KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee has suspended starting defensive end Darrell Taylor indefinitely, the latest adversity for a team that has dropped its first two Southeastern Conference games and is coming off its most lopsided home loss since 1905.
Volunteers coach Butch Jones said Monday that "multiple factors" had led to Taylor's suspension without going into specifics.
"There has been no timetable set on his return," Jones said. "He'll have certain stipulations and requirements that must be met."
Taylor already had been expected to miss the first half of Tennessee's game with South Carolina (4-2, 2-2 SEC) on Saturday because he'd received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for fighting in the second half of the Vols' 41-0 loss to No. 4 Georgia on Sept. 30. Now Taylor won't play at all against the Gamecocks.
This disciplinary move leaves Tennessee (3-2, 0-2) without one of its top defensive linemen.
Taylor had started each of Tennessee's first five games. The sophomore from Waverly, Virginia, has 20 overall tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack this season. He also had forced and recovered a fumble.
With Taylor suspended, junior defensive end Kyle Phillips has moved atop the depth chart and should make his second career start this week. Phillips has nine overall tackles and two tackles for loss this season.
This represents one more blow for a defense that already has lost its best returning linebacker (Darrin Kirkland Jr.) and top returning tackler (Todd Kelly Jr.) from last year to season-ending injuries. Tennessee also has been playing without projected starting linebackers Austin Smith and Cortez McDowell plus safety/kick returner Evan Berry due to injuries.
In its last three games, Tennessee fell 26-20 to Florida on a tiebreaking 63-yard touchdown pass as time expired, edged 27-1/2-point underdog Massachusetts 17-13 and suffered the blowout loss to Georgia.