In recent years, the Tennessee Vols have struggled to effectively run the ball at times.
It’s not because the Volunteers didn’t have quality running backs (they’ve had some incredible running backs, in fact), but it was because the offensive philosophy wasn’t geared toward being a power run team.
That’s going to change under Jeremy Pruitt and offensive coordinator Tyson Helton.
On Wednesday night during the Vols’ National Signing Day celebration in Knoxville, Helton told fans that Tennessee is committed to be a “power football” team.
Helton also acknowledged that in order to win, Tennessee “has to run”.
Tyson Helton at the #NSD18 celebration: “We have to run to win. When we need to run we will run. It’s good to find people that have an appreciation for running the football. You have to manage the game and put players in position to be successful.” pic.twitter.com/JQudYxTfD8
— Dan Harralson (@danharralson) February 7, 2018
Running backs coach Robert Gillespie echoed those sentiments, saying “We want them to know we’re going to run the ball and we’re still going to do it”.
That’s an attitude that’s been missing on Rocky Top for a long time.
There’s no better way to demoralize an opponent than running the ball successfully and them not being able to stop it.
When you’re able to run the ball between the tackles, it opens up the rest of the field. Deep throws don’t feel forced, third-and-long situations don’t become as common and the playbook opens up a whole lot.
You can’t win in the SEC if you don’t run the ball effectively. Tennessee’s proved that the last several years (the Vols were 112th in the nation in rushing last season).
Georgia and Alabama, the two teams in the national championship, were in the top 15 in rushing last season. I think you see what I’m getting at here.
Fortunately for the Vols, they have some talented running backs on the roster (even with the loss of John Kelly).
Ty Chandler, Tim Jordan and possibly even true freshman Jeremy Banks could be in for huge years in 2018 thanks to the Vols’ new offensive philosophy.
Featured image via USA Today