The Jaguars of the Sun Belt Conference are one year away from playing their first season of competition. Tennessee has played games against current Sun Belt members Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee and North Texas. Another Sun Belt newcomer, Western Kentucky, opens the 2009 season at Neyland Stadium as a prelude to full conference membership.
"When you look at South Alabama football, Tennessee is where we want to be in the long run," South Alabama head coach Joey Jones said. "It's exciting to know that our start-up program is going to be playing Tennessee in five years. These are the types of schools that we want to play in the future. Even though the game is years away, it's a great step for us on our way to becoming a big-time program."
The South Alabama game is UT's second announced contest for that season. The Vols play Sept. 14, 2013, at Oregon to conclude a home-and-home series.
VOLS GEAR UP FOR SEC ROAD CONTEST
The Tennessee football team practiced for just under two hours Wednesday afternoon at Haslam Field in preparation for its matchup with the South Carolina Gamecocks Saturday night in Columbia, S.C.
Head coach Philip Fulmer said the work the team has put in during practice last week showed during Saturday's game against Alabama.
"Last week against Alabama we picked up a lot of blitzes," Fulmer said. "I think that is a direct reflection on the work that we did in practice. The guys are pushing through and we expect everyone to be there Saturday."
Fulmer said the attitude of the team has been good this week and the team has the characteristics to be a solid road football team.
"I think this team has grown as we've gone along," Fulmer said. "I think you will see that this is a huge football game for our team. The characteristics are leadership, toughness, a certain maturity, a certain bond among the football team."
ESPN2 is televising Saturday's game nationally. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.