July 18, 2011
Tauren Poole is only a few weeks away from beginning his senior season. The running back from Toccoa, Ga., proved plenty elusive in 2010, rushing for 1,034 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first season as a starter.
Poole tackles those expectations, as well as his upcoming appearance at SEC Media Days and Tennessee's young but talented offensive line in the debut of `Tennessee 3,' a new UTSports.com exclusive feature.
1. HOW TO SUCCEED AT RUNNING THE FOOTBALL...
What makes a back successful?
"I think you've got to be really instinctive. Definitely you've got to have a good O-line. You've got to be quick in and out of the holes. There's different kinds of good running backs. You have big guys. You have small guys. Medium-sized guys like myself. Different assets make different backs good. It's just a combination of everything. Instincts. You've got to be fast. Vision. It's the little things that make you. It's really up to you."
Who do you look up to?
"I haven't really got into contact with many great running backs besides Arian (Foster) and Montario (Hardesty). I really haven't met anybody to really know who I can say, `Yeah, I really look up to them.' Because I have to meet you and know what kind of person you are actually to have a shot to say I look up to you. I have to know you."
Who are some backs you enjoy watching play?
"LaDanian Tomlinson. Adrian Peterson. Barry Sanders. I'm just a running back fan. I'll watch everybody and see what I can learn from them. What do they bring to the table that I don't? It's just different stuff. I just try to make myself better."
What two or three things are you trying to incorporate into your game right now?
"Just overall explosiveness, decisiveness and tenacity to run the football no matter who is in front. Just toughness. I love to see it. Adrian Peterson does it a lot. I just like to see good running backs, whatever venue it is. College football, high school football, I just love to see good running backs get after it."
2. 900 REPORTERS WALK INTO A ROOM...
What are your thoughts on meeting with 900 or so reporters at SEC Media Days this Thursday?
"I guess I've got to get used to it, because I'm not really used to that. I've got to get ready to talk a lot. I've got to get ready for some weird questions. Just expect the unexpected. I'm getting my mind ready."
What's one question you want to be asked in Birmingham?
"How good are the Vols going to be? Because I know they're going to ask. My answer, I don't know what it's going to be. I know it's going to be asked a million times, and I really believe in this football team. I think we're going to be a good football team. A lot of people don't, but I think we are."
We'll give you first crack at answering that question: How good do you think this team can be?
"I think we have the potential to be a great football team. We've got to keep working. The summer's almost coming to an end, and we've just got to finish everything with summer camp and just get guys on the field. We've got to get to practicing and get that productivity back with (Tyler) Bray and the receivers, running backs, O-line. We've just got to get to work. I'm excited about what we can do. I'm just ready to get after each other."
3. FIVE AGAINST ONE...
What do you like about where the offensive line is right now?
"They look good. They have great attitude. They've been working extremely hard. I've seen it. They're growing up. They're still a young group, full of sophomores, but you can just see the maturity in them. They're leading. It's just incredible to see the big jump that they made from last year to now. People still doubt them. People still say they're young. But I don't think that affects them at all. I think they're just ready to get work just as much as I am. They joke about me getting 2,000 yards, but I tell them not to worry about it, just worry about getting better. We just need to worry about getting better as a football team. That's what's important."
What do you try to do to stay on your offensive line's good side?
"Last year, I would talk to them a lot. They told me they like the way I run because I don't hesitate, and I hit the hole. They say, `We can only hold the blocks for so long. As long as you run we're happy. As long as you get positive yards, we're happy.' That's big. They put pressure on me to get positive yards, to run hard. It's exciting when they say, `We're going to block, you just run.' I'm happy with it because I'll run."
That's all you want to hear, right?
"That's all I want to hear. Just run."
Those guys have come together as a group. How do those guys work together?
"The whole O-Line Pride idea is just doing everything together. Whether it's going out to eat, whether it's here. I invited them to a cookout and they brought the whole O-line. If there's one, you can see another. I think as a group, they're together. They're united. They're like brothers. Me personally, I love to see that because it means better production on the field, better communication on the field. They trust each other. With that, I can trust them. It's great to see. You don't see that around the country too often. They're not a group of individuals. They work together. Coach Hiestand expects a lot out of them, and they expect a lot out of themselves. It's great for me to see."