Despite a rebuilt offensive line, Tennessee is on the verge of being one of the best rushing teams in its recent history.
Tennessee is averaging 213.7 rushing yards per game, good for 26th in the nation. If the Vols can stay at that pace against Vanderbilt on Saturday and in a bowl game, it would be the best performance by a Tennessee team since 1994. The Vols averaged 231.8 rushing yards per game that season, according to statistics provided by Tennessee’s sports information department.
“It has become a source of pride for us,” coach Butch Jones said during his weekly Monday press conference.
At least five Tennessee offensive linemen have missed considerable playing time because of injuries, making the rushing mark even more surprising. The Vols rushed for 248 yards against a stout Missouri team during a 19-8 victory in Columbia, Mo., on Saturday.
Notably, the Vols did so without wearing sleeves despite the frigid temperatures.
“It’s something we’ve kind of believed everywhere we’ve been,” Jones said of the no-sleeves philosophy. “It’s part of being mentally tough and embracing the elements. Our players fed off it. Our players did an incredible job with that. They took great pride in it. It’s a staple of who we are.”
Tennessee’s leading rusher is sophomore tailback Jalen Hurd with 1,038 yards Fellow sophomore tailback Alvin Kamara has 546 rushing yards and junior quarterback Joshua Dobbs has 530 rushing yards.