Family issues keep UT safety Jackson at home

Family issues keep UT safety Jackson at home

December 16th, 2010 by Wes Rucker in Sports

Tennessee defenders Janzen Jackson (15) and Justin Hunter, left, break up a pass intended for UAB wide receiver Jackie Williams, right, in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

KNOXVILLE -- Most of the University of Tennessee football team will resume practice today in preparations for its Dec. 30, Music City Bowl date with North Carolina.

A few pieces, including one of the Volunteers' most important, won't be there.

Sophomore All-Southeastern Conference safety Janzen Jackson will miss at least the first practice -- and probably many more -- while "dealing with some very, very personal and family issues," first-year UT head coach Derek Dooley said.

"He's back in Louisiana," Dooley said. "I don't know exactly when he'll be back. We do expect him to play. We do expect him to be back at some point to prepare for the game. But that's all I want to say about it, because it is very personal and I want to respect his privacy on that.

"We're always going to be there to support our players on those kind of issues."

Dooley said Jackson left Knoxville late last week, "a day or two" after finishing his last fall semester exam.

"This is his decision," Dooley said. "It's personal. I don't want to keep diving in, guys. I know you all want to ask, and I know there's a real curiosity factor on what is it, ... but it's on his schedule, not mine.

"We're going to prepare without him and with him. That's how we're going to prepare. Those are some discussions we'll have here soon. You know, our coaches have been on the road recruiting. They're just now coming off the road. Everybody's kind of done their little individual things, but we haven't really gotten together looking ahead on these next few days and the next two weeks because we've been putting all of our emphasis on recruiting."

Senior middle linebacker Nick Reveiz said the Vols will be challenged by North Carolina's offense with or without Jackson.

"They've got a great quarterback [in senior Tyler Yates], first of all," Reveiz said of the Tar Heels. "They've lost a lot of guys, so obviously they've been depleted, but it's incredible ... just watching the film, especially from their last couple of games, they have a lot of good players. They've lost a lot of starters, but they've replaced them with great guys.

"I'm sure they've got good guys. Butch Davis recruits really well, and they're always coached up well. They run a strong, pro-style offense, with a lot of window dressing as far as shifting, motions, trying to trick you.

"They've got a really good team, a really good offense. It's going to be a challenge for us."

RAINES DISMISSED, EVANS IN LIMBO

Dooley announced two more roster changes Wednesday afternoon.

Junior cornerback Stephaun Raines, a seldom-used reserve from Dalton, Ga., was recently dismissed from the program for what Dooley called unspecified team rules violations."

Another junior cornerback, former starter Art Evans (personal issue), wasn't listed on UT's bowl roster but might return to the program.

Dooley said he would "reevaluate Art's status at the end of the bowl game."

"To this point, I haven't been reported any academic casualties of the six-hour rule," Dooley said of the NCAA rule that keeps players out of bowl games if they don't pass six credit hours in the fall semester. "If there is something, we'll know in the next day or two. There were one or two that we were worried about, but it's not official yet. That's really it. I forget what happened since the season."

STONE HONORED

UT center James Stone was named Freshman All-America by The Sporting News on Monday, but several other talented players -- especially left tackle Ja'Wuan James and wide receiver Justin Hunter -- were surprisingly left off the team.

Stone played in 11 games this season, starting seven times. He was moved from guard to center and named a starter in November, and the Vols have gone 4-0 and averaged 435 yards of offense per game since the switch.

Contact Wes Rucker at wrucker@timesfreepress.com or 865-851-9739. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/wesruckerCTFP or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tfpvolsbeat.