The Tennessee Volunteers are gearing up for their first game of the 2020 season on Saturday night at South Carolina.

However, on Wednesday, it was revealed that they would likely be without a key player for the entire 2020 campaign.

During his weekly radio show, coach Jeremy Pruitt said that redshirt senior TE Austin Pope would likely be out all year after a preseason back surgery:

“Austin Pope is not going to be ready to play and probably won’t play this year,” Pruitt said on “Vol Calls.”

“He’s still rehabbing, and we’ll see where that goes beyond this year.”

Pope doesn’t factor in much with the passing game, catching only 4 passes for 21 yards in 2019. Still, he appeared in all 13 games and made 11 starts, making an impact as a blocker.

Fortunately for Pope, this season doesn’t count as a year of eligibility, so he can return in 2021 if he’s healthy.