Marlin Lane makes up for lost yardage in second scrimmage

Photos by AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL
UT tailback Marlin Lane, left, goes through a drill before the start of a scrimmage at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2012

Photos by AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL UT tailback Marlin Lane, left, goes through a drill before the start of a scrimmage at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

Derek Dooley on the Vols' second scrimmage

A bit of ground seemed to have slipped away, and Marlin Lane had a whole week to think about it.

The Tennessee running back's main competitors for playing time each had productive outings in the first scrimmage, and the defense had effectively made yardage hard to come by for Lane.

Given another chance at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, the sophomore struck back at both.

The Vols again had multiple rushers post decent performances during their second live work of camp. But after his rough debut a little more than one week earlier, the projected starter on the pre-spring "organizational" chart responded with the best of the bunch as Lane perhaps re-established himself in the backfield.

"I had a bad week last week, and they picked me up," Lane said. "So I had to come out and not let them down.

"I was more focused and just trying to help my team and not let them down this week. I wanted to come out and just start running physical from the start. ... That motivated me every day, trying to get out there and compete and just stay on top with them and keep pushing each other."

Rajion Neal and Devrin Young had done the majority of the pushing previously, and each appeared to turn in decent afternoons again according to the statistics provided by the program from the closed workout.

But it was Lane who seemed to set the tone for a rushing attack that has been the primary focus for UT throughout spring, and his 71 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown represented a marked improvement from the 8-yard outing in the first scrimmage.

That bounce-back effort alone isn't likely to win Lane a starting job at this point, particularly with so long to go before a meaningful game is played. And the Vols also are continuing to get productivity from the other guys with Neal racking up 75 all-purpose yards on 14 touches and a score while Young chipped in 35 yards on the ground.

But after looking like he was somewhat on the periphery according to the numbers, at a minimum Lane ensured he remains in the thick of the battle.

"Marlin ran with a lot more toughness and aggressiveness, and it showed," UT coach Derek Dooley said. "He had good numbers.

"I was disappointed in how he performed last week, and he was, too. Like good players do, he responded well. Had a good week, had a good couple of days toward the end of the week and I think he was ready to go out there and prove what he can do."

The Vols had an idea of what Lane is capable of since he broke into the rotation as a freshman last fall, though they might have only caught glimpses of his potential as he worked behind senior tailback Tauren Poole and with an offensive line that struggled to open many holes.

But with Poole gone, the Vols need somebody to fill the void — whether it's Lane, Neal, Young or some combination of the three. After a week of waiting for another big opportunity, Lane left little doubt that he's intent on staying in the conversation.

"As I come out, I know the (starting) job is open," Lane said. "But I just focus on going out there and doing my job."

"I just thought I had to come out and stay focused on running more physical. I just had to get my mindset focused on football and not outside stuff."

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

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Comments » 33

CroKev writes:

Great to hear that he had a good scrimmage. If Neal can learn to protect the ball, both of them will be a great one-two punch as the line has improved. I remember Dooley's comment that the running game depends more on a great RB than a great OL. Here's hoping that one of these guys will emerge as a great RB.

AllVol1 writes:

I don't remember that statement by Dooley. I remember him saying that he would rather have one great RB than a committee.

Anyway, I hope the Oline plays great and the RB's also play great. I like that each of our RB's brings something different to the field. If we can utilize that without being predictable, then it will be fun to watch.

Glad Marlin had a good scrimmage! Go Vols!

tovolny writes:

Hey, I just thought the readers might want to look at what a nice job the Columbus Dispatch does with Ohio State football. Take a look at their site and then complain to KNS to shape up. http://www.buckeyextra.com/

born2ride writes:

Does anybody miss Montario Hardesty? Dude could run the ball.

allvol32 writes:

in response to born2ride:

Does anybody miss Montario Hardesty? Dude could run the ball.

All Vol fans respect and miss Motnario Hardesty and wish him well in the NFL and beyond - we only wish that faux fans such as yourself would find some other team to "support".

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to born2ride:

Does anybody miss Montario Hardesty? Dude could run the ball.

I miss Charlie Garner, Cheese, Johnny Jones, Chuck Webb, Lil Man Stewart, Aaron Hayden, Hubert Simpson, Tony Thompson, the Crossville Comet and Johnny Majors..Hopefully Marlin and Rajon will continue the tradition..GBO!!

ClarksvilleVols42 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

I miss Charlie Garner, Cheese, Johnny Jones, Chuck Webb, Lil Man Stewart, Aaron Hayden, Hubert Simpson, Tony Thompson, the Crossville Comet and Johnny Majors..Hopefully Marlin and Rajon will continue the tradition..GBO!!

You forgot..Jamal Lewis, Reggie Cobb, Cedrick Houston,and my fav Travis Stephens

TitanandVolfan4life writes:

Better depth creates better competition and makes everyone work harder and that's what we're finally seeing at every position...finally.

What CDD actually said is that every team would like to have a heisTman candidate for a workhorse at the RB position to carry the load but we don't have that type of RB yet.

RB by commitee isn't a bad thing if you have 2 or 3 RB's that can all run well and it will help keep all the RB's better rested and better able to run tough the entire season instead of them wearing down and that's important at the end of the season and for the bowl game.

Keep on working hard and running hard boys and we'll be cheering you on in the fall.

VFL...GBO!!!

richvol writes:

Two years ago Dooley said he would rather have a great running back than a great offensive line. He went on to say that a great back makes the line look better than it is.

atnvol#283282 writes:

in response to ClarksvilleVols42:

You forgot..Jamal Lewis, Reggie Cobb, Cedrick Houston,and my fav Travis Stephens

Most of the above mentioned backs were "game changer" type backs. It may be critical, but the Vols have not had that "game changing" back in several years. Houston and Hayden were good backs, but not game changers. Most game changers posess either exceptional speed/moves or power and in J.Lewis' case, he had both.

SouthPaVol writes:

About one in 1,000 backs are self-motivated to prepare themselves physically to run the ball in the SEC. Last year at the start of the season, for example, Poole expected to top his previous 1,000-yard effort and possibly be drafted in the 1st round. By the time we hit the SEC schedule and realize our running game was in the tank, it was too late to fix it.
A good running back coach like CJG can spot flaws in the training or technique of an average back (the other 999) and have them ready to play come game day.

Of course, it always helps if the O line opens a hole large enough to drive a truck through. Go Vols!

Volfan1 writes:

in response to atnvol#283282:

Most of the above mentioned backs were "game changer" type backs. It may be critical, but the Vols have not had that "game changing" back in several years. Houston and Hayden were good backs, but not game changers. Most game changers posess either exceptional speed/moves or power and in J.Lewis' case, he had both.

Don't forget our wishes that Coach Jay Graham still had elgibility!

volgrog#210164 writes:

in response to Volfan1:

Don't forget our wishes that Coach Jay Graham still had elgibility!

My greatest memories of running back contributions in TN history: Pitch to Johnnie Jones against AL for the win, Reggie Cobb against FL in the rain,Jeff Powell out running Bennie Blades in the '85 Sugar Bowl, Jay Graham scoring against Ohio State RIGHT before half time, Travis Stephens single-handedly beating FL, Travis Henry in the last drive against ARK in '98, Jamal Lewis getting 10yrds a carry against GA his freshman year. I'm sure I've missed a bunch.

MeanieT writes:

in response to born2ride:

Does anybody miss Montario Hardesty? Dude could run the ball.

true

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to volgrog#210164:

My greatest memories of running back contributions in TN history: Pitch to Johnnie Jones against AL for the win, Reggie Cobb against FL in the rain,Jeff Powell out running Bennie Blades in the '85 Sugar Bowl, Jay Graham scoring against Ohio State RIGHT before half time, Travis Stephens single-handedly beating FL, Travis Henry in the last drive against ARK in '98, Jamal Lewis getting 10yrds a carry against GA his freshman year. I'm sure I've missed a bunch.

Excellent post, that run by Powell gives me goosebumps every time I replay it..My favorite highlights come from Kelsey Finch and his 99yarder against FU and Stanley Morgan's debut at tailback against Hawaii (What a superlative athlete)..GBO!

orangeman1 writes:

Sounds like there is some good competition, and we have some good highly recruited RB. If the veteran Oline can do its job, there's no reason to think that we couldnt have a great 2 back tandom like we've had in the past. With the passing game clicking and running game clicking, this will be an explosive offense. Running the ball will also help the more experienced defense this year too. I dont see how any UT fan couldnt be excited about the potential UT has this year. Maybe you dont like Dooley for whatever reason, but we have a new Oline coach and RB coach(who's a former UT standout) and other new coaches that have a chance to do something special with all this talent. Have a little faith.

Pompey writes:

in response to CroKev:

Great to hear that he had a good scrimmage. If Neal can learn to protect the ball, both of them will be a great one-two punch as the line has improved. I remember Dooley's comment that the running game depends more on a great RB than a great OL. Here's hoping that one of these guys will emerge as a great RB.

....I do remember CDD making that statement because I was surprised by it....still am!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Pompey:

....I do remember CDD making that statement because I was surprised by it....still am!

I'm not, Barry Sanders, Walter Payton and OJ Simpson didn't run behind HOF'ers in the O-line..A great back can make a marginal line look great with vision and acceleration..Talents that are natural not coached..Just sayin'

TheVolSnake writes:

Running back by committee may work in our favor and keep the running backs fresh and keep defenses off balanced, however I do favor one primer running back this may not be the case this year. We have two quality QB’s backing up Bray so no worries there this year. Our receivers should be lights out and we should lead the SEC in passing this year.

A possible RB (could be moved to Safety) is Bourque the kid has size and speed and if not this year next year will be our power runner which we really need for short yardage, he also has breakaway speed.

Worries are kicking games and this need to be fixed this spring and fall. If Howard and Lane return kick offs we should be improved on one area of special teams. If the 3-4 can put pressure on the punter we could be improved on the punt return. I like Young as a running back also and this Fall everything will be sorted out, but isn't it great seeing all the options this year.

Remember we have several recruits coming in this fall which will fight also for playing time and some of them could step in right away. Examples: McCullers, O'Brien, Sentimore, Bonner and McNeil. Not that I don’t like the others these players could be another surprise like Maggitt and Johnson was last year.

The offense has several that also could come in and also surprise, the ones I see that has the ability to come in and make dramatic impact on offense is Groom’s , Patterson , Bowles, Howard and Bourque. Last year I didn’t see Maggitt and Johnson as impact players till our LB took several injuries.

sameolvolalum writes:

Nice posts, Vol fans! The last time we had decent reasons to be excited about Vol football was when Kiffin "seemed" to have us lined up for SEC prominence. It appears that our old program is shaping back up. Nay-sayers and trolls come and go. Hopefully by mid-fall most of them will focus their phooey on some other site. Let's fill up Neyland and scream orange bloody murder! VFL!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to orangeman1:

Sounds like there is some good competition, and we have some good highly recruited RB. If the veteran Oline can do its job, there's no reason to think that we couldnt have a great 2 back tandom like we've had in the past. With the passing game clicking and running game clicking, this will be an explosive offense. Running the ball will also help the more experienced defense this year too. I dont see how any UT fan couldnt be excited about the potential UT has this year. Maybe you dont like Dooley for whatever reason, but we have a new Oline coach and RB coach(who's a former UT standout) and other new coaches that have a chance to do something special with all this talent. Have a little faith.

I do! I do! Great post! All the pieces seem to be on the board at last; now it is up to the coaches to assemble the complete puzzle.

CroKev writes:

in response to richvol:

Two years ago Dooley said he would rather have a great running back than a great offensive line. He went on to say that a great back makes the line look better than it is.

Thanks; I was beginning to wonder if my memory was failing me...

OwensboroVol writes:

I, for one, believe in Marlin Lane. Last year there were some very brief glimpse of what he can be if he is willing to do the work. I saw occasions where his vision was very special. I believe if he is given enough reps he can develop into one of the great ones at UT.

oldster writes:

in response to ClarksvilleVols42:

You forgot..Jamal Lewis, Reggie Cobb, Cedrick Houston,and my fav Travis Stephens

What about Curt Watson, Beatie Feathers, Gene McEvers, Tom Tracy, Johnny Majors, Richard Pickens, etc, etc?

TennesseeForever writes:

I always liked Greg Amsler and william Howard at RB. I know they weren't superstars, but big, tough runners that were hard to bring down. Both could get into the end zone in short yardage.

kletusfleabiscuit writes:

in response to Da_Dooley_will_soon_be_Da_Fired:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your screen name should be reported as a threat to our Coach Dooley. KNS STAFF - Could you please pull the poster that apparently wishes harm upon Coach Dooley.

TheVolSnake writes:

in response to Da_Dooley_will_soon_be_Da_Fired:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

In response to your screen name, apparently you have no clue

Regardless of rumors and bad media coverage and negative posts we have a great team this year and have good to great backups at nearly every position first time in at least 4 years so I see us very strong this year. I don’t think we will win the SEC but will be much improved over all and will have a winning record.

Dooley is the right man for the job. Yes he makes mistakes but he has stopped for the most part your biggest problem (off field troubles) and now has assembled a great coaching staff.

Everyone wants to forget he (Dooley) had less than two weeks to assemble his first coaching staff and keep the recruits, so to be frank he didn’t get the best coaches out there. To top that off he lost a lot of Key players and so far all those lost haven’t produced where they went, but the book is still open on some of them.

Go Vol’s

PUL4VOLS writes:

Gonna go out a limb here and believe we will be running the ball a lot better this year. Against the tougher defenses we will still struggle but overall I feel we will like the effort. Let's wait and see. As for job openings, we will have to see on that one too. If bidnus is taken care of, that rot will no longer be mentioned. We have the team and coaches to do just that.

Navaloranges writes:

in response to Da_Dooley_will_soon_be_Da_Fired:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Actually somebody needs to help YOU on that. The REBUILDING phase that Dooley has been going through for the last two years is NOT the cause of empty seats and SEC losses. That would be the coaching staffs' responsible for the NEED to rebuild, the two previous ones.

Dooley has actually done a GREAT job getting our roster back into SEC shape. This year will expose the whiners, Fulmerites, and POSERS for what they really are...

Whiners, Fulmerites, and POSERS.

Basketvol writes:

in response to volgrog#210164:

My greatest memories of running back contributions in TN history: Pitch to Johnnie Jones against AL for the win, Reggie Cobb against FL in the rain,Jeff Powell out running Bennie Blades in the '85 Sugar Bowl, Jay Graham scoring against Ohio State RIGHT before half time, Travis Stephens single-handedly beating FL, Travis Henry in the last drive against ARK in '98, Jamal Lewis getting 10yrds a carry against GA his freshman year. I'm sure I've missed a bunch.

Of all those you mentioned, Travis Henry against Arkansas was the most memorable for me. Many people will point to the Stoerner Stumble and say UT got lucky in that game. Those people neglect to remember that Travis Henry pounded Arkansas on the resulting UT possession. Yes, the ball bounced our way (remember those days?) but it was Travis Henry's running that won the game. He is one of my all-time favorites!

Vol43 writes:

in response to Basketvol:

Of all those you mentioned, Travis Henry against Arkansas was the most memorable for me. Many people will point to the Stoerner Stumble and say UT got lucky in that game. Those people neglect to remember that Travis Henry pounded Arkansas on the resulting UT possession. Yes, the ball bounced our way (remember those days?) but it was Travis Henry's running that won the game. He is one of my all-time favorites!

That game against the hogs was a great game, for VOL fans anyway. The 'stumble'? Maybe we got lucky, but our defense helped make that happen and Travis lit 'em up! These are all good posts and I'm excited about our chances this year.

I was getting ready to tee off on number one this morning when my eye caught a glimpse of a Tennessee Orange golf tee lying there. I just knew it was gonna be a good day, and it was! Go VOLS!

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

in response to volgrog#210164:

My greatest memories of running back contributions in TN history: Pitch to Johnnie Jones against AL for the win, Reggie Cobb against FL in the rain,Jeff Powell out running Bennie Blades in the '85 Sugar Bowl, Jay Graham scoring against Ohio State RIGHT before half time, Travis Stephens single-handedly beating FL, Travis Henry in the last drive against ARK in '98, Jamal Lewis getting 10yrds a carry against GA his freshman year. I'm sure I've missed a bunch.

Stanley Morgan going 89 yards for the win in the frozen rain at kentucky back when we still knew where the Beer Barrel was.

Basketvol writes:

in response to chuckfromwoodberry:

Stanley Morgan going 89 yards for the win in the frozen rain at kentucky back when we still knew where the Beer Barrel was.

Where is the Beer Barrel these days? I assume since we had it last that the barrel permanently resides in K-town. Am I right?

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