How good has Tennessee's OL been this year? 1 impressive stat says it all
Tennessee’s offensive line has developed into the strength of its football team. Players up front like Trey Smith, Cade Mays, Wanya Morris, Brandon Kennedy and others have been grabbing the Vols’ offensive headlines, and rightfully so.
The strength of that unit was on full display on Saturday, as Tennessee rushed for 236 yards en route to a 35-12 win over Missouri.
Tennessee running back Ty Chandler is also the SEC’s leading rusher through the first two weeks of play, with 176 yards on 32 carries.
Perhaps more impressive, is the fact that not one of Chandler’s 32 carries have gone backwards for a negative play.
“We definitely take pride in being able to get back to the line of scrimmage” said Tennessee’s senior running back. “Getting more yards than what the play is blocked for. That’s what’s preached to us every day and that’s what we try to do. That’s what we focus on in practice. It’s a big challenge.
“We have to accept the opportunity and get ready for it, just go seize the moment.”
This level of maturity from Chandler is one that has become commonplace among Tennessee players since Jeremy Pruitt has established his culture in Knoxville. It also helps that Chandler is enjoying success due to the work Tennessee’s staff has done to put together this offensive line.
Running backs coach Jay Graham and offensive line coach Will Friend certainly deserve a lot of credit as well, but their groups will really be tested this Saturday when the Vols head to Athens to face Georgia’s defensive front that allowed just 39 rush yards in a 27-6 win over Auburn last week.
If Tennessee can come away from the matchup against Georgia with a win and no negative rush plays, Vol fans can rest assured knowing they may have something special on their hands in 2020.