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    Photo by Jake Nichols/RTI

    Tennessee freshman quarterback Brian Maurer suffered a concussion on Saturday against Mississippi State, and now it appears his status for this Saturday’s rivalry game against Alabama is questionable.

    On the weekly SEC coaches teleconference, Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt said that Maurer will be a “game-time decision” for the Vols’ match-up with No. 1 Alabama on Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

    “He has went through the protocol here and has taken some reps, but he will be game-time decision,” Pruitt said via quotes from Michael Bratton on Twitter.

    Maurer suffered the concussion when he went airborne and landed awkwardly on his head after a 13-yard run in the second quarter of Tennessee’s 20-10 victory over Mississippi State. The freshman stayed in the game for three more plays, handing the ball off twice then throwing an interception on his next throw.

    After that pick, Maurer was evaluated on the sidelines and was diagnosed with a concussion. Redshirt junior Jarrett Guarantano played the last series of the first half at quarterback and played the entire second half in relief of Maurer. Guarantano finished 6-of-7 for 106 yards and a touchdown. Maurer, meanwhile, was 4-of-7 for 61 yards and two interceptions.

    Maurer has practiced this week with Tennessee, and Pruitt said on Monday that he believes the freshman will be “fine” moving forward after suffering the concussion on Saturday.

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    The Vols’ contest with Mississippi State was Maurer’s second start of the season. In his first start, he finished 14-of-28 for 259 yards, two touchdowns, an interception, and a fumble in UT’s 43-14 loss to then-No. 3 Georgia. Maurer didn’t finish that game at QB either, exiting in the fourth quarter after taking a huge hit on a blindside blitz.

    In four appearances (two starts) this season, Maurer is 22-of-48 for 364 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions. He also has 29 rushing yards and a touchdown on 17 attempts.

    If Maurer is held out, it’s likely the aforementioned Jarrett Guarantano will start in his place. Guarantano began the 2019 season as Tennessee’s starting quarterback, but he was replaced by Maurer in the second half of the Vols’ 34-3 loss to Florida and ultimately lost his starting job when UT played their next game against Georgia.

    On the season, Guarantano has completed 67 of his 105 passes for 856 yards, eight touchdowns, and four interceptions.

    Tennessee and Alabama will kick-off at 9:00 PM Eastern in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, October 19th.

      (Photo via Tennessee Athletics)

      Kellie Harper’s first official game as the head coach of the Lady Vols basketball team will be Nov. 5 in Johnson City against East Tennessee State. Her first SEC game as head coach will be Jan. 2 when the Lady Vols welcome Missouri to Thompson-Boling Arena.

      It’ll be the first of 16 conference games for Tennessee in Year 1 under Harper, and according to the media, UT will finish sixth in the conference once the SEC schedule concludes.

      South Carolina was tabbed the favorite to win the conference on Tuesday, followed by Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Kentucky, and Arkansas before getting to the Lady Vols at No. 6. Following Harper’s group was Auburn, LSU, Missouri, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt.

      In addition to the Lady Vols being picked to finish sixth in Harper’s first season, junior forward Rennia Davis was named to the All-SEC second team. Davis was the only Lady Vol to receive preseason recognition.

      Davis returns to Knoxville following a sophomore campaign where she averaged 14.9 points per game and 7.7 rebounds.

      Last season, the Lady Vols finished with a losing record in the SEC for the first time in school history. Holly Warlick’s final team went 7-9 in conference play and finished in the bottom half of the SEC.

      This year, the media is expecting the Lady Vols to bounce back a little under the direction of Harper.

      Harper’s first team in Knoxville will be an unfamiliar one to Lady Vol fans. Following the departure of Holly Warlick as head coach, multiple players transferred, which led to several newcomers coming into the program. In total, the Lady Vols added five players to their roster over the offseason.

      Tennessee signed four freshman in the 2019 class, as well as a JUCO player in Jaiden McCoy, who is a Knoxville native that played at Northwest Florida State College. The freshman class consists of five-star guard Jordan Horston, guard Jessie Rennie, center Tamari Key, and center Emily Saunders.

      Key sophomores Zaay Green, Jazmine Massengill, and Rae Burrell return for their second season in Knoxville following strong freshmen campaigns. Green was one of Tennessee’s most efficient players last season, averaging 9.6 points per game. Massengill and Burrell only averaged 3.4 and 3.6 points, respectively, but both flashed their potential on multiple occasions.

      In the post, Tennessee will rely on junior Kasiyahna Kushkituah, senior Kamera Harris, and grad transfer Lou Brown. Kushkituah averaged 4.8 points and 3.5 rebounds, while Harris averaged 0.6 points and 1.0 rebound. Brown sat out last season due to a torn ACL after transferring from Washington State.

      The Lady Vols take on Carson-Newman Oct. 29 in their lone exhibition game before starting the regular season on Nov. 5 agaisnt ETSU.

        Photo by Nathanael Rutherford/RTI

        After lackluster performances from redshirt junior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt elected to hand the offense over to a true freshman signal caller. That freshman, Brian Maurer, has started two-straight games for the Vols at quarterback, but the jury is still out on what kind of future he can have in the orange and white.

        In Maurer’s first start, he had a robust first half against No. 3 Georgia, completing a 73-yard touchdown pass to Marquez Callaway in the first quarter and finding Jauan Jennings for another score in the first half, giving UT a 14-10 lead over the Bulldogs.

        But Georgia’s defense eventually adjusted, and Maurer was stymied from there on out. He finished the game 14-of-28 for 259 yards, two touchdowns, an interception, and a fumble. Maurer didn’t finish the game at quarterback after taking a huge hit on a sack in the fourth quarter. That hit caused him to fumble, and Georgia scooped it up and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown. Guarantano came in and finished out the contest after that.

        In the freshman’s second start, Maurer didn’t get off to nearly as good of a start as he did against Georgia. Maurer threw two interceptions in the red zone against Mississippi State this past Saturday, and he was taken out after suffering a concussion when he landed on his head on a 13-yard run. Guarantano finished out the second quarter and played the entire second half in UT’s 20-10 victory.

        Against Mississippi State, Maurer was 4-of-7 for 61 yards and two interceptions. He did add 41 rushing yards on three carries, though.

        Despite some of the obvious negatives from his play, Maurer has flashed a lot of potential in his two starts this season. So what does that mean for his future at Tennessee?

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        For Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, turning to a true freshman quarterback isn’t anything new. In fact, he’s helped coach several true and redshirt freshmen at the quarterback position throughout his long coaching career.

        Starting back in 2005 at Purdue, Chaney coordinated the Boilermakers’ offense when redshirt freshman Curtis Painter was quarterback. Veteran Brandon Kirsch began the season as the starter and was Purdue’s starting QB for the first six games of the season. Painter took over for the final five games of the season, though, and he would secure the starting job as a sophomore the next year.

        In his redshirt freshman campaign, Painter displayed play-making ability and a knack for picking up yards on the ground. In his first start against Wisconsin, Painter completed 23 of his 44 passes for 212 yards, a touchdown, and three interceptions while running 11 times for 60 yards and a score in a 31-20 loss. He and the Boilermakers would lose the next game against Penn State, but he led Purdue to three-straight wins to end the season.

        Painter finished his redshirt freshman season completing 89 of his 170 passes (52.4 percent) for 932 yards, three touchdowns, and five interceptions. He also added 251 rushing yards and four scores on 52 carries.

        After leaving Purdue to coach in the NFL for a few seasons, Chaney came back to the college ranks at Tennessee in 2009. In the 2010 season, he again turned to a freshman quarterback to provide a spark to a struggling offense. And just like with Purdue, it ended up working.

        After Matt Simms manned Tennessee’s offense for the first eight games of the season, Tennessee turned to true freshman Tyler Bray to try and salvage UT’s season. The Vols were 2-6 and on the verge of one of the worst seasons in school history.

        Bray came in and immediately turned things around, tossing five touchdowns and 325 yards against Memphis on the road in his first career start. Those are still UT records for most touchdowns and passing yards in a first start by a true freshman.

        The gunslinger would lead Tennessee to four-straight wins to end the regular season and threw for 300-plus yards in four of his five starts as a true freshman. Bray finished his 2010 season completing 125 of his 224 pass attempts (55.8 percent) for 1,849 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Those are all still school records for a true freshmen QB at Tennessee.

        Next season, Bray suffered a thumb injury and had to sit out a large portion of the season. At one point, head coach Derek Dooley and Chaney turned to true freshman Justin Worley to try and get something out of UT’s offense. Worley’s first start was a mess, however, as he completed just 10 of his 26 passes for 105 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions against South Carolina. He would put up a better showing against MTSU, but his third start against Arkansas was more of the same as his first against the Gamecocks.

        All in all, Worley finished 48-of-87 (55.2 percent) for 604 yards, a touchdown, and three interceptions as a freshman in 2011.

        Fast forward to Chaney’s time as Georgia’s offensive coordinator, and he coached a true freshman quarterback in at least come capacity every year he was with the Bulldogs.

        In 2016, Chaney helped guide Jacob Eason through the SEC as a true freshman signal caller. Eason started the entire year and had an up-and-down freshman campaign, though he had more positives than negatives overall. Eason finished the year 204-of-370 (55.1 percent) for 2,430 yards, 16 touchdowns, and eight interceptions while the Bulldogs went 7-5 in the regular season but gained momentum after a big bowl victory to finish 8-5 on the year.

        Next year, Georgia again had a freshman run their offense. Instead of Eason starting at quarterback, Jake Fromm was tasked with manning the Bulldogs’ offense. From put together a stellar freshman season in 2017, leading Georgia to an SEC title and an appearance in the College Football Playoff Championship Game. Fromm only lost two games as Georgia’s starting QB as a true freshman.

        Fromm was asked to be more of a game manager as a true freshman, though he was given more responsibility than most true freshmen. In his first year with the Bulldogs, Fromm completed 181 of his 291 passes (62.2 percent) for 2,615 yards, 24 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He also added three rushing scores and totaled 79 yards on 55 carries.

        In 2018, Chaney’s final year at Georgia, Fromm was the full-time starter at quarterback for the Bulldogs, but freshman Justin Fields played quite a bit as a change-of-pace quarterback who could run and throw both. Fields was promised playing time in the recruiting process, and the five-star was given some snaps in 12 of Georgia’s 14 games in 2018.

        Fields finished his true freshman season 27-of-39 for 328 yards and four touchdowns. He ran the ball 42 times for 266 yards and four scores.

        Right now, Maurer isn’t filling up the stat sheet quite like Tyler Bray or Jake Fromm did in their freshmen campaigns under Chaney, but he’s gotten off to a promising start so far. And with the exception of this Saturday’s contest with Alabama and a November date against Missouri, the Vols’ schedule lightens up in terms of the pass defenses Maurer will face.

        Time will tell how Maurer’s first season at Tennessee goes, but it looks like he’s in good hands with Jim Chaney directing him.

        Here’s a full breakdown of the freshman quarterbacks coached by Jim Chaney mentioned in this article:

        • Curtis Painter, 2005 (Purdue) — 89-of-170 (52.4%), 932 yards, 3 TD, 5 INT; 52 carries, 251 yards, 4 TD
        • Tyler Bray, 2010 (Tennessee) — 125-of-224 (55.8%), 1,849 yards, 18 TD, 10 INT
        • Justin Worley, 2011 (Tennessee) — 48-of-87 (55.2%), 604 yards, TD, 3 INT
        • Jacob Eason, 2016 (Georgia) — 204-of-370 (55.1%), 2,430 yards, 16 TD, 8 INT
        • Jake Fromm, 2017 (Georgia) —  181-of-291 (62.2%), 2,615 yards, 24 TD, 7 INT; 55 carries, 79 yards, 3 TD
        • Justin Fields, 2018 (Georgia) — 27-of-39 (69.2%), 328 yards, 4 TD; 42 carries, 266 yards, 4 TD

          (Photo via Randy Sartin/USA Today Sports)

          As a true freshman and sophomore, Jauan Jennings caught passes from Josh Dobbs at Tennessee. In total, Jennings caught 54 passes from Dobbs in 2015 and 2016, totaling 729 yards and seven touchdowns in those two seasons. The two connected for some of the most memorable plays in recent UT history, most notably the Hail Mary touchdown against Georgia in 2016 and the 67-yard touchdown grab Jennings had against Florida that same year.

          Jennings saw Dobbs at his peak at UT, so if he thinks a player is reminiscent of the former standout QB, that statement shouldn’t be taken lightly.

          During a media availability on Tuesday, Jennings was asked about true freshman quarterback Brian Maurer and his propensity to run around and create plays for the Vols. According to the redshirt senior receiver, Maurer’s daredevil attitude and ability to make plays happen on the run reminds Jennings of his old teammate.

          “He kinda reminds me of Dobbs,” Jennings said of Maurer on Tuesday. “Just seeing him in the open field, man, it’s electric. It definitely brings juice to the sideline.”

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          So far this season, Maurer has made some eye-popping plays and some bad freshman mistakes. One area that has wowed fans the most has been his ability to pick up chunks of yards on the ground. In Maurer’s first appearance as a Vol against UT-Chattanooga, he scored on a six-yard touchdown run, becoming the first true freshman quarterback to score a rushing touchdown since, you guessed it, Josh Dobbs.

          On Saturday against Mississippi State, Maurer ripped off two long runs, one going for 23 yards and another totaling 13 yards. On his longer run, the freshman utilized a spin move to evade a Bulldog defender and gained another handful of yards in the process.

          According to Jennings, that spin move was a 9.5 out of 10.

          “Nah I’m joking, it was a 10,” Jennings said while laughing. “Definitely a 10.”

          Maurer’s other long run against the Bulldogs proved to be his final run of the game and one of his final plays in the contest period. The freshman ran beyond the first down marker, and instead of sliding to avoid a hit, took a Mississippi State defender head-on.

          The result was Maurer flying through the air and landing awkwardly on his head. Maurer would spring up and run back to the huddle without looking fazed at all. But a couple plays later, he threw a bad interception, and he was evaluated on the sideline once he came off the field.

          Maurer was diagnosed with a concussion and didn’t play the rest of the game. But according to head coach Jeremy Pruitt, the true freshman signal caller will be fine to play on Saturday when Tennessee takes on No. 1 Alabama.

          The lesson in all this? Learn to slide.

          “I guess he didn’t play baseball,” Jennings said with a chuckle. “It’s a physical sport. Brian is doing well getting back to the field. Can’t wait to have him back.”

          Against Mississippi State, Maurer totaled 41 rushing yards on three carries, and he has 29 rushing yards total (because of sacks) and a rushing touchdown in his four appearances this season. That’s a long ways off from what Dobbs did, even as a freshman, totaling 189 yards and a touchdown on 38 carries in 2013.

          Dobbs finished his Tennessee career as the most prolific running quarterback in school history, and his passing totals also have him littered throughout UT’s record books.

          Jennings didn’t say Maurer is going to be the second coming of Dobbs, only that his play-making ability and his attitude towards going the extra mile remind of him of his former teammate. For a program that’s been devoid of a true difference-maker at the quarterback position since Dobbs graduated, seeing Maurer’s ability has fans hopeful, though.

          If Maurer turns out to be anything like Dobbs in his Tennessee career, then UT could be in for a much brighter future. But for now, Jennings just wants his freshman quarterback to learn how to keep himself safe and actually on the field.

            Photo by Jake Nichols/RTI

            With Jahmir Johnson back practicing following a knee scope before the Florida game, Tennessee’s offensive line had a new rotation during Tuesday’s practice as the Vols continue to prepare for No. 1 Alabama.

            The first team offensive line from left to right consisted of Wanya Morris at left tackle, Johnson at left guard, Brandon Kennedy at center, Trey Smith at right guard, and Darnell Wright at right tackle. Smith has played at left guard primarily all season, so it’s noteworthy the staff has him switching sides to start practice this week.

            The second team offensive line consisted of Marcus Tatum at left tackle, Jerome Carvin at left guard, Ryan Johnson at center, Chris Akporoghene at right guard, and K’Rojhn Calbert at right tackle.

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            Riley Locklear was at practice, but he was watching during drills and didn’t participate. The junior suffered a head injury during the Georgia game that caused him to miss this past Saturday’s game against Mississippi State.

            Speaking of head injuries, Brian Maurer was practicing and going through drills as the first team quarterback on Tuesday. The true freshman also practiced Sunday night after suffering a concussion on Saturday against the Bulldogs.

            On the defensive side of the ball, freshman Quavaris Crouch was the first team inside linebacker alongside Daniel Bituli. Henry To’o To’o is suspended for the first half of Saturday’s game against Alabama due to a targeting call in the second half of the game against Mississippi State.

            The first team defensive line consisted of Matthew Butler, Greg Emerson, and Darel Middleton. LaTrell Bumphus worked on a bike during drills.

            In the secondary, Theo Jackson was back in the role of the starting safety next to Nigel Warrior following Trevon Flowers’ leg injury he sustained on Saturday. Jeremy Pruitt will likely have an update on the severity of Flowers’ injury when he meets with the media after practice on Wednesday.

              Tennessee got their first SEC win of the season on Saturday against Mississippi State. But their next game will prove to be much, much more challenging.

              The Vols travel down to Tuscaloosa this upcoming weekend for their annual cross-divisional match-up with Alabama. The No. 1 Crimson Tide have won every game by at least 19 points this season, and they own a 12-game winning streak against Tennessee.

              Still, UT’s players aren’t intimidated by the Tide, and several Vol players discussed Tennessee’s upcoming rivalry game.

              Vol veterans Trey Smith, Jauan Jennings, Darrell Taylor, Daniel Bituli, Matthew Butler, and Theo Jackson all met with the media on Tuesday afternoon to talk about the Vols’ season, the win against Mississippi State, and UT’s upcoming battle with Alabama among other things.

              Here are our videos of each players’ media availability on Tuesday.

              Full video of offensive lineman Trey Smith:

              Full video of wide receiver Jauan Jennings:

              Full video of outside linebacker Darrell Taylor:

              Full video of linebacker Daniel Bituli:

              Full video of safety Theo Jackson:

              Full video of defensive lineman Matthew Butler: