Derek Dooley will undoubtedly enter Saturday's game a few puzzle pieces short. One of the biggest holes may be left by defensive tackle Montori Hughes. Dooley doesn't expect the sophomore to make an appearance in Saturday's game.
"If he does (play) it will be a limited role and odds are it won't be very productive," Dooley said.
Malik Jackson and Victor Thomas have grabbed the starting time at defensive tackle in Hughes absence. Walk-on Joesph Ayers will also be worked into the rotation.
Daniel Lincoln (quad) will be unable to handle the place kicking duties for Saturday's game. Michael Palardy will have the start in place of the senior.
JerQuari Schofield (ankle) has shown significant throughout the week, but Derek Dooley says the offensive lineman will only be available in an emergency role.
Big Bucks, Not
The size differential between Alabama and Tennessee is almost alarming. If only Derek Dooley could start handing out cash for weight gains.
"We have the smallest team in college football," Dooley said following Wednesday's practice.
"If it wasn't an NCAA violation I would give a cash bonus, a big cash bonus, to the first player since I have been here to be overweight. Then I can tell him to slim up."
Developing the Brand
Derek Dooley said his squad was on the right track in developing his brand of football. Then the Vols were derailed with a huge loss at Georgia.
"We went several weeks where the brand was moving in the right direction," Dooley said.
"I think people were respecting the way we competed and respecting the way we laid it on the line and we took a step back last game. I think it is very important to reestablish that."
Dooley and the Vols will have plenty of opportunity to re-establish the brand as the Vols are once again a double-digit underdog heading into Saturday's game.
Nerves of Steel
Jim Chaney isn't nervous in the least about throwing true freshman quarterback Tyler Bray into the mix against Alabama. It's not him who is going to take the shots.
"I am not going to get hit. I have no nervousness about it," said Chaney with a smile.
"Tyler is a good football player. That is why he is playing at this level. If coach feels like it's time to put him in the game and he gives us a chance to win that is what he will do."
Simms the Pro
With all the talk about Tyler Bray getting playing time against Alabama no one is handling the news more professionally than current starting QB Matt Simms.
"He is trying to compete to hold onto that spot," Jim Chaney said. "He is doing it exactly how he should be. Matt is doing a good job too. I am not upset about Matt Simms at all."
Derek Dooley and the Volunteers will continue practice preparations for Saturday's game Thursday afternoon.