Grading the Vols’ Performance Through Five Weeks

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    Running Backs

    Photo by Anne Newman/RTI

    Nathanael: B

    To me, the Vols’ struggles in the run game have rarely been because of the running backs. Yes, Tim Jordan has a tendency to not trust his line and bounce the ball outside, but can you blame him with how the line and tight ends have blocked this season? Jeremy Banks’ fumbling issues are a concern, and that keeps this unit from getting a better grade for sure.

    Otherwise, I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen.

    When Banks holds on to the ball, he runs well and with ferocity. Madre London has been a nice addition and provides some bruising support on short yardage runs, and Jordan has been inconsistent but has been really good out of the wildcat and overall has been mostly effective. The big star of the group is Ty Chandler, and I expect to see him more as the season wears on. He would’ve been a much bigger feature had he not been clocked against West Virginia in the first half of that game, and he’s flashed plenty of big play-making ability in his second season with the Vols. He needs to get the ball more, and I trust he will.

    Ben: B-

    Similar to the quarterback position, I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to the running back room due to poor offensive line play. Looking at the numbers and where the group ranks amongst SEC foes, a B- isn’t justified. But I truly believe that behind a solid offensive line, Ty Chandler and Tim Jordan’s numbers would be more impressive.

    Even so, Chandler still ranks eighth amongst SEC running backs with at least 40 carries in yards per carry at 6.18 yards. Madre London and Jeremy Banks have each rushed for three touchdowns, while Jordan has contributed two.

    My biggest gripe with the group is their tendency to bounce runs outside, particularly Jordan who has rushed for 258 yards on 63 carries. London isn’t flashy and Banks has butterfingers, leaving Chandler as the lead back. The sophomore only had five carries against Georgia, but needs to carry the ball 15-20 times going forward. Chandler has the ability to make defenders miss at the line of scrimmage, something that the others don’t posses.

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