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Tennessee Football: Butch Jones says All Three Freshman Running Backs Will Play

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A surprising statement.

NCAA Football: Tennessee Practice Knoxville News Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

During his media availability after practice on Tuesday night, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones made a surprising statement about the running back depth chart. Particularly, the freshman backs.

“All three of them are going to play,” Jones said confidently when asked. Everyone thought Ty Chandler was going to play quite a bit, but I’m not sure anyone thought Trey Coleman or Tim Jordan would see much action in 2017.

Jones continued, “I think they’re pushing John Kelly, and John Kelly is doing a great job also of bringing energy and teaching them.” Kelly seems to have taken on a leadership role, embracing the task of teaching the younger backs behind him.

“We’ve been very very excited — very encouraged about all three. All three are gonna have to play. They’ll be very important to the success of our season,” Jones stated.

Jones stressed that it wasn’t just about running the football, but it was getting the pass protection down and playing on the perimeter as well.

My questions are: where does Carlin Fils-aime fit into this equation? Are the Vols really going to go five deep in the backfield? Maybe the running back depth isn’t quite as bad as we all thought it was going to be.

I’m still guessing that we see a heavy dose of John Kelly as well as Ty Chandler, but Coleman and Jordan could eat into those carries more than we expected.

Are you confident in the freshman Volunteers toting the rock this fall?