With Marlin Lane absent due to 'disciplinary reasons,' Vols' RB situation in flux

Lane out for 'disciplinary reasons'

AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee assistant head coach for defense and defensive backs Willie Martinez celebrates with defensive back Justin Coleman after Coleman intercepted a pass during a scrimmage at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee assistant head coach for defense and defensive backs Willie Martinez celebrates with defensive back Justin Coleman after Coleman intercepted a pass during a scrimmage at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

Redshirt freshman running back Alden Hill was the hero of Saturday’s scrimmage, bowling over tacklers, scoring touchdowns and enjoying a rare moment in the sun after a long season spent on the scout team.

That’s a good sign, because Hill may be called on to contribute in real games far sooner than anyone anticipated.

Junior running back Marlin Lane, the team’s most productive running back a year ago and the top candidate to win the starting job in 2013, is away from the team due to unspecified “disciplinary reasons,” coach Butch Jones said Saturday.

Although Jones left open the possibility of a return, the nature of Lane’s absence has cast at least some doubt on his future with the program.

“We hold our players to a very high standard of accountability here at Tennessee,” said Jones, without elaborating on the nature of Lane’s transgression. “The way we play, the way we win off the field, the way we go to class, the way we excel in the classroom — it’s a high level of accountability in all aspects.”

Lane carried 120 times for 658 yards and caught 29 passes for 228 yards last season, but had yet to emerge as the elite SEC back that many believed he would be when the Vols signed him out of Daytona Beach, Fla.

Even so, Lane and senior Rajion Neal are the only two experienced backs on the Vols’ roster, and the depth behind them is perilously thin.

Hill, who redshirted last year, is the next option behind the two veterans. Although running backs coach Robert Gillespie said Hill has improved more than any other player this spring, he wasn’t seen as a candidate to earn a significant role in 2013 — until Saturday.

“It’s not just getting the opportunity; it’s taking advantage of the opportunity,” said Hill after Saturday’s scrimmage.

After a year on the scout team, Hill looked lost at times early in the spring, but coaches admired his toughness, even when he was struggling at drills, and Gillespie said Hill did extra work on his own in an effort to catch up.

“He’s been a great surprise this spring,” Jones said.

After Hill, there’s junior Tom Smith, a scholarship player who has battled injuries and appeared in only three games in his UT career, and Deanthonie Summerhill, a veteran walk-on who has played well this spring. Neither are likely to be serious options to play regularly.

If the worst-case scenario occurs and Lane is gone for good, where else could the Vols turn? Devrin Young moved from running back to receiver before the spring. Although the receiving corps is struggling with depth as well, the dire situation at running back might warrant a return to the backfield. Alton “Pig” Howard, a receiver who played a versatile role a year ago, could also see more action at running back.

Jabo Lee, the running back prospect from Dillon, S.C., who was a last-minute addition to Tennessee’s 2013 class, also would have a chance to play an important role — assuming he qualifies academically.

The wild card is Jalen Reeves-Maybin, the highly regarded freshman athlete who enrolled in January but is sitting out the spring due to an injured shoulder. Reeves-Maybin is currently a safety, but he played a lot of running back in high school and could be an intriguing option for 2013, if nothing else.

Of course, Lane could return next week and end much of the speculation about his status. Until then, a roster filled with questions will have another glaring one.

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

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Comments » 22

chipmurphy461 writes:

Sounds like grades and classroom attendance are a problem for Lane. Hit the books and at least have a backup plan, as of now Lane is an NFL practice squad player AT BEST!

Voltman writes:

Tom smith is a redshirt sophomore not a junior come this fall

TitanandVolfan4life writes:

This is bUTch showing players he means serious business when he says to keep everything right at all times in their lives.

We need tough discipline to keep these kids in check and I'm glad to see bUTch taking a tough stance and setting a good example early on.

VFL...GBO!!!

gohawks1 writes:

in response to RIGHTISBETTERTHANLEFT:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your alimentary canal is backing up. Call a plumber asap.

Navaloranges writes:

in response to RIGHTISBETTERTHANLEFT:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

All I had to do was look at your past posts to see that your opinion is useless. You're just another blowhard, attetention starved Troll in a sea of Posers on this site. It's really a sad thing that real fans can't enjoy a fan site without some loser getting their kicks DEGRADING and DEFAMING the site's namesake for fun. Some fun, huh Troll?

jjk writes:

in response to RIGHTISBETTERTHANLEFT:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Uh dude, why don't you take your ten-cent butt off this site and go play more XBox in your mother's basement? They haven't even coached one game yet and you're already calling them losers? You must know the coaches really well to make that assessment. We know they're going to struggle the first season, and we don't need d---heads like you on these message boards to say that.

orangecountyvols writes:

jjk and Naval Oranges,

Excellent friends. Normally, I'd have something to comment about an idiotic troll such as this right/left/backward/forward guy.

But you gentlemen very aptly described the whiny/loser. Thanks !

grandtad#1402265 writes:

in response to TitanandVolfan4life:

This is bUTch showing players he means serious business when he says to keep everything right at all times in their lives.

We need tough discipline to keep these kids in check and I'm glad to see bUTch taking a tough stance and setting a good example early on.

VFL...GBO!!!

I agree! Opportunity is how we find great players so, maybe Hill will be a "go-to" guy! GBO!

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to RIGHTISBETTERTHANLEFT:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

There you go with your hands again. Naughty boy.

SevenT writes:

Look at that dimwit, foolish coach in the picture jumping up and down hugging his player on the sidelines. Coach you are supposed to be a professional please act like one. What a joke.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

I know at tucky you rarely see celebratory reactions from players/coaches..Enjoy watching this sight repeated on that tundra at common-trash stadium next Fall..

SevenT writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

I know at tucky you rarely see celebratory reactions from players/coaches..Enjoy watching this sight repeated on that tundra at common-trash stadium next Fall..

You certainly won't see that type of behavior from a Coach on Saban's or Spurrier's staff.

Just Saying

The_Power_T writes:

in response to SevenT:

You certainly won't see that type of behavior from a Coach on Saban's or Spurrier's staff.

Just Saying

They arent big enough losers to go on another teams site. What kind of no life losers "troll" on another fan bases web site? I mean I have some free time during the day like the next guy but I think I'd literally kill myself if at any point during the day I said to myself, " man I'd really love to get go on an Kentucky website and just start some stuff." We all know all you trolls ain't getting none, but can't you get off on adult websites like the other losers instead of trying to get rise out of people who are REAL fans. This could be a decent website if not for the virgins using their parents computer. Get off our site, get a life, maybe a girl, and worry about your own team. We have our coach, the future is bright, and we WILL be back on top where we belong. History backs my previous statement. Go Vols

rb4346 writes:

in response to RIGHTISBETTERTHANLEFT:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dude go back to your sheep, Dooley is now gone.

rb4346 writes:

in response to SevenT:

Look at that dimwit, foolish coach in the picture jumping up and down hugging his player on the sidelines. Coach you are supposed to be a professional please act like one. What a joke.

You of all people calling someone a dimwit, didn't realize you could spell it. Your IQ just jumped up to 8.

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to SevenT:

Look at that dimwit, foolish coach in the picture jumping up and down hugging his player on the sidelines. Coach you are supposed to be a professional please act like one. What a joke.

Kinda looks like you at the Carousel

gc_scvol writes:

in response to SevenT:

Look at that dimwit, foolish coach in the picture jumping up and down hugging his player on the sidelines. Coach you are supposed to be a professional please act like one. What a joke.

Go away little girl (sorry ladies)

Classof72 writes:

" ' Vols' RB situation in flux"

The Vols have been 'fluxed' at running back for some time, and the absent running game will continue to be 'fluxed' until some elite, SEC-capable running backs are recruited. Hurd may be a good start, but more are needed.

UTVOL2001 writes:

Looks like Hurd will walk in and carry the rock from day 1 next year

Olddogsrule writes:

in response to SevenT:

Look at that dimwit, foolish coach in the picture jumping up and down hugging his player on the sidelines. Coach you are supposed to be a professional please act like one. What a joke.

SevenTurkeys gobbles again ... caint wait till huntin season opens on turkeys an smurfkittens!

MarbleVol48 writes:

I will say - "I told you so"! Lane will not be missed. Give the ball to Alden Hill and see what continues to happen. 6'-3" more like 222lbs now,
and behind our O Line?

exlineman writes:

Fellow UT fans, Jalen Maybin is better that any running back, we currently have on board. He is a beast, hard to stop and doesn't stop running. Jalen, I don't mean beast in a disrespectful way, but a compliment. I saw you against Beech High School with over 394 yards and 7 touchdowns and you played every down on defense as well except for one, where it appeared you were kicked in the shin with weather at 36 degrees. You are one heck of a ball player and you and Jalen Hurd in the same backfield will be awesome next year. I look for you to shine this year in a big way. You are definitely a 5 star, rivals just don't know it yet. They need to stay tuned for your big start. Go Big Orange.

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