KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — With Sandstorm blasting over the speakers, Tennessee returned to the practice field Tuesday, continuing its preparations for Saturday’s showdown against South Carolina.
The No. 18 Volunteers were noticeably healthier, too, as a slew of injured players appeared full-go. Sophomore linebacker Darrin Kirkland, who has missed the last five games with a high-ankle sprain, worked out in a normal jersey and displayed no limitations.
Meanwhile, junior linebacker Cortez McDowell also returned to action, as did offensive linemen Brett Kendrick, Jashon Robertson, Chance Hall and Jack Jones. Cornerback Baylen Buchanan was back as well, and senior defensive back Malik Forman practiced in a green, non-contact jersey. Two notable starters were still missing, though, but the media is not allowed to report such things.
The complete list of returnees:
Tennessee players back at practice:
— Jesse Re Simonton (@JesseReSimonton) October 25, 2016
During the three, quick open periods, the Volunteers mostly worked on special teams and individual drills. The media did see some 1-on-1 battles between the offensive and defensive lines, allowing a potential glimpse of the starting units on Saturday.
Tennessee line up (L-R) Kendrick, Robertson, Coleman Thomas, Jones and freshman Marcus Tatum up front.
Although Hall was present, he didn’t take any 1-on-1 reps and still appeared limited with his knee injury.
* With no Alvin Kamara this week, receivers Josh Smith and Jauan Jennings worked as the first-team punt returners.
* Junior tailback Jalen Hurd sported his customary green jersey.
* Once again, defensive end Kyle Phillips took snaps mainly inside at tackle, getting into it with Austin Sanders during one competitive rep.
* Quarterback Josh Dobbs looked mighty lonely stretching by himself Tuesday. The senior is Tennessee’s lone captain (Cam Sutton, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Kamara) still healthy.
* Tennessee utilized a number of underclassmen on the first-team punt team, including Nigel Warrior and Daniel Bituli.