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UT's Pig Howard carries as Western Carolina's Fred Payne approaches Saturday, September 19, 2015 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.

KNOXVILLE -- One of Tennessee's most important wide receivers may not be 100 percent for Saturday's SEC opener at Florida on Saturday.

Head coach Butch Jones said Wednesday that senior Pig Howard could be limited as he "nurses some things" this week.

"As the week progresses, we'll see how many repetitions he can give us," Jones said. "He's nursing some things. We'll see as the week progresses. We still have a few days left of practice. We'll see a little bit more of where we're at."

Jones said on Monday that Howard recently tweaked his ankle, which has been a factor in his slow start to the season.

Howard, who led the Volunteers in receptions in each of the last two seasons, sat out the opener against Bowling Green due to a suspension, and he had just one catch for 8 yards and two rushes for 13 yards in games against Oklahoma and Bowling Green.

Robertson ready

Starting left guard Jashon Robertson didn't play in the final three quarters against Western Carolina after leaving the Oklahoma game in the second half with an ankle injury.

Robertson has been limited in practice this week, but the Vols expect perhaps their best offensive lineman to start and play the whole game on Saturday.

"We fully expect Jashon to start the game and play the entire game," Jones said. "He's had a very good week of preparation. You have to pick your spots with him, but he's very, very intelligent. Today's another big day for him, but we fully anticipate him being ready to go."

Fifth-year senior Mack Crowder, who lost his starting job at center to Coleman Thomas in the preseason, replaced Robertson with the first-team offensive line in both games.

Freshmen Charles Mosley and Jack Jones each got first-team reps at guard during the preseason, but the Vols have elected to go with experience in Crowder, a sign the younger linemen may not be ready yet.

"The continued growth and development of Charles Mosley is very, very important. Jack Jones has done a very good job. Jack has had a very good week of preparation."

Tennessee tidbits

> No surprise here, but Jones confirmed defensive tackle Danny O'Brien, reinstated from a two-week suspension earlier this week, will travel to Florida and play on Saturday.

> The Vols have "really, really stressed" containing Florida's quarterback, whether it's redshirt freshman Will Grier or sophomore Treon Harris.

Grier started and played the entirety of the Gators' win at Kentucky and led Florida in rushing mostly via his scrambles. He scored the game's first touchdown on a scramble. Florida will utilize more designed quarterback runs if Harris is in the game.

"Will does a great job in terms of scrambling," Jones said. "He made some big big plays for their offense last week. That's going to be a challenge."

> Safety Max Arnold (knee) "continues to be more involved" in practice this week, Jones said. Freshman cornerback Darrell Miller is questionable for Saturday's game due to an undisclosed injury he suffered a couple of weeks ago.

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com.

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