Douglas not emotional about position switch

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UT tailback, Tauren Poole, talks about the new practice regime under Coach Kiffin. March 26, 2009
Interview by Drew Edwards/News Sentinel

UT tailback, Tauren Poole, talks about the new practice regime under Coach Kiffin. March 26, 2009 Interview by Drew Edwards/News Sentinel Watch »

Video

UT offensive coordinator, Jim Chaney, speaks with the media after practice, March 26, 2009

UT offensive coordinator, Jim Chaney, speaks with the media after practice, March 26, 2009 Watch »

For players who make the move from tight end to offensive tackle, it's usually a hate-love proposition.

At least that's how it typically works, offensive coordinator and line coach Jim Chaney says.

"Quite honestly, most of the guys that do it despise the move at the beginning and then fall in love with it within a week or two when they realize they're not running 50 yards down the field all the time," Chaney said.

For former Maryville High School standout and Class 4A Mr. Football Aaron Douglas, it's been a little bit smoother.

"It's been fun, just something new," said Douglas, who opened spring practice at tackle after signing with the Vols as a tight end. "It's a different challenge. The coaches have made it a real smooth transition because they've helped me a lot. The technique that they teach is just great. All the guys on the O-line, they've helped me a lot too. It's been a real smooth transition so far. I just need to keep improving day-by-day."

It's about gaining confidence, too.

With recent shoulder surgeries, including one last fall that kept Douglas off the field as a true freshman, Chaney said he can see Douglas becoming more comfortable with the physical play the position demands.

"His biggest thing to learn is to be as physical as you can and how physical you've got to play on the offensive line," Chaney said. "I think he's a little apprehensive at times because of some shoulder issues he's had. In the last two or three practices, you can really see him coming out of his shell and trusting his own strength and trusting those shoulders a little bit more. It's been fun to see his growth so far."

QB Report: Coach Lane Kiffin remains pleased with the progress of quarterbacks Jonathan Crompton and B.J. Coleman through UT's first five practices.

Kiffin said after a slight letdown in UT's third and fourth practices, those two picked it up on Tuesday.

Kiffin is particularly pleased with the way the two are managing the offense.

"I really like the way they're handling the huddle, the way they're handling the offense. You don't see many balls on the ground," Kiffin said. "You don't see hardly any false starts. I don't know if we had one (Thursday). That's a very hard thing to do in a new system, new cadence. I thought they've done a great job. I thought (quarterbacks) coach (David) Reaves has done a great job of preparation for them up to this point."

Poole Progressing: Tailback Tauren Poole has found a way to stand out in what promises to be an incredibly competitive backfield this fall.

Montario Hardesty, Lennon Creer and Poole have all looked solid at times this spring, and Poole has shown a knack for hitting the hole quickly.

All told, the rising sophomore is pleased with UT's progress on offense so far.

"We're learning things faster," Poole said. "Coach Kiffin's explaining things well. He knows this offense. We've just got to pick it up as fast as we can. That's what we're doing."

Sykes Improving: Despite being slowed by injuries, former Alcoa standout and junior college transfer Rae Sykes is moving along at defensive end.

"He's battling back to get himself healthy," Kiffin said. "Hasn't been able to condition the whole time because of some injuries, but he continues to get better. We've thrown him in a lot more (Thursday) than he had been. We'll keep pushing him."

Schedule: After Saturday's morning practice, the Vols return to the field on Tuesday.

The team also will practice next Friday in conjunction with UT's annual coaching clinic before Saturday's first full scrimmage of spring practice.

Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.

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Comments » 36

bobbytodd writes:

kif rules

ncvol17 writes:

will be a tough back field this fall. I see Hardesty dropping out of the chase. good kid too many injuries, etc...

belayvol writes:

Sounds like an excellent rate of progress on the O side. Teamwork boys, teamwork.

gohawks1 writes:

I'm guessing Aaron will have to put on some weight if he is to stay at tackle. Anyone have his height/weight handy?

Good to hear about Rae Sykes. I'd love to see it come together for him now. He should be a force if he can stay healthy.

txvolsfan writes:

Can't wait for the O&W game

Voluvr writes:

This whole thing through the change could not have gone any better for the program and for the fans. This staff leaves nothing on the table and they don't take no for an answer. Complete direction and control.

Fulmer is capable, but at this point in his career, he's done it all. it's just human nature that got coach Fulmer on some things. If Hamilton had gotten an old rehash on the back side of his career, it wouldn't have worked.

Great Job Mike.

Voluvr writes:

Hamilton has hit two homeruns with Pearl and Kiffin. Consider that Tennessee first went to Mitch Barnhart at Kentucky who turned us down. Mitch was one of the former Asst. AD at UT under Dickey and now is facing replacing his head BB coach. He probably had better get the next one right. Hamilton was a rung or two down. After two turned us down, Hamilton was standing there and apparently with Fulmer's recommendation, got the job. What a leap up the ladder this was.

So far, Hamilton has shown real talent and maturity. I was with the VASF when he was over it. I don't think anyone thought he was next in line. However, he's done very well. Now, with Kiffin on the positive path, Hamilton is sure to be a hot commodity. I'm not sure but proabably in his early 40's or late 30's.

dvhill100 writes:

It all sounds good. We will see in September.

elizabethtonvol72 writes:

Has anyone heard anything about how Amhad Paige is doing??

CoverOrange writes:

in response to Voluvr:

This whole thing through the change could not have gone any better for the program and for the fans. This staff leaves nothing on the table and they don't take no for an answer. Complete direction and control.

Fulmer is capable, but at this point in his career, he's done it all. it's just human nature that got coach Fulmer on some things. If Hamilton had gotten an old rehash on the back side of his career, it wouldn't have worked.

Great Job Mike.

Re, your last sentence of the second paragraph: Hmmm, doesn't that describe Majors on his second stint at Pittsburgh?

gohawks1 writes:

in response to Book1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not a little feller, that's for sure. This just may work.

elizabethtonvol72 writes:

Thanks Pman!!

MikeTheVol writes:

Anybody heard anything about Demetrice Morely? He's a great athlete but seems to stay in the dog house most of the time.

bluetick writes:

in response to dvhill100:

It all sounds good. We will see in September.

I heard that! The first game will tell us a lot.

MattDillon writes:

in response to ncvol17:

will be a tough back field this fall. I see Hardesty dropping out of the chase. good kid too many injuries, etc...

I see just the opposite out of Hardesty, hard running senior leader pushed to be his best

FWBVol writes:

The thing to remember about Aaron Douglas is he's from a family of athletes. His mom, the former Karla Horton, was a star for the Lady Vols basketball team, and his dad, David, was an offenisve lineman for the Vols that went from a walkon to the NFL.

Both of them understand the concept of team. I don't know the family, but I could imagine that David could easily point out the advantages of playing the OL as Aaron continues to grow.

This is a kid that will only get bigger and stronger and with his athleticism, could end up in the NFL one day. If I'm thinking correctly, one of the top rated offensive tackles in this year's draft, a kid from Baylor I believe, started out as a tight end.

kbart4033#247331 writes:

Don't count out Hardesty. However, I do think he would make
a great linebacker. He and McCoy would make a great tandem!

douglasawilliams#582863 writes:

Hardesty will see playing time. Will Bryce Brown and Oku be redshirted or play as freshman? Hope they play.

nicksjuzunk#646117 writes:

in response to douglasawilliams#582863:

Hardesty will see playing time. Will Bryce Brown and Oku be redshirted or play as freshman? Hope they play.

I think either Bryce or Oku MUST redshirt this year if we are as good as advertised in the backfield. If the cupboard is full, then why force it?

I expect both to be impact players but from the sound of it, we have some impact players already who have a couple of years of college weights behind them. I would guess Kiffin will be open to playing them both, but wait to see how things are playing out first.

Of course, I am scared of anything that coaches say anymore. Last year, "70% of the offense is installed", "Foster looks like he's much quicker", "Crompton is playing great."

Sigh.

oldorange writes:

in response to Voluvr:

Hamilton has hit two homeruns with Pearl and Kiffin. Consider that Tennessee first went to Mitch Barnhart at Kentucky who turned us down. Mitch was one of the former Asst. AD at UT under Dickey and now is facing replacing his head BB coach. He probably had better get the next one right. Hamilton was a rung or two down. After two turned us down, Hamilton was standing there and apparently with Fulmer's recommendation, got the job. What a leap up the ladder this was.

So far, Hamilton has shown real talent and maturity. I was with the VASF when he was over it. I don't think anyone thought he was next in line. However, he's done very well. Now, with Kiffin on the positive path, Hamilton is sure to be a hot commodity. I'm not sure but proabably in his early 40's or late 30's.

Like you, I am happy with the transition of coaches on the football program to this point. The actual football games will tell the rest of the story. I will reserve any judgements.

I suspect the dancing in the streets that some of the posters here are doing will change once the first loss is recorded. I have often noticed in my life that those who praise to quickly are the same people that will crucify just as quickly. I am sure that many are beginning to complain that Pearl is not the coach they expected due to his teams 1 & done NCAA tournament this year. I have been pulling for the Vols for 45 years now. I hope I can pull for them for another 45.

nicksjuzunk#646117 writes:

For those who can't recall. Hardesty is a beast... if he can stay healthy. He ain't goin nowhere.

ColeTrickle writes:

in response to douglasawilliams#582863:

Hardesty will see playing time. Will Bryce Brown and Oku be redshirted or play as freshman? Hope they play.

I highly doubt Brown or Oku would be redshirted. Brown will see playing time for sure as a true freshman. He can make an immediate impact, he may not start but will be a contributer. BB is 6ft 215-220 and runs a 4.3 40, looks like he could go straight into the pros. Oku I could see getting some playing time and catching screen passes out of the backfield. All that said I can see Poole being the starter and the other guys being rotated in frequently. I saw flashes out of Poole last year and was like this dude is ridiculously fast, he hits the hole 3rd step full speed and makes amazing cuts. I just dont see Hardesty staying healthy enough to be a starter/every down back. Basically our backfield is going to be very deep and very very good.

GREATVOLSAFIRE writes:

in response to jcvet:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

practice....we talkin about practice. no just kiddin GO VOLS!!!!

StroVol writes:

in response to nicksjuzunk#646117:

I think either Bryce or Oku MUST redshirt this year if we are as good as advertised in the backfield. If the cupboard is full, then why force it?

I expect both to be impact players but from the sound of it, we have some impact players already who have a couple of years of college weights behind them. I would guess Kiffin will be open to playing them both, but wait to see how things are playing out first.

Of course, I am scared of anything that coaches say anymore. Last year, "70% of the offense is installed", "Foster looks like he's much quicker", "Crompton is playing great."

Sigh.

You can be sure Kiffin told Brown he would get a chance to play. You don't get the number one rb recruit by talking redshirt season. He'll get his shot.

1manningfan writes:

Is it just me or does Crompton have that dumb look on his face again when talking to Kiffin in that video. He looks so confused. I pray to God he does not get the starting nod.

Hudro writes:

I am very glad this year we have two games before the Fla game. Gives more of a chance to get the offense clicking. In years past I thought we were sluggish for the first qtr after the off week coming so early in the year.
I also think it will be great to have some quality reserves at TB. I can remember times when we started out deep and by Nov we were hurting. Also if we can bring in fresh legs in the fourth qtr. that may be a good thing when some LB's are starting to get gassed on the other team.
Exited about seeing these players so we're driving over for the Q&W game from SC for the first time in a long time. Will be playing real football according to CoacH Kiffin.

tennezz writes:

in response to 1manningfan:

Is it just me or does Crompton have that dumb look on his face again when talking to Kiffin in that video. He looks so confused. I pray to God he does not get the starting nod.

Crompton always looks like the best quarterback in practice, and then has that deer in the headlights look in the game, I hope the coaches can see through this!

ColeTrickle writes:

in response to nicksjuzunk#646117:

I think either Bryce or Oku MUST redshirt this year if we are as good as advertised in the backfield. If the cupboard is full, then why force it?

I expect both to be impact players but from the sound of it, we have some impact players already who have a couple of years of college weights behind them. I would guess Kiffin will be open to playing them both, but wait to see how things are playing out first.

Of course, I am scared of anything that coaches say anymore. Last year, "70% of the offense is installed", "Foster looks like he's much quicker", "Crompton is playing great."

Sigh.

I could see Oku possibly being red-shirted not Bryce Brown though. If nobody gets red-shirted that would give us Hardesty, Creer, Poole, Williams, Oku, & Brown. 6 RB's right... am I missing anyone? That's a crowded backfield. I would'nt be surprised if someone gets moved to a different position. I guess Williams will be a full-back.... any thoughts???

gmoneyvol writes:

Does anyone see even a remote possibility of better QB play for 2009? If not, could be another scary season.

blitzshoot writes:

the 09 offense will be about keeping the other's team offense off the field. Like a slow down basketball scheme.
Ball control and time management. Not pretty, but may be the only option without a proven qb. Sounds like it may be similar to Bama's 6-3 victories from the past.

HtownVol writes:

So does Aaron have 4 years remaining? I personally hope Stephens gets the starting role. He showed the most potential last year . He and D. Moore made a great tandem. And this year we have some very good WR weapons ( Paige, NuKeese, G. Jones, Hancock, Warren, Green , and even the brothers that I am not too proud of and I dont want to say their names. Anyway. Thats a lot of WRs, we all know how many RBs we have. If we get some depth on both sides of the line next year we will have all the talent we need. Oh yeah, a top QB would not hurt. If I were a top QB senior I would dure look at Tennessee. UT is a team that is on the rise I would love to be the next great QB at UT and lead them back to the top of college football! ITS GREAT TO BE A VOL!!!

idahovolfan#230277 writes:

Has anyone heard anything about special teams? The last few years special teams has hurt us badly whether we were kicking or receiving. Punt/kick coverage- that would be a new concept.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to MattDillon:

I see just the opposite out of Hardesty, hard running senior leader pushed to be his best

I love Hardesty's toughness as a runner as much as anyone else, but surely you noticed he has missed about half of each season so far banged up in some way. I'm not holding that against him; some guys just have bad luck that way, but Hardesty has surely been one of those. With the talented mob we will have at RB, anybody who gets hurt enough to miss as much as a practice snap will slide down the depth chart.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to tennezz:

Crompton always looks like the best quarterback in practice, and then has that deer in the headlights look in the game, I hope the coaches can see through this!

From what I have heard about practice this year, it will be a lot harder to hide "gun-shyness" under game conditions than it was last year with the infamous green jerseys. Once he gets planted a time or two in practice and THEN gets up to perform well, it will mean a lot more than practicing well under last year's patty-cake rules.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to nicksjuzunk#646117:

For those who can't recall. Hardesty is a beast... if he can stay healthy. He ain't goin nowhere.

think he could be used as a ball carrying fullback with Kiffins philosophy?

Ralph_Crampton writes:

Crompton...Coach Kiff...was a whizz in practice last year...but something happens to him in real game...This is a psycholical factor that effects some athletes...I recall a pro boxer who trained hard for a twelve round fight despite for three months...yes runnin g five-six miles a day. sparring 12 rounds a day...but once the real fight started he ran out of gas by the end of third round...totally exhausted he could barely move...this is a mystery factor...many trainers worth their salt have heard of this situation...but not all...ever heard of it?

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