April 6, 2012

Ground game in focus in scrimmage

Priority No. 1 for the Tennessee offense this spring has been to fix a running game that sputtered through all of 2011 without ever really hitting its stride. Derek Dooley has made no secret that speeding up the development of that element of the offense is crucial if the Vols are going to take some large steps forward in the SEC this fall.

The Vols' first full scale scrimmage of the spring didn't provide any definitive answers, but there were at least some early bright spots that could be detected.

Raijon Neal rushed for a 100 yards on 15 carries, popping one loose for a gain of 23. Devrin Young made an impact in a limited role, picking up 60 yards on just eight attempts, including the long run of the day for 24 yards. Marlin Lane picked up eight yards on seven carries.

"That's been our emphasis, the run game, but we still threw the ball quite a bit. Worked on some two-minute stuff. We're just not as polished right now, and of course it hurts not having Justin (Hunter) and we've got some new guys out there, so we're just not where we need to be throwing the ball. But we're showing improvement running the ball, and that's a good sign," Dooley said of the overall offensive effort on Friday morning.

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