Remember all of that talk about Tennessee freshman running back Jeremy Banks moving to linebacker last week? Turns out, it was short-lived. Banks was back working with the running backs on Tuesday during the open portion of practice.
On Wednesday, Pruitt explained why.
“We’ve just got a couple of guys banged up, and we want to make sure that we’ve got enough running backs to finish the year,” Pruitt told reporters on Wednesday during the SEC teleconference. “We probably have a little more depth at linebacker right now than we do at running back, so we just want to make sure we’ve got enough guys to finish the year.”
According to Pruitt, Banks asked to be moved to linebacker during the fourth quarter of Tennessee’s game against Georgia. Pruitt gave him the opportunity to get his feet wet last week, even moving Carlin Fils-aime back to the offensive side to fill his spot.
This is quite the 180 from Pruitt, who seemed to be all in on the move just a week ago. “It gives (Banks) an opportunity to possibly contribute a little more,” Pruitt said last week. “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.”
A week later, he’s back in his original position. Maybe we see Banks flip sides once again during spring ball, but for now he’s back with the offense. It does lead you to wonder if Ty Chandler or Tim Jordan is a little banged up.
Tennessee shouldn’t have to play either back too terribly much against Charlotte this weekend. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Fils-aime, Madre London and Banks handle a good bit of the load against the 49ers ahead of three straight conference games to end the season.