Vols hope players step up with Hunter out

Losing wide receiver Justin Hunter leaves the Tennessee Volunteers with an enormous hole on offense.

Before he went down with a season-ending knee injury against Florida, he and Da'Rick Rogers were becoming quite the receiving duo for quarterback Tyler Bray.

Both led the SEC in receptions and receiving yards, making Bray the SEC’s top statistical passer.

Now, the Volunteers are left scrambling to find a replacement for Hunter and someone who can take the pressure of Rogers, who should expect double-teams from here on out.

Wednesday, Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said he’ll start off by filling Hunter’s position by committee this weekend against Buffalo.

“We’re going to play a lot of guys, probably more than we have in the first couple of games, and we’ll get a feel for who’s going to produce for us,“ Dooley said. “I don’t think it’s something that’s going to get answered in the first quarter -- it probably won’t get answered at the end of the game. It’s something that’s going to get answered over time.”

Monday, Tennessee’s depth chart showed junior Zach Rogers listed in Hunter's spot at the X position, but Dooley said this week that this is an opportunity for more players to step up and use Hunter’s injury as a chance to prove themselves on the field.

This isn’t a time for anyone inside of Tennessee’s program to hang his head.

“That’s the only way you can look at it and I think the most important thing we can do in our program is not worry about what’s happened or worry about what could have been,” Dooley said. “All we can worry about are the circumstances that we have today and that’s all our focus has been.”