Tennessee running back energized for season ahead

Volunteers roll into week three of preseason all camp
KNOXVILLE, TN - September 02, 2021 - Running back Jabari Small #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers...
KNOXVILLE, TN - September 02, 2021 - Running back Jabari Small #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the Bowling Green Falcons and the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics(Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics | Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics)
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 8:11 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - After taking Monday off following Tennessee’s second scrimmage, it was full speed ahead Tuesday morning.

Week three of preseason camp kicked off at Haslam Field and the running back group was the unit of focus.

Lead tailback Jabari Small has been hyper-focused on his game all off-season. There’s no question that the run game and Small, in particular, will be key to helping unleash UT’s up-tempo offense.

The problem is that the junior took a beating last fall and had a challenging time finishing games. His position coach, Jerry Mack, said it’s not out of the question for Small to get 20 or 25 carries a game this season.

Mack said that’s because of the added weight and muscle, “We’re talking about from a defensive lineman maybe getting a pat on a running back as he comes through the line of scrimmage those plays have been able to now it’d be extended because of the added weight.”

”I was running real hard like the first half; then the second half was like dang,” Small said. “I’m tired, beat up, can’t even feel my shoulder, that’s when it kind of clicked when I got to adjust this. There’s a lot of extra work but the strength and conditioning staff have done a great job took a big focus on me this off-season, so it was paid off.”

In a matter of months, Small went from 199 pounds to 215 pounds.

There’s no reason a healthy and stronger Small, who rushed for almost 800 yards last year, couldn’t surpass the thousand-yard mark this season.

That contribution would be huge!

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