No. 25 Vols won’t have 2 starters for Ge­or­gia Tech

Rome News-Tribune - - SPORTS - By Steve Me­gargee As­so­ci­ated Press Sports Writer

Ten­nessee line­backer Dar­rin Kirk­land Jr. has a knee in­jury that will side­line him for Mon­day’s game.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Ten­nessee will be miss­ing its pro­jected start­ing left tackle and its top line­backer Mon­day when the 25th- ranked Vol­un­teers open the season against Ge­or­gia Tech.

Vol­un­teers coach Butch Jones an­nounced Wed­nes­day that of­fen­sive tackle Drew Rich­mond will be sus­pended for the Ge­or­gia Tech game due to a vi­o­la­tion of team rules and that line- File, Calvin Mattheis / backer Dar­rin Kirk­land Jr. will miss the start of the season with a knee in­jury.

Jones said Rich­mond would be avail­able for Ten­nessee’s Sept. 9 game with In­di­ana State “if he does ev­ery­thing that he needs to do.” Jones said Kirk­land un­der­went menis­cus surgery Wed­nes­day and there’s no timetable yet for the ju­nior’s po­ten­tial re­turn.

Kirk­land is con­sid­ered one of Ten­nessee’s best de­fen­sive play­ers, though in­juries have lim­ited him for the last Knoxville News Sen­tinel via AP year. He made 45 tack­les last season and played only eight games due to a high an­kle sprain.

“It was just one of those un­usual, bizarre things that hap­pened in prac­tice,” Jones said. “Some­body just fell over. The play was over. It was non- con­tact. That’s the game of foot­ball, un­for­tu­nately. He was very dis­ap­pointed but not dis­cour­aged. I ex­pect him to come back from this and be big­ger and stronger and be bet­ter for it.”

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