KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee sophomore Chance Hall will miss four to six weeks with knee injury, Volunteers coach Butch Jones confirmed Thursday.
The 6-foot-4, 320-pound sophomore had arthroscopic surgery after injuring his knee in practice Tuesday. Hall, who started seven games as a freshman in 2015, was competing with redshirt junior Brett Kendrick for the starting job at right tackle.
“We’re ahead of schedule right now injury wise (compared) to where we’ve been,” Jones said.
“It’s nagging camp injuries. The only significant injury is Chance Hall. But we got great news on that. We look forward to getting him back.”
While the media is not allowed to report who isn’t at practice, a number of notable veterans have missed time over the last week. Star tailback Jalen Hurd and defensive end Cory Vereen both returned to action Thursday.
“A lot of it too is our players learning how to take care of themselves. We’ve held some players out for precautionary reasons to make sure they’re fresh and all that,” Jones explained.
“But it’s the next guy in. The standard, the expectations, our work capacity. That never changes no matter who is on the field.”
Kendrick will receive the lion’s share of reps at right tackle, as the 6-foot-6, 318-pound redshirt junior started UT’s first five games at right tackle last season. Junior Coleman Thomas, an All-SEC center who started five games at tackle as a freshman, will take some reps outside, too.
“The great thing is we have competition there. Everybody is pushing everyone. We look forward to getting Chance back, but it’s an opportunity for some individuals to step up,” Jones said.
“Now it’s time they have an opportunity and now go make the best of it. It’s from Venzell Bourlware, Drew Richmond has been doing a very good job, obviously Brett Kendrick has been very steady.
“There’s a youngster, too, who is starting to do very well and that’s (freshman) Marcus Tatum. He’s an individual who continues to gain the weight necessary. He has very, very good length and I’ve been very, very impressed with him.”
Even without an official confirmation from Jones, Richmond has essentially locked down the left tackle job, while Tatum has come along quickly and impressed enough to potentially earn a rotationally spot.
“I see that group collectively getting better, “ Jones said.
“We need that because we’re looking to play seven or eight individuals.
Tennessee opens the season in exactly two weeks, kicking off against Appalachian State at 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.
Jesse Simonton covers Tennessee football and recruiting for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and SECCountry.com