KNOXVILLE (AP) — Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt says freshman quarterback Brian Maurer will remain the starter Saturday when the Volunteers host Mississippi State.
Pruitt had said Monday that Maurer "would really have to have a bad week of practice not to" start the Mississippi State game. Pruitt confirmed Wednesday afternoon that Maurer will start.
Maurer made his first career start last week and went 14 of 28 for 259 yards with two touchdown passes, one interception and a fumble in a 43-14 loss to No. 3 Georgia. Jarrett Guarantano had started 22 of the Volunteers' last 23 games leading up to the Georgia matchup.
Pruitt also said Wednesday that the Vols plan to redshirt receiver Brandon Johnson, enabling the senior to have one more year of eligibility. Johnson had 37 catches in 2017 and 14 more in 2018 but has only two receptions for 31 yards in four games this year.
Shoop set to face
his former team
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop will see familiar faces Saturday when the Bulldogs visit Tennessee.
Shoop was Tennessee's defensive coordinator in 2016-17, the final two years of Butch Jones' coaching tenure. Shoop's son, Jay, is a walk-on defensive back for Tennessee.
Shoop, who is in his second year on Mississippi State's staff, coached several current members of Tennessee's defense.
"I think Coach Shoop was a great coach, first of all," Tennessee safety Nigel Warrior said. "Second, what I remember from him is being a great coach, putting all his guys in position to make a play. I'm pretty sure that's what he's doing at Mississippi State."
Shoop wasn't made available to the media this week as Mississippi State (3-2, 1-1 SEC) and Tennessee (1-4, 0-2) look to get back on track inside conference play.
The Bulldogs were dominated 56-23 at No. 12 Auburn two weeks ago, when the Tigers were ranked seventh. They had an open date last weekend. Tennessee is coming off a 43-14 home loss to No. 3 Georgia.
Florida, LSU QBs off
to impressive starts
Florida and LSU appear poised to mount serious challenges in their respective Southeastern Conference divisions and two of the nation's best offenses reside in the SEC West.
The stage is set for upcoming showdowns, a heated chase to the championship game and perhaps even a shootout or two in the SEC. No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia won their divisions last year and still look like national title contenders. No. 5 LSU and No. 7 Florida — even with an injury to quarterback Feleipe Franks — also remain unbeaten.
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been every bit as good as last season, if not better. His LSU counterpart, Joe Burrow , has emerged as another potential Heisman Trophy contender in leading the Tigers' suddenly prolific passing attack.