The Douglas family is ready to place another Tennessee football memory upon their mental mantle.
The newest addition will come Saturday when Aaron Douglas starts his first game as UT hosts Ohio (TV: VideoSeat PPV, 7 p.m.).
"It will definitely be really exciting," UT's redshirt freshman offensive tackle said. "I'm going to be pumped up."
And so will his parents, who starred at UT in the mid-1980's. Douglas' mother, Karla Horton Douglas, started three seasons for the Lady Vols, helping coach Pat Summitt to her first national championship. Aaron's father, David Douglas, was a starter on UT's offensive line.
What will they be like when their son is in the starting lineup against Ohio?
"My parents, they usually stay pretty calm, for the most part," Aaron said.
Notice that Aaron said "for the most part."
"There's probably some times when we don't need to sit next to each other," David joked during an appearance on The News Sentinel's radio show, The Sports Page. "She's as competitive or more competitive than I am."
The Douglases have plenty of UT football memories. Aaron recalls tailgating with his parents and playing football all day until the actual game kicked off. The 1998 UT-Florida game is his all-time favorite.
David remembers his first start - and that first play. It was a quick screen against Washington State in 1984.
"I thought I was going to hyperventilate," he recalled.
David has often said that Aaron is much more physically gifted than he. Yet the two have followed similar paths. Both were high school tight ends who were converted to offensive tackles.
"I still think he'd be a great tight end in college," David said.
Head coach Lane Kiffin and his staff saw a player similar to Tony Boselli, who went to Southern California as a tight end then grew into one of the best NFL offensive tackles in recent memory.
"They want their tackles to be athletic," David said. "No doubt Aaron fits that mold athletically."
The Douglas family welcomed the move for several reasons. First, Aaron had grown. He stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 285 pounds. Second, Aaron wanted to play as soon as possible and UT needed offensive linemen. Lastly, Aaron needed a challenge.
"Let's face it, when Aaron was younger, he was a lot bigger than the other kids," David said of his son, who was considered the top prospect in Tennessee for the 2008 class. "Even in high school ... I don't think he was challenged sometimes. It was like a man among boys sometimes."
Aaron dominated high school football with limitations. Two bad shoulders plagued him throughout his senior season at Maryville High School.
Once his senior season was over, Douglas had surgery on one of his shoulders. He tried to fight through the pain with the other shoulder but relented midway through his 2008 freshman season and had surgery again.
After having helped the Rebels to a 60-0 record, Aaron and his family faced a tough year in 2008. In addition to two shoulder surgeries, there was the 5-7 season at UT that led to the firing of head coach Phillip Fulmer, who had been David's line coach. Aaron also had a longing to help his team.
"I think it bothered him even more because he felt like he couldn't help," David said.
Now Aaron is healthier than ever. The "loose joints," as their commonly called, are strong and stable.
"Aaron told me his shoulders feel better than they ever had," David said.
The elder Douglas doesn't sound like a braggart when he talks about his son's accomplishments. He sounds genuinely amazed. It seemed likely that Aaron would have success at offensive tackle, but this soon?
"Generally it takes a guy a good year to get acclimated to that position," David said.
It was even more amazing considering Aaron was released to play after his shoulder surgeries in March, just before spring practice began.
"He still hasn't even had a full year of weightlifting," David said.
Aaron also impressed his teammates.
"He's got a huge upside," center Cody Sullins said. "Really athletic. He works really hard. He finishes on blocks. Not too many guys get the best of him out there."
Douglas impressed UT's coaches enough that they will slide junior Jarrod Shaw to left guard in place of senior Vladimir Richard, who is sidelined this week with a knee injury. That move opened the door for Douglas, who will start at right tackle in place of Shaw.
David, tough enough to have played five years in the NFL, won't necessarily be rooting for pancake blocks or perfect pass protection technique Saturday. More often, he'll be hoping for his son to stay healthy. David remembered his mother telling him she'd feel that same way when he was playing.
"She said every play that you guys were in the game, all I looked for was for you just to get up and get back in the huddle," David said. "I thought 'Ah, that's crazy.'"
David has carried a Tennessee towel in his pocket for good luck since Aaron was in middle school. When David's nervous, he'll rub the towel to burn off some unease.
"I guarantee you," David said, "I will be rubbing that towel for all it's worth."