MEMPHIS, Tenn. — College is all about education, especially when it pertains to the gridiron.
“It was just learning the speed of the game. Learning how to be a college running back. Learning that holes close quicker, it’s not that you have to hit it as fast as you can, you still can pace. As the season went on the game slowed down for me, and things kind of turned and started clicking for me,” said Eric Gray.
And Memphian, Eric Gray put up the numbers to prove that. Not only did the Volunteers finish the year on a 6 game winning streak, but Gray went out red hot too. Rushing for 246 yards and 3 touchdowns in the regular season finale against Vanderbilt. Only to follow that up by scoring the game winning touchdown in the Gator Bowl, earning Gray the MVP.
“It was amazing to me. I say it all the time, I’m in the game sometimes and I just look around and I’m like ‘wow, I am really playing college football’. It’s crazy to me thinking, that a kid coming from Memphis, was dreaming about playing college football being able to finish like that, the game against Vandy, and to be able to get that win for our seniors in that bowl game and to get that MVP was just amazing to me,” said Gray.
With all the momentum in the world, Gray and Tennessee could not wait for spring practices … until the coronavirus had other plans.
“Everyone was like ‘woah’. To come off that high and just drop and everyone has to go home and you can’t really work out. But I try to to keep a level head with it and do everything I can so when we get back for the season I am ready to go,” said Gray.
Leaving Gray to work out back here in Memphis.
“You have to go back to the basics a little bit. Lift weights and home, do pushups, pull-ups on a bar, different things like that, you can’t go to a weight room. But I’ve been fortunate to wear when the gyms reopen, I can go to the gym, and come out here Shelby Farms and go through footwork drills and simulate what I would have went through if non of this was going on,” said Gray.
And even with all the uncertainty, Gray is staying optimistic about the season.
“I don’t fear that there won’t be one because I feel like we have to play. So much goes into college football that we have to play. I fear that it starts later. I fear that like some people say it starts in December or in October, which is not bad but that’s just getting anxious for a season that is a long ways a way,” said Gray.
Cause Gray has big plans for year two. Looking to pick things up, right where he left off.