KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee defensive tackle Shy Tuttle could have shut everyone out after tearing the ACL in his right knee in 2016 — his second consecutive season-ending leg injury — or he could have stepped up to be a leader despite the setback.
Tuttle refused to do anything but the latter.
“He’s done a great job being one of those leaders,” Tennessee defensive line coach Brady Hoke said. “Even though he can’t physically do everything, but when the guys go out and do D-line school and everything, he’s really taken a big part in that.”
Tuttle has begun to run, though the Vols have not released a timetable for his return.
“Once Shy gets back to full-form, I’m really looking forward to that,” Hoke said.
Entering his junior season, Tuttle has 19 total tackles in his 11-game career. A broken left fibula cut his freshman season short. The stats don’t show just how disruptive he can be on the line of scrimmage.
Fellow defensive linemen Kahlil McKenzie, Kyle Phillips, Darrell Taylor and Quay Picou also missed games last season. Their absences on the defensive line played a role in the demise of the Tennessee defense in 2016.
The Vols gave up 2,301 total offensive yards in the final four games of the season, compared to 1,412 in the first four.
“You can never have enough guys,” defensive coordinator Bob Shoop said. “We’ve got to continue to develop depth throughout spring ball, like we did and throughout the summer and into training camp.
“This league is such a physical league. There is so much attrition, and Game 12 and 13 are every bit as important as Games 1 and 2.”
Everyone on the defensive line, but Tuttle, should finally be healthy heading into training camp when the team reports next Friday.
“There were a lot of guys held out of spring ball because of surgeries and coming back and rehab,” Hoke said. “It’s been really refreshing to see where we’re at now.
“I think there is a lot that as a new position coach you want to see from those guys. I think they’ve done a nice job this summer with strength gains and body gains.”
Having a dominant defensive line will be crucial if Tennessee can surprise teams this fall. Tuttle will play a big part in that.
Tennessee football assistants talk about upcoming season
Posted by Tennessee Volunteers Insiders on Friday, July 21, 2017