- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Revving up the running game is a priority this spring for Tennessee, so it was encouraging for the Vols to have some success running the ball Friday in their first full scrimmage of the spring.
Junior Rajion Neal rushed for 100 yards on 15 carries and had several explosive plays. It's one of the reasons the Vols moved Neal back to running back from receiver, his ability to pick up yards in chunks.
"I felt like we really showed a lot of improvement running the ball, and that's been our emphasis," Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said. "The line was coming off (the ball), runners were running good and we generated a lot of run yards."
Last season, the Vols averaged just 90.1 rushing yards per game and were the only team in the SEC that averaged fewer than 100 yards per game.
Dooley said he was also pleased with the way quarterback Tyler Bray managed the offense in the closed scrimmage. Bray finished 13-of-32 for 142 yards with an interception and a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mychal Rivera.
The defense, according to Dooley, was playing very aggressive, especially in the secondary. Sophomore cornerback Brian Randolph had an interception and also blocked an extra point.
"There weren't a lot of mental breakdowns, which allowed them to play fast," Dooley said. "We have got to do a better job of stopping the run, but we're playing a lot more aggressively, playing more physical and denying the ball in the back end a little bit better. As long as you're playing with that kind of aggressiveness and toughness, all the other stuff will come."
A complete report on the Vols' scrimmage can be found here on their official web site.
1dSam Khan Jr.