KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee raced past Kentucky 49-36 over the weekend, moving to 7-3 on the year.
The Vols still need help to get to the SEC Championship, but their outlook continues to improve.
Florida, who is dealing with a slew of injuries, is a 12.5-point road underdog at LSU on Saturday, while Tennessee is a two-touchdown favorite for a third straight game in conference. UT hosts Missouri at 3:30 p.m. on CBS.
Butch Jones will recap Tennessee’s offensive explosion versus UK, as well as update any injuries and preview the game against Missouri.
* Jones opens up press conference offering condolences for former Cincy player Isaiah Pead and Wes Richardson, critically injured in a car crash over the weekend.
* “A very, very good team win. I thought going into it was a Maxim 2 game. … The only stat that matters is a win. I liked our week of preparation. I thought we won it with our preparation.”
“We’re not going to win many stat battles now.”
* Jones notes how explosive Mizzou offense is. Average more than 30 points per game, calls Drew Lock “an NFL quarterback.” … “This is the most talented receiver group we’ve faced all season.”
* Tigers lead the SEC in interceptions with 13.
* On Tennessee’s porous rush defense — Jones repeating past issues: missed tackles, missed run-fits, poor techniques, “it was a combination of a lot of little things.” … Again notes Vols allowed big plays but held the fort in the red zone. “That was the difference in the game.”
* “Having Cam (Sutton) back on the field, having Alvin (Kamara) back on the field, it was great.” … Notes that Sutton was a little rusty (eye discipline, missed tackles) but still found a way to make plays (2 PBUs). Called Kamara very productive. “He’ll be a better version of Cam Sutton this week.”
* Senior Day: Jones gushing about Josh Dobbs. Remembers a 5-hour home visit. “We knew that was a special family right there.” 11 scholarship seniors will be honored Saturday. Five players have already graduated.
* Safety Todd Kelly Jr., who exited the game with an ankle injury, is day-to-day. Starting center Dylan Wiesman is day-to-day with an undisclosed leg injury. “He’s probably ahead of T.K. right now.”
* The threat of Dobbs, Kamara and John Kelly all on the field at the same time: It allows us to spread the field. Have playmakers all over the board.
* Jones notes that only seniors will be honored on Saturday. So no Kamara or Derek Barnett, two players headed to the NFL.
* Sophomore RT Chance Hall is day-to-day with a knee injury. Missed the Tennessee Tech game, but “hopes to practice today. … He wants to be out there.
* Jones: “Championship teams are comprised of individual champions.” … Notes how UT is 13-3 in the last 16 games.
* On punt returners: Josh Smith, Marquez Callaway, Sutton and Kamara will compete for reps this week. “We’ll see how the week progresses. Said Tennessee will play the best player.
* Jones said he’s never seen a player get triple-teamed like Derek Barnett. Gushing about the junior. “There are no days off in the life of Derek Barnett.” Calls him a dominant football player. “He mentally exhausts his competition.”
* “This is the most competitive business in the world.”
* Right guard Jack Jones should get cast off “shortly.” Jones also noted that junior center Coleman Thomas played one of best games of his career.”
* The requisite Nigel Warrior question: Jones said the frosh safety is getting better. “It’s just experience. He continues to get better. He’s going to be a really good player.”