The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


October 15, 2012

Vols not at full strength for Alabama game

— KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee coach Derek Dooley expects to work from the press box again Saturday against No. 1 Alabama as he recovers from hip surgery, and he has plenty of company on the Volunteers' injury list.

Dooley said tailback Rajion Neal was doubtful for the Alabama game after injuring an ankle last week in a 41-31 loss at Mississippi State. Linebacker Curt Maggitt's status is uncertain because of "a stinger issue," Dooley said. Quarterback Tyler Bray hurt his knee, cornerback Justin Coleman sustained a head injury and backup tailback Marlin Lane hurt his quadriceps muscle against Mississippi State, but all three players are probable for the Alabama game.

Dooley said he probably would have to coach from the press box again Saturday, though he didn't like being away from the sideline last week. Dooley underwent surgery on a fractured right hip Tuesday and spent the Mississippi State game in the press box, the first time he'd worked a game from that vantage point since his 2005-06 stint as the Miami Dolphins' tight ends coach.

"It's really frustrating when you can see something and you can't look guys in the eye to try and correct it," Dooley said.

Dooley doesn't know the exact cause of his hip injury. Dooley noted that he might have "tweaked" it while waterskiing this summer.

"I thought I had a little muscle pull," Dooley said. "What are you going to do, stop your life because you've got a little muscle pull? It never healed for two months and it kept getting worse and worse. It took me two months to say, 'Maybe it's not a muscle pull,' and to go to a doctor."

Neal has run for 500 yards and five touchdowns on 112 carries to rank seventh in the SEC in rushing. His injury could create an opportunity for Devrin Young, who played quite a bit against Mississippi State after Neal and Lane were sidelined.

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