No. 5 Tennessee vs. South Carolina

No. 5 Tennessee (9-1, 5-1 SEC) is back in action Saturday night after returning to the track with a 66-24 win over Missouri on Senior Day last weekend. The Vols now set off to travel to Columbia, South Carolina for a date with the Gamecocks. Tennessee is targeting its first 10-win season since 2007 and its first 10-win regular season since 2003.

Kick-off against South Carolina (6-4, 3-4 SEC) is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. ET on ESPN. Chris Fowler (PxP), Kirk Herbstreit (Analyst) and Holly Rowe (Sideline) will be on the phone for the broadcast. You can see by clicking HERE to stream on WatchESPN.

Fans can tune in to Tennessee’s official radio show on the Vol Network (Local: WIVK-FM 107.7/WNML-FM 99.1) across 64 stations in the state of Tennessee and the Southeast, SiriusXM (channel 113 or 192), and the SiriusXM app (Ch. 963) , as well as the Varsity App. A live audio stream of the broadcast will also be available on UTSports.com? and the Tennessee Athletics app.

Bob Kesling (PxP), Pat Ryan (Analyst) and Brent Hubbs (Analyst) will call the action with VFL Jayson Swain Handling sideline work for the Vol Network radio show. The Big Orange Countdown Pregame Show begins at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Here’s what Josh Heupel said Thursday of the altercation with the Gamecocks:

Whether Tennessee has changed anything about how it will handle crowds on the street, or is simply hoping for a better execution:

“Better execution, everyone is ready and better prepared. We did the usual things and I think we’ll handle it better.”

On South Carolina’s running game:

“It is crucial who they are and how they are ahead of the chains. The varied formations, some of the movement play, how you must do a great job with communicating on all three levels. Gap integrity will be crucial in this case. Running back is strong, physical, explosive, makes big bucks.

“We have to do a great job to deal with him. You have to be extremely good at it here.”

On the injury status of wide receivers Cedric Tillman and defensive tackle Omari Thomas:

“I mean, these guys were with us all week. We’ll find out on game day, or, really, tomorrow we’ll have a better idea. But part of it is of course a match day.”

On the challenge of preparing for a South Carolina team that does a lot of different things on special teams:

“It’s a focus every week, right? I think Special Teams is unique in that you’re only out there for one game. You don’t get a second set of dismounts to get it right. You have to seize the opportunity. However, it is like playing defense. There is alignment, duties.

“You have rules to deal with different formations, whatever it may be, when you’re in a defensive return unit, if that makes sense. So your kids need to be dialed into all of these things and able to adapt. And then you have to play with integrity on this piece. A year ago we were in a safe position. We just didn’t execute and handle it right. But you definitely have to be prepared for the unexpected with these guys.”

In Tennessee for a quick start:

“Would love you. That’s what we want to talk about in every football game.

“All of the offseason we talk about starting fast and ending strong. But if not, I think it’s important for your kids to get back into the ball game and understand, that’s okay, man. It’s a 60 minute game. And no matter how it starts, what it looks like in the middle, you have to keep building steam. It’s one of the maxims, one of the things we talk about all the time. We would love to. But let’s play 60 (minutes) of football.”

Whether there’s a concern that players might miss a game against a Tennessee team that was solidly beaten last season:

“A move has nothing to do with the next move in a game. Last week has nothing to do with it. One of the things that I think was good about our players is their ability to reset and keep fighting no matter what. Last year has absolutely (nothing to do with it). They are two different football teams.”

On Tennessee’s new orange alternate helmets:

“I’m happy for the kids when they’re happy about it. Our classic uniforms are as good as they are and love them. But I think our players and recruits, but our players, love being able to change things. This week the orange helmets – they wore them a week ago and were just trying to break them in. When they saw this, they were excited. I think it’s great.

“These were worn a long time ago, but it’s still part of our tradition to be able to celebrate. And when players have the opportunity to help choose things. Our Leadership Council was involved in selecting these last spring, so there is a lot of excitement.”

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