Tennessee football starting center Cooper Mays is active for the Vols’ Week 3 game against Florida but will be a game-time decision.
After missing the first two games of the season, the senior looks like he could make his season debut in Gainesville.
The status change comes a couple of days after Josh Heupel said they were ‘anticipating’ Mays playing.
“He’ll be going with us (to Gainesville),” Heupel said in Thursday’s press conference. “He’s been really good all week long. Anticipate him being ready to play.”
Mays has been inactive due to a ‘minor procedure’ he underwent in early August.
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If he returns on Saturday, Mays being back on the field is huge for Tennessee. The Preseason All-SEC Second Team selection is one of two returning starting offensive linemen, along with right guard Javontez Spraggins.
In Mays’ absence, Ollie Lane has filled in at center, and Texas transfer Andrej Karic has been starting at left guard. Lane will likely revert back to his natural left-guard position if Mays is able to take the field.
Despite being short-handed, Tennessee’s offensive line has played well so far this season. They have blocked for the nation’s fourth-best rushing attack that has averaged 257.5 yards per game and 6.13 yards per carry.
While Mays is active against the Gators, we’ll see how many snaps he is able to take against the Florida defense.
Kickoff from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is at 7 p.m. ET Saturday night. Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Holly Rowe are on the call for ESPN.