Thursday, August 30, 2007
Less than 3 weeks after his indefinite suspension from the Volunteer football program, LaMacus Coker has been reinstated. But does his return raise more questions than it answers?
Coker was officially disbarred to take care of an undisclosed medical condition which has been reported as a marijuana problem. Apparently he had to undergo a rehabilitation program in order to gain re admittance. So who is to say this "problem" will not resurface mid season?
In my opinion the young man deserves the benefit of the doubt. He did every thing required of him in quick fashion to rejoin the squad in time to rejoin fall practice and that shows a commitment to the program.
So what impact will he have on the running game when he returns week 2 against Southern Miss? Coker is the leading returning rusher from last year and averaged a whopping 6.4 yards per carry. He is the explosive element to the Vols offense that has been lacking for many years. He is a threat to score each time he touches the football and will be utilized in ways that will take advantage of his elusiveness and ability to make sudden cuts.
Without Coker, the running game was expected to be good; better than last year behind a more experienced offensive line. With him it becomes a threat, no matter what team is on defense. Coker will eventually become the go-to guy at running back and I expect that to happen sooner rather than later.
Arian Foster will be the starter headed into Saturday's match-up against 12th ranked Cal, but if he doesn't put up the numbers, don't be surprised to see Coker take over the reins at some point during the year.
One thing is for certain, Coker's return makes the Volunteer run game a force that will have to be dealt with all year long.