- Advertisement -

Tennessee Football: Vols’ RBs excel without selfishness and more could be coming

Tennessee’s running backs set the tone, finished drives and, well, did just about everything right in the Vols’ season opener against Virginia.

The Vols beat the Cavaliers 49-13 on Saturday in Nashville and it all began with running the football and utilizing their running backs. Jaylen Wright was the obvious focal point as he accounted for 55 yards from the line of scrimmage on the Vols’ first five plays during the opening drive. All came on the ground other than a six-yard pass reception.

Dylan Sampson finished that opening drive with a nine-yard touchdown reception. Then, there’s Jabari Small, who was also a big part of Tennessee’s offense out of the backfield.

“Very selfless group,” Tennessee coach Josh Heupel said during his weekly Monday press conference. “They want to be successful individually, but I don’t think there’s anybody more happy about the success of the guy that’s on the field than the guys that are on the sideline during the moment of that success. 

“And at the end of the day, that group understands that the strength of the position can’t be one guy. They pull hard for each other. They’re great competitors on the practice field. They push each other in the meeting room and I think like all of our position groups they care about the people inside that room.”

The balance among the trio was pretty remarkable. Wright ended the game with 12 carries for 116 yards and caught two passes for 18 yards. Small carried the ball 13 times for 67 yards and caught 13 passes for 13 yards. Sampson, who had four touchdowns against the Cavs, ran the ball 13 times for 52 yards and caught that one pass that resulted in that early touchdown.

- Advertisement -

Having multiple tailbacks on a team is nothing new. There are very few college or NFL teams that rely heavily on one tailback. However, there is always the concern that a group of tailbacks could become selfish if they don’t get enough carries. So far, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Also, Heupel handled the same trio of tailbacks last season and there didn’t seem to be any dissension in the ranks.

The Vols’ depth at tailback, which includes freshman Cameron Seldon, will almost assuredly be put to the test. Almost every team in the nation and, especially the SEC, will have to endure an injury at tailback. Seldon had two carries for four yards on Saturday, but there could be much more coming as he was one of the standouts in spring practice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Podcast

- Advertisement -

More Podcasts

- Advertisement -