Tennessee linebacker Curt Maggitt's return from an ACL injury won't be quick enough for him to play against Austin Peay on Aug. 31 when the Volunteers open the season, his defensive coordinator said.
"We'll have somebody there step in and get the job done," middle linebacker A.J. Johnson said earlier this week, according to timesfreepress.com. "All the linebackers in the room, we're getting the scheme down and we're all getting mistakes fixed and stuff like that."
Maggitt made 30 tackles with two sacks and two forced fumbles last year for the Volunteers. His recovery from the knee injury has only recently allowed him to begin practicing with full contact, however. UT plays Western Kentucky in the second week of the season, and a week later on Sept. 14, the Vols travel to Oregon for their biggest non-conference game of the season.
Tennessee can open 2-0 with or without Maggitt. But he would be more than helpful to Tennessee's chances of upsetting the Ducks.
"We have a great training staff, and we're taking our time. Each week he starts to do more and more," UT coach Butch Jones said.