The Tennessee football team will be missing some key pieces on both sides of the ball during spring practice in 2017.
Eight Volunteers will miss all of spring ball because of injuries, according to SEC Country’s Mike Griffith: OL Brett Kendrick (ankle), WR Josh Smith (undisclosed), WR Brandon Johnson (shoulder), DE Kyle Phillips (shoulder), DT Kendal Vickers (shoulder), DT Shy Tuttle (knee), S Micah Abernathy (shoulder) and S Rashaan Gaulden (undisclosed).
Losing those three defensive linemen may be the biggest hit among these injuries. Tuttle was already expected to miss at least spring workouts after having knee surgery. However, Phillips and Vickers were supposed to be limited. Two other defensive linemen left the program earlier this spring, and Tennessee must replace All-American DE Derek Barnett.
The Vols will need young players to step up on the defensive line and at safety to make up for the absence of multiple likely starters.
On the offensive line, Kendrick is recovering from surgery after playing part of last season with multiple torn ligaments in his ankle. Johnson and Abernathy were previously expected to be limited during spring practice.
A few other players are expected to participate in practice on a limited basis this spring, including OT Chase Hall, LB Quart’e Sapp and DB Stephen Griffin.
The Volunteers will hold their annual Orange and White Spring Game on April 22 at Neyland Stadium.
Tennessee spring practice dates
Tuesday, March 21: Practice No. 1
Thursday, March 23: Practice No. 2
Saturday, March 25: Practice No. 3
Tuesday, March 28: Practice No. 4
Thursday, March 30: Practice No. 5
Saturday, April 1: Practice No. 6
Tuesday, April 4: Practice No. 7
Thursday, April 6: Practice No. 8
Saturday, April 8: Practice No. 9
Tuesday, April 11: Practice No. 10
Thursday, April 13: Practice No. 11
Saturday, April 15: Practice No. 12
Tuesday, April 18: Practice No. 13
Thursday, April 20: Practice v14