Skip to content

Violence necessary from Vols’ runners

Violence necessary from Vols’ runners

Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 7:02 pm

By BETH RUCKER
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Tennessee coach Derek Dooley and his assistants looked at a lot of tape last week of the Volunteers’ running game and came to a couple of conclusions.
“There are some things we can do better as coaches, but more than anything we just have to play with a little more violence at runner, especially,” he said. “We have to get our pads down and start delivering a blow instead of taking a blow.”
The ground game has been mediocre at best and was practically nonexistent in a 33-23 loss to Florida on Sept. 17. The Vols (2-1) are averaging just 81.7 yards on the ground per game and 2.4 yards per carry this season and had a woeful minus-9 yards on 21 carries against the Gators.
Tennessee spent plenty of time on the running game during its off week last week, trying out some different looks and working in freshmen Devrin Young and Tom Smith, who suffered injuries earlier in the year.
Primarily it comes down to senior starting tailback Tauren Poole, though.
“I think he’s an inconsistent runner. That’s what he is,” Dooley said. “We saw it last year, and in three games now we’ve seen it this year. What I’ve always wanted out of him was just consistency, and I hope he can develop that over the course of the season.”
Poole, who finished the 2010 season with 1,034 yards rushing, has had nearly half of Tennessee’s 102 rushing attempts and is averaging 4 yards a carry and 72.3 per game.
On his first run against the Gators, the Toccoa, Ga., native, was hit with enough force to give him a sore back for the rest of the game. After watching star wide receiver Justin Hunter go down with a torn ACL a few plays later, Poole decided to play through the pain.
“I looked awful and I felt awful,” Poole said. “If I can’t help the football team, I’ve got to tell coach ‘Hey, coach, I can’t go.’”
Dooley said he wants to know when Poole isn’t feeling 100 percent, so he can go to backup Marlin Lane, who has had 64 yards on 23 runs, or any of the other younger players.
But when Poole feels OK, Dooley expects him to lower his shoulders and plow ahead rather than concern himself with finding the best gap in an effort to get a few more yards on each run.
Published in The Messenger 9.27.11

Leave a Comment