Tennessee might be with out one defensive starter and shorthanded within the secondary for Saturday’s midday kickoff in opposition to SEC East rival South Carolina (Noon, ESPN2). Defensive deal with Elijah Simmons was not in uniform for pregame warmups at Neyland Stadium on Saturday morning, and defensive backs Doneiko Slaughter and Christian Charles additionally had been in road garments after choosing up accidents in final week’s win at Missouri.
Defensive again Theo Jackson additionally will not be anticipated to play, although he got here out in uniform and went by warmups with the first-team protection after early in pregame he was carrying his jersey like the opposite gamers who’re out do on the sideline.
Slaughter likewise got here out in uniform however wasn’t actually going by warmups with the remainder of the defensive backs.
Jackson is the main tackler for the Vols, however he left final week’s win at Missouri within the second quarter after he was concerned in an enormous collision with Tigers vast receiver Tauskie Dove. Both gamers had been going for a cross and made helmet-to-helmet contact that left them briefly on the bottom. Jackson bought up second and walked off the sphere below his personal energy however didn’t return to the sport.
Simmons, who has six tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one batted cross on the season, bought hit on the knee late within the loss at Florida and did not begin final week at Missouri, however he rotated into the sport and had a deal with for loss earlier than struggling an obvious leg harm early within the second quarter.
The Vols will get a lift within the defensive backfield with the return of beginning security Trevon Flowers, who missed the win at Missouri final week.
Super senior Jackson has been arguably Tennessee’s finest defensive performer this season. He leads the Vols with 37 tackles by 5 video games and in addition has 6.5 tackles for loss (tied for the fourth-most within the SEC), 1.5 sacks and 6 cross breakups. He’s additionally a flexible piece within the secondary as a result of his potential to play a number of positions, as evidenced final week when he began in opposition to Missouri at his ordinary nickel spot earlier than shifting again to security.
“Theo Jackson is playing about as good as anybody could play in the first five ballgames,” Tennessee secondary coach Willie Martinez stated this week. “The last ballgame we had some guys go down. Next guy mentality. He goes in there and plays a position — he literally can play all five positions in the back end, and that’s really good to have on your team. He’s playing really solid.”
Charles began within the place of absent veteran Flowers in opposition to Missouri and had a third-down cross breakup on the opening defensive sequence of the sport, however he picked up an harm and did not play the remainder of the best way. When the freshman departed, the Vols slid Jackson again to security and inserted Slaughter on the nickel spot. The sophomore had three tackles, a deal with for loss and quarterback hurry in his most in depth motion of the season, however he limped off the sphere within the fourth quarter after making a deal with.
Slaughter has been Jackson’s backup on the nickel spot and Charles a backup at security, and each have performed extensively on particular groups so their absences might be felt on Tennessee’s protection and return items as nicely.
Tennessee’s protection additionally might be with out linebacker Juwan Mitchell, the Texas switch lacking for the third time in 4 video games as a result of what’s believed to be a shoulder harm.