Cedric Tillman will likely miss Alabama;  How Volumes Adjust

Cedric Tillman will likely miss Alabama; How Volumes Adjust

It was probably the worst combination of news for Tennessee football on Wednesday night. All signs now point to the Vols still being without wide receiver Cedric Tillman against Alabama Crimson Tide and Bama quarterback Bryce Young.

WBIR reported that Tillman, who has 17 catches for 246 yards and a touchdown, will likely miss Saturday’s game against Alabama. Tillman injured his ankle in Game 3 of the Vols against the Akron Zips and hasn’t played since, missing UT’s win over the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers.

After that injury, it was reported during Tennessee football’s bye week that Tillman underwent surgery to recover faster. According to WBIR, a comeback against the Kentucky Wildcats is more realistic for Tillman. This game is scheduled for Saturday, October 1. 29.

On the other side, Nick Saban reportedly said on Wednesday that Young was training a little more every day and was on a “throw count.” Young was injured against the Arkansas Razorbacks and missed last week’s game, as Bama barely held off against the Texas A&M Aggies with Jalen Milroe at quarterback.

Don’t get me wrong, this is bad news for UT. Considering what the Vols did against Florida and LSU, there might be plenty who think they don’t need Tillman. However, Bru McCoy could make up for Tillman’s absence against LSU with the media coverage they play, and McCoy and Ramel Keyton would be too much for Florida’s size.

While not a typical Alabama secondary, they are still coached by Nick Saban and much better than what LSU and Florida are dealing with right now. As a result, physical attributes alone will not suffice. The Flights need ultimate players, and that’s where Tillman comes in.

So with Young, how can Tennessee football make up for that? After all, the Vols still won’t be able to effectively head the ball against Alabama. Well, there are two things. First, they’ll have to squeeze through tight ends and lunge receivers. Second, they need big plays on defense and on special teams.

Alabama had four turnovers and gave up four sacks last week. Even if Young plays, his mobility won’t be the same, so the Vols can bring an offensive passing rush that causes him a ton of trouble. Some big games are bound to come out of it.

Josh Heupel is also a bright caller, so he can design pieces for Jalin Hyatt with Princeton Fant and Jacob Warren that Alabama isn’t ready for. A few big plays here and there on offense will be huge for them if they can stop some drives.

Then maybe they can steal possession on special teams. Last week, they took a 10-0 lead at LSU by recovering a missed kickoff and then returning a 58-yard punt. It all sounds cliché, but given the way things have been going lately, it’s possible.

We will miss Tillman more in this game than he has in any other game. Forcing turnovers with a big passing rush, generating a number of big plays with well-crafted calls on offense and getting big once on special teams can make up for his injury. Tennessee football will have its hands full, however.

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