Marlin Lane wants running backs to make a statement against Florida

Tennessee tailback Marlin Lane carries the ball against Georgia State at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012. UT won the home opener 51-13.(AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Tennessee tailback Marlin Lane carries the ball against Georgia State at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012. UT won the home opener 51-13.(AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Phillip Fulmer on UT vs. Florida and the College Football Hall of Fame

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Tennessee running back Marlin Lane remembers the number down to the decimal.

"We were almost last (in the SEC in rushing) last year and we didn't like that," the sophomore said Monday. "We averaged 90.1 yards per game."

After two games and 81 handoffs, the 23rd-ranked Vols (2-0) are averaging 187.5 yards on the ground, but 90 of UT's 375 rushing yards belong to wideout Cordarrelle Patterson.

The team's three-piece puzzle at running back of Lane, Rajion Neal, and Devrin Young, meanwhile, remains an enigma. None has emerged as a starter. Each has unique issues.

Nonetheless, Lane said the Vols' running back corp plans to deliver a message in UT's SEC opener against No. 18 Florida on Saturday.

"That we're going to lead the SEC in rushing this year, no doubt," Lane said.

Neal, who UT coach Derek Dooley said will start against the Gators, was not among the players made available to the media Monday. Asked if constant competition for carries among the running backs is a distraction, Young said, "It definitely can get frustrating at times. It's one of those things — at this level there's plenty of talent and plenty of talent to get the job done. You've just got to be one of those people."

Lane leads the running backs, averaging 6.2 yards per carry, but a fumble against Georgia State last week dampened his standing in the race for No. 1 ball carrier.

"I just had it in the wrong hand at the wrong time," Lane said.

Neal leads the Vols with three rushing touchdowns, but averages just 3.4 yards per touch.

Thus, with the showdown against Florida sitting firmly on the horizon, the puzzle remains unsolved.

"You just wait until your name is called, cause you never know who is going to go out there on Saturday and you never know who's going to end it," Lane said.

In season-opening wins over Bowling Green (27-14) and Texas A&M (20-17), Florida's run defense allowed a combined 235 yards on 65 carries, an average of 3.6 yards per carry.

***

Dooley, who has known Florida coach Will Muschamp since they shared positions on Nick Saban's staffs at LSU and with the Miami Dolphins, said the second-year Gators coach has fully installed his style of play in Gainesville.

"They are a pro-style and they are multi-formational, so they are going to try and get you out-flanked, Dooley said. "That is his philosophy and they are starting to play Muschamp ball."

***

When a Georgia State kickoff landed in the hands of defensive end Daniel Hood late in the fourth quarter Saturday, the junior tucked it and took off.

"I just knew they were gonna squib it so I was excited," Hood said Monday. "I was supposed to pitch it back but no way I was letting that happen."

Hood now boasts a kickoff return average of 18.0 yards.

"I may get into the starting lineup for that," he said.

**

Dooley said freshman wideout Alton "Pig" Howard will be activated this weekend.

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Comments » 39

BigOrangeFever76 (Inactive) writes:

Dooley said freshman wideout Alton "Pig" Howard will be activated this weekend.

Maybe a little "Pig Razzle-Dazzle" will be a big surprise to the Lizards.

Vols 27
Lizards 17

FWBVol writes:

The Mighty Quinn needs to go back and check his facts. Derek Dooley and Muschamp coached with each other on Saban staffs at LSU and the Miami Dolphins, not Alabama.

TheVolSnake writes:

After two games and 81 handoffs, the 23rd-ranked Vols (2-0) are averaging 187.5 yards on the ground, but 90 of UT's 375 rushing yards belong to wideout Cordarrelle Patterson.

I don't care who carries the ball as long as we are getting the yards

VolGrad writes:

"After two games and 81 handoffs, the 23rd-ranked Vols (2-0) are averaging 187.5 yards on the ground, but 90 of UT's 375 rushing yards belong to wideout Cordarrelle Patterson."

Quinn showing his "but" in that statement. It should be an "and." After all, CP is still a member of our team, right? I don't care if we have 2,000 yards rushing at the end of the year, and CP has 1200 of them. I'll take it.

I think the better way to say what he was trying to say there was that 90 of the 375 came on a couple of big plays. But to me, over the course of a season, that is all irrelevant as well. The most important thing is that we are light years ahead of last season in that department.

VolGrad writes:

Best of luck to Pig Howard. It will be interesting to see what he can do, especially once he is 100%.

Go Vols! Beat the Gators!!!

Voltransplant writes:

I think that our running game will be just fine. Let's light up the scoreboard Saturday and roast them gators. Woohoo it is great to be a Tennessee Vol.

VolinCalif writes:

What was that the little train said?
I think I can. I think I can.
Well I think you can too.
Vols gnd game 191.
Vols 41 Fl 17

USFBullVol writes:

I felt like my vols had the team to finally reverse fortunes against florida last year before Justin Hunter went down. I was excited for the florida game last year and I'm excited for the game this year as well. The difference this year is that it doesn't feel like all hopes rest on the shoulders of one wide receiver. Feels like I'm finally watching a Tennessee team with some depth and some fire. Go Vols!!

SmokeyPride writes:

We need all our backs ready for this weekend. Turnovers will be the key. We cannot put the ball on the ground!!

ALAllVOL writes:

+ or - turnovers will win this game. I'm not expecting anything great from our rushing attack. Bray, Hunter,Patterson, Rogers, Rivera, ect.. will have to win this one.
The D needs to step up and flex their muscles this weekend!

VFL_Troll_Patrol writes:

The way i see it, now that "Pig" is in, the gators will have to spread out. Unlike last years game when they double teamed our receivers after Hunter went down. Now we have Hunter, Pig, Patterson and more! No more double team!
As long as they all stay healthy.

Gators didn't impress me against Texas A&M.
Lets see how UT responds to the momentum they have.

*Im always watching*
*Shock the world*
*The curse is lifted*

Tennfan4075 writes:

The old saying of what "goes around comes around" (or something like that) seems to be a perfect fit for this years match up between the Vols and Gators. Somewhat due to necessity because of the inability to run the football, the Vols have become pass first and run second, while at the same time Florida has become a run first, pass second type of offense. Will Muschamp has stated on several occasions his belief in the need to run the football to win in the SEC. This sounds much like something I have heard before from the Vol past. I guess come Saturday we will find out.

keithgibson writes:

in response to FWBVol:

The Mighty Quinn needs to go back and check his facts. Derek Dooley and Muschamp coached with each other on Saban staffs at LSU and the Miami Dolphins, not Alabama.

That is what he said. He never mentioned Alabama. Try reading before you rip the writer.

PUL4VOLS writes:

I am not sold on the three-back attack. In a focus-need based game like this one, we should know who will be in there. I love Lane but he needs to HOLD ONTO THE BALL. If a GA State hit can dislodge it...well you get the picture.
As for our running game, if we establish the pass early, I believe the run will come. If we go out and try to bull them early on the ground, I see frustration on our part and some three and out experiences. This is the best opportunity we have had to have a big game against the Gators. I hope we see one. Finally, BEWARE THE PIG! He's coming at you! GO BIG ORANGE!

LCPanthers (Inactive) writes:

We dont have to run that much---just keep the other team
honest----there is no team that can stop Vols passing attack--surely not FL.They lucked out against BG and TEXAS A&M.Not on 9/15/12 in K-town.This could get ugly early if VOLS score early----will make Fl quarterback pass and then watch out.

GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HooRay_Vol writes:

Line up Hood in the backfield in goal line situations and let him run it across the goal-line!

kcbigorngX writes:

in response to keithgibson:

That is what he said. He never mentioned Alabama. Try reading before you rip the writer.

Maybe you don't keep up enough to realize KNS regularly edits these columns.The original article had Alabama in the sentence instead of LSU.

FWB knows his stuff; try a little research on him.

There are plenty of other dillweeds on here for you to rip...

kcbigorngX writes:

in response to PUL4VOLS:

I am not sold on the three-back attack. In a focus-need based game like this one, we should know who will be in there. I love Lane but he needs to HOLD ONTO THE BALL. If a GA State hit can dislodge it...well you get the picture.
As for our running game, if we establish the pass early, I believe the run will come. If we go out and try to bull them early on the ground, I see frustration on our part and some three and out experiences. This is the best opportunity we have had to have a big game against the Gators. I hope we see one. Finally, BEWARE THE PIG! He's coming at you! GO BIG ORANGE!

I've been looking forward to turning the Pig loose, too. Hope he gets gnarly against some of his Fla. homies.

Also noticed all of the RB's have been carrying the ball like 'loaf of bread' when in the open field and accelerating (Neal is exception; maybe he learned his lesson).

The gators will be stronger than what we have faced so far. We will win this game if there are no turnovers giving up field position.

pcorange writes:

Should be a fun game. I've actually got hope this year, something that has been missing lately. Florida has a spell over us for some reason. Several times we've had better teams and come up short, and that has to be mental. I hope we overcome that Saturday and pound the Gators into the turf at Neyland Stadium!

tomatosoup writes:

Alright my Vols, let's take the ball and jam it down the throats of the lizards! I have this weird feeling that Florida is primarely concentrating on stopping our passing game and then all of a sudden...WHAM! We take the tater and shove it down their fricken throats! I've got chill bumps and can't wait till Saturday! Let's go my boys!!!! On a side note, anyone else think the dude in the white shirt in the picture above resembles old Phillip? Hu??? Go Vols!

Vol_in_Mich writes:

"Florida has a spell over us for some reason"

Saint Steve the Superior of thrown visor fame put a curse on the Vols. He's gone from there but the curse remains. Time to change that!
GBO

laraccoon writes:

i think Chaney's play calling will decide this game ,predictable and we lose but if he can find a way to keep them off balance i like our chances .

jobrando#216494 writes:

We have had good backs in the past but the line play has been terrible for a number of years. I hope the OLINE can help the RB's out and make there statement that Tennessee is a good place for good running backs.

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

To paraphrase Eddie George, a running back should be really pzzed off every time he gets the ball in his hands. I think our offensive line also needs to get really pzzed.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to laraccoon:

i think Chaney's play calling will decide this game ,predictable and we lose but if he can find a way to keep them off balance i like our chances .

I saw more motion involving more different potential ball carriers and receivers against GSU than I have ever seen from a Vol team, going all the way back to Cutcliffe. The wildcat plays looked much more varied with Justin King running it than it ever did with the guys who ran it before. Taken together, the Gators will have to scheme against a far more versatile offense than they have seen out of UT in the past. They will have all they can handle defending UT's "normal" offense. If the Vols can cause the Gator defense just a moment's hesitation, they could hit a big play any time.

RunningWithTheVols writes:

My observations on the Vol's running game ineffectiveness with Dooley are:

1. No offensive line push, in the past. Better so far this year but doubt we'll do much against the Gators for opening up holes. Our OL stands up at the snap instead of getting into a power position. Not an expert, though.
2. Lackluster RB play (fumbles, busting every play to the outside, etc) caused by subpar recruiting and no RB coach. Finally fixed this year.
3. Poor QB play for audibling to a better play at the line. Often times, we run right into the strength of the defense. Bray has to improve, here.

volfaninutah writes:

Mr Lane and company will need to hit the hole a lot quicker this week. Florida's defense looked really quick to the ball last week, and they did shut down A&M in the second half. We must run the ball and have a balance this week. GO VOLs!

mbible1utk#324980 writes:

Some of the better years of football that I can remember, we had three running backs. While these aren't to the level that those were, I think I like that better than having one guy who all our hopes rest on.

mbible1utk#324980 writes:

If we want to beat Florida, the lesson I take from the Texas A&M game is that Driskell holds the ball when he should just throw it away. Sometimes it leaves him a vulnerable target, but when he does throw, he's pretty accurate with it. When Texas A&M brought the rush, they usually got a sack. That leaves you vulnerable to draws and screens, so we'd have to play a shallow zone or keep a spy to sniff out screens. But if he doesn't get a solid pocket, you've got him whipped. This would be one of those years where the prowler package Chavis used to run would be killer.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to laraccoon:

i think Chaney's play calling will decide this game ,predictable and we lose but if he can find a way to keep them off balance i like our chances .

Very well said..At times things get too vanilla and Fla has enough film to pick out Chaney's tendencies like throwing slants/in routes on 3rd down.And Iam sure Fla isn't pulling their hair out trying to predict where our backs are gonna go..Nothing wrong with a naked bootleg or gimmick play

Miamimindedvolheart writes:

Can someone give me a rundown of who this pig guy is, what he's done, and why I should be excited for his debut?

Lizard for din' din' Saturday night! Be there, say 9:30ish!

Navaloranges writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

Very well said..At times things get too vanilla and Fla has enough film to pick out Chaney's tendencies like throwing slants/in routes on 3rd down.And Iam sure Fla isn't pulling their hair out trying to predict where our backs are gonna go..Nothing wrong with a naked bootleg or gimmick play

Personally, I believe there will be some new wrinkles in our offense scheme for sure. We've actually looked very vanilla in both of our games so far, no doubt by design. Chaney has already stated this fall that he'll be able to dive deeper into his playbook than he has since he's been here, because of this offense's talent and experience.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Going to be a lower scoring game than most think. A 4 pt. victory only if we don't have to rely on a FG to win.

xvolx writes:

Too many pulling guards and tackles in Vols running game and after they get out there, they can't block. Our off. linemen can't hold a block and our running plays are too slow developing.
We need meaner linemen and running backs with a grudge. Fla. will blitz us constantly.

murrayvol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I saw more motion involving more different potential ball carriers and receivers against GSU than I have ever seen from a Vol team, going all the way back to Cutcliffe. The wildcat plays looked much more varied with Justin King running it than it ever did with the guys who ran it before. Taken together, the Gators will have to scheme against a far more versatile offense than they have seen out of UT in the past. They will have all they can handle defending UT's "normal" offense. If the Vols can cause the Gator defense just a moment's hesitation, they could hit a big play any time.

You should do color commentary on ESPN john. Seriously!

Most of those guys are bad with a bullet.

murrayvol writes:

"....we're going to lead the SEC in rushing this year, no doubt." M. Lane

Maybe not, but we can be a helluva lot better than we've been to date.

gatorhator4eva writes:

turnovers are important but there is one factor that determines this game every year. the team with the most rushing yards win. plain and simple.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

You should do color commentary on ESPN john. Seriously!

Most of those guys are bad with a bullet.

Thanks for the ups, Murray, but I just call 'em like I see 'em. I do agree that some of these "analysts" just seem to mail it in, relying on outdated, irrelevant stats and trying to hoke it up with jargon and cliches. Just too many games on TV these days for them all to have top-quality announcing teams.

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