With a bye week, college football teams tend to use that time to get a head start on their next opponent and focus in on the specific struggles that the team needs to work on for practice.
However, for the Vols, recovery is the key for their bye week.
The Vols limp into the bye week with countless injuries and on Tuesday, the injury count rose.
Senior linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin was officially announced out for the season on Tuesday with a season ending shoulder surgery.
For Reeves-Maybin, his time at Tennessee has made a lasting impression.
“It’s been a fun life experience for me,” Reeves-Maybin said on Tuesday. “Just to see our program go from where it was when I got here to the condition it is now, playing on CBS 3:30 every week, its just been a testament to all the work the coaching staff put it but also the guys who came in with my recruiting class and the year after. We all had a mission and I feel like we are well on our way to that mission.”
Reeves-Maybin was injured during the Ohio game this season and tried to come back and play through the pain but was not able to.
“I tried to play in the Florida game and I probably spent six hours a day in treatment that week,” Reeves-Maybin said on Tuesday. “There were a couple different surgery options I could have. I just had to make my decision. I felt like in the condition I was in, I wouldn’t be able to help the team.”
Reeves-Maybin most likely finishes his career at the University of Tennessee with 240 tackles with 27 of them being tackles for loss and eight of them being sacks. Reeves-Maybin also accounted for four fumble recoveries and one interception.
Reeves-Maybin hasn’t officially ruled out the possibility of a medical redshirt, but says that he’s not sure what yet lies in the future.
“I still have that option but I truly haven’t even thought 100% about what my plan is,” Reeves-Maybin said.
It was also announced on Tuesday that sophomore defensive tackle Khalil McKenzie has been ruled out for the season.
“Khalil Mckenzie tore his pec tendon and will be out for the year,” Head coach Butch Jones said. “It’s very unfortunate but that’s football.”
McKenzie was injured during Saturday’s game in which he made his first start of his career in the game. He will finish the season with 12 tackles.
Uncertainty also lies at the running back position, although the University has yet to confirm anything.
Junior running back Alvin Kamara was late hit out of bounds early in Saturday’s game against Alabama and, although he returned to the game and carried the ball four times and had a catch, he wore a knee brace on his left knee.
“Everything is wait and see,” Jones said. “Is he banged up? Obviously everything is banged up.”
As for the rest of the team, the bye week for them will be focused on getting healthy and ready for the South Carolina Gamecocks.