Tennessee football: Dismissal of Georgia Tech running back is no benefit to Vols

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 17: Dedrick Mills
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 17: Dedrick Mills /

Tennessee football’s season opening opponent, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, dismissed running back Dedrick Mills. But that won’t help the Volunteers.

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On the surface, this would seem like great news for Tennessee football and a terrible break for Paul Johnson and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The school announced Friday that Dedrick Mills, their leading rusher from a year ago, has been dismissed from the team.

With Justin Thomas now in the NFL and Marcus Marshall transferring because of Mills being the starter, in a brutal twist of irony, Tech now has lost its three leading rushers from a year ago.

But if you know anything about the Yellow Jackets and Johnson’s triple-option offense, it’s not going to help the Vols.

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Georgia Tech’s success and resurgence in two of the last three years came down to Thomas. It was hard to bet against his talent and leadership.

In fact, last year, the Yellow Jackets had the second fewest rushing yards per game in the Johnson era. That didn’t stop them from going undefeated against the SEC East.

And it didn’t stop them from beating the Virginia Tech Hokies without Mills that day anyway. They actually went 4-0 without Mills.

This year, Georgia Tech has most of its offensive line back. It also has key playmakers at receiver returning to keep the defense honest enough.

So the dismissal of Mills is irrelevant. Johnson’s success with this team will come down to whom he selects at quarterback.

And unfortunately for the Vols, that’s still a question.

As Butch Jones and co. still keep their quarterback race quiet between Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano, Johnson is also keeping things quiet.

He apparently knows who his starting quarterback will be, but he’s not letting anybody else know. The race includes Matthew Jordan, TaQuon Marshall, Lucas Johnson and Jay Jones.

And while we were already suspicious that Jones, new offensive coordinator Larry Scott and new quarterbacks coach Mike Canales were intentionally avoiding naming a starting quarterback to keep Georgia Tech off-guard, it appears Johnson is playing the same game.

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As a result, Mills’s dismissal is completely irrelevant. Georgia Tech will still be dangerous no matter what, and Tennessee football has to be ready.