GAINESVILLE, Florida – Tennessee are expected to have several players absent from their last two games available for the SEC opening game on Saturday night in 11th place Florida. To recover Jabari Small, offensive linemen Cade Mays and Cooper Mays, defensive linemen LaTrell Bumpus and linebacker Juwan mitchell all were on the 70-player travel roster for the match and in uniform for the pre-match warm-ups before the 7pm kick-off. The only player officially unavailable by Tennessee is the offensive lineman Kingston harris, who injured his knee against Tennessee Tech last week.
Small took representatives of the first team at the half; Cooper Mays in the center and Cade Mays on the right tackle were with the first group on the offensive line; and Bumphus, Terry and Mitchell were all with the second group in defense.
Tennessee will also have an All-SEC punter Paxton brooks back in that role on Saturday night. Brooks only managed the opening kickoff against Pittsburgh two weeks ago, and Toby Wilson could take on that role again as he has for most of the last two games. Brooks didn’t kick against Tennessee Tech last week with a newcomer Kolby morgan fill, but Morgan was not on the travel list, indicating that Brooks should be okay with taking over the duties.
Tennessee have been shorthanded in the backfield in each of the last two games, which has increased the role of the freshman. Jaylen wright. Tiyon Evans missed the game against Pittsburgh after running for 120 yards and a touchdown on his Tennessee debut against Bowling Green. Small opened his second season with 117 yards and one scoring against Bowling Green and scored a short touchdown in Tennessee’s first offensive snap against Pittsburgh before leaving that game with a shoulder injury.
Cooper Mays’ return will be important for Flights on the offensive line and for Tennessee’s offensive pace. The second had his ankle wrapped in the first half of Bowling Green and missed the last two games. Since then, departure of the left guard Jerome Carvin was at the center of both Ollie Lane and Kingston harris Taking over from left guard, the former finished the Bowling Green game, starting against Pittsburgh and the latter playing most of the Pittsburgh game on the bench and starting against Tennessee last week.
Carvin will return to left guard with Mays back in the lineup.
Although Mitchell appears to be available, Jérémy Banks and Aaron Beasley, the starting tandem last week, was with the defense of the first team during the warm-ups.
On the defensive line, Terry missed last week’s game after being injured late in the Pittsburgh game and Bumphus missed the last two games.
Defensive end Bryson Reason, who missed last week’s game against Tennessee Tech, was also not on the 70-man roster.