Forgive Tauren Poole if he steps on some toes. That's not his intention.
However, he isn't willing to sit back and hear just how great Tennessee's top two tailbacks were last year.
Don't tell the rising sophomore that Montario Hardesty shocked the SEC with 1,413 rushing yards last season. And certainly don't mention that freshman Bryce Brown ran for 476 yards in a backup role.
One might also want to omit the fact that freshman David Oku's 94 rushing yards also bested Poole's 2009 output.
"I can do everything those guys can do," Poole said Saturday. "I just didn't get the opportunity. I wish I would have, but it's in the past. There's nothing I can do about it."
Delve further into Poole's frustration and it's obvious that he has no bone to pick with Hardesty being given the reigns for his senior season.
"I'm not going to take anything from Montario because … I'm glad he had a great season, but I feel like I should have been in the rotation," Poole said.
Many onlookers agreed. Poole was one of the most productive tailbacks in spring practice and early in preseason camp.
Then shortly after Brown emerged last August, it became clear that UT's former coaching staff was thinking of going in another direction, as Poole was often relegated to practicing with the second and third team.
Poole said that never affected his approach.
"On every day I brought the attitude that I can't change anything; I just have to worry about my attitude," Poole said. "That's the only thing I can control everyday.
"Regardless if they're looking at me or not, I could be that example that can endure through tough situations."
Poole said he never cared that Brown was the No. 1 high school prospect in the nation, but UT's coaches - especially former coach Lane Kiffin - did.
Poole believes the battle for playing time was determined by recruiting. Showing Brown off, Poole reasoned, made UT an easy choice for blue-chip prospects.
"Definitely," he said. "That's a big factor for a lot of young guys. They want to come in and play and come in and be successful. I think that was the biggest thing for Kiffin and his recruits. He wanted to get the guys in here. By playing them early he was going to get them in here. That's the way it was."
Poole, who carried the ball 10 times for 85 yards last season, got the last word before Kiffin's departure. The 5-foot-11, 211-pound tailback looked more than capable in the Chick-fil-A Bowl when he carried the ball three times for 15 yards against a stingy, physical Virginia Tech defense.
Poole was inserted into the game when a banged-up Hardesty had to be attended to on the sideline. When Hardesty returned, Poole's day - and his season - was done. Yet Poole had done enough to make some fans scratch their heads.
Credit his persistence. Poole maintains he never dropped his head last season.
"Not one time," he said. "I would never let any one man get me down."
Now, one man - new coach Derek Dooley - has uplifted Poole's spirits.
"I feel like I can trust people," Poole said. "Those guys said my chance was coming and it never did. With this staff I just feel like I have that shot whether Bryce was here or not."
Brown's return looks doubtful. His once promising future at UT looks destined to go the transfer route after telling Dooley he wouldn't be participating in spring practice on Thursday.
"It's a big chance," Poole said. "Better opportunity to show the whole state of Tennessee what I can do. They didn't really get to see that last year. My shot was minimized last year. That's OK because I'm going to show them this year."
It's easy to imagine Poole transferring had there not been a coaching change. Surprisingly, Poole said he'd likely still be a Vol even if Kiffin were still head coach.
"Probably so," he said.
Yet Poole admits he felt undervalued and disrespected last season. That's not been the case so far under Dooley.
Dooley said he hasn't tried to pump up Poole just because there is ample opportunity at tailback. Truth is there's ample opportunity at several positions.
"He's got a good look about him which is important," Dooley said of Poole. "He's focused. I watch him in the meetings. He's dialed in. That's a good start.
"He's working hard. He's doing a great job out here. But when you find out about a runner is about like anything, you put the pads on. They've got to take you to the ground. How elusive are you? How dependable are you? How durable are you?"
Dooley will find out on Tuesday.