Tennessee will travel to Tuscaloosa to take on No. 1 Alabama Saturday night in the rivalry known as the “Third Saturday in October.” The Vols will be lucky if the game isn’t over by the third quarter considering they opened as nearly five-touchdown underdogs to the Crimson Tide.
The Volunteers will be without linebacker Henry To’o To’o for the first half after the freshman was popped for a targeting call in the second half of last weekend’s victory over Mississippi State. He is second on the team in tackles with 34 and fourth in tackles for loss with 2.5. So what’s the game plan in his absence? Coach Jeremy Pruitt could turn to an incredibly creative strategy to keep the ball away from the deadly Alabama offense.
“I was thinking about there’s a high school team over in Arkansas, they always onside kick, they never punt,” he said. “I’ve never seen them play, [but] I always hear people talk about it. In fact, I think they played one of the high school teams here in our state this year, somebody was talking about it. So, we really kind of considered that as our game plan. Just don’t give them the ball, if we can do that.”
The team that he is referring to is Pulaski Academy in Little Rock. The Bruins and coach Kevin Kelley have won seven state championships since 2003, and have established themselves as one of the most prolific high school offensive teams in the country.
Pruitt, of course isn’t serious about calling onside kicks every time out against Alabama.
“We’ll play Daniel Bituli and we’ll play Q (Quavaris Crouch), we’ll play J.J. (Peterson), Solon (Page), we’ll play Aaron Beasley — whoever gives us the best opportunity at success.”
Can you imagine if he isn’t joking? Considering the way Alabama’s offense moves up and down the field, it’s not the worst idea in the world.
The two rivals will tee it up at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday night inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.