Everyone's chipping in

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Following a 2011 season where the Tennessee Volunteers rushing offense was asleep at the wheel averaging a puny 2.8 yards per carry it was evident everyone needed to buy in to make steps forward.

Those steps started when head coach Derek Dooley proclaimed the running game the main focus as the Vols entered spring practice and the first visible result came Friday in their first scrimmage.

The Vols averaged 4.8 yards per carry Friday afternoon with Rajion Neal (15-100-23) leading the pack and it was a team effort.

"We want to establish a running game," Bray said following a 13 of 32, one touchdown, one interception effort. "That is where we struggled last year. If we can get that together, the passing game will come."

Other rushing leaders included Alden Hill (9-39-15), Devrin Young (8-60-24, TD), Marlin Lane (7-8-7, TD) and Tom Smith (6-18-5). Most surprising had to be the explosive play of both Young and Rajion Neal in their first big opportunity.

"The guys that showed some explosive plays, Devrin Young and Rajion Neal did a really nice job," Dooley said. "I think Devrin is proving he can get out there and generate some explosions. He is a good change-up, pacesetter, he can get a big play. Rajion showed some good promise today."

One major element that spring boarded the backs' success was the perimeter blocking of the wide receivers, including Da'Rick Rogers who didn't have a grab in the contest.

"I didn't have any catches today, it was all blocking for me," Rogers said. "That is just the unselfishness you have to have to have a good run game. I'm really trying to put more work into that."

Just a week after Rogers missed practice due to ‘internal issues' the head ball coach took notice of his unselfish blocking on the perimeter.

"He has worked his tail off," Dooley said of Rogers. "He made some big blocks out there today. He didn't catch any balls. Obviously, that is not what we want in a game but it is good, it is progress and he should feel good about that."

The wide receivers blocking abilities could be the catalyst to a more explosive running game in 2012.

"They are doing so much better on the perimeter, all of them, and it showed today," Dooley said. "We just have to find ways to create a little air for them because when there is some air, they can go.

Tennessee will resume spring practice following the holiday weekend on Tuesday and will scrimmage for the second time on Saturday, April 14.

Watch as Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray addresses the media following Friday's scrimmage below:

Chris Price is a staff writer for InsideTennessee.com. He was previously an intern for the site for two years before graduating from the University of Tennessee. He joined the InsideTennessee team in 2009.

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