Maybe Tennessee hasn't identified a Superman in its backfield.
But if the Vols don't wind up with just one do-it-all running back, they appear to have a cast of characters capable of giving them a complete package.
Tall or small, speedy or strong, the search for improvement on the ground after a disastrous season rushing the ball isn't short on possible candidates. And rather than focus on finding just one to move the ball, the Vols might lean on the entire group instead.
"It's kind of like the superhero thing," sophomore Devrin Young said. "You've got your strong man, you've got your fast man. It's just, everybody is different. Everybody is built different, and that's just awesome that everybody is so good at what they do.
"It's good to know that our backfield is so versatile. We have a man that can do everything, and I feel like that could be real frustrating to our opponents."
Before UT can worry about taking on any outside competition, for now all it can do is battle with itself during spring camp. And if the first week of practice is any indication, the jockeying for work in the backfield figures to be heated and could drag on for a while.
Marlin Lane and Rajion Neal came into camp as the likely picks at the top of the depth chart, and they don't seem to have done anything at this early stage to change that. But the Vols are getting close looks at a couple other tailbacks that bring unique traits to the table, and finding ways to deploy the quickness of Young or unleash the
power of a rusher like Tom Smith can be as challenging as establishing an overall pecking order.
"You like to have different tempos, and backs come in all different shapes and sizes and they all have different runs that they have a different comfort level with," UT coach Derek Dooley said. "Figuring all that out is the real trick, figuring out how to use them when you don't have that big workhorse.
"Obviously a guy like Devrin is a great example, he's a smaller guy, he's got a lot of burst and speed, he's explosive, so you've got to figure out how you want to manage it.
"Part of it is schematic and part of it is number of reps."
Dooley has indicated before he'd prefer a simpler formula, one that relies on a "Heisman Trophy winner" instead of a committee of rushers.
But both approaches have worked for teams in the past, and Dooley in particular has been a part of a staff that spread the carries around for a handful of players on the way to a national championship. So if the Vols don't wind up with a clear-cut, every-down superhero to hand the ball to, they may be able to build something similar with the parts they already have on hand.
"They're running the ball really well, they're doing what we're coaching them to do and they just have to keep doing it with consistency," Dooley said. "The progress we're making is everywhere. Here's what I'm seeing: the offensive line playing with a little more aggression, the receivers taking a greater interest in helping us block on the perimeter and the runners run with a lot more discipline, hitting the holes a lot faster and playing behind their pads.
"Now, it's only been two days in pads, so we're not ready for a national declaration that we can run the ball now."
The Vols also don't seem ready to just pick one guy to do it for them.
But they aren't low on options.
"You know, it's really exciting and it promotes a lot of competition," Young said. "It forces you to stay on your 'A' game.
"It's just refreshing to know that the next man beside you can fill the job in just like you."