JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WVLT) -- As the Tennessee Vols prepare to play in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, many questions Wednesday morning revolved around senior wide receiver Jauan Jennings. The wide receiver won't play in the game's first half, but Coach Jeremy Pruitt said the SEC suspension has nothing to do with Jennings as a man.
“Jauan Jennings has done nothing but do things exactly the way we've wanted him to since I've been the head coach at Tennessee,” Coach Pruitt said. “Guy's graduated, he's competed, and he's been a great leader.
“There's lots of physicality in this game. Jauan plays the right way,” Pruitt continued. “Commissioner [Greg] Sankey made a decision on that and we're going to support that. In no way does that depict who Jauan is.
“Jauan's going to be ready in the second half. Our guys are going to play without him in the first half. That's the way it works."
The SEC decided to suspend Jennings for the first half of this week's bowl game after a rough play on the sidelines during November's game against the Vanderbilt Commodores.
“Unfortunately an event took place,” Jennings said. “It was unfortunate because it was an accident. So I'm just coming in and getting mentally prepared, physically prepared for this game is all I'm focused on.
“They're going to have my back, and I can't wait to come out there and have theirs.”
Senior wide receiver Marquez Callaway said regarless of who's on the field, the teams job is to go out and play the game.
“Football is a game,” Callway said. “You have to be able to adapt. Obviously he's not playing in the first half but that doesn't change anything for the other receivers. We still go to practice. We're still working the scheme that Coach [Jim] Cheney has. Young guys are going to have to step up and the older guys are going to have to be a louder voice out there.”
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