Both Tennessee and South Carolina found it tough to stay on their feet in Neyland Stadium Saturday night. Randy Sartin USA TODAY Sports.
Considering Tennessee has one of the great cathedrals of college football, it seems odd the Vols annually have issues with the playing surface of Neyland Stadium. Saturday night's game against South Carolina was yet another example of the poor condition Shields-Watkins Field currently finds itself in.
"It is difficult when you're slipping, and I think sometimes it creates hesitation amongst your players," Butch Jones said Monday. "But I also think it's been an unusual season in terms of grass. I'm not a grass expert or a field expert. I think the unusual season, with the rye grass and all that, that goes into it.
"I can tell you this, we're well aware of it. We're taking every precaution. Everything we can, we're doing. And we had a meeting today on it, and we'll continue to work to have the best playing surface in the country."
Jones wasn't the only one taking note of the field's conditions, as South Carolina's interim coach Shawn Elliott felt the need to discuss the poor playing conditions his players were forced to play on during their trip to Tennessee.
"I was out there in pregame and I noticed the field kinda tearing up and the first thing I asked, 'Does Under Armour make a different kind of studded cleat because we're gonna need some traction here,'" Elliott said. "There were several times when we had some footing issues and I was very surprised by the field."
With only two games left at home this season, it's unclear if anything can be done to improve the status of the field this season. Clearly some adjustments may be needed in order to better prepare the Vols' home turf, as this issue could cause an unfortunate injury if not immediately addressed.
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