Spring football is here. It’s time for learning new systems, gelling a roster together with a new coaching staff, and learning each other. It’s also a time to experiment with guys that might benefit from playing a new position.
The previous staff did plenty of experimenting, but Josh Heupel said last week that his staff doesn’t have any plans to move players around right now, simply because they are still learning the players themselves.
Offensive coordinator Alex Golesh echoed that idea about one of Tennessee’s more interesting players, Dee Beckwith.
Beckwith, a 6-foot-5 former four-star athlete, landed at the running back position out of necessity last year under Jeremy Pruitt. When he signed, it was believed that he would land at the receiver or tight end position. To kick off the Heupel era, he’s staying put at running back — at least for now.
“Dee Beckwith, really fascinating body type, we’ve spent a bunch of time talking about Dee,” Golesh said on Saturday. “I think our plan right now is to keep him at running back and let him learn a position, let him get comfortable there.”
Tennessee lost running backs Eric Gray and Ty Chandler this offseason, leaving Jabari Small as the most experienced runner on the roster. JUCO back Tiyon Evans signed and enrolled early, and has seemingly immediately stepped into the rotation. Depth behind those two is still dicey, with Tee Hodge, Len’Neth Whitehead and Jaylen Wright each trying to find their footing.
Could Beckwith emerge as the third back in the rotation? Golesh singled him out on Saturday, impressed with what he has seen to this point. It’s at least been enough to earn a longer look at the position.
“I think it’s really hard to evaluate guys if you move them around a whole bunch,” Golesh said. “He’s shown some promise, shown flashes. Just so different, right? Just something you have to get used to as a coach, seeing a different body type there, and seeing a different skill set. It’s our job as coaches to use those skill sets in the right way.”