Coaches offer no timetable on return of Marlin Lane

Tennessee tailback Marlin Lane Jr. (15) runs the ball during the first half against Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee tailback Marlin Lane Jr. (15) runs the ball during the first half against Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Willie Martinez: Vols need to be more consistent

Steve Stripling: Vols 'gradually getting better'

Robert Gillespie on the Vols' running backs

Coaches offered no explanation Thursday for the absence of running back Marlin Lane, who missed time last week dealing with what coach Butch Jones called a family illness.

Jones does not typically speak to the media Thursdays, and assistants made the timetable for Lane’s return appear uncertain.

“That’s up to Coach Jones,” said offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian.

Running backs coach Robert Gillespie said he was focused on “coaching the players who are here.”

A native of Daytona Beach, Fla., Lane rushed for 658 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore in 2012.

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Receivers Vincent Dallas (possible concussion symptoms), Paul Harris (hamstring) and Jacob Carter (ankle) sat out practice, joining safety Jalen Reeves-Maybin, tight end Justin Meredith, linebacker Curt Maggitt and defensive lineman Mo Couch, who have missed all spring.

The injured players were corralled, quite literally, behind a temporary fence placed at the corner of Haslam Field. Signage identified the area as “The Hole.”

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Defensive coordinator John Jancek said the impending end of spring football — there are only three practices left before the April 20 spring game — has added urgency to practice.

One of the reasons might be expected: The Vols need to get a lot of things down on film.

“You’re building a video bank for them to study and for the freshmen that come in to study over the summer, so they can do things on their own when the coaches aren’t around,” Jancek said.

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Defensive backs coach Willie Martinez was particularly tough on junior college transfer Riyahd Jones on Thursday. After a poor play by Jones, Martinez pointed to junior cornerback Justin Coleman and said, “You’re not going to steal reps from him!”

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Jones often teases and pushes 360-pound defensive lineman Daniel McCullers from the microphone. On Thursday, as players were running to a new station, he yelled, “Somebody help McCullers! Put him on your back if you have to!”

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Gillespie said there hasn’t been significant separation between Lane and Rajion Neal this spring. Beyond those two established players, he identified redshirt freshman Alden Hill as the third-string back.

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Defensive line coach Steve Stripling continued to heap praise on freshman Corey Vereen, saying he’s never seen a young player with the “appetite and attitude” that he does.

“He should be going to the prom right now,” Stripling said.

Vereen was ejected from the scrimmage on Saturday for a late hit, but Stripling said Vereen immediately sought him out to apologize and promised it would never happen again.

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

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Comments » 13

orange_eVOLution writes:

Vereen rocks!! If the rest of the team would being it like he does we will kick Florida's butt this season... FINALLY.

Go Vols!!

Henley-Street-Bridge writes:

Get Well Soon Marlin Lane, whatever is sick.

SouthPaVol writes:

After Saturday's scrimmage and listening to the whole Stripling interview last night, I am optimistic our defensive line will be a strong point this year. If these guys we have now can get past our very stacked O-line, they are pretty good. Think both lines are challenging each other.

What's even more exciting for me are these two stud defensive ends coming in this summer. If coach Stripling can bring them along--talk about pass rushers! One had like 27 sacks last year; the other had 29!

My left-handed comment: I bet Murray and McCarron won't complete as many passes while running for their lives or laying on their backs. Go Vols!

dvols writes:

how is TN going to score points this year??

Classof72 writes:

Just put in a blocking back and let the quarterback run until Hurd gets ready. How much worse could it be?

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

To say you don't know the status of your one of your top backs is NOT a good thing..I doubt Marlin will let 2 years of hard work fall to the way side over a personal issue..Coach G is clearly not happy with his unexplained absence and being stuck with raw non SEC talent at no#2 back..Jay Graham worked hard to sign a decent back the last 2 years but failed miserably..All he produced were 2 backs that were basically the girls nobody picked for the prom and now this season it's going to really bite us in the rear..Considering the chance for immediate playing time for a solid 3 or 4 star back and in 2 years he produced SQUAT!!!! When I look at Bama's and GA's parade of top#10 backs it makes me sick

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to dvols:

how is TN going to score points this year??

With all the injuries and install of a new offense things aren't looking good..I expect the spring game to look pretty rough offensively..The QB's not being able to establish a routine with the WR's they will have to count on in big 3rd down conversions will hurt. Dallas is the guy I believe early in the season that needs to be the WR to step up..North looks like a nice prospect but it's a stretch to think a freshman with only fall practice under his belt will walk on the field against the likes of Oregon and FLA and take over the game..Thank God we have a solid OLine to ease the transition..We are also saying good bye to the most predictable OC in football and that may help..I watched a couple Bearcat games last year and Jones can be pretty crafty with his play calling if he can get the whole offense installed by season start..Jones will have some nice TE's as an option and if he is the coach I think he is he will use the TE position to do some damage

HooRay_Vol writes:

Will need to put Devrin Young back to RB if Lane does not come back. Then pray that Neal does not get hurt.

Looking back we should have offered Dy'Shawn Mobley from Powell..........

antonio14313 writes:

in response to dvols:

how is TN going to score points this year??

ooh ooh ooh, i know this one!:

a touchdown is worth 6 points.

the "point after touchdown", or "PAT" is worth 1 point.

and then sometimes a team will "go for 2" after a touchdown. that's worth 2 points.

and speaking of 2 points, a safety is worth 2 points.

and last, but not least, a field goal is worth 3 points.

GO VOLS!

t

ALAllVOL writes:

Sounds like Lane is taking time off for the same reason Eric Gordan did. Speaking of, is he not in the mix for starting?? Before his time off coaches were saying he was doing good.

pingkr62 writes:

in response to dvols:

how is TN going to score points this year??

That's easy, Offense, defense, and special teams. G.B.O.!!!

givehim6 writes:

in response to ALAllVOL:

Sounds like Lane is taking time off for the same reason Eric Gordan did. Speaking of, is he not in the mix for starting?? Before his time off coaches were saying he was doing good.

Let the more experienced guys have the time off during spring practice as long as they have there new rolls down pat by April 20th. The starters should be in till half time.

rb4346 writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

To say you don't know the status of your one of your top backs is NOT a good thing..I doubt Marlin will let 2 years of hard work fall to the way side over a personal issue..Coach G is clearly not happy with his unexplained absence and being stuck with raw non SEC talent at no#2 back..Jay Graham worked hard to sign a decent back the last 2 years but failed miserably..All he produced were 2 backs that were basically the girls nobody picked for the prom and now this season it's going to really bite us in the rear..Considering the chance for immediate playing time for a solid 3 or 4 star back and in 2 years he produced SQUAT!!!! When I look at Bama's and GA's parade of top#10 backs it makes me sick

With the RB's committed already this year I feel that CBJ will sign another RB in this class, as we cannot have to many top RB's. Same thing with OL and DL.

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