Hancock sidelined

Thanks to a couple of key injuries, the Tennessee Vols will be even more offensively challenged in Game 4 vs. Ohio this Saturday than they were in Games 1, 2 and 3.

Senior Quintin Hancock, who started the first three games at wide receiver, will miss this weekend's game with what is believed to be a fractured jaw.

Fellow senior Vladimir Richard, who started the first three games at left guard, will miss this week's game with a knee injury.

Hancock leads all Tennessee players in both receptions (11) and receiving yards (128). The runnerup in both categories is freshman Marsalis Teague, who accumulated all six of his catches and all 86 of his yards in the Game 1 blowout of Western Kentucky.

"Unfortunately, we've lost Quintin Hancock," head coach Lane Kiffin said earlier today. "He won't play this week and may not play for a couple of weeks."

Hancock, a 6-3, 205-pounder, was injured on his final reception of the Florida game. After catching a four-yard completion, he was hit so hard that he fumbled the ball out of bounds at the Vol 48-yard line.

"He got hit on the fumble," Kiffin confirmed, adding that team doctors "checked him out yesterday and he probably won't be able to play for a while. He can run around but there's no contact. They're going to re-examine it but I think it might be a fractured jaw."

With Hancock sidelined, the Vol wideout corps consists of Teague, junior Brandon Warren (4 catches for 30 yards), freshman Nu'keese Richardson (3 for 30), junior Gerald Jones (2 for 25), freshman Zach Rogers (2 for 17) and junior Denarius Moore (1 for 4).

"We need our guys to step up," Kiffin said. "We've opened up the competition. I expect the young guys to have a really good week in practice, and we'll figure out who can help us out there."

Richard's injury further weakens an offensive line that already was perilously thin. The Vols could plug senior walk-on Cory Sullins (6-1, 270) in at left guard. Another option is moving No. 1 right tackle Jarrod Shaw (6-4, 308) to left guard and elevating redshirt freshman backup Aaron Douglas (6-6, 282) to first-team at right tackle.

"We looked at Shaw in there (left guard) a little bit yesterday," Kiffin said. "We'll see how he does. We're going to open up the guard spot ... the offensive line ... see if we can get better, perform better."

Converted defensive tackle William Brimfield, a 6-5, 346-pound sophomore, could see some action at guard this weekend, as well.

"I anticipate if he has a good week of practice playing him in this game," Kiffin said. "He's done some really good things in practice. It's still a transition - he's not been an offensive lineman for very long - but I like what he's doing. He's very powerful, very strong. He's just got to be more consistent. Those other guys have played a lot more than him."

Whereas predecessor Phillip Fulmer worked his offensive linemen at a number of spots in an effort to establish some versatility, Kiffin generally prefers to play guys at one spot and not move them around.

"We do that a little bit," he said. "You really don't need to in college if you have recruited the right way and have the amount of depth you need. You have to do that in the NFL because you can only keep so many. You have to flip them on game day because you can only activate seven or eight."

Kiffin would prefer to play his linemen at one spot only if he had a dependable backup at each position.

"We're not in that situation, so we do have to double-train some guys," he said. "Shaw's going to have to do that this week."

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