A Poole of talent for UT on the threshold

Freshman from Georgia has impressive practice



Tennessee knows the spectrum of running backs that the state of Georgia can produce.

For every Jamal Lewis who turned out to be a superstar there's a Jabari Davis who never lived up to expectations.

And even though those two tailbacks had far different careers, they have one thing in common. Both were impressive enough early to garner playing time as freshmen.

Tauren Poole, at least so far, is following in that Peach State tradition.

Even with a deep backfield chock full of experience, Poole is making a name for himself in spring practice.

"He's a very focused kid," running backs coach Stan Drayton said. "He wants to be extremely good. He's doing everything I ask him to do to achieve that. He's going to be a special player around here someday."

Drayton knew Poole had ability, but did he have the tenacity to attack the position? In other words, was he tough enough?

That question may have been answered Tuesday when the 5-foot-10, 200-pounder drew strong praise from UT coaches during one of football's most challenging drills. In the board drill, similar-sized players line up opposite each other to see who can win one-on-one battles.

"As long as I've got a dog that's going to bite," Drayton said. "I can train him to bite the right way."

Drayton will get plenty of training time with Poole. Proven players such as senior Arian Foster and junior Montario Hardesty don't need more than a minimal amount of spring practice. Sophomore Lennon Creer figures to carry much of the load. Then, there's Poole.

"He's going to be a good football player," Drayton said of Poole, who is not available for interviews as per UT's policy on freshmen. "He's still young. He's got a lot to learn.

"But what he's bringing to the table right now is work ethic and effort. Those two things right there, for a young football player, is pretty special."

Drayton is quick to say that upbringing is Poole's secret weapon. Credit the rearing to Poole's mother, Nina Poole, who raised her son as a single parent.

High school or college, Nina Poole said her son has the same dedication. Therefore, she's not surprised that her son has already drawn some positive reviews from UT's coaches.

"You have to understand," Nina Poole said, "when Tauren has a goal, he's focused. That's Tauren. When he's got a dream in his mind, he's not letting anyone stand in his way."

By anyone's account, Tauren Poole is still a long way from being a starter, much less a star. Having just enrolled in January, he still hasn't taken part in his high school commencement.

However, Poole has some impressive credentials, having rushed for 5,413 yards during his high school career, finishing with 2,138 yards in his senior season at Stephens County High in Toccoa, Ga.

Still, only time will tell if Tauren Poole is more Lewis than Davis.

Un-Kemped: Ricardo Kemp has left Tennessee's football program and plans to pursue a playing career elsewhere in hopes of securing more playing time.

Kemp, who would have been a junior this season, had 24 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks and an interception during his UT career. This year, the defensive back from Warren, Ark., found himself in the middle of a deep UT secondary despite being largely unproven just a year ago.

It's Academic: Kenny O'Neal is not expected to attend any Tuesday or Thursday practices this spring in order to focus on academics. The senior receiver is expected to attend practices held on Friday or Saturday.

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Comments » 24

DenmarkVol_aka_Mbumburu writes:

Okay -- so is our new RB coach a former member of Michael Vick's crew? "Training the dog to bite the right way??"

WPAINE writes:

But wait, Tauren was only a 3 star RB, he's not supposed to be THAT good, right?

orangeblood writes:

stars don't mean jack phooey, c'mon man. ryan karl may not have even had a star and i thought he was a huge member of our defense (although not 'nfl' athletic like the other lbs). On the other side of the equation, Kyle Wright (former miami qb) was a 5 star and like the number 4 player in the nation all-around and look how he panned out. You can't put a star on the mentality of the player and that attribute is 90% of the game. Eric Berry on the other hand fit the billing...

Pullingguard writes:

Denmark don't get the dog fever over something that was said to promote the young mans efforts.
Keep your head up the horizion will in front of you.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

...are you kidding me?? I like the attitude this ball caoch has.

I played football for a UT grad, and I'll tell you what: nothing is better for a young man than to have a ball coach who'll bust your chops, but who also believes in you.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:


I hate to tell you this: some of us were raised in an envrionment that was maybe just a LEEETLE bit different than what most white-breaders were.

Where I came from, the family pet was expected to protect the house night and day, kill groundhops, rabbits, and shakes, and to look after us kids if we strayed out of the yard. The particular dog I grew up with did well at all jobs.

Funniest thing in the world was to see my mother swat him in the nose with a broom when she was pissed at him. This big old 110-lb half-german shephared, half-collie would cower like a pup, even though he could've ripped her hand off with one bite.

Ain't exactly leave it to beaver, is it.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

umm, that would be 'groundhogs' and 'snakes', although 'groundhops' and 'shakes' bring up interesting ideas.

sorry 'bout the typing, guys, it's the frigging eyes again.

agentorange writes:

hey denmarkvol, fb players are supposed to be bad*sses. i'm in miami, watched kyle "wrong" play his whole career. he stunk outloud. rivals means nothing.

OwensboroVol writes:

I'm very happy to hear about this kid. Foster and Hardesty just don't seem to have that little bit of a wild streak and (daggone it, I can't think of the word I looking for-its the dementia caused by my Heart Disease). Anyway they just don't seem to be able to do a little freelancing and I just don't see that little burst of extra speed when they hit the hole which determines if it is a 3 yard run or a 75 yard touchdown. I have been very impressed with Lennon. Even though he didn't have that many opportunities he showed that unique ability to make things happen. I just hope that Fulmer and company doesn't break him. Has anyone got any information on how the new coaches are working out so far. I am particularly interested in the wide receivers coach. I think this is an area where there is potential for vast improvement over last year. A good coach will bring those speed burners up to speed and get them off the bench and into the game where maybe someone can establish a deep threat. Last season there wasn't one and it made the running game very hard. Sorry for ranting on!!!

wjackson#226202 writes:

Isn't groundhops what they put in beer? I will have to teach my dog to attack hops and shakes. LOL More power to this young man. He could be the E. Berry on offense we have been talking about.

ThurmondEppy writes:

I had two black cats that would kill moles and squirrels and would proudly bring them to the back door.

GreerVol22 writes:

He's a football coach, not a philosophy professor. The fact that he can connect with these guys is more important than how he does it.

rccheek#205272 writes:

Those two things right there, for a young football player, is pretty special." How about ARE since "two things" is plural?

GerryOP writes:

wjackson, groundhops are what you see when Coach Fulmer jumps! Just kidding! ;>}

orangebloodgmc writes:

Am pleased to hear that Creer and Poole will be getting a big share of the reps this spring.

Yes, mparker, we just got a new shepherd-mix dog to take up some of the yard-guarding slack neglected by our lab mix dog who reminds me of Coach Fulmer's comments about Victor Thomas (eats well, but not done a dang thang).

And I like how Coach Drayton worded his dog metaphor; it was sort of Trooperesque.

Orangeblood13 writes:

Only people that are lookin to be negative read into these statements. Come on lighten up morons. We finaly get some professinal coaching going on and the guy is relating to the kids. That is what we where after right? Get down and dirty with em coaches, get in some faces, find the ole Big Orange mean streak and lets find the respect back!

RoyaltyVol writes:

Poole seems to have a good work ethic and a solid upbringing and has set his mind to achieving a goal (NFL) This is a good story, I just hope he stays away from the "party crowd" and keeps his head on straight, if so he could be a good player for us.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

I think those shepherd mixes are among the smartest dogs....They really have a mind of their own.

You gotta watch the boys, tho. If they aren't fixed, and they are all worked up, they'll climb on anything that looks inviting...pretty funny to farm boys and girls, but can freak out the city folks if they happen to be scrubbing the floor and old Rex decides to 'jump up'.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

hmm, shakes and hops...sounds kinda like Sonic drivein

Cats are great like that, arent' they?? they just want to share....

my dog would lay in the back yard and eat the groundhog. He'd get pissed if you tried to take it from him.

Dogs are amzing animals; cats are more clever, and love to tease dogs, but the dogs have a way of being able to, umm, bite their way through about anything.

thesavageorange writes:

bigorangedude ,Ohhh, he'll stay out of trouble!Don't know if you were able to read any of the things she said on rivals, but she is no joke,and Poole respects her very much.

I like the thought of Poole & Creer In the near future.Don't get me wrong(unlike others),I think Arian will be 1st team all SEC alongside Moreno.I just like seeing these young men grow up right in front of us.It seems like, a week ago, I was watching some UT signee named Lewis in the Georgia/Florida all-star game lighting it up.

Keep it up Poole!

givehim6 writes:

What ashley said! 156 days!

gavol2572 writes:

I dont care how many stars this kid had I'm just ready to see our running game back to where you knew our guys would make a play if they just had half a chance like Lewis and the two Travis' (as in Henry and Stephens). if this kid has the desire and work ethic to get their then by all means go for it

gavol2572 writes:

oops ""THERE not "their"

ggriggs939#223122 writes:

ajs38mb It appears you must have a good bit of experience in recognizing things that suck.
Perhaps what you seem to think is a sucking noise is actually the sonic boom that follows winning the SEC East and the 10 - 3 record gained in doing so, The sucking is at a very high level, in fact,it is next to the top in the conference.
ENVY is a very hard taskmaster and some people are never able to get around it. Perhaps you need some counseling in making a determination as to what you see and hear. In your present condition, your maunderings add nothing to this site.

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