New Douglas starting for UT

Maryville product follows dad's footsteps on offensive line

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.'"

Not anymore.

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."

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Comments » 37

graphpro#231211 writes:

Hope TN can win a few in the SEC. Our last win against a quality program was 3 years ago.

Roll the scoreboard this week. Lets see offense.

TommyJack writes:

Good job, parents.

Cldvols1 writes:

Good story, best of luck Aaron! Go Vols

UTVOLSFAN4LIFE writes:

New Douglas starting for UT. How about a new QB starting for UT? Stephens deserves a shot. Stephens might be nick the pick in practice but Crapton is on pace to set a record that is not the kind you want to set.

Most Passes Intercepted Season - 34 - John Eckman, Wichita St., 1966

Vols033 writes:

in response to graphpro#231211:

Hope TN can win a few in the SEC. Our last win against a quality program was 3 years ago.

Roll the scoreboard this week. Lets see offense.

Georgia 2 years ago.

tennman65 writes:

good luck and ignore all the negativity on here the first time you miss a block, as half the posters on here are complete spineless idiots! GBO!!!!!!!

crimsonviper writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Good job, parents.

I'll second that..also nice story Hooker.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to supersmo18:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Amen.

Houstin Nutt's smoke and mirror show.

Madkels writes:

Go get 'em Aaron. Open up some holes for Hardesty, Oku, and Brown. Maybe the coaches will make him an eligible lineman with his tight end experience. Gotta try something new.

utvolz#637682 writes:

Give it your best effort Aaron and everything will work out just fine. GO VOLS!

MidwestVol writes:

in response to UTVOLSFAN4LIFE:

New Douglas starting for UT. How about a new QB starting for UT? Stephens deserves a shot. Stephens might be nick the pick in practice but Crapton is on pace to set a record that is not the kind you want to set.

Most Passes Intercepted Season - 34 - John Eckman, Wichita St., 1966

You know UTVOLSFAN4LIFE, Coach Kiffin has publicly asked several times for us - the fans - to back off Crompton. Coach Kiffin is trying to coach this team, it's players and especially its QB and he needs our help. Right now, Coach Kiffin is saying that people like you are part of the problem and not part of the solution. So I have to ask, is it UTVOLSFAN4LIFE or is it UTVOLSantiFAN4LIFE. Get on board with our new coach and show him some support.

STNVol09 writes:

in response to UTVOLSFAN4LIFE:

New Douglas starting for UT. How about a new QB starting for UT? Stephens deserves a shot. Stephens might be nick the pick in practice but Crapton is on pace to set a record that is not the kind you want to set.

Most Passes Intercepted Season - 34 - John Eckman, Wichita St., 1966

Another "coach" who knows everything better than Kiffin. So last year you were calling for Fulmer's head because of Crompton....when do you start the same song and dance about Kiffin? Geez....

GeneralNeylandsReturn writes:

in response to graphpro#231211:

Hope TN can win a few in the SEC. Our last win against a quality program was 3 years ago.

Roll the scoreboard this week. Lets see offense.

We tanked Georgia two years ago, and that Wisconsin team we beat later on New Year's day wasn't a pushover.

seaplane#216536 writes:

Is the tackle elgible play still in the playbook?

the_1_don#407478 writes:

in response to MidwestVol:

You know UTVOLSFAN4LIFE, Coach Kiffin has publicly asked several times for us - the fans - to back off Crompton. Coach Kiffin is trying to coach this team, it's players and especially its QB and he needs our help. Right now, Coach Kiffin is saying that people like you are part of the problem and not part of the solution. So I have to ask, is it UTVOLSFAN4LIFE or is it UTVOLSantiFAN4LIFE. Get on board with our new coach and show him some support.

Well said MidwestVol! Its like some of these clowns are for the other team. Of course, I know some are! Bring on the Gators! We roughed them up pretty good yesterday! GBO

the_1_don#407478 writes:

in response to smokeybones:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What was that smokenbone--I couldn't hear you with that sausage protruding from your mouth!

usnavyvol writes:

in response to smokeybones:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Love ur faith in the fact that Kiffin and UT r gonna fail. Do u have any luck picking numbers for the lottery as well? NO?..Yes?
just another troll...........TOOL
GO UT VOLS Class of 93'

Bloodrunzorange writes:

Good luck Aaron! It's your time! Go Vols!

10volunteers98 writes:

Can Douglas play Quarterback?

Razzle writes:

Since we have Aaron starting this week i'll have to revise my pick. Tenn. 30 Ohio 10.

VolFanInAtl writes:

Tall, athletic tackle in a zone blocking system that seems to be working.

I love it.

I watched the play that Hardesty scored on a few times last night. It was nothing all that special. We just got a hat on everybody withing 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.

I love it.

REVOL writes:

in response to crimsonviper:

I'll second that..also nice story Hooker.

Amen. I love guys that have a strong tie to the university doing well. He seems to be a really fine young man. His parents should be very proud.

My Dad told me when I was a kid, that he only wanted the players who really wanted to wear the orange at Tennessee. Because they give their all. Here is a prime example. You make us proud Aaron.

It's disapponiting that it took a Bama fan to point out that we should be thankful to Vol parents. But, many on here are too busy thinking of ways to insult our own players and coaches. Leave that to the lopers. Go Vols! Beat Ohio!

kkempf#226833 writes:

As I recall, the last game Stephens started, Wyoming rode two INTs to two TDs (they could have won with 7 yards of offense). Honestly, we shouldn't look for a QB savior on our own roster, because it just isn't there. Count on our coaches get get better results out of Crompton, especially as our receivers learn to give him better targets.

cmoore7 writes:

Cool article about a guy who may turn out to be "the rock" of the O-line going into next year.

Beat Ohio

johnlg00 writes:

I love Aaron's story and his play so early in his OL career. Kinda bittersweet though to think that he may well be our most-experienced O-lineman next year. Sure hope we can get him some help!

micbrooks#212023 writes:

in response to the_1_don#407478:

Well said MidwestVol! Its like some of these clowns are for the other team. Of course, I know some are! Bring on the Gators! We roughed them up pretty good yesterday! GBO

The author of this article should be ashamed. Using "their" instead of "they are" is just too much. Did you quit school in the 6th grade ? For crying out loud, at least get someone to proof these articles before you publish evidence of your ignorance in a newspaper

VolunteerLifer writes:

Way to go, Aaron. We sure need to see an improving O line, and it sounds like this young man is going to be a big part of it.

UTfaninYankeeland writes:

I played with David and his brother Steve who was a high school All-American at Rhea County H.S. Great guys off the field, brutal on it.

the_1_don#407478 writes:

in response to micbrooks#212023:

The author of this article should be ashamed. Using "their" instead of "they are" is just too much. Did you quit school in the 6th grade ? For crying out loud, at least get someone to proof these articles before you publish evidence of your ignorance in a newspaper

If you read it that carefully, I am sure you got the intended point! It's just too easy messing with you Gators these days. When the microscope comes out, I know the turds have hit rock bottom!

volboy81 writes:

I watched David play at UT, watched Karla play at UT and watched Aaron play at Maryville. Cant wait to see him tomorrow!! The Douglas's bring class and honor to UT! GO VOLS!!

gnm53108 writes:

Congrats Aaron.Make your ut family proud.

ok...Ohio.

Over/Under on rushing yrds.

275

TommyJack writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

Amen.

Houstin Nutt's smoke and mirror show.

Exactly. Been hearing this Ole Miss resurgence talk since Johnny Vaught. Never materializes.

Volways writes:

Combined with the Hardesty story, this is the second great article this week! Congratulations Aaron, you've earned it! Go Big Orange!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to micbrooks#212023:

The author of this article should be ashamed. Using "their" instead of "they are" is just too much. Did you quit school in the 6th grade ? For crying out loud, at least get someone to proof these articles before you publish evidence of your ignorance in a newspaper

The sad fact is that there really AREN'T many editors who do what you are talking about these days. They cost too much money and the publishers reasonably guess that not many people will notice errors like that anymore. Sadly, they may be right! These stories are all written on computer and automatically sent to the type-setting machines. If a word doesn't come up on spell-check, it goes right on through. Actually, since stories appear on here before they hit the paper, it may well be that OUR comments on them lead to corrections before the stories are put in the paper! I know I have seen later versions of several articles where earlier errors were corrected.

cloudodust writes:

in response to graphpro#231211:

Hope TN can win a few in the SEC. Our last win against a quality program was 3 years ago.

Roll the scoreboard this week. Lets see offense.

Some of the fellers on here have pointed out a game or two that mattered inside your timeframe, but in a sense, you are right. With October approaching, we shouldn't be sneaking too many peaks into next month but how can we help ourselves not to..? Let's get a passing game going, continue to run and run well...and one word of advice to the WR coach : Teach your guys to play a little defense out there until a passing game develops.

RaineyVol writes:

Wow FINALLY some Ohio news...

tom.johnson59#1360512 writes:

GOOD JOB Aaron SAT AGINST THE BOBCATS OF OHIO ITS YOUR TIME TO SHOW ALL THE VOLS FANS INCLUDE MYSELF WHAT YOU GOT

GO VOLS

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