September 3, 2012
Run game in focus after opener
Tennessee's tailbacks spent much of the offseason at the center of a debate on just how much improvement could realistically be expected from a ground game that needed to show tons of it. After a feel-good opening win over NC State on Friday night, the early consensus seems to be that the Vols are improved in the backfield, but certainly not to the level where the coaches are satisfied.
The Vols racked up 191 yards on the ground against NC State, more than the offense tallied in any single game in 2011. That strongly suggests a step forward has been taken, even if you feel that Cordarrelle Patterson's 67-yard gallop on a reverse skews those numbers.
On Monday, Derek Dooley seemed to be in an enviable position for a head coach. His team, specifically the running game for the purposes of this discussion, played well enough to win, but certainly not so well that there weren't ample opportunities for 'teaching moments' in the film room.
One of the most obvious areas Dooley saw for his team to make some quick strides was in short yardage work. Tennessee had four legitimate short yardage situations (three yards or less) in the game on possession downs and failed to convert on any of them.
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