Tiny Richardson giving Vols a new Jumbo package

Richardson helps out in goal-line set

Photo with no caption

Richardson helps out in goal-line set

By Austin Ward

warda@knoxnews.com

Perhaps the biggest hole of the season really didn't even require a block to seal it.

The threat of one was enough.

After lining up as an extra fullback in Tennessee's goal-line package and then barreling toward the end zone as a personal escort against Vanderbilt last Saturday, Antonio Richardson's work was done pretty much before he could even make contact. Nobody seemed to have any interest in taking on the massive freshman with a head of steam, and with Tauren Poole skipping in for an easy touchdown, the Vols finally had a taste of how defenders might feel about dealing with Richardson as they prepare for a possible bowl-clinching trip to Kentucky on Saturday (TV: WVLT, 12:21 p.m.).

"Nobody wanted to come hit him," Poole said. "That was the biggest hole I've ever seen in my life. It was crazy. I was laughing and I said, 'We need to run that on third-and-1.'

"He was excited about it, you could see he was. He was smiling, just so happy that he was getting in the game, and he wanted to hit somebody. The guys just got out of the way."

Richardson might not have delivered as big of a blow as he wanted, but he certainly made his impact felt after the Vols (5-6, 1-6

SEC) found a way to turn him loose offensively and let him seek out a bit of contact.

Slowed initially by shoulder surgery that kept him out of most of training camp, the 6-foot-6, 325-pound lineman has been limited mostly to backup duty on the line throughout his first season with the program, and that still won't change against the Wildcats (4-7, 1-6). But that doesn't mean UT won't continue to put him to good use when the situation presents itself, and after making an impressive debut with his specialized role in the win last week against, it seems like a safe bet that Richardson could find himself in the backfield again soon.

"Oh, yeah, when I saw my man Tiny come in, I was too happy," left tackle Dallas Thomas said. "He came in, the huddle atmosphere got too hyped. He came in, we opened the hole up for him and he blew the linebacker up. (Poole) walked right on in.

"He just came through like a bulldozer, just plowed everything back. I love it — I hope we keep running it, too. It's just a big difference to have him back there and us in the front, it just opens up like the Red Sea parting."

Even without Richardson helping clear the way on the ground the Vols were having one of their better performances up front, with Poole complementing his short scoring rush with 107 yards to help provide more balance to the offensive attack. And with the push the starters were getting in the trenches, they might not have needed much more help to steer Poole into the end zone.

But UT has had occasional issues in short-yardage situations throughout the season, coming up short 10 times in 32 chances while facing third- or fourth-and-1 this year. Adding another oversized body to the equation certainly appeared to tilt the scales its way down by the goal line.

"I think the linebacker (Richardson) was going to block got a little scared of him and dived at his legs," center Alex Bullard said. "But I mean, that's just as good if you can get that guy on the ground, then that hole does open up. He said he was going to go blow somebody up on that play, and we said, 'Let's just see it, dog.' He went out there and competed, but the biggest thing was that it was just fun.

"We all had fun on that play — and we liked the result."

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 18

EHSvols23 writes:

I must say, I really loved that play too. If everybody stays healthy and Tiny in the fold, I would like to see us run some unbalanced line in the future. We've got at least 6 quality linemen. Tiny is going to give somebody a run for their money in the starting lineup next year. I would say it would be Stone, but that's no longer an option.

orange_eVOLution writes:

Tiny is gonna be freakin' fun to watch. I couldn't believe the hole Poole waltzed through.

GO VOLS!!

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

527. Is the total if you need to make your little motivational signs again Kentucky fans. Or you could save some trees and just write over last years and change the middle digit to a two.

baldfan writes:

anyone have the video of that play?

pingkr62 writes:

I remember Mt. Cody at Alabama, how about Mt. Tiny at Tennessee? G.B.O.!!!

pingkr62 writes:

in response to KingsportVol88:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

O.M.G.!!!!

willblitz4bacon writes:

in response to pingkr62:

O.M.G.!!!!

:-D

givehim6 writes:

TINY, TINY. Has any one thought of a way a Vol fan can watch the game in Washington state?

Orange_Pants_Buy_One_Get_One_Free writes:

in response to KingsportVol88:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow. Aren't you classy. It's easy to see why she is your ex. Have some respect for women. What a loser you are.

richvol writes:

Finally,some creativity from the running game.

Cjtgovols09 writes:

in response to givehim6:

TINY, TINY. Has any one thought of a way a Vol fan can watch the game in Washington state?

justin.tv usually has them streaming.

Digital5000 writes:

Im really glad Richardson decided to become a Vol. This kid is a beast.

Didn't he play DT in high-school, and have we giving him any looks at DT? Maybe he's a better offensive player, but a 6'6" 330lbs DT sounds pretty good to me.

TINY!!!!

-Enjoy Yoselves

grobin4300 writes:

The only bad thing about that is I don't understand on why you would waiste a REDSHIRT for a few plays in the backfield or can they still REDSHIRT him next year ??

volboy81 writes:

that was a great play! It was funny to watch. Poole thought he would have to jump, but the hole was so big, he just kind of skipped in!!
BEAT THE KITTENS!

grobin4300 writes:

in response to grobin4300:

The only bad thing about that is I don't understand on why you would waiste a REDSHIRT for a few plays in the backfield or can they still REDSHIRT him next year ??

I mean RESHIRT him this year.

writer#358485 writes:

I wondered where that massive hole on the left side came from, now I know. Having a 330-pound fullback leading the tailback sound like a good plan, let's do it some more!

Down_The_Field writes:

if he can get 3.33 yds, hand it off to him.

if not, i have no problem watching him lead block on a lil kitty cat.

GO VOLS!

Prostar writes:

It's about time. Clemson used "The Fridge" the same way and he did the same with the Chicago Bears. Give him a 4 yd. head start and watch the DL and LB's get out of the way. Use every weapon you can to push the line of scrimmage.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features