In previewing the 2018 Tennessee football season under new head coach Jeremy Pruitt, here is a look at the Volunteers running backs.
Tennessee football has gained a reputation for its misuse of running backs over the past five years. Butch Jones notoriously tried to force the spread offense on a power back and use that power back over elite speedy backs with NFL talent. He also refused to use his running backs in the red zone even if they were dominating.
Now, the Vols enter a new era with running backs along with a new crop of talent. Alvin Kamara is starring in the NFL. John Kelly is getting ready to make an impact with the Los Angeles Rams. Jalen Hurd has gone on to Baylor to finish out his career.
So with a new head coach in Jeremy Pruitt and new offensive coordinator in Tyson Helton, the Vols are looking to return to their power running days with a fresh slate. Part of that should obviously involve starting the better running back and actually using the running backs in crucial situations when they are playing well.
Another change in this new system, though, is the way the Vols are focusing on the running game. Pruitt and Helton clearly want to return more to a power rushing attack. But with a pro-style offense, it will actually work.
As we continue with our preview of the 2018 Tennessee football season, today’s focus will be on those running backs. Their are 11 of the guys on the roster, but five are walk-ons. Three are returning contributors, one converted to the position from last year, one is a true freshman, and one is a graduate transfer.
Carlin Fils-Aime, though, has converted away from running back to another position. That leaves things wide open as to who will be the main contributors this year when you factor in the newcomers and the change in the system.
There is talent here for the Vols to work with. Pruitt said he wants to be able to go four-deep at the position, and he certainly has the horses to do it. In this post, just like the quarterbacks, we’ll look at our projected starters, analyze the backups, name the key questions and then give a final take.
Since it looks like the Vols will use a by-committee system, we’re going to name two starters as well. So let’s get started. Here is our preview for the Tennessee football running back situation heading into the 2018 season.