Jabari Small goes through full practice for Tennessee football ahead of Florida game

Mike Wilson
Knoxville News Sentinel
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Jabari Small went through Tennessee football's entire practice Tuesday leading into Saturday's game with Florida.

The junior running back was injured on the opening drive against Akron and did not return. Vols running backs coach Jerry Mack indicated that UT had all its running backs available and prepared for practice Tuesday, including Small.

“He was able to do everything," Mack said. "He finished the entire practice. We didn’t have to limit him from a standpoint because of his health."

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No. 12 Tennessee (3-0) plays No. 22 Florida (2-1) on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS) at Neyland Stadium.

Small was injured on the second play of the game with an apparent upper-body injury. He came off the field holding his right arm. Small ran the ball on each of the first two plays, gaining 14 yards. The Memphis native has rushed 25 times for 94 yards and three touchdowns this season. He has started all three games.

Mack noted the Vols were cognizant of Small's workload Tuesday, but not in a different manner than in a typical week

"We are always watching those guys with a workload with our GPS system on those guys to make sure we are not overworking them so they can be prepared (for Saturday)," Mack said.

Jaylen Wright stepped in for Small and excelled against the Zips. Wright rushed for a career-high 96 yards on 23 carries in the 63-6 win. He had two touchdowns. The sophomore has rushed 45 times for 231 yards with three touchdowns.

“Jaylen has done a really good job of trying to change his running style from being a freshman last year," Macks said. "We talk about a lot of vertical runs, hitting the ball more downhill. You could see he was trying to be a lot more physical running the football, breaking more tackles. Things you didn’t really see last year.”

Freshman Dylan Sampson scored two touchdowns on option plays in the red zone. He rushed for 57 yards on eight attempts with a long of 27 yards. Freshman Justin Williams-Thomas rushed five times for 22 yards.

“We trust Dylan 100% to step on the field and execute whatever the assignment is," Mack said.

Mack said senior tight end Princeton Fant would be the emergency running back behind the four scholarship backs on the roster. He said Fant did well Tuesday at practice splitting time between tight end and running back.

Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at michael.wilson@knoxnews.com and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it. 

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