texas A&M in Nashville over the weekend.
“Great challenge this week with Vanderbilt – as good of a defensive football team that we’ve faced,” Jones said. “[They’re] explosive, can run. Offensively, it all starts with [Vanderbilt running back] Ralph Webb. I think he’s one of the best running backs in our conference – very explosive, can hit the home run. They’re doing some good things, and good special teams. A good football team, and it’s going to be a great challenge again [with] a lot on the line. It all happens in our week of preparation as we continue to move forward.”
Vols favored: Tennessee opened as a 17.5-point favorite over Vanderbilt, though the line as move to -16.5 as of Monday afternoon.
Thomas honored: Tennessee center Coleman Thomas has been named the SEC’s Offensive Lineman of the Week. Thomas helped the Vols rush for 248 yards against Missouri, a team that came into the weekend giving up an average of just 113 yards per game on the ground.
“Coleman continues to get better, better and better,” Jones said. “Coleman has really taken great pride in his performance, in his week of preparation.”