A Brown out for Vols on first day of spring practice

Running back 'not a part of the team'

Coach Dooley's comments on Bryce Brown

Bryce Brown

Photo by Jaime Oppenheimer/The Wichita Ea

Bryce Brown

The first practice was meant to announce an arrival.

A departure overshadowed it.

Derek Dooley officially debuted as the football coach at Tennessee. But the curtain apparently dropped on Bryce Brown as a Vols running back at roughly the same time.

The former No. 1 recruit in the country was a no-show as UT took the field under Dooley for the first time on Thursday afternoon, just one day after rumors of Brown's possible departure were seemingly put to bed. Officially the door is not closed for Brown, but UT is moving on without him either way.

"Bryce Brown came to me today and indicated he's dealing with a lot of personal and family problems right now," Dooley said. "Concerns that I believe stem from, and what he told me stem from, No. 1, some of the reasons why he came here, and No. 2, his experience over the first six months when he was here.

"As of right now, he's not a part of the team. It doesn't mean we've kicked him off by any means. We want Bryce here, and he's going to be here through the rest of the semester. But our focus really is on the 85 guys who are here."

There are still a handful of talented tailbacks among them, and Tauren Poole, David Oku and Toney Williams certainly soften the blow delivered in the backfield. The Vols also have talented signee Rajion Neal on the way this fall, but none of the others come with nearly as much hype or promise as Brown.

His delayed decision on National Signing Day in 2009 and eventual pledge to UT made national headlines and was frequently pointed to by former coach Lane Kiffin as evidence of his impact on the roster. Brown struggled through injuries and played a complementary role behind Montario Hardesty, but even after the coaching change he made clear he planned to stick around through spring practice before making a decision about his future.

After going through offseason conditioning with the team though, apparently Brown had a change of heart just before it started.

"I was a little surprised, but you can only control what you can control," Dooley said. "He went through the entire offseason, but I also think this wasn't something from the last three weeks.

"This was probably something for six months, and I'm not sure what the pressures are, but I'm not here to recruit (players already in the program). I'm here to coach. He's dealing with a lot of issues."

Dooley obviously has some concerns as well, starting with a thin group of defensive tackles, a handful of injured linebackers and a quarterback battle to oversee - which he started to address during a roughly two-and-a-half hour practice.

Those storylines were expected to be the focus of Dooley's first workout with the Vols, but that changed when they opened it with one less option at running back.

"Everybody makes their own decisions and things like that," Oku said. "All we can do is just hope that he doesn't (leave), but we can't control what somebody else does. You know, coach Dooley says we're just worried about everybody taking care of themselves and getting team chemistry going.

"I think it caught a lot of people (by surprise), it really did, it's one of those things that you never think something is going to happen, but then it does. It's kind of crazy."

.

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Comments » 117

Porterhouse writes:

Good luck whatever you do, young man. This is an important time of your life and you need to be sure of what you want.

volsoutwest writes:

How long have we known of his discontent? It's news to me. A bit of a surprise also, I might add.

bobmcreynolds#663132 writes:

Who thinks he will end up at USC?

rockytopvol writes:

I hope he stays he's a good kid just alot of things to sort thru, I've always thought he'd be a better fit due to body type and size at safety or even linebacker. He has a different running style, not to say he can't be great at RB, but at the next level is a different question.

heyitsme writes:

The timing is suspicious... It will be interesting to see this story unfold.

GBO

Gator_Hater (Inactive) writes:

in response to bobmcreynolds#663132:

Who thinks he will end up at USC?

Naw, K-State with his brother. If he wants to go to USC, we won't release him. He'll have to go JUCO or drop to a FCS school.

roloyo writes:

Did Dooley not talk to this kid before today, or did Brown just lie to him 'til the last minute???

Halls3 writes:

This has been brewing for awhile now. I will be interested to see how this develops along with the Douglas situation. Losing 2 key offensive players could be bad.

idiot writes:

Shall I be the first to say "Sour Grapes". How many true freshman running backs had better years than Bryce? The answer is,a lot did.We all loved Montario but when did he become a starter?The answer is, last year.I think Bryce has great potential and I wish he'd stayed with us but I'll bet he does not become a superstar wherever he ends up.There,I've said it first.

Halls3 writes:

Chris Lowe is reporting that Bryce Brown has basically officially left the University of Tennessee. How true is this? I don't know but he usual gets the scoop on UT stuff fairly quickly since he is a UT homer.

texasvol73 writes:

in response to Halls3:

Chris Lowe is reporting that Bryce Brown has basically officially left the University of Tennessee. How true is this? I don't know but he usual gets the scoop on UT stuff fairly quickly since he is a UT homer.

B/c he is a good reporter. That's why he is working for ESPN now and idiots like Dave Hooker spend their time chasing dumb non-stories.

RoadTrip writes:

He showed us very little last year. I wish him good luck wherever he chooses to go. However, Both Poole and Williams (before the ACL) were better than BB. Oku may be if gets enough reps to develop. Add in Neal and the cupboard is full. GBO!

givehim6 writes:

I think he might miss all the hype he got last year so he might be trying to recreat more drama. sory about the misspell.

soccervol writes:

Say it aint so Bryce...Please stay!

77VolFS writes:

in response to 92Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Show some class, please. He's what, 19? He's a good kid dealing with some personal issues - who didn't at that age? By the tone of your text you seem to have some as well that need to be dealt with.

tensie2004 writes:

If he does transfer to K-State will he have to sit out a year? If so, he would be a Junior before he could play again!

bobbyutvol writes:

where is Douglas. I have not heard he was gone

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

PLEASE STAY! But, if you're set on transferring, let me make a suggestion: TRANSFER TO UCLA!!

DaddyVol writes:

Bryce who???

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

in response to roloyo:

Did Dooley not talk to this kid before today, or did Brown just lie to him 'til the last minute???

Not at all. Brown has always said that he is going to see how CDD and staff want to use him and then he'd make a decision. I think part of it is home sickness, but most of it is 100% Lame's fault. Imagine if you bought into Kiffin's BS, trusted him, traveled almost a thousand miles away from home, and then had Kiffin krap all over that trust. You have no family support close by and the one person you should be able to trust the most just betrayed you and your teammates. How would you react?

What Kiffin did to those kids was horrible, absolutely horrible. It's disgusting that the NCAA allows coaches to so easily betray the trust and confidence of their kids (and yes, Dooley's decision to come to UT falls into that same category).

Bryce needs to go where he will be comfortable and UT just might not be that place (which sucks for us because he had all the intangibles to be a great RB). It's not for the rest of us to judge BB's decision.

OrangePride writes:

I feel bad.......not for Tennessee. Poole and Oku are going to be fine feature backs. But Bryce has either had some bad advice or just made a rash judgement. If he transfers he will sit out a year, lose his momentum and all of this will not do his stock any good. Too bad, he's a nice young man. Let's hope he has a change of heart.

1963volfan writes:

in response to tensie2004:

If he does transfer to K-State will he have to sit out a year? If so, he would be a Junior before he could play again!

Yes he will have to sit for a year unless he transfers to a div.2 school. And Aaron Douglas is having some personel Family problems,our thoughts and prayers goes out to the Douglas family.

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

in response to 92Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

First off, he never was a flake. He got on campus early and he worked his arse off in practices. He accepted his second string status and was willing to play his part and earn a spot on the roster. He didn't get caught with weed or knock up a hostess or get arrested for DUI. He went to class and made the grades necessary to play on Saturdays. He was as much a "flake" as you are a competent football analyst.

As for buying into Kiffin's program...THAT'S WHAT GOOD PLAYER'S DO! Universities don't create the football "program," head coaches do. UT provides the facilities, the stadium, the advertising, and the fanbase, but it's the coach that has to convince the players to buy into the coach's program. So yeah, Bryce bought into Kiffin's program...just like all of the new recruits and a lot of the fans. Should the players currently on the roster wait a year before they actually accept Dooley's program and coaching philosophy?

Your comment simply reveals your lack of knowledge and classless upbringing. I'm sure that LSU or Bama would be happy to welcome you as a fan.

crimsonviper writes:

in response to imnotDC:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

By the way,I wish KNS would color your gone,zz.

crimsonviper writes:

in response to imnotDC:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And you predicted another championship and Tebow being the top NFL quarteback pick.
0 for 1 so far,ZZ.

OrangeVeins writes:

in response to VolAlum2003:

Not at all. Brown has always said that he is going to see how CDD and staff want to use him and then he'd make a decision. I think part of it is home sickness, but most of it is 100% Lame's fault. Imagine if you bought into Kiffin's BS, trusted him, traveled almost a thousand miles away from home, and then had Kiffin krap all over that trust. You have no family support close by and the one person you should be able to trust the most just betrayed you and your teammates. How would you react?

What Kiffin did to those kids was horrible, absolutely horrible. It's disgusting that the NCAA allows coaches to so easily betray the trust and confidence of their kids (and yes, Dooley's decision to come to UT falls into that same category).

Bryce needs to go where he will be comfortable and UT just might not be that place (which sucks for us because he had all the intangibles to be a great RB). It's not for the rest of us to judge BB's decision.

Totally agree....1000%!

OrangeVeins writes:

I heard on the Animal today that Douglas is definitely gonna be here this spring and fall, just sorting some personal issues out, but he told CDD he was ALL VOL!

UTGAMER writes:

This blows! I think UT is going to slowly fall apart of course I hope not. But I do like Oku better than, Bryce. As I did Hardesty better than Foster. Guess I kind of hoped more for Bryce because of his Ranking. At first I liked CDD, but now Im wondering if he is gonna be too serious about a lot of things and run people off. I mean its good what he is trying to re instill, but yall know what I mean, right? I liked him from his first press conf, but now he is too serious he needs to lighten up. I mean he is lying about BW, he kicks previous players out, etc. He is kind of a jerk, but as long as we can win I dont care, and I know most of yall are gonna jump down my throat cause yall are all about some CDD as you were with Kiffin, and will be our next coach, but anyone else feel the same? Maybe he is gonna be like Fulmer and play by seniority and not talent and BB took off? lol I was wondering how long it would be before we started loosing RBs

OrangeVeins writes:

As for Bryce...it IS what it IS!?! He would have to sit out a year, but it's not easy to leave?

brett426 writes:

in response to tensie2004:

If he does transfer to K-State will he have to sit out a year? If so, he would be a Junior before he could play again!

Correct me if I'm wrong but people on here are saying if he transfers he will lose a year. If he transfers he will have to sit out a year but wont' that count as a redshirt year?? so he would still have 3 years left. You have 5 years to play 4 the way the rule stands now. Again, correct me if i'm wrong on this but that is how I interepreted the college rule.

deputy658 writes:

the kid to watch is Tony Williams , the guy is a beast , reminds me of Travis Henry , I think he will have a great year. Good luck to Bryce Brown.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

Yes. Toney Williams was the surprise RB after spring according to the last staff until his injury. There are 4 quality backs so let's move on. Look at it this way: If he leaves he wasn't a true Vol anyway. If he stays, hopefully he will be a stronger man. Just respect his decision.

TommyJack writes:

in response to crimsonviper:

By the way,I wish KNS would color your gone,zz.

You tell'em Vipe.

cdonsbach writes:

PTFO, Slice Clown.

huntined#565710 writes:

I hope this young man can get his problems worked out and remain at TENN. He had a lot to live up to and he was not the starting back last year. Either way it goes I wish him well..

TNPilgrim writes:

Sometimes these high school phenoms just can't cut it in college. Let's face it - he's not the only kid that left home to go to school. Last season he limped around, always hurt to some degree and never seemed to be able to play through it. He was used to being the BMOC in his little high school league, and after he got his jock knocked loose in the first real college practice he was exposed as being all hype and no substance. There were several freshman backs in the SEC last season that were obviously better than he was, starting with Trent Richardson. If he gets his head on straight and stays, fine; if not, he won't be missed. For anyone who watched him last year who wasn't exposed to all the hype, he was obviously a very ordinary running back. Fact is, we have several other backs who can easily replace him.

nolancrooks10 writes:

in response to bobmcreynolds#663132:

Who thinks he will end up at USC?

I DO!!

ThugTillIDie writes:

Great hire Hamilton. Great freakin' hire. THREE WINS! THREE WINS! THAT'S WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT FOLKS. THREE WINS. OBAMA, REID, AND PELOSI COULDN'T HAVE DESTROYED THIS TEAM FASTER THAN HAMILTON, KIFFIN, AND DOOFLIP.

memphis_vol_fan writes:

Keep drinking the kook-aid. Brown is a HUGE loss for us. Forunately, we loaded up at tailback. Good luck to BB! For those who don't know him; he's a great kid and deserves everything he gets.

utvols420 writes:

I don't know what team you all were watching last year but Bryce Brown is an awesome back. Just because he wants to leave doesn't mean he isn't any good. He will be great no matter what team he goes to. Somebody said move him to safety!!! Really? Go back and watch some of his runs. The kid runs hard and has great vision. If not for Hardesty he would have started last year. Richardson from Alabama is good but I'm not sure I would take him over Brown. Safety!!! ha!!

ThugTillIDie writes:

Trent Richardson wasn't running behind the Sullins Twins.

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

in response to Jamestown17:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I love fans like you. We get Brown as the top pick coming out of high school and he is the greatest thing to happen to UT since the groundskeepers discovered the checkerboard pattern, but when he decides to leave then guys (or girls) like you come out and claim that he was: 1) always overrated, 2) never bought into the program, 3) never worked hard, and 4) never really had a future as a star player.

The truth is, we don't know how Brown would have turned out. Rarely do running backs dominate in their freshman year, usually they spend their time playing 2nd fiddle to an upper classman, but if it makes you feel better about him leaving, then you can go ahead and believe that he sucked from the start. Me...I'm going to wish him the best, respect his decision, and not take parting shots at a former UT Volunteer that worked hard while he was on campus, but had his world turned upside down when the coach he trusted stabbed him in the back and left him hanging in the wind.

RaineyVol writes:

Wow!! I am Shocked

Gator_Hater (Inactive) writes:

in response to ThugTillIDie:

Trent Richardson wasn't running behind the Sullins Twins.

No, he wasn't, but Brown wasn't running too much behind them either. Man I'm gonna miss Hardesty!

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

in response to ThugTillIDie:

Great hire Hamilton. Great freakin' hire. THREE WINS! THREE WINS! THAT'S WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT FOLKS. THREE WINS. OBAMA, REID, AND PELOSI COULDN'T HAVE DESTROYED THIS TEAM FASTER THAN HAMILTON, KIFFIN, AND DOOFLIP.

I'm assuming that Dooflip is "Dooley" and he hasn't done anything to destroy the team. Also...it's not like our entire roster decided to evacuate. We have a LOT of good players returning...veteran players. Three wins...doubt it. Dooley may be a little in over his head, but he isn't a complete idiot. Also, you're ignoring the fact that he's put in a stellar support staff (the one thing that gives me hope).

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

in response to utvols420:

I don't know what team you all were watching last year but Bryce Brown is an awesome back. Just because he wants to leave doesn't mean he isn't any good. He will be great no matter what team he goes to. Somebody said move him to safety!!! Really? Go back and watch some of his runs. The kid runs hard and has great vision. If not for Hardesty he would have started last year. Richardson from Alabama is good but I'm not sure I would take him over Brown. Safety!!! ha!!

I completely agree, but this is just one more damn knock on our program and some people are having trouble coping. For some, the easiest way to deal with this is to point to every flaw BB ever displayed, jack that criticism up 500% because he was the top rated high school player (a rating he didn't give himself), and pretend as though BB didn't give our squad a huge weapon. It's just one more thing to deal with right now in the life of a Vols Fan.

CroKev writes:

I can't wait until Dooley's had a couple of recruting classes under his belt. I think he's a long-termer but I do have one concern in that regard. I hope that Mark Richt does well enough at UGA to not get fired. Otherwise, I'm concerned CDD might leave for his "dream job" in Athens after rebuilding UT.

txvolsfan writes:

in response to crimsonviper:

And you predicted another championship and Tebow being the top NFL quarteback pick.
0 for 1 so far,ZZ.

Crimson does Dooley remind you of Saban more and more. He has that no nonsense approach, always talks about the process and Saban purged Bama some when he got there. I just hope the victories follow him like they do Saban.

cloudodust writes:

I recall hearing a rumor a few months back that Oklahoma State was on his mind. Brown has done nothing to hurt us at this point but if leaving's on his agenda then Tennessee football isn't.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Iam not sure what Brown has to be unhappy about..He got tons of carries but didn't do any better than Poole; had he seen the same amount of playing time..If he has to sit a year just to play for someone else he will lose his edge and momentum..He has little too gain by a transfer; in the end he will be second on somebody else s depth chart instead of being the featured back at UT

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