While most of the country celebrates a traditional Thanksgiving at home, most of Tennessee's football program will enjoy the holiday together at their second homes in Knoxville. The Vols will practice Thurdsay morning and eat a team breakfast together, and fter that the players will either be allowed to go home based on how far their families live from Knoxville or stay in town to spend Thanksgiving with the families of teammates.
"In terms of a rhythm or a routine, that won't be disrupted and that won't change," Butch Jones said. "We'll get in a little bit earlier so our players can get together. I have some family coming in from out of town and we'll have some players to our house."
Families of players who live around the Knoxville area will welcome in teammates unable to make it home to ensure everyone can have a Thanksgiving meal.
"We've told them this when we recruited their sons, you're going to become parents, second parents, third parents to a lot of these individuals from different stats and different parts of the state of Tennessee," Jones said. "You'll enjoy it. You'll enjoy them coming to your house. You'll enjoy the players coming over and you'll have a special part in it."
Jones will also host players at his house for the holiday, a tradition he experiences with his son, Alex, who is a backup holder on the team.
"I kind of look forward to taking the coaching hat off after we leave the Anderson Training Center and kind of taking the coaching hat off and being a dad, having Alex have some of his teammates over to our house," Jones said. "Those families have meant a lot."
Spinning a Webb
Vanderbilt's offense is statistically one of the worst in the country. The Commodores average just 14 points per game, ranking No. 128 in the NCAA, and have only scored 17 touchdowns on the season. The one bright spot on an otherwise feeble attack has been running back Ralph Webb, who's become Vanderbilt's main source of production on the offensive end.
Webb has carried the ball 254 times this season for 1,003 yards and an average of 91.8 yards per game. Stopping the redshirt sophomore means virtually stuffing the Commodores' offensively.
"The more video you watch, the more video evidence you have: Ralph Webb is one of the best running backs we have in our conference," Jones said. "I know he means everything to them offensively. He gets the ball north and south. He can cut on a dime. He runs with energy, he runs with passion and he runs with very good pad level."
Freshman wide receiver Jauan Jennings (thigh) will participate in practice Wednesday and is expected to play Saturday. Jennings was limited in practice Tuesday. Sophomore wide receiver Marquez North, who has been riddled with injuries all season, is a game-time decision.
"We anticipate, again, everyone being available," Jones said. "We'll know a little bit more about Marquez [at] game time. I'll know a little bit more after practice on Jauan, but he's going to practice."
Jashon Robertson, who has been hampered with an ankle injury that has limited him all season, started against Missouri and didn't experience any setbacks.
"Unfortunately for him it's been one of those years where it's just been one injury after another," Jones said. "It's the first time he made it through an entire game, and he has practiced this week, so it's been great to have him back and we know our players have welcomed him back."