Tennessee football: 5 concerning signs from Vols 2019 spring practice

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 5: The Tennessee Volunteers mascot Smokey runs through the end zone after a score against the Georgia Bulldogs at Neyland Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 5: The Tennessee Volunteers mascot Smokey runs through the end zone after a score against the Georgia Bulldogs at Neyland Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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3. Key players are in limbo due to health issues.

Tennessee football actually largely had good injury news for the spring. Sure, Carlin Fils-Aime had to miss the rest of spring ball due to an issue he needed to take care of, but there were no real surprises after practices began.

The problem, however, is that some of the players in limbo with injury are some of the most important players on the Vols. One of the most obvious ones is Trey Smith. He was able to take part in drills throughout the spring, but the blood clots still have him out, and he hasn’t yet been cleared to play for the season.

Smith is the one reliable offensive lineman on the Vols, so without him, the unit could severely struggle. Brandon Kennedy being limited was more understandable, but Smith being in limbo is a major concern.

On the other side, though, it was worse. Darrin Kirkland Jr. is one of the key linebackers for the Vols. He entered the season expecting to be the veteran inside linebacker alongside Daniel Bituli. News that he would miss spring due to injury was not a big concern provided he would be back in the summer.

Well, now he may not be back. It appears he could also miss the season due to this nagging injury, adding to his injury prone career. The Vols luckily have stacked up their depth at linebacker, but Kirkland was the glue guy and key player to always be in proper position. So without him, things could end up moving too quickly. Smith and him both being out are concerns right now.