This week on the Big Orange Podcast, Charlie Burris and I broke down the Tennessee Vols’ depth chart and how we expect it to look this season.

Our biggest takeaway?

The Vols are finally in a position where they have some nice depth at several positions.

That depth, however, could be erased at any given moment.

In fact, Tennessee could go into their first game of the season and learn on Friday evening that numerous key players will be out because of COVID-19 and subsequent contact tracing.

That scenario is something that Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt is already assuming will happen at some point this season.

“We have to have a lot of people ready to play, because you never know who is going to be in or out,” said Pruitt on Monday during a virtual appearance at the Knoxville quarterback club.

“Before you get on the bus to leave on Fridays, you have another test and a guy that might have been preparing to play the whole week, you might find out on Friday that he’s out, so you have to get the next guy ready to play. So depth will absolutely be a critical part of this season.”

I can’t imagine how difficult it’s going to be for Pruitt, or any other head coaches, to navigate this unusual season.

Typically, a team knows early in the week if a player is going to be out or is questionable. They can make specific contingency plans for that player.

But to have no idea until the night before a game whether or not you’re going to be without a player? Or possibly without an entire position unit? That’s a tough spot to be in.

Hopefully, every team in the country gets through this season without facing that scenario. Unfortunately, though, that seems unlikely.

But if it happens, Pruitt will have his team as ready as possible. Because it’s a scenario that Tennessee’s been planning for all offseason.

Featured image via Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports


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