Tennessee Football: Will we have a starting running back Week 1?

Ty Chandler and Eric Gray are both dominating fall camp, which means Tennessee Football still might not know who its starting running back will be.

Tennessee football’s offense is looking to take another step in the right direction in 2020 under the leadership of Offensive Coordinator Jim Chaney. First, the Vols will have to figure out who their starting running back will be, or will there be two running backs rotate with no official RB1?

The Vols’ offensive coordinator said in an interview last week that likes both of the running backs battling for the starting job, Ty Chandler and Eric Gray.

“I like them both,” Chaney said. “You can just see there’s an air of maturity with those two kids when they walk on the field. They do their business, they’re real professional in how they look at it.”

Both running backs had a solid 2019 season, but Gray finished with the hot hand. Gray finished the 2019 regular season with 246 rushing yards against Vanderbilt, which broke the record for most rushing yards in a game by a true freshman in Tennessee history.

If the Vols offense isn’t as exciting as fans were hoping this year, the Vols will at least have two running backs in the backfield that can create some magic on the ground.

Based on what Chaney said, it seems like we don’t quite yet have an official starting running for the 2020 season. If I had to guess, Pruitt is going to wait a bit before announcing his starting running back and starting quarterback, even though we have a pretty good idea who that’s going to be.

We could even see the Vols put Chandler and Gray on the field a lot during the first week or two to decide who the starter will be for the remainder of the season.

If that’s the case, then my money will be on Gray being the starting running back for the Vols this season. My sole reasoning will be based on how he finished the 2019 season. Not only did he dominate the Vanderbilt game, but he also finished with 120 all-purpose yards in the bowl game against Indiana.

Eric Gray is special, and I think the Tennessee coaching staff knows that, so they’re going to try to get him on the field as much as possible, even if that does consist of rotating him with Chandler for the first couple of weeks.

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