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Pruitt: Jeremy Banks could play at linebacker as early as this week

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Quick transition for Banks.

NCAA Football: Florida at Tennessee Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re a running back, fumbling problems will get you benched. In this case, they may have gotten freshman Jeremy Banks moved to the defensive side of the football. The former three-star running back worked at linebacker during Tuesday’s practice after seeing his workload decrease in the backfield.

On Wednesday, Jeremy Pruitt addressed the move.

“I think it gives us a chance to get our best players on the field,” Pruitt said on Wednesday’s SEC Teleconference. “It gives (Banks) an opportunity to possibly contribute a little more. He’s had a little bit of a problem holding onto the football. He has a lot of energy. He’s a tough guy. It’s tough to move during the season. But I think it’s something, down the road, that we’ll be glad we did.”

That sounds like a permanent move to me. It’s interesting, being that Tennessee seems to have more depth at linebacker right now than they do at running back. According to Pruitt today, Banks could see the field quickly at his new spot.

“I think the guy could possibly play this week,” Pruitt said. “He’s a smart guy. He’s instinctive. And we’re very simple on defense. So he’ll practice again the next couple days and we’ll just kind of see as the weekend gets here.”

Pruitt saying that Banks could play as soon as this week seems pretty telling. Tennessee has good numbers at inside linebacker, but they may not be satisfied with the production. Throwing a raw Banks into the mix on the road in the SEC would be a bold move, but according to Pruitt, it’s a real possibility.