The biggest storyline surrounding the Tennessee Vols after their 63-38 loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks centers on linebacker Jeremy Banks and why he didn’t make the trip to Columbia.

ESPN’s Chris Fowler said during the broadcast of the game that Banks wasn’t out due to injury.

After the game, Vols head coach Josh Heupel said that Banks simply wasn’t available for the game.

Rumors have flooded social media about the reasoning behind Banks’ absence from the game. Most of those rumors suggested that Banks and quarterback Hendon Hooker got into an altercation at some point last week.

The rumors were loud enough that Heupel was asked about them on Monday during his weekly press conference.

The Knoxville News Sentinel’s Adam Sparks asked Heupel if Banks got into an altercation with a teammate and if he was suspended for the South Carolina game.

Heupel basically gave a long-winded “no comment” in response.

“We anticipate Jeremy being with us here this week,” said Heupel. “As far as what transpired and those types of things, he wasn’t available this Saturday.”

It’s the media’s job to ask that question and it’s Heupel’s job to protect his team.

And I thought this was probably the right answer from Heupel. Unless he’s going to go into the full details of what happened (which almost no coach in the country would do), it’s best to just give a non-answer and move on. Anything else would just lead to speculation.

Also, we’ve seen stuff like this happen before and coaches lie to cover it up (Butch Jones was bad for this). Heupel shouldn’t get credit for not lying, but it’s worth pointing out because of previous situations at Tennessee.

I think this whole situation has probably been blown out of proportion. We’ve seen plenty of stuff like this happen before in sports (with good and bad teams). When you have that many guys in a locker room, tempers are bound to flare from time to time.

So if something did happen with Banks and a teammate, it wouldn’t be the first locker room spat to happen at Tennessee or at any other program.

Featured image via Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports