As they try to rebound from their loss at the Georgia Bulldogs, Tennessee football once again is in a unique situation with its style of play relative to the team it is facing. For the third straight week, the Vols are facing a ball control, defensive-oriented team that will present a unique challenge against Josh Heupel’s high-powered offense.
To deal with that, that, the standout Vols in this game will once again need to be a bit unique. Yes, there are some usual suspects, but UT needs the players capable of winning physical battles and blue-collar football. Despite what they’re known for, they do have those players.
Injuries call into question one position that should stand out here, running backs. Jabari Small would be key as a power back, as other power backs have given Mizzou trouble, but he’s banged up, so we don’t know how that will go. With those issues in mind, here are the five key Vols for Tennessee football when facing Missouri Saturday.
These Tennessee football Volunteers players will be crucial against Mizzou.
6’1″ 235 pounds
Over the past three weeks, Juwan Mitchell has been coming on strong for the Vols. He stood out for just missing a tackle last week when he rushed Stetson Bennett on a blitz, and Bennett ran into the end zone for a touchdown. However, Mitchell has been great for the most part and is finally showing just how reliable he is.
The strength for Mitchell is being in the right position, which comes with his experience at linebacker. He’s the only starting linebacker in the rotation who never switched positions. That helped against the Kentucky Wildcats, when he came away with a key interception.
Coverage is going to be his role for Tennessee football Saturday. Mizzou has thrown nine interceptions on the year, and nearly half of them have been to linebackers. As a result, Mitchell will have plenty of opportunities to make big plays, and when those come, he needs to cash in. If he does, UT will be in good shape.