Vols Rajion Neal doubtful for Alabama game

Tennessee tailback Rajion Neal (20) falls in the end zone for a touchdown taking the score to 6-3 over Mississippi State in the first quarter at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee tailback Rajion Neal (20) falls in the end zone for a touchdown taking the score to 6-3 over Mississippi State in the first quarter at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

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KNOXVILLE - Rajion Neal, Tennessee’s leading rusher, is doubtful for Saturday’s game with an ankle injury, Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said during his weekly press conference today.

The Vols (3-3, 0-3 SEC) play No. 1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0) on Saturday (TV: ESPN, 7 p.m.)

Backup running back Marlin Lane (thigh) is likely to play, Dooley said. Linebacker Curtis Maggitt (shoulder stinger) is questionable and cornerback Justin Coleman (concussion symptoms) is probable.

Quarterback Tyler Bray sat out Monday’s practice with a knee injury, but Dooley said he would practice Tuesday and play on Saturday.

Dooley joked about the strength of No. 1 Alabama, saying the Tide doesn’t recruit, “they draft.”

"They've absolutely annihilated everybody they've played, physically and on the scoreboard," Dooley said.

For a complete rundown on Dooley’s comments, click here: http://blogs.knoxnews.com/woodbery/2012/10/live-blogging-tennessee-coach-derek-dooleys-weekly-news-conference-alabama-week.html

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 66

scvols writes:

Hey Dooley, your whole rebuilding would go better if you recruited better.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Yeah, Neal being hurt cost UT dearly when our scat-back had the ball ripped from his arms on a promising drive. Heal fast our running game desperately needs you..GBO!!

CrankE writes:

If only Dooley were "doubtful" for Saturday's game . . . Perhaps UT could do better with Dooley at the house instead of in the press box or on the field.

...saying the Tide doesn’t recruit, “they draft.”

Don't draft picks get paid to play? Works for Albert Means. Forget about recruiting for a second, coach. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO IMPROVE THE PERFORMANCE OF THE PLAYERS YOU DO HAVE?!

At the risk of going all John Pennington here, Def Leppard wrote about this; "F-F-F-Foolin!"

VOLS_SEC_RULES writes:

How about UT Defensive Coach Buddy Hackett? Do you think he is looking forward to seeing his former boss on Saturday?

VOLFTBL writes:

Heal quickly Rajion! We need you back just as soon as possible.

TheFuj writes:

Has to recruit better. Just don't think recruits want to come to TN now.
Not winning.
Game atmosphere from the 80's.
Uniforms dull (I am not saying uniforms will bring in 4-5 star recruits, but kids like the new changes)
Coaching changes
Alabama has the basic uniform, but they have the coaches they think will get them to the NFL and they win.
Until we start winning, we need to change the things we can change. Maybe even the current kids will push a little extra. How about orange helmet with a white T. Just try something different.

wallingdad writes:

he is one of the few bright spots of the team. I really am impressed with the level of running game we have. if we could only get the defense to pick it up substantially......

Snapshot writes:

in response to VOLS_SEC_RULES:

How about UT Defensive Coach Buddy Hackett? Do you think he is looking forward to seeing his former boss on Saturday?

So you listened to Basilio today, right. That's where I heard the Buddy Hackett comparison. Thought it was pretty funny, he does favor him.

smokysbark writes:

in response to scvols:

Hey Dooley, your whole rebuilding would go better if you recruited better.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

jobrando#216494 writes:

It's not important. Bama still 56 VOLS 21

TooDlems writes:

in response to VOLS_SEC_RULES:

How about UT Defensive Coach Buddy Hackett? Do you think he is looking forward to seeing his former boss on Saturday?

No but I bet he's looking forward to seeing his son Vinnie.

pcorange writes:

Sorry to hear that. Neal had been one of the few areas of improvement on this team. Hope he is well soon.

bfowler1161#262198 writes:

I hear Bill Battle is available.

Seriously, our D issues go with switching to a 3-4. Not sure how a change back to a 4-3 helps as we have no depth at DL. But then we have no depth at LB. Coleman and Gordon are adequate CB's at best. Moore and McNeil are both good and growing at both safety positions. Maggitt is struggling with injurires (Greg King?), and Smith has been almost a non-factor.

The OL has improved. Neal does not have "take it to the house" speed. Travis Henry didn't either, but he made people afraid to tackle him. Is Lane in the doghouse??? And what happened to Tom Smith?

pcorange writes:

CDD talking about Bama "drafting" players is pretty much just saying upfront he is outmatched. This will most likely be a very ugly beat down. The score may not be that bad because Saban likes Dooley and will probably hold back from just killing us, but they could easily beat us 75-0, especially with Neal out and Bray hobbled.

TrouserCough writes:

Dooley is setting the expectations. When we lose it's because Alabama beats everybody and we shouldn't be the exception. It's not his fault they are so good. We are just Tennessee.

underthehill writes:

in response to wallingdad:

he is one of the few bright spots of the team. I really am impressed with the level of running game we have. if we could only get the defense to pick it up substantially......

It is the improvement in the offensive line that is getting run yards..not Neal..

bfowler1161#262198 writes:

The fumble by Young was a great play by Banks. The kickoff....catch the dadgum (thank you Bobby Bowden) ball! Even it is a fair catch!!! If either or both of those plays goes our way the chances are we are talking about how UT has turned the corner and beat a top 25 team. MSU is a good team, I will give them credit for that. But the truth is they are equal to us, not better. Winning is habit, so is losing. If these guys want to keep Dooley, then they better learn to win quickly.

Henley-Street-Bridge writes:

I'd be ordering some more numbers for the scoreboard.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to underthehill:

It is the improvement in the offensive line that is getting run yards..not Neal..

Exactly, an average back can make yards with that line. Unfortunate for us we dont have one. Neal is hurt and Young gives it to the other team.

underthehill writes:

in response to bfowler1161#262198:

The fumble by Young was a great play by Banks. The kickoff....catch the dadgum (thank you Bobby Bowden) ball! Even it is a fair catch!!! If either or both of those plays goes our way the chances are we are talking about how UT has turned the corner and beat a top 25 team. MSU is a good team, I will give them credit for that. But the truth is they are equal to us, not better. Winning is habit, so is losing. If these guys want to keep Dooley, then they better learn to win quickly.

U R correct..the fumble by Young was a great play by Banks..how in the world did he and/or the ball not go out of bounds..Young proved my contention that the offensive line is primarily responsible for the run yards we are getting. UT does not have a quality SEC running back who can run through arm tackles..it should be high priority for recruiting...

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to bfowler1161#262198:

The fumble by Young was a great play by Banks. The kickoff....catch the dadgum (thank you Bobby Bowden) ball! Even it is a fair catch!!! If either or both of those plays goes our way the chances are we are talking about how UT has turned the corner and beat a top 25 team. MSU is a good team, I will give them credit for that. But the truth is they are equal to us, not better. Winning is habit, so is losing. If these guys want to keep Dooley, then they better learn to win quickly.

If they hammer Middle then I will agree they are a good team. I'm interested to see how it goes.

bfowler1161#262198 writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

Exactly, an average back can make yards with that line. Unfortunate for us we dont have one. Neal is hurt and Young gives it to the other team.

Amen. The OL can make an average back look good. Not sure why Lane is in the doghouse, Neal has fumbled as well. Where is Tom Smith? If you are a DB, DL or RB come to UT, play early, play often!

bfowler1161#262198 writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

If they hammer Middle then I will agree they are a good team. I'm interested to see how it goes.

They beat MTSU, lose to UA. LSU is the one that decides their bowl fate.

PUL4VOLS writes:

However the Bama game goes, it is bad to lose Neal. Yeah I know he isn't....an SEC top back, a speed demon who can leave everyone in his wake etc. But he has had some good games. Also, I have yet to hear why Lane seems to be odd man out over and over again. Watson IS NOT better than him. I know Lane is hurting too, he has fumbled. But who hasn't in the running game unless they have barely played. The running game is vital. Without Neal it will be weaker and that's all Bama needs is for the Vols to be weaker at any position. It's a tough time but I am All Vol and will be pulling for them in this and every game as long as I am above ground. The rest of you experts can assess the poors...ie coaching and all. I am just glad to be a Volunteer Fan. GO VOLS!

Lifelongvolsfan writes:

I just hope the coaching search is already going on behind closed doors. The minute we get a QUALITY coach willing to sign we should fire Dooley on the spot, regardless of whether it is midseason or not.

bfowler1161#262198 writes:

Oh and they lost to a team wearing pink "stuff". If you want to help with breast cancer send the money to to breast cancer research and not on pink socks, tape, wrist bands and arm sleeves!

TheFuj writes:

I think a big part of our down years has been the RB position. We always had good backs--NFL backs. From Charlie Garner, Lewis, Bryson, to Cheese. Not only did we have some good backs, but seems that we had 2-3 on the team. We just don't have the backs now or in the past few years. I think Marlin Lane looks the part and I think he runs pretty good. Would like to see what he could do with 15-20 carries per game.

rtrchatt writes:

in response to TheFuj:

Has to recruit better. Just don't think recruits want to come to TN now.
Not winning.
Game atmosphere from the 80's.
Uniforms dull (I am not saying uniforms will bring in 4-5 star recruits, but kids like the new changes)
Coaching changes
Alabama has the basic uniform, but they have the coaches they think will get them to the NFL and they win.
Until we start winning, we need to change the things we can change. Maybe even the current kids will push a little extra. How about orange helmet with a white T. Just try something different.

For 40 yrs I turn on my tv and I am proud to see the Bama uniform in all its wonderful simplicity and classic look. Uniforms do not win games.... there are some things that simply
do not need changing. The Bama road white has won many a game lol...... Roll Tide and its a beautiful day in Knoxville.

bfowler1161#262198 writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

For 40 yrs I turn on my tv and I am proud to see the Bama uniform in all its wonderful simplicity and classic look. Uniforms do not win games.... there are some things that simply
do not need changing. The Bama road white has won many a game lol...... Roll Tide and its a beautiful day in Knoxville.

I wanted to puke when UT played in the black jerseys! The colors are orange and white! Bama's colors are crimson and white. I really discovered I was "old school" at the MSU game getting my eardrums busted by the speakers from the JumboTron. I want to hear the band, hear the cheers. If I want an NFL experience I'll go to a NFL game.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to bfowler1161#262198:

The fumble by Young was a great play by Banks. The kickoff....catch the dadgum (thank you Bobby Bowden) ball! Even it is a fair catch!!! If either or both of those plays goes our way the chances are we are talking about how UT has turned the corner and beat a top 25 team. MSU is a good team, I will give them credit for that. But the truth is they are equal to us, not better. Winning is habit, so is losing. If these guys want to keep Dooley, then they better learn to win quickly.

That kickoff was weird. Comes down and bounces sideways and the MSU guy one hands it just a yard or so from going out of bounds.

bfowler1161#262198 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

That kickoff was weird. Comes down and bounces sideways and the MSU guy one hands it just a yard or so from going out of bounds.

Agreed, but someone has to have the responsibility to catch it!

CoverOrange writes:

in response to bfowler1161#262198:

Oh and they lost to a team wearing pink "stuff". If you want to help with breast cancer send the money to to breast cancer research and not on pink socks, tape, wrist bands and arm sleeves!

That Susan Komen group has done a great marketing job getting men to wear pink in manly sports. Thought the pink socks were a bit much.

Thought the charcoal and black unis SC had Saturday were counter productive from a market identification standpoint. Didn't help on the field either.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

For 40 yrs I turn on my tv and I am proud to see the Bama uniform in all its wonderful simplicity and classic look. Uniforms do not win games.... there are some things that simply
do not need changing. The Bama road white has won many a game lol...... Roll Tide and its a beautiful day in Knoxville.

The way things are going, with Saban coaching, wouldn't bet against Bama road empty shirt unis.

brokendownoldvol writes:

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Put the best player on the field (Patterson) at tailback. I can't believe Devron Young gets 3-4x more touches a game than he does. He will be gone next yr. anyway use him! Dooley is crazy.

VolzsFan writes:

UT Chattanooga would not trade for UT Knoxville's running backs. UT benefits from having 2 deep safeties playing 30 yards off the line to protect against the deep ball leaving their defensive front out numbered. That is the only reason for the success they have had. You have to give up something and the defenses know that UT does not have anything special in the backfield. Now with Bray's horrific struggles against SEC teams, they need to but Paterson back there at TB. Then we may have something.

vol_fan8 writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

If they hammer Middle then I will agree they are a good team. I'm interested to see how it goes.

I'll be the first to say that when I say "MS State" I think of duldrum last place. but they're going to be 10-2 this year. They'll lose to LSU and AL (and so would most NFL teams). they'll kill Arkansas, A&M, and Ole Miss. weird but AL 13-0, FL 12-1, LSU 10-2, GA 10-2, Ms State, 10-2, SC 10-2. all legit top 10 nationally. I wanted to be top 25 this year but it's really hard to show with 6 teams that good this year. we need to get to a bowl team and find another good non-SEC team. seriously Fl state or anybody. then let's see how we look. right now, AL has set the bar at NFC championship contender. GA and SC would love to run the table, and so would FL. best they can do even is to take a few down on their way to 3rd place in the division.

voodoo101 writes:

in response to TheFuj:

Has to recruit better. Just don't think recruits want to come to TN now.
Not winning.
Game atmosphere from the 80's.
Uniforms dull (I am not saying uniforms will bring in 4-5 star recruits, but kids like the new changes)
Coaching changes
Alabama has the basic uniform, but they have the coaches they think will get them to the NFL and they win.
Until we start winning, we need to change the things we can change. Maybe even the current kids will push a little extra. How about orange helmet with a white T. Just try something different.

Hell no - leave uniforms out of it. You want change go to ladies' fashions. Way too much nonsense going on in the uniform department. From shiny pink shoes to the nonsense South Carolina wore at LSU - cammies for a stealth game? The gray Ole Miss uniforms vs Al may have sounded good - they looked like dingy, used, white away uniforms on TV.

bfowler1161#262198 writes:

in response to TooDlems:

No but I bet he's looking forward to seeing his son Vinnie.

Is there a dead horse in the bed scene here?

smokysbark writes:

in response to bfowler1161#262198:

They beat MTSU, lose to UA. LSU is the one that decides their bowl fate.

I watched that UA/Mizzou game and I thought that vaunted UA O line got exposed a little bit. McCarron didn't have much time to pass at all and was on the ground a lot during that game. I know their running game is ferocious but, to me, what makes UA seem unbeatable is their depth at key positions ... namely the big boys on both sides of the line. I think the only teams that can match that depth at this point are LSU and UF.

volhitman writes:

in response to brokendownoldvol:

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Put the best player on the field (Patterson) at tailback. I can't believe Devron Young gets 3-4x more touches a game than he does. He will be gone next yr. anyway use him! Dooley is crazy.

I thought I heard on sport's talk radio that Patterson wasn't eligible to leave early.

brokendownoldvol writes:

in response to TheFuj:

Has to recruit better. Just don't think recruits want to come to TN now.
Not winning.
Game atmosphere from the 80's.
Uniforms dull (I am not saying uniforms will bring in 4-5 star recruits, but kids like the new changes)
Coaching changes
Alabama has the basic uniform, but they have the coaches they think will get them to the NFL and they win.
Until we start winning, we need to change the things we can change. Maybe even the current kids will push a little extra. How about orange helmet with a white T. Just try something different.

Vanderbilt has been changing uniforms every yr. since the 60's. Now every game. What good has it ever done them?

smokysbark writes:

in response to bfowler1161#262198:

Is there a dead horse in the bed scene here?

Lol ... nice! Maybe he needs to do that so Vinnie accidentally (on purpose) drops that pick 6!

brokendownoldvol writes:

I would like to see them go back to the old original T on their helments they had in the 60's and 70's til Majors fattened it up. The old one looked much better imo.

VolzsFan writes:

!

smokysbark writes:

in response to bfowler1161#262198:

I wanted to puke when UT played in the black jerseys! The colors are orange and white! Bama's colors are crimson and white. I really discovered I was "old school" at the MSU game getting my eardrums busted by the speakers from the JumboTron. I want to hear the band, hear the cheers. If I want an NFL experience I'll go to a NFL game.

I'm too young to be "old school" but too old to like the way Oregon comes out every Saturday looking like the dang Rockettes in their unis. It's ridiculous. I used to go with my dad to college stadiums all over the SEC and it was a good experience everywhere we went. I took my two boys to the last game UT played in Death Valley and it was a horrible experience. They were scared, I spent half the time yelling at young punks to settle down and have a little respect for my children. Just awful. Fans are getting out of control and now we just have a few friends over every Saturday and enjoy the games from the couch. I agree with you that the college atmosphere is suffering at many venues around the SEC ... so I guess I am "old school" after all.

JonGrudensAgent writes:

Dooley joked about the strength of No. 1 Alabama, saying the Tide doesn’t recruit, “they draft.

Their coach also improves the performance of his players.

BigOrangeFever76 (Inactive) writes:

in response to VOLS_SEC_RULES:

How about UT Defensive Coach Buddy Hackett? Do you think he is looking forward to seeing his former boss on Saturday?

Maybe Nickyboy will take Buddy Hackett back to Tusacloozer with him. All I have seen him do is rip the head off of players coming off the field. That is NOT leadership.

VolsUpsetYetAnother writes:

We will be just fine with Young and Pig. They both average the same YPC as Neal. Just hold on to the BALL!!!! We never could recover from that on Sat. Neal has improved yes; but he's no Jamal Lewis! We need a 6'2 225 4.5 three down back. It's been too long for one of those guys! We just have to kill em with shifty speed right now. If their durable we can make it work. We still have Patterson to keep em honest. And whenever Hunter wakes up maybe he'll join the party! Go Vols!

atnvol#283282 writes:

in response to VOLS_SEC_RULES:

How about UT Defensive Coach Buddy Hackett? Do you think he is looking forward to seeing his former boss on Saturday?

Good one! Kept thinking that Sal looked like someone, but just could not think of who....Buddy Hackett thats it!

tovolny writes:

in response to brokendownoldvol:

I would like to see them go back to the old original T on their helments they had in the 60's and 70's til Majors fattened it up. The old one looked much better imo.

Some uniform variation would be nice. <Is "uniform variation" an oxymoron or what?>...I would like to see a variation using the color schemes of the Pride of the Southland Band with the UT blues, orange and white. The original orange was much lighter, almost yellow...being the color of the orange part of daisys that used to grow wild on the hill. I want them to use mostly the traditional uniforms...but occasionally kick it up a notch with something like matte black and florescent orange just for the ha'll of it. Oregon has fun with their uniforms, maybe we should too...who knows(?). We should never end up like Maryland's uniforms...remember that...got to be the ugliest uniforms of all time.

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