Tennessee coach Butch Jones has stressed the importance of special teams since his first day with the Vols.
The special teams will be down one of its best playmakers Saturday as senior Evan Berry will not play against Florida. He did not make the trip to Gainesville, Fla., with the team because of a hamstring injury.
Berry entered the season as one of the best kick returners in the country, but he sustained the injury in the season opener against Georgia Tech.
Freshman running back Ty Chandler will take over the role of kick returner for the Vols. He returned the opening kickoff 91 yards to open the game last Saturday against Indiana State.
The loss also impacts the Tennessee defense, which has faced its fair share of injuries already this season. Berry has never played a large role on the defensive side of the ball. A depleted secondary could have changed that.
Senior safety Todd Kelly Jr. will miss the Florida game and potentially the season with a knee injury. He had an MRI taken on his left knee on Thursday, which revealed a condition that will keep him off the field.
This leaves junior Micah Abernathy and sophomore Nigel Warrior as the only safeties with significant playing experience for the Vols. Berry could have been used a potential stopgap to give either player a few plays of rest.
Tennessee football pregame report from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Posted by Tennessee Volunteers Insiders on Saturday, September 16, 2017