KNOXVILLE - The hits keep on coming for the Tennessee football team.
Starting strong safety Brent Brewer's season is over after the sophomore tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the third quarter of the Volunteers' 14-3 loss to South Carolina on Saturday night.
"Tough, tough month we've had," coach Derek Dooley said at his weekly news conference on Monday.
Freshman Brian Randolph, who's started the last two games at free safety, will slide to Brewer's spot. Prentiss Waggner, who's started games at free safety and cornerback this season, goes back to free safety. Marsalis Teague and Justin Coleman are bracketed at Waggner's vacant cornerback spot.
Randolph has not played any strong safety, Dooley said, and the Vols prefer Waggner at cornerback, where he made an interception against South Carolina.
"We don't have really much options," Dooley said. "We've got to move Prentiss back, put some corners in, they've got to go play better. We're going to have to make it simple for [Randolph]."
Freshman Justin Worley will get his second career start when UT hosts Middle Tennessee State on Saturday night. He was pulled for Matt Simms after two second-half interceptions against the Gamecocks.
"A lot of it's unknown, what [Worley] does better," Dooley said. "We just made the decision to go with Justin based on how we've performed as a unit when Matt's been in there."
Dooley conceded that UT's coaches might have put too much on Worley in the game because he handles it so well in practice.
Dooley said Tyler Bray could be back for the home game against Vanderbilt on Nov. 19.
"The projection all along is maybe by the Vandy game, and there's been no indication to challenge that," the coach said. "It's week to week."
Bray has to have a plate removed from his broken thumb, and then his status will be gauged.
More coverage online and in Tuesday's Times Free Press. Follow Vols beat writer Patrick Brown on Twitter for continuous updates throughout the day.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...