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Tennessee starting safety Brian Randolph has torn his ACL and will miss the rest of the season, coach Derek Dooley confirmed this morning.
Junior Brent Brewer will now start alongside junior Byron Moore at safety. True freshman LaDarrell McNeil will move into a backup role with senior Rod Wilks.
Speaking at his weekly news conference, Dooley tried to dissect the final 19 minutes of the Vols’ loss to Florida on Saturday.
"We had a great game going, and then we had a series of events that we obviously weren’t ready for,” Dooley said.
Dooley didn’t spare himself from blame. He said he should have tempered the Vols’ aggressiveness on defense in favor of more simplicity and gotten more rest for offensive skill position players like receiver Justin Hunter and running back Rajion Neal.
“We probably played our skill guys too much,” Dooley said. “I know we did.”
Dooley said the loss hit the team hard.
"(Players) were gutted. There was a lot of emotional investment in that game by everybody associated with Tennessee,” he said.
Dooley also defended quarterback Tyler Bray, who some fans criticized for poor body language late in the game.
"The unfair thing is to say he doesn’t care,” Dooley said. “It's not fair to say he shuts it down. He doesn't....Sometimes he wants to play well too hard.”
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.