UT offensive tackle Antonio "Tiny" Richardson needed only seven words to sum up Saturday's second annual matchup between No. 9 Missouri and visiting Tennessee.
With his simple gurantee, the 6-foot-6, 330-pound junior tossed the proverbial fuel on the fire in advance of the Vols' 7 p.m. game at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Mo.
"We'll beat Missouri, I'll promise you that," Richardson said last Saturday after Alabama rolled over UT in Tuscaloosa, Ala., 45-10.
Despite the fiery words, the Tennessee team will welcome a new wrinkle to the fold this week as Richardson will be asked to protect UT's third starting quarterback of the season. True freshman Joshua Dobbs will start for the first time after playing the second half of the Alabama game.
News broke early Tuesday of starting quarterback Justin Worley's thumb injury and Jones confirmed the junior will be out "indefinitely" after tearing ligaments in his right thumb.
Insert Dobbs, who will be backed up by another true freshman, Riley Ferguson.
Alabama's defense of a 35-point lead will be replaced by an opportunistic Missouri defense that leads the SEC in interceptions, nestling in at No. 3 in the nation.
After a week of game planning for Dobbs to start, Jones is impressed both with the poise the freshman displayed Saturday and throughout the week in preparation.
"Josh is extremely intelligent, very cerebral, his recall is outstanding and then the ability to make plays, great feet," Jones said. "I think what he does exceptionally well is he can make the anticipatory throws, he anticipates exceptionally well.
"He is a true freshman going up against one of the best D-lines in the country, one of the best defenses in the country, so everyone around him has to pick it up."
Dobbs led the UT offense on back-to-back scoring drives for the Vols' only points of the Alabama contest.
Jones was quick to note the staff hasn't had to scale back any of the offensive scheme for Dobbs. He pointed to the aeronautical engineering major's 4.0 GPA and said Dobbs is extremely bright.
"I think he has a photographic memory," Jones said.
And only two weeks removed from snapping a 19-game losing streak against ranked opponents with a 23-21 win over then-No. 11 South Carolina, another streak continues to elude the Vols.
UT is in the midst an 18-game game losing streak against ranked teams on the road.
The last SEC road win for UT came at Sanford Stadium in a 51-33 win over Georgia in 2006 with Erik Ainge quarterbacking those Vols.
Threatening UT's chance to break the streak, Missouri's three-headed backfield and emerging freshman quarterback Maty Mauk have taken the Tigers from an unranked preseason status to a peak of No.5 in the Bowl Championship Series rankings.
"Offensively they've got speed, they've got tempo, and they've got some big receivers," said defensive end Jacques Smith. "So, they're a very talented football team. You just can't go out there and just roll your hat on those guys."
The Tigers average a stout 275 passing yards through the air – good for 32nd in the country – and 224 yards on the ground – good for 19th in the nation and third in the SEC.
Although safeties Brian Randolph and Byron Moore have been declared full-go for Saturday's contest after suffering injuries against Alabama, the Missouri receiving corps bring an entirely new challenge.
Dorial Green-Beckham – the No. 1 overall recruit in last year's recruiting class – stands at a hefty 6-foot-6, 225-pounds and paired with running mates L'Damian Washington (6-4) and Marcus Lucas (6-5), the duo poses a formidable task for a Tennessee secondary that was carved up by Alabama's Amari Cooper and A.J. McCarron last Saturday.
The Tigers control their own destiny in the SEC East despite suffering a heartbreaking loss against South Carolina last week when Andrew Baggett's 24-yard try in double overtime clanked off the upright.
Despite a lackluster showing on national television against the No. 1 Crimson Tide, Jones said he was encouraged by the disappointment his players had in their performance, including their desire to leave it in the past.
The opportunity to erase the Crimson memories and start anew begin in Colombia on Saturday evening.
"There is a lot of powerful learning experiences to some negatives," Jones said. "I expect to win every football game. I expect that from our football team too. This is the mentality that we will have, and it is how we will approach each week."