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Notes: Jones Updates The Status of Todd Kelly Jr.

Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI
Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

Butch Jones had several injury updates on Monday afternoon as the Vols prepare to face Missouri on Saturday (3:30 pm ET; CBS).

Safety Todd Kelly Jr., who left Saturday’s game against Kentucky with an ankle injury, is day-to-day, according to Jones. Center Dylan Wiesman is also day-to-day, though he’s a little bit ahead of Kelly at this point, per Jones.

Chance Hall, who didn’t dress for the Kentucky game, is expected to be at practice on Monday.

With Kelly Jr. questionable, Jones mentioned Stephen Griffin and Nigel Warrior as players who could step up and see extended opportunities at safety. Griffin, who has played a very limited role on defense this year, had a forced fumble in the red zone against the Wildcats on Saturday.

“It was great to get Stephen back on the field,” Jones said. “He’s been hampered by injuries all year. All of a sudden at a critical moment in the game, he’s in the game, and the critical turnover he was able to create was very big.”

Punt return options: After an uninspiring day for punt returner Josh Smith on Saturday, Jones said that there will, as always, be open competition for that spot in practice this week.

Smith remains in the conversation, as does freshman Marquez Callaway, who returned a punt for a touchdown against Tennessee Tech two weeks ago.

Tennessee’s most experienced and explosive options, Cam Sutton and Alvin Kamara, were held out on that unit Saturday even though both started at their respective primary position. Will Jones be ready to turn them loose on Saturday?

“You could see Alvin or Cam back there,” he said, neither confirming or denying that they will be ready to go in that capacity.

Senior Day: Tennessee will honor 11 scholarship seniors on Saturday afternoon during UT’s final home game of the season. Five, Jones said, already have their degrees, while the other six are on track to during this academic year.

Quarterback Joshua Dobbs will be the most notable of the bunch as he moves on after starting portions of all four seasons in Knoxville while also becoming one of the most recognizable UT players in recent history.

“He defines what a student-athlete is all about,” Jones said of Dobbs. “You look at what he’s meant to this program not only on the field, but also off the field, and it starts with character. He’s a face in this community. He’s giving of his time. You look at the curriculum that he’s involved in – he’s a very good student.

“And then what he’s meant to this football program as the starting quarterback at the University of Tennessee. We always talk to our quarterbacks all the time – being the quarterback at the University of Tennessee is a global position. And there’s a lot of expectations and standards that come along with being the quarterback at Tennessee. And he’s one of those individuals that has been very consistent day in and day out.”

Vandy game time set: Tennessee will play at Vanderbilt at 7:30 pm ET on the SEC Network on Nov. 26. It will be just Tennessee’s second night game of the season after opening on a Thursday night against Appalachian State.

Vegas line: Tennessee opened as a 15-point favorite against Missouri, but that has fallen to 14.5 points as of Monday, according to Vegas insider.

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