How will Tennessee replace Brandon Kennedy in the lineup? Jeremy Pruitt weighs in
During his most recent press availability, Jeremy Pruitt confirmed the unfortunate news that Tennessee’s starting center Brandon Kennedy has been lost for the season due to injury. The graduate transfer from Alabama still has at least one season of eligibility left and could potentially have two if Tennessee pursues a sixth-year of eligibility for him.
In the meanwhile, Tennessee is once again searching for a starting center with Kennedy sidelined. That doesn’t necessarily mean the job will go to the backup center, who Tennessee currently lists as Ryan Johnson.
Here’s what Pruitt had to say about his program being forced to shuffle some pieces up front following the news of Kennedy’s injury.
“We’ve always – you’ve always got to have guys that can move around a little bit,” Pruitt said. “For instance, if you’ve got 10 offensive linemen, so there’s you’re two-deep, right, well maybe your backup center on the depth chart might be your 10th-best offensive lineman, so if you lose your center, should you play your sixth guy or your 10th guy? Makes sense to play your sixth-best guy, so to do things like that you’ve got to be able to move guys around.
“Some of the reason I talked about I have a lot of confidence in our offensive line moving forward because these guys have been doing this the whole time. Trey (Smith) practices on August 17, so we’re practicing like Trey’s not going to be there. Chance Hall has gradually worked his way in there. Jerome (Carvin) missed all summer. Brandon (Kennedy) wasn’t there in the spring so there’s lots of guys, lots of moving parts there. I think as these guys kind of start playing the same positions over and over and get used to playing beside the same guy, they’ll have a lot more confidence in who’s in there with them.”
The Volunteers have a few days to figure out who should replace Kennedy in the lineup, he was injured on Tuesday, and have a few weeks before conference play begins to try out a few players at the position. Needless to say, to go into the graduate transfer market to land Kennedy suggests the options behind him may not be promising heading into the ETSU game on Saturday.