Then all of a sudden, when Neal and Young failed to produce on the ground in Game 1, the leading rusher from 2011, Lane, got his shot and was out front for the Vols once again with nine carries for 75 yards in the Tennessee's 35-21 win over North Carolina State.
"I was proud of him," Dooley said of Lane. "He struggled a little bit in camp and the other guys really played well in camp. It could have been easy for Marlin to get the mull grubs and say I am getting screwed, but he has a real good attitude. That is how it is in sports — you just keep sawing wood and when you get your opportunity you take advantage of it and he did."
Lane, who finished the 2011 season with 280 yards rushing, two touchdowns and 161 yards receiving, was effected by a pre-camp hand injury that created a bit of a stutter in his step this summer.
"I didn't know where I was going to be at because I had injured my hand and I started healing up the week of the camp and didn't know how I was going to fit in," Lane said of his mental struggles this summer. "I just came out there every day and did everything I could do when it was my turn. I am feeling a whole lot better mindset wise and confident in my hand. I am just ready to go out there and take care of business."
Now listed as a co-starter at tailback, Lane said he didn't necessarily feel like he had something to prove heading into Friday's game, but he definitely needed to make a statement.
"I just wanted to get out there and continue with the tempo that we had from the beginning of the game," he said. "I didn't want to go in there and slow things down.
"I feel like whoever is giving the spark is going to stay in the game. We stay in each other's ears. We never down each other. We keep each other up and we go out there and do what we do."
The Daytona Beach, Fla., native was rated as a four-star tailback by FOX Sports NEXT coming out of Mainland (Fla.) High School. In his second year in the orange and white, he now stands at 5-feet-11, 205 pounds and says power running is his forte.
"I think that is the strongest part of my run game is running between the tackles," Lane said. "You don't get yards east and west, you get them north and south."
Lane added that new running backs coach Jay Graham was crucial to his in-game success in the Georgia Dome.
"He just stays on us every play with the positive and the negative," Lane said of Graham. "The just reminded us on the down marker and trying to get the dirty yards — just go out there with the mindset of breaking tackles."
Moving forward the Vols will take to Haslam Field on Tuesday morning at 9:15. Their next matchup comes in the form of Georgia State for the Vol home opener at 4 p.m.
Listen as Tennessee SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week Zach Fulton addresses the media following Monday's workout: