SEC Country is breaking down each Tennessee position group as the Vols prepare for spring football practice.
Wednesday afternoon’s breakdown features Tennessee’s 2016 running backs.
Notable departures: None
Major players: Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara
Analysis: Tennessee will boast two of the top tailbacks in the nation this fall. However, don’t expect to see much from either Hurd or Kamara this spring. Tennessee’s coaches will likely limit both players’ carries during spring practice to avoid an untimely injury. Still, there is plenty to work on, particularly with Kamara.
Tennessee’s coaches got more creative towards the latter half of the 2015 season in how they utilized Kamara. There were more swing passes and non-traditional running plays that helped him become more effective and more explosive. The Vols can work on developing more of those type of plays even in non-contact or minimal contact drills.
Kamara’s role needs to continue to grow so both running backs can stay fresh throughout the 2016 season. The Vols have a brutal six-game stretch that includes games against Virginia Tech, Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M and Alabama without a bye week. Hurd has looked tired at times late in the season. The Vols need to avoid that if they hope to make a run at winning the SEC East Division.
Sophomore John Kelly could have a big spring if the Vols do indeed take it easy on Hurd and Kamara. Don’t be surprised if a walk-on has a big spring as the Vols try to protect their dynamic duo.
Key question: Can the Vols find even more unique ways to utilize Kamara?
Bottom line: Tennessee’s coaches need to do whatever they can to keep Hurd and Kamara healthy. In doing so, they can get a good feel for what they can expect from Kelly when the Vols’ top duo is gone.
Thursday morning preview: Linebackers