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Tennessee has apparently made the mental adjustments necessary to run the ball better.
The results just show up physically.
If spring practice ended without another practice or Saturday's Orange and White Game to officially wrap up camp, Jim Chaney could still go into the offseason pleased with the progress of his rushing attack. And the evidence is piling up on the film the Vols offensive coordinator has been watching through the 13th workout on a rainy morning that kept the team inside on Wednesday.
"More physicality, an appreciation for physicality," Chaney said. "It's more of an attitude and a demeanor, that they understand that to run the ball we've got to hit people. I feel like we've accomplished that.
"Like you measure everything else, (it's on) our video. Are we hitting people, do we have a desire to hit people? Same damn thing you're looking for on Saturdays. Does somebody look like they want to hit somebody? You know, that's it in a nutshell. Everybody sees a guy that pulls away from contact. We're trying to avoid that, trying not to put those guys on the field."
It has certainly helped that the Vols seem to have more guys to choose from this spring, particularly on the offensive line where competition for first-team reps has been heated as the program sifts through a group that includes about nine options for playing time.
UT also has had a battle for work in the backfield that appears to include at least three viable contenders, including sophomore Devrin Young who has been challenged to use his undersized frame both as a rusher and as a blocker as part of that emphasis on embracing contact.
"I think you have to be conscious of any back who has to block a 260-pound end," Chaney said. "You know, in certain protections you're going to be concerned about that. But for the most part this spring, we haven't done anything that way. We just put them out there and let them play, and if they get stuck in a protection having to block a 260-pounder, so be it. Grow up, be a man. He's had to do that on several occasions, and we've been pleased with how he's performed.
"He has a lot of physical abilities and a lot of skill level and it's fun to watch him grow and mature and understand a little bit more."
For more on the media session for the assistants and Wednesday's practice, check back to http://www.govolsxtra.com, pick up Thursday's News Sentinel or follow@Vols_Beat on Twitter.