Tennessee football: Five Vols to watch for at Auburn

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Tennessee defensive back Alontae Taylor (2) during a game between Kentucky and Tennessee at Kroger Stadium in Lexington, Ky. on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019.
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Watch for these five Tennessee football Volunteers at Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday.

After once again failing to adjust with a halftime lead against the Arkansas Razorbacks, and postponing last week’s contest with the Texas A&M Aggies, Tennessee football sits at 2-4 with a daunting task in the approaching week. The Vols visit No. 23 Auburn Tigers this Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium, making it their third matchup of the season against a Top-25 opponent.

Currently riding a two-game win streak, the Tigers are 4-2 under head coach Gus Malzahn. The rivalry between these two storied SEC universities dates back to the year 1900, with their most recent meeting being an underdog road win for the Vols against a No. 21 ranked Auburn squad.

Luckily for Tennessee football, some of the top performers from that win still suit up in orange-and-white today. With another full week of practice and a newfound determination, victory isn’t as far out of reach as it might seem. The Vols we told you to watch for against the Arkansas Razorbacks accounted for 10 tackles and a sack. Here are the five to watch for at Auburn.

5
Alontae Taylor
Defensive back Junior

6’0″ 193 pounds; Hometown: Manchester, Tenn.

Alontae Taylor was out due to a hamstring injury against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Though it’s still unclear whether or not he’ll be on the road this week, Jeremy Pruitt said he has played “banged-up” pretty much all year. He’s now had an extra week to recover.

Kenneth George Jr., who filled in for Taylor at cornerback in Fayetteville, Ark., did not have his best game. That’s putting it lightly. As much as Tennessee football’s secondary has struggled this season, it was wild to see how much it missed Taylor’s presence.

The junior’s last performance at Auburn is yet another reason the Vols should want him on the field. Then, he registered seven tackles and a fumble recovery, which he scooped for a touchdown. Jeremy Pruitt already has the recipe to defeating Gus Malzahn on the road. It would make sense for him to turn to the players that helped his team win the first time around.

Taylor may very well not suit up on Saturday, but with an additional week to recover, and a secondary that very clearly needs his presence and leadership to compete, it would be ideal to see him get some playing time. If that’s the case, UT’s coaching staff will look to him as now one of the more veteran defensive backs on the team.

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