Poole wants to crack Alabama's 100-yard streak

Tennessee tailback Tauren Poole dives into the end zone for a touchdown against Louisiana State University at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee tailback Tauren Poole dives into the end zone for a touchdown against Louisiana State University at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010.

Tauren Poole is batting .500 when it comes to putting up 100 yards or more against college football’s elite this season.

If the Tennessee tailback cracks the century mark Saturday against Alabama, it would be the equivalent of snapping a perfect game in the ninth inning.

Make that the 41st inning.

On Oct. 3, 2007, Ole Miss running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 131 yards in a 27-24 loss to Alabama. One week later, UT’s Arian Foster ran for 91 yards on 13 carries, kicking off the streak of 41 straight games Alabama has wiped off its schedule without allowing a single runner to amass 100 or more rushing yards.

It’s not exactly a coincidence that Alabama is 34-7 over that stretch, either.

“First of all, it’s nearly impossible to run the ball,” UT coach Derek Dooley, who was 12 games short when estimating the length of Alabama’s 100-yard streak, said Monday. “That isn’t luck. They’ve got some stout guys up front, and I mean stout.”

Since Foster’s 91-yard day, only five other players have even cracked 90 yards against Alabama, which was the nation’s second-best rushing defense last season and currently sits at 19th (fifth in the SEC) heading into Saturday’s game at Neyland Stadium (TV: ESPN, 7 p.m.). South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore, who spearheaded the Gamecocks’ upset of Alabama earlier this month with 92 yards and three touchdowns, was the first player in more than a year to come within single digits of 100.

In the Vols’ two previous losses to Alabama, they’ve barely combined for 100 yards as a team (111), and the best individual effort came from Montario Hardesty in 2009, when he averaged 2.7 yards per carry on his way to a 48-yard day.

“They fly to the ball,” Dooley said. “Then, like they always do, they get you behind the chains.

“That’s not luck. That’s good defense.”

The Vols, behind a patchwork offensive line that’s been ravaged by injuries, might just have the tailback to break the streak in Poole.

Two of Poole’s three 100-yard games this season have come against teams that still have yet to lose.

His 162 yards against No. 1 Oregon marked a career high and stands as the most surrendered to one player this season by the Ducks, who, despite a headline-stealing offense, rank 38th in the nation in both rushing defense and total defense. He snapped LSU’s streak of six consecutive games without allowing a 100-yard rusher when he notched 109 and a touchdown in UT’s near upset in Baton Rouge.

LSU, the SEC’s top-ranked rushing defense, has yet to have any other player crack 75 rushing yards against it this season.

“I just have to do what I have to do to help this University of Tennessee football team, and if 100 yards is what I have to do, we’ll do it to the best of our abilities,” Poole said. “I know that’s a great accomplishment for them and I know they pride themselves on not letting anybody run the football.”

Alabama’s front seven, which features a bevy of new faces and two big-time old ones in defensive end Marcell Dareus and linebacker Dont’a Hightower, has stopped its opponents’ running attack in an entirely different fashion this season.

One year after ranking 10th in the nation and best in the SEC with 98 tackles for loss, the Crimson Tide has just 32 through seven games, a total that ranks last in the conference. Instead of stopping plays behind the line of scrimmage, Alabama has thrived on minimizing the big ones.

San Jose State running back Brandon Rutley’s 32-yard run on the Crimson Tide’s first defensive series of the year stands as its longest rushing gain surrendered this season. Opponents have broken off gains of more than 20 yards on just five other occasions.

“Their front four is probably the best in the country,” Poole said. “The way they play with leverage, how fast they play and how they’re in the right spots at the right time almost every single play.

“We’re going to have to be consistent all game, and it’s going to be an incredible challenge for us. I think we’re going to take that challenge as far as we can.”

Andrew Gribble can be reached at 865-342-6327.

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Comments » 38

PMC2726 writes:

1st. GBO!

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

I don't see how he can get 100 because we will be so far behind, we will be forced to pass the whole game. Hope Bray will be able to get rid of the ball quickly.

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

Personally, I'd like to see young Mr.'s Poole, Oku and Neal each rush for more than 100 yards against Bama while young Mr. Simms throws for 300 yards and 7 touchdowns.
I'll settle for somewhat fewer and a W.

shulessjo writes:

Nice reaction......like the tone and the attitude.... but let's put the effort and results behind the talk EACH GAME.....I would love for it to occur, but I think we are are several years away from talking smack in the SEC and against the defending National Champions.. Just my opinion....

nocleats writes:

Thanks for giving bulletin board material, why dont you give a few hints as to some tendancies TN has seen in Al that the vols might try to attack as well, oh wait, you did that on twitter this morning.

VOLliven2it writes:

It is a wonderful thought but not very likely unless there is a lapse in the Bama defense or all the starters get sick. Nevertheless, let's give our all and see what Poole can do. If he had any kind of experienced offensive line it might be possible. As much I appreciate the efforts of the ones we have, it will be one tough day. Go give them your best all day long Vols and see how it comes out.

send writes:

poole just play football then talk u talk before the GA game and didnt do any thing!! Bama 31 UT13 and yes im a vol fan we are just that bad

dvols writes:

buck fama

nocleats writes:

I dont believe Poole talked any smack at all.. If you read it he was full of praise for Bama, absolutely NO smack.. The smack came from the editors who titled the story.. Would love to know their reasons

HtownVol writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What?? That was clearly a comment pulled out of your @$$. Do you really want me to go into the sources available on this internet thing and give you at least a dozen comments from Bama players talking smack, in this 2.5 year stretch you speak of? And when I say talking smack I mean a lil more than Poole saying that Bama has a great Defense.

Come on, if you stay on a UT site as a Bama fan at least appear to know what you are talking about. You are really making all the trolls look like kids on a UT site just to feel big, not giving knowledgable unbiased facts (which would be what a mature man would do when on another teams site every day).

Good luck to your team this week. They have a great D, and J Jones is the 2nd best WR in the SEC. Missing a starting OL will hurt, but UT has dealt with that 3 or 4 times this year. The depth and experience should (once again) play a major factor but who knows. Example being one year ago. Bama was no doubt the better team, but would have, could have, should have for us Vols.

GO VOLS!

rockytopatl writes:

in response to nocleats:

I dont believe Poole talked any smack at all.. If you read it he was full of praise for Bama, absolutely NO smack.. The smack came from the editors who titled the story.. Would love to know their reasons

No smack from the editors, either. Poole says here he wants to gain 100 yards and that's all the headline says:

“I just have to do what I have to do to help this University of Tennessee football team, and if 100 yards is what I have to do, we’ll do it to the best of our abilities,” Poole said.

mercuryvol writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Too bad UA's trolling fans can't apply the same standards.

cc623 writes:

If he spends more time running "all out" and runs "north and south" instead of "dancing in the hole" he might just get the results he's after.At the start of the season he was running well and after a bunch of hard tackles he has since "jumped" and "danced" at the line of scrimmage and not performed that well.That would seem to be the reason Oku has been in the "doghouse" as well.The freshman Neal has done just the opposite and done well only to be "subbed" after he makes nice gains...

pdhuff#552644 writes:

If he gets the hun, we win.

scvols writes:

Isn't he cute, wanting to go over a 100 against big bad Alabama. I guess there is nothing wrong with dreaming. Go VOLS!!!

RespectTradition writes:

Mr Poole is an excellent runner. I think he will have a football career after college. He has the ability to crack 100 versus Bama. Will he? Dunno. I hope so. Not just for his sake. Not just because it would be fun to break their streak. But because without it, I don't see a lot of hope. I think he can do it.

If the line gives him half a chance, I think he will take it.

Go Vols!

SummittsCourt writes:

Unlike the past rushers Poole is hungry and motivated to do it and I believe he will surpass 100 yards rushing. Go Vols shock the world send bama's chances of and SEC championship dreams down the drain!

Volborn writes:

in response to cc623:

If he spends more time running "all out" and runs "north and south" instead of "dancing in the hole" he might just get the results he's after.At the start of the season he was running well and after a bunch of hard tackles he has since "jumped" and "danced" at the line of scrimmage and not performed that well.That would seem to be the reason Oku has been in the "doghouse" as well.The freshman Neal has done just the opposite and done well only to be "subbed" after he makes nice gains...

to dance in a hole, one would have to have a hole to dance in.....this line is not opening many holes.

TommyJack writes:

If we had another dozen or so Poole's, we would be in great shape. The lad is a gamer.

cloudodust writes:

Go for it...

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Poor ol' Gamecocks tried against mighty Bama.

And we know how good they are, just ask Ky.

And is the Barn ranked above the receding Tide, surely not!

utfan36 writes:

if poole rushes for 100 ut will when this game!

utfan36 writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

shen24 ut does not like bama! and they do talk smack when you watch the game sat look at they way they act on the field just because its not in the paper doesnt mean they dont do it!

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to utfan36:

if poole rushes for 100 ut will when this game!

Why? did not work against Oregon. Poole is not the bull Hardesty was. I hope it's turned over to Neal and Bray soon.

PennVol writes:

It doesn't matter what our offense does if our defense doesn't show up. I don't expect us to score more than our usual 10-14 points against Bama's defense.

TommyJack writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

Why? did not work against Oregon. Poole is not the bull Hardesty was. I hope it's turned over to Neal and Bray soon.

Bray is El Toro?

bamaman1 writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

Poor ol' Gamecocks tried against mighty Bama.

And we know how good they are, just ask Ky.

And is the Barn ranked above the receding Tide, surely not!

Great observations smack talker. Maybe you could talk about what it smells like down there in the SEC East cellar while you gaze up at Vanderbilts rear end the next 5 or 6 years.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Poole has the right idea and attitude to go with it..If he put 100 on a better LSU defense;why not bama?Poole tends to follow his FB thru the hole so hopefully our FB can move some LB's around..

TommyJack writes:

in response to bamaman1:

Great observations smack talker. Maybe you could talk about what it smells like down there in the SEC East cellar while you gaze up at Vanderbilts rear end the next 5 or 6 years.

PD a smack talker?? Bwhahaha
Get lost, bama arsewipe.

bamaman1 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

PD a smack talker?? Bwhahaha
Get lost, bama arsewipe.

Sorry,

did i hurt your feelings???

winbigvols writes:

It's always nice to callout the national champs before the game. I don't see why he didn't talk about Saban's mother while he was at it?????

codybain13 writes:

in response to utfan36:

if poole rushes for 100 ut will when this game!

you cant even spell win

bamaman1 writes:

in response to tweetdriver63#346474:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

looks like only one team with no conferenc wins. guess that cellar is small after all

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to utfan36:

if poole rushes for 100 ut will when this game!

he ran for 164 against Oregon and it didn't help. He will need 200 for a chance to beat UA.

TKO writes:

Don't think 100 will be reached by all tailbacks combined against this Bama team.

Lizardgrad89 writes:

When Cam Newton runs for 150 against them, will they say it doesn't count because he's not a running back?

bamaman1 writes:

in response to ALLVOLNC:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Don't work at walmart, but i will be greeting vol fans at half time as you exit the stadium. Maybe I'll see you there or maybe I bought my tickets from you. Who knows? I do know that we have bought a lot of tickets from frustrated vol fans.

bamaman1 writes:

in response to tweetdriver63#346474:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

what a pathetic post tweetledum. You really are impressive

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