The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

October 15, 2012

Vols not at full strength for Alabama game

(Continued)

Young gained 58 yards on 13 carries against Mississippi State, but he also had a fumble that led to a Mississippi State fourth-quarter touchdown.

"I personally felt like I might have lost that game for us with that key fumble," Young said. "It hurt me real bad. I was real sad about that loss. We were given 24 hours to be sad about it, and now it's time to move on."

Young said the playing time he received against Mississippi State should help him against Alabama, assuming Neal's injury does indeed force him into an expanded role. Young has the faith of his teammates, who appreciate the 5-foot-8, 172-pound sophomore's toughness.

"Every running play we could have thrown at him, he could have carried the load on Saturday night," sophomore offensive tackle Antonio Richardson said. "He's going to get a lot of carries this week, I believe. We trust him."

Maggitt's injury situation has become all too familiar this season.

After cracking the starting lineup as a true freshman last season, Maggitt injured a toe in a season-opening victory over North Carolina State this year and hasn't been quite the same since. Maggitt recorded 56 tackles last season, but he has only 16 stops so far this year.

"We're not as good on defense without him," Dooley said. "It's just a lingering problem. He couldn't play much in that (Mississippi State) game, and I don't know how much he's going to play this game."

Notes: After the Vols' loss to Mississippi State, a message calling for the firing of Dooley was painted on "the Rock," a campus landmark and often is decorated with various artwork or notes. The message, which included the words "Fire Fooley," was quickly painted over. ... Junior kicker Michael Palardy likely will handle the Vols' punting duties as well against Alabama. After Matt Darr made a 13-yard punt that led to a Mississippi State touchdown Saturday, Palardy replaced him and averaged 44.7 yards on three attempts. ... Dooley said he would have a more active role in working with the Vols' defense as they attempt to end their struggles on that side of the ball. Tennessee has allowed 31.5 points per game overall and 43 points per game in SEC competition as it adjusts to a switch from a 4-3 scheme to a 3-4 alignment under new coordinator Sal Sunseri. "I'm not going to go micromanage what we do and how we do it, but I'm certainly going to have a say — a bigger say — in it because ultimately it's my responsibility," Dooley said.

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