Derek Dooley still explaining Bryce Brown situation

Recruiting pitch over for running back

Editor's note: Tennessee basketball signee Trae Golden's name was spelled incorrectly in an earlier version of this story.

MEMPHIS - When you've taken over a football team that basically has no playmakers, you consider every option to acquire or maintain talent.

It is certainly that way for first-year Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley, who was in Memphis on Tuesday with men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl, at the Hilton for the annual Big Orange Caravan spring tour stop.

Dooley said he's leaving the door open for sophomore running back Bryce Brown to return to the team, though Dooley quickly added that Brown has not indicated in recent conversations he wants to return.

Brown, who ran for 460 yards and three touchdowns in 101 carries as a backup last season to departing senior Montario Hardesty, quit the squad before the start of spring practice.

The nation's No. 1 high school running back a year ago, Brown was persuaded to sign with Tennessee by previous coach Lane Kiffin, who left unexpectedly in January to coach Southern California. He has remained enrolled at Tennessee and has yet to transfer.

"I don't think he's coming back, but if he wanted to, the first thing I'd do is talk to our team to see if they'd want him back," Dooley said. "I think at the end of the day, our team would welcome Bryce back, if that's what he wanted to do.

"But Bryce is going to have to want to come back. He's not going to be easy. He's not going to be handed anything. I'm not going to make a recruiting pitch to get him."

Dooley, a one-time assistant at LSU for Nick Saban, understands he needs all the help he can get, especially after watching Vols' game film from last season when Tennessee finished 7-6.

"When you look at the inexperience we have going into this season, it's a concern," Dooley said. "I don't think there's ever been a situation where you have five new offensive linemen, a new quarterback and a new running back with a new head coach.

"Then along with that goes a depth issue. We can't afford to lose a lot of guys with just 75 players on scholarship. Those are things you can't fix right away."

Unlike football, a basketball coach can solve key personnel losses with just a few signees. Which is why Pearl, with such incoming talent as signees Tobias Harris (the nation's No. 1 high school power forward), Trae Golden, Georgia's Mr. Basketball) and Marquette transfer Jeronne Maymon, is confident his team can make another strong NCAA tournament run.

Maybe not as deep as this past season, when the 28-9 Vols narrowly missed making their first Final Four appearance ever, losing to Michigan State, 70-69, in the Midwest Regional finals.

The close call was bittersweet for Pearl, especially since just a few days after the loss he had to make his annual trip to the Final Four for the NABC coaches' convention.

"If you let me be in the Elite Eight every year with a chance to go to the Final Four on the last possession of the game, I'll sign up for that right now," Pearl said.

"The painful thing was going to Indianapolis (site of the Final Four) without my basketball team, knowing that (Colts quarterback and Tennessee alum) Peyton (Manning) is in that city.

"Peyton is Tennessee, and he and I were in touch during the (NCAA tournament) run. He and I had big plans. We would probably have gotten a fire truck and had a parade through the middle of the town. That city would have been conflicted between (Final Four semifinalist) Butler (located in Indianapolis) and Tennessee, but they would have put on orange for Peyton. I would have worked a deal with the NCAA, and had him sit next to me as a member of my staff."

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Comments » 64

bluetickhound writes:

Peyton is the greatest thing to ever happen.

tdvol1989 writes:

How long our we going to talk about Bryce Brown? Are you kidding? Are we going to see the headline "Bryce Brown Ate Pop-Tart for Breakfast"?

Good Luck Bryce, but move on to K-St.

SuckTheseVols98 writes:

why have we not offered trip thurman a scholarship?

Cldvols1 writes:

With or without Brown I look for the Vols to make some noise in the SEC this year, book it! GBO

RespectTradition writes:

Brown is a talented running back. That being said, I think he would be at best our backup and possibly third string.

I am not sure if he lacks heart, or if it just looked that way because he was spelling Mr. Hardesty (who showed all the heart you could ever want).

Either way, Poole looks a lot more focused and shows more determination in his running.

I won't say good riddance, because I would love to have that depth. I just wonder if its as bad as it may seem. Would he really even get to play?

Just my thoughts on a late evening.

Go Vols!

flatrock writes:

Bryce Brown has big-time skills- great hands and
a 'burst' that is natural. Plus, judging by the
reports, he is a really good kid. Unfortunately,
he has a father who needs to grow some gonads
and tell the local 'super-agent' / junior pro
coach to step aside and let the kid grow up
and face life's challenges head-on.

mlsoft#228820 writes:

in response to SuckTheseVols98:

why have we not offered trip thurman a scholarship?

KingP...

Apparently, we have active offers out to a number of offensive linemen that at least at the moment, we like better than Thurman. That could change when it comes time for camp evaluations.

mlsoft

utvolz#637682 writes:

Damn BB....he's moved on and so should we. Nothing to see here folks....move along.

kdaff51 writes:

in response to tdvol1989:

How long our we going to talk about Bryce Brown? Are you kidding? Are we going to see the headline "Bryce Brown Ate Pop-Tart for Breakfast"?

Good Luck Bryce, but move on to K-St.

Agreed. Now is not the time for uncommitted players. Send his toothbrush ahead on the next bus so it will be waiting on him at K-State.

UTByrd writes:

Bryce, I know you are being pulled in a million different directions. Trust in your instinct and do what you think is best for you.
The best advice I ever got was from my Momma. When I was contemplating moving from Tenn to Chicago I asked her advice. She told me to do what I thought was best for me and that, as long as she was alive, I was welcome back and would always have a roof over my head.
UT will always have a roof over your head no matter what you choose to do.
Personally, I would love to see in the Orange and White.
Go VOLS!!!!!

RaineyVol writes:

Gah I would really like to see Bryce in the backfield !!

reed11588 writes:

It's Trae Golden not Gordon. KNS needs to learn the names of our future athletics stars.

77VolFS writes:

We struck gold when we got Pearl.

Ringside writes:

Coach the players that show up at practice.

kyvol98 writes:

in response to reed11588:

It's Trae Golden not Gordon. KNS needs to learn the names of our future athletics stars.

Reed,

C'mon man, the KNS copy and paste skills are improving, just not there yet.

rich182x writes:

Sophmore slump, that's all. He'll be back. And i'll welcome him.

nola_vol writes:

in response to tdvol1989:

How long our we going to talk about Bryce Brown? Are you kidding? Are we going to see the headline "Bryce Brown Ate Pop-Tart for Breakfast"?

Good Luck Bryce, but move on to K-St.

The more pertinent question is not whether Brown ate a Pop-Tart for Breakfast... but rather, which one was frosted.

rhmhrh writes:

I would like to see B Brown back...but it is unfair to the rest of the team to allow him to play this fall when he skipped spring practice.
I don't care what the reasons were...it just wouldn't be right
Ross

beachvol1 writes:

Hat's off to you coach Dooley,as you have voiced your desire for Brown to return and it's up to him now..shouldn't have to re-recruit him..something tells me he sees the competition at rb wide open now and Mr. Poole poses a threat to his starting job...if he was a team player, he would know that there is a rotation and he would definitely get quite a bit of playing time, and could with hard work, take the job back as starter...as far as Coach Pearl goes, whatever it takes to keep him Hammy, do it...he is the best ambassador for UT since Peyton...got to love em both!!!!

gnm53108 writes:

"When you've taken over a football team that basically has no playmakers"???

Come on mr Higgins!I'd like for you to say that to Moore,Jones,Stocker,Martin,Reviez,Oku,Jackson and others!

Your alter ego has got to be one of these damn trolls on here.

WYLOVER writes:

No playmakers is way too harsh. We don't have a talent issue, we have a depth issue. We were a very good team in the mid-90's w/o nfl talent. We have DTs now that are better than Bill Duff....but Bill Duff had heart.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to WYLOVER:

No playmakers is way too harsh. We don't have a talent issue, we have a depth issue. We were a very good team in the mid-90's w/o nfl talent. We have DTs now that are better than Bill Duff....but Bill Duff had heart.

Bill "4th and goal" Duff.

I'm sure Eddie George remembers him.

Thanks for the memory WY

UTSmokey04 writes:

UT has their share of playmakers, just very few on the bench as of now. But during every college football season, there are surprises. Josh Hepul leading OU to the National Championship after playing at Snow Junior College. Anyone see that coming? Examples can go on and on. Yes, UT lacks depth; well documented now. But with Jones and Moore on the outside, Stocker at TE and the Poole/Neal/Williams/Oku combination at RB, there are offensive playmakers. Plus the best set of freshman recievers in the country (Milton, Meline, Rogers, Hunter) and our best haul since Swain/Meachem/B.Smith.

It's true... we are probably staring right into the face of a 6-6 and Music City Bowl appearance but that'd be a success for this team and it's lack of depth. Personally, I believe DC Wilcox is going to steal a win or two.

UTSmokey04 writes:

in response to WYLOVER:

No playmakers is way too harsh. We don't have a talent issue, we have a depth issue. We were a very good team in the mid-90's w/o nfl talent. We have DTs now that are better than Bill Duff....but Bill Duff had heart.

Big if here, but if John Brown can come in and be that third DT with Walls and Hughes, that's a big lift, if anything for a blow to the other two and Brown at one time was a huge talent. Also redshirt freshman Arthur Jeffery may surprise at DT.

TLepage writes:

Pearl is the man!!!!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to rcr12:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Huh...Several will be here later this summer.

This freshman class is a top 10 class.

GerryOP writes:

With or without Brown? Can't worry about that right now. Whatever will be will be.

We are seeing the dawning of a new era of UT football. A good foundation is being built, we have a coach dedicated to and capable of returning UT to the ranks of the elite, and we need the support of the entire fan base. Best time to get a front row seat on the Dooleymobile is right now! Get your britches on board!

122 -- Fear The Dooley Dude...

AncientVol writes:

What's the latest on that OL guy, Posey, as a prospective recruit?

gnm53108 writes:

in response to AtlantaHawk:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I kinda like it.

It's catchy.

But I dont want to see "It's Time" ever again.

Ayres_Hall writes:

We do NOT lack playmakers. We do lack experience and depth but a finely tuned scheme would take care of that against 75% of our competition. We need to stay healthy and we need some luck. And, we could use Bryce Brown and Aaron Douglass but if they decide to go elsewhere, we'll move on.

I got my britchees on and a front row seat on the Dooley Family Truckster.

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to WYLOVER:

No playmakers is way too harsh. We don't have a talent issue, we have a depth issue. We were a very good team in the mid-90's w/o nfl talent. We have DTs now that are better than Bill Duff....but Bill Duff had heart.

No NFL talent in the mid-90's? You sure about that one?

givehim6 writes:

in response to utvolz#637682:

Damn BB....he's moved on and so should we. Nothing to see here folks....move along.

Like I said in another post, " There is nothing I saw from Brown proves he is worth all this hype. Just let him go we are OK with RB's.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to RespectTradition:

Brown is a talented running back. That being said, I think he would be at best our backup and possibly third string.

I am not sure if he lacks heart, or if it just looked that way because he was spelling Mr. Hardesty (who showed all the heart you could ever want).

Either way, Poole looks a lot more focused and shows more determination in his running.

I won't say good riddance, because I would love to have that depth. I just wonder if its as bad as it may seem. Would he really even get to play?

Just my thoughts on a late evening.

Go Vols!

Calling him the no#1 back of that class is a stretch..He got plenty of playing time and should have no gripes..His freshman year was nothing special;he's no Chuck Webb.. Trent Richardson had a better effort..

Lizardgrad89 writes:

I thought the comment of "brand new O-line, QB, RB, and coaching staff" was telling.

That's going to make 2010 a very challenging year, particularly the first half of the season.

But hey, what that means is that in 2011 you will return basically your entire offense. One year's weakness is the next year's strength.

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

As much as this town loves Peyton, I think it would've taken a lot more than him and us in a firetruck to get most people around here to pull against Butler. But I would've been there, along with a quite a large group of UT alum in the area! That would've been a blast to see. We'll shoot for 2015! (When it's here next.)

NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop writes:

in response to SuckTheseVols98:

why have we not offered trip thurman a scholarship?

Who is Trip Thurman?

Thanks,

Coach Dooley

99gator writes:

never before has so much been made of someone who means so little.

he's a guy. i don't care what the recruiting services made him out to be. he's a guy.

he's not the franchise. furthermore, he doesn't fix tennessee's real problem

GOBIGO72 writes:

in response to bluetickhound:

Peyton is the greatest thing to ever happen.

Agreed and its far from over

give_him_6 writes:

in response to bluetickhound:

Peyton is the greatest thing to ever happen.

You are right Peyton is really good for many reasons. But I can find a few things that I think are pretty great too:
Air..great mexican food...classic '66 mustang fast back...the THONG...great B-B-Q...UT Football on a Saturday....my Sea Ray....three stooges...scooby doo cartoons...farm fresh honey...you get the picture. LoL!!!

hueypilot writes:

in response to Biggunzz44:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Don't think the HC should go hat in hand and beg a somewhat mixed up young man, who at this point can't make up his mind what he's going to do except skip spring practice, to come and play for the Vols. At this point I'm more excited, more hopeful about the other RB's we have, mostly Poole, I'm more excited about the undersized kid from Alcoa (or Maryville, I forget which) willing to walk on, than I am about Mr. Legend in his own mind, who showed a very distant second team to Hardesty last year.

Beaten this horse to death. Dooley will coach the backs he's got that have shown a willingness to work. BB isn't in that category and he'd do well to go to K or K State or wherever his Daddy and his hangerons want him to go to.'

We have a starting TB and several backups. See ya later Bryce.
As for Thurman, how do you know we think he's a guy we want to offer. If we haven't offered, we obviously don't like something about him. And that's Dooley's call, not Phillip's, not Kiffin's and not ours.

DaddyVol writes:

All this speculation...but the truth is as certain as the nose on your face!

Little Kiffie and Eddie (Orgeron) Munster are in the background stirring this up.

They want Brown at USC. Bet on it!!!!!!!

KevDVol writes:

in response to bluetickhound:

Peyton is the greatest thing to ever happen.

I would have to rank Jesus way way up there and then Gen. Neyland, Al Wilson very closely followed by Ambassador Manning with Pearl rounding out the top 5.

DaddyVol writes:

in response to NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop:

Who is Trip Thurman?

Thanks,

Coach Dooley

Mr. Thurman...for the last time.

We will check out your son and get back with you!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to hueypilot:

Don't think the HC should go hat in hand and beg a somewhat mixed up young man, who at this point can't make up his mind what he's going to do except skip spring practice, to come and play for the Vols. At this point I'm more excited, more hopeful about the other RB's we have, mostly Poole, I'm more excited about the undersized kid from Alcoa (or Maryville, I forget which) willing to walk on, than I am about Mr. Legend in his own mind, who showed a very distant second team to Hardesty last year.

Beaten this horse to death. Dooley will coach the backs he's got that have shown a willingness to work. BB isn't in that category and he'd do well to go to K or K State or wherever his Daddy and his hangerons want him to go to.'

We have a starting TB and several backups. See ya later Bryce.
As for Thurman, how do you know we think he's a guy we want to offer. If we haven't offered, we obviously don't like something about him. And that's Dooley's call, not Phillip's, not Kiffin's and not ours.

I'm with ya huey.

I'm also excited about seeing Oku having more opportunities.He's shifty and damn fast.

3volfan writes:

should he stay or should he go now. personally i hope he is back with alot of step running for bailing on spring practice

DaddyVol writes:

in response to rcr12:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That's some great grammar homeboy.

Were you born in Keeeen-tucky???

Better go to the dentist and get your tooth cleaned.

Major_Magilicutty writes:

in response to DaddyVol:

That's some great grammar homeboy.

Were you born in Keeeen-tucky???

Better go to the dentist and get your tooth cleaned.

Give the guy a break, DaddyVol. The most important part of his sentence was flawless. "GO VOLS!"

gnm53108 writes:

in response to KevDVol:

I would have to rank Jesus way way up there and then Gen. Neyland, Al Wilson very closely followed by Ambassador Manning with Pearl rounding out the top 5.

You got #1 absoluteley correct.

BreweryVol writes:

in response to WYLOVER:

No playmakers is way too harsh. We don't have a talent issue, we have a depth issue. We were a very good team in the mid-90's w/o nfl talent. We have DTs now that are better than Bill Duff....but Bill Duff had heart.

You sir are an idiot. Please allow for a few misspellings.
Tom Myslinski, Jeff Smith, James"little man" Stewart, Ben Tally, Anthony Morgan, Alvin Harper, Carl Pickens, Chuck Webb, Reggie Cobb, Todd Kelley, JJ Mcklesky, Chris Mimms, Steve White, Shane Burton, Shane Bonham, Jay Graham, Tracey Hayworth, Aaron Hayden, Joey Kent, David Pool, Heath Shular, Chuck Smith, and of course Peyton Manning. To those Volunteers that made it to the NFL in the 90's who I forgot. I am truly sorry and I know that I forgot several. I did not include any players from the National Championship team on purpose. He did say the mid 90's. So these are players from 1993 to 1997. Give or take a year.

GerryOP writes:

in response to AtlantaHawk:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Who is "everyone?"

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