Preview 2008: Running backs

As part of VandyMania.com's continuing preview of the 2008 Vanderbilt football team today we check out the running backs. The Commodores open their 2008 season on August 28th when they visit Miami (Ohio).

UPDATE: 1 August: Tailback Jermaine Doster (R-Fr., Tampa, Fla.) has been suspended for the season due to violating team rules. (source VU Media Relations)

Overiew:

Despite a veteran offensive line the Commodore running game was somewhat of a disappointment in 2007. 150 yards a game is not bad but with a veteran line and experienced running backs more production was expected. Hopefully new running backs coach Des Kitchings will be able to make the same kind of impact with the running backs as Rick Logo did with the defensive line when he arrived a couple years ago.

Starters lost:

Cassen Jackson-Garrison

Returning starters:

None.

Others to watch:

Jermaine Doster (5-10, 205, R-Fr.)- Sat out last season while reshirting.
Jared Hawkins (5-10, 200, R-Jr.)- Hawkins had 60 carries for 267 yards last year. In 2006 he averaged almost 7 yards per carry on 43 carries. Has 565 career rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. One of the fastest players on the team.
Jeff Jennings (6-1, 215, R-Sr.)(Photo at right)- Started 2 games last year. Rushed for 360 yards on 96 carries. Started 10 games in 2005 before being injured in Kentucky game. Sat out 2006 season while rehabbing. Has over 900 career rushing yards.
Gaston Miller (5-7, 170, R-So.)- Redshirted last year but ran for 70 yards on 13 carries in 2006. Has very good quickness and elusiveness.
Kennard Reeves (6-0, 200, R-So.)- Reeves had 2 carries for 6 yards in 2007.
Ryan van Rensburg (6-1, 220, R-Fr.)- Big, tough back who was redshirted in '07. Could make an impact in '08.

Projected starters:

Jared Hawkins OR
Jeff Jennings

Biggest question for 2008: What kind of impact will new running backs assistant Des Kitchings make?

Vanderbilt running backs power rating (1-10): 8.2


Jeff Jennings hopes to return to his 2005 form when he was the go to guy in short yardage situations. (AP Photo/Chris Keane)


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