Some of the most important updates from Butch Jones’ media session on Monday afternoon:
Personnel updates: Butch Jones said cornerback Justin Martin will return from suspension this week after sitting out the Georgia game, but also said he’ll have to earn his way onto the travel squad this week.
Jones said they’re evaluating several options with linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, who was also out Saturday, and they should know more about him later in the week. It’s also a “wait and see” situation for linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr., who hasn’t played since Week 2 in Bristol.
Jones said running back Jalen Hurd will also be at practice and will be “full go” on Monday after missing much of the fourth quarter on Saturday in Athens. He reiterated that the offense didn’t change when Alvin Kamara came in the game late.
Late-game decisions: Jones was asked about Tennessee’s decision to run the ball three times on the second-to-last offensive drive, leading to a punt that gave Georgia the ball late with a chance to go ahead in the closing seconds.
Jones said their emphasis was running clock and taking Georgia’s timeouts away, but also said it was disappointing to not finish the Bulldogs off right there.
“That’s one thing I was disappointed in,” Jones said. “You get the ball, and you need to close the game out, and we weren’t able to do that”
More SEC honors: Tennessee racked up a couple more SEC honors this week after Joshua Dobbs and Derek Barnett were honored last week. Barnett was named the SEC Defensive Player of The Week after he recorded five tackles and two sacks at Georgia, including a strip-sack that led to a late go-ahead touchdown for Corey Vereen.
Long snapper Riley Lovingood was also named the SEC Co-Special Teams Player of the Week after he snapped, and then downed, a punt inside the 10 in the fourth quarter that ultimately led to Vereen’s score.
Getting ready for Garrett: The Vols are preparing for arguably the best player in the nation in defensive end Myles Garrett, who missed the South Carolina game last week, but is expected to be back for the Tennessee game this weekend.
Left tackle Brett Kendrick will likely draw the primary assignment. He said it will be fun and challenging to take on the possible future No. 1 overall pick, but also said he sees one of the best in the nation on a regular basis in practice.
“I’ve blocked Derek Barnett all training camp, so I know what it’s like to go against the best,” Kendrick said.