GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Four Tennessee football players are inactive for Saturday night’s SEC opener at Florida. Safeties Will Brooks and Christian Charles, defensive tackle Elijah Simmons and linebacker Keenan Pili are all out.
Center Cooper Mays is going through pregame warmups and is a game time decision.
Keenan Pili is missing his second straight game after suffering an upper body injury against Virginia that’s expected to sideline the BYU transfer for a month-plus but not for the entirety of the season. Tennessee coach Josh Heupel said earlier this week that Pili would travel with the team to Gainesville.
With Pili sidelined, sophomore linebacker Elijah Herring moves into the starting linebacker spot. Fellow underclassmen Kalib Perry, Arion Carter and Jeremiah Telander could all earn additional snaps.
Elijah Simmons is missing his third straight game with a lower body injury. The defensive tackle suffered the injury during Tennessee’s final fall scrimmage and while Tennessee hasn’t specified his injury, RTI saw him walking on crutches the week of the Virginia game.
Omarr Norman-Lott, Bryson Eason, Kurrott Garland and freshman Daevin Hobbs have occupied the snaps Simmons injury created.
This is the first time this season that both Charles and Brooks have been inactive. The duo are backup safeties behind Jaylen McCollough and Wesley Walker. Who Tennessee will turn to if either of those players goes down is unclear but redshirt sophomore Andre Turrentine is the safe bet.
Kickoff between Tennessee and Florida is at 7 p.m. ET from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Holly Rowe are on the call for ESPN.