Tennessee football linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. is out, and Jalen Reeves-Maybin’s health is in doubt for when the Volunteers face the Georgia Bulldogs.
One of the most anticipated match-ups of the year between Tennessee football senior linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Georgia running back Nick Chubb may not take place Saturday.
Reeves-Maybin’s availability is now in doubt, according to a report from GoVols online. He sprained a shoulder muscle against the Ohio Bobcats two weeks ago. Then he couldn’t even make it a quarter on the field last week against the Florida Gators.
Going this week could be tough, but the Vols might be okay resting him. After all, Chubb is dinged up, and Jacob Eason still lacks experience.
Tennessee will also be without linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. for the game, according to the same report. Kirkland has been hurt since the Vols beat the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Battle at Bristol.
So once again, the Vols will be without both starting linebackers.
At the start of the year, depth at linebacker was a huge question for Tennessee football.
However, Cortez McDowell, who replaced Reeves-Maybin, was competent last week. And Colton Jumper, who replaced Kirkland, may have shown the best improvement of anybody on the field so far this year.
So against the Dawgs, who run a pretty simple pro-style offense, the Vols should be able to rest both players. That puts more pressure on their defensive line, however, to live up to its expectations.
And with Cameron Sutton hurt, the line has to carry the unit. However, through four games, Bob Shoop has given Vols fans reason to believe in him.
His ability to adjust without key pieces is remarkable. Whether or not he does that this weekend could determine the SEC. So in his first year with Tennessee football, he certainly has a lot of pressure.