Vols' rushing attack led by 4 talented backs

First year head coach Lane Kiffin wondered a couple of weeks ago how he could find enough touches for four good running backs. Kiffin found a way in his opening debut at the Volunteer's head man, came out with a balanced offensive attack that saw 277 yards passing and 380 yards in rushing. Go "Inside" to get the latest on the Volunteer rushing attack.

First year head coach Lane Kiffin wondered a couple of weeks ago how he could find enough touches for four good running backs.

Kiffin found a way in his opening debut at the Volunteer's head man, came out with a balanced offensive attack that saw 277 yards passing and 380 yards in rushing.

Six runners touched the ball here Saturday for 44 carries; Tennessee had two running backs with over 100 yards rushing.

"We ran the ball extremely well today," Kiffin said. "(Montario) Hardesty did a great job, and responded a great game."

Hardesty finished the day with 18 carries and 160 yards including one touchdown.

"Coach Kiffin said to come out and pound them, and that's what we did," said Hardesty. "We pounded the rock. That's going to be what we do this year. We ran the ball good and passed the ball good. That's us."

True freshman Bryce Brown gave the Volunteers another 100 yards on the day. Brown finished the day with 11 carries for 104 yards and one touchdown.

With the game already out of hand late in the fourth quarter, true freshman David Oku and sophomore Tauren Poole both ran the ball well. Poole had five carries for 63 yards and Oku had eight carries for 45 yards and two touchdowns.

"Our offensive line blocked and dominated folks today," Hardesty said. "That made our running game a lot more effective. We had a lot of fun out there today."

Kiffin said from day one that he wanted to put his players in a fun environment; nothing is more fun than winning by 56 points.

Hardesty, who played better than he has in years, is glad that this team is getting a fresh start.

"We wanted to come out and show how we were going to set up our season and try to set up our identity at the team. Coach Kiffin's relentless on defense and relentless on offense. I think we started on a good foot and we started Coach Kiffin on a good foot, and we've got to keep doing that for the rest of the season."

The Volunteers finished Saturday's game with 34 first downs compared to just six for Western Kentucky.

While Western Kentucky may not have offered a lot of competition for the Vols, next weeks game against UCLA should be a good test to see how far this team has improved so far this season.

One old time Volunteer fan was truly impressed with Tennessee's running attack.

"We have four running backs that could start for any team in the SEC," said the veteran fan. "It was great to see how talented we are at the position. This season could be a fun one."


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