Tennessee suspends starting DT for Oklahoma game

Tennessee coach Butch Jones announced today that starting defensive tackle Danny O’Brien has been suspended for this weekend’s game against Oklahoma. Wes Rucker of 247 Sports reported Jones’ announcement.

No reason was given for O’Brien’s suspension other than the usual “violation of team rules” detail, but Jones further elaborated while still giving minimal information.

“It’s disappointing anytime you have to do that,” Jones said during his weekly Wednesday press conference inside the Ray and Lucy Hand Digital Studio. “It’s like disciplinging your own kids. You hate to do it, but you have to do it. We have standards and expectations. … I feel for Danny. He’s done some very good things in our football program.

“We’re working with him. We’ll see what happens down the road.”

Jones said there’s a difference in “bad choices” and “bad character,” and that he believed O’Brien simply made a bad choice.

A former three-star recruit from Flint, Michigan, O’Brien had two tackles in the Vols’ season opener against Bowling Green and has 37 tackles and three sacks in three years in Knoxville. In his absence, freshmen Shy Tuttle and Kahlil McKenzie will likely see time at defensive tackle. With Tennessee ranked 23rd in the Top 25 now and Oklahoma at 18th, this game is definitely one to watch and O’Brien’s absence could end up being a difference-maker.

Kickoff between two teams is set to take place at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, on ESPN.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to 247 Sports