Police: Austin Johnson tried to start fight, seen hitting parked cars before arrest

Austin Johnson was arrested on Sunday, July 24, 2011, on the Cumberland Strip in Knoxville for disorderly conduct and public intoxication. (Mug shot by KNOX COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)

Austin Johnson was arrested on Sunday, July 24, 2011, on the Cumberland Strip in Knoxville for disorderly conduct and public intoxication. (Mug shot by KNOX COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)

Tennessee linebacker Austin Johnson allegedly tried to engage in a fight and has been accused of hitting parked cars before his arrest early Sunday morning.

According to a police report obtained by the News Sentinel, the senior “shoved a white male and attempted to fight the male” in the back parking lot of Tin Roof at 1915 Cumberland Ave.

Johnson, 22, also matched the description of a “male who was hitting vehicles in the parking lot” and was identified as a “danger to himself and others” before being charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct by the Knoxville Police Department. According to the report, Johnson had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and a strong odor of alcohol and admitted to being drunk and also asked for a breath test.

Each charge carried a bond of $500, and Johnson was released Sunday afternoon and will face a court date on Aug. 4.

UT coach Derek Dooley has not publicly weighed in on the matter at this point. Dooley was in Bristol, Conn., on Monday for a series of interviews with ESPN, but he was not asked about Johnson and has not responded to requests for comment from the News Sentinel.

In a statement on Sunday, UT spokesman Jimmy Stanton confirmed the program was looking into the incident involving a player widely regarded as a leader by his teammates.

“We’re aware of an incident involving Austin,” Stanton said. “We’re in the process of investigating it for additional information.”

The senior is expected to be a critical contributor to UT’s largely inexperienced defense this fall, particularly given the lack of depth at linebacker.

Johnson spent spring practice working at multiple spots as part of the ongoing cross-training effort to make the Vols more versatile, but he was likely going to enter the season as the starter in the middle before Herman Lathers suffered a fractured ankle this summer. That loss forced Johnson back to a projected position on the outside as he tries to follow up on a junior campaign that included 44 tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery and 3.5 takedowns for a loss.

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

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Comments » 130

Volunatic writes:

Grumble, grumble

MothershipChip writes:

If he does not get kicked off the team people will be up in arms about the return of the "Fulmer Cup" at UT. I hope he gets to stay but I am sure to be in the minority.

vol4good#206163 writes:

He didnt hit a woman and he wasnt driving drunk. He may of been defending a lady for all we know. Lets let the truth define our actions before we jump to conclusions!

TommyJack writes:

in response to MothershipChip:

If he does not get kicked off the team people will be up in arms about the return of the "Fulmer Cup" at UT. I hope he gets to stay but I am sure to be in the minority.

College kid gets drunk. Kick them all out of school? I don't think so.

Prostar writes:

If he has not been in trouble previously, and I don't think he has, then this is strike one. Stupid move on his part, but, he has to grow up. I'd make him run the stadium steps until he pukes, now, how did all that booze taste?

fearthehound writes:

in response to vol4good#206163:

He didnt hit a woman and he wasnt driving drunk. He may of been defending a lady for all we know. Lets let the truth define our actions before we jump to conclusions!

Yeah, one thing is for sure, when those parked cars start getting fresh with the ladies, someone just has to step up.

TKG_VOL writes:

What's up with his neck? Doesn't it look about twice as long as it should be?

VOLliven2it writes:

Yeah he most likely will "enter the season" starting on the bench. Who's fault is that? Is it Dooley's? I don't think so. Is it Coach Wilcox's? No it is not. He can look in the mirror and see who is to blame. I hope he gets it straightened out and keeps it that way. Most of all, I hope this is not indicative of what is to come in Knoxville with Vol football players. How long before trolls set in? One, two, three....

fearthehound writes:

I think this is a good kid who has never really been any problem since he's been at UT and he's going to be a senior. Not too many college guys his age can say they haven't overdone it with the booze once or twice. I hope they go easy on him--let him run a bunch of sprints and do some extra community service.

keepitreal4vols writes:

eye gouging gets you suspended for the 1st half of a game.
Picking a fight should get you suspended for the coin toss.

Pullingguard writes:

Dooley was expecting leadership from Johnson and this gives that a setback.. Today, Johnson is probably kicking his rump for that incident on Saturday Night. Dooley cannot let it go unpunished and Johnson could miss a game on suspension, probably Montana, Run the stadium steps for week, and back into the fold once again. These are things that happen...Young, drunk and stupid, happens to young folks who drink too much..

MusicCityVol writes:

He and others need to understand the opportunity they have been given. What Johnson did wasn't the worst thing a college kid has ever done but it you have the privelage of playing football at Tennessee you must be held to a higher standard. There are guys like Inky Johnson who would love to have that opportunity again. I hope Austin gets it together and is the leader that the team needs him to be for the 2011 season.

Checkerboard Chatting with Inky Johnson
http://www.checkerboardchatter.com/20...

TheOpinion writes:

Good god look at his neck. Ewww. But lets use the Urban Meyer method of suspension. Suspend him for 4 games but allow him to play against Florida, Georgia, LSU, Alabama, and South Carolina. So suspend him weeks one and two, then week four, then week nine. That's how Urban did one of his guys. Suspended him for three games but with UT being the third game he let him play UT and suspended him the next game.

DERELICK_MY_VOLS writes:

I heard the guy Austin wanted to fight was making "Momma Jokes" about Mr. Johnson's mother.....big big mastake to make.

volboy81 writes:

in response to Prostar:

If he has not been in trouble previously, and I don't think he has, then this is strike one. Stupid move on his part, but, he has to grow up. I'd make him run the stadium steps until he pukes, now, how did all that booze taste?

how about making the entire team, staff & everyone run the stadium steps for his lack of judgment and irresponsibility. The next guy tempted to do something stupid might think twice!

msinva writes:

in response to vol4good#206163:

He didnt hit a woman and he wasnt driving drunk. He may of been defending a lady for all we know. Lets let the truth define our actions before we jump to conclusions!

Interesting point....Way back when for me....I was leaving a bar after a night of fun (overdrinking) with my wife and friends. Being the good gentleman that I am :-) my wife was walking in front of me. All of a sudden some guy from the side had the same opinion of my wife's backside as I did, and he reached out to pinch her. Well, I went nuts, slammed the guy against the wall and was about to punch him when the bouncer grabbed me and tossed me out. I stood outside the bar and tried my best to get the guy to come outside until the bouncer (who was somewhat of a friend as I went to this bar often) came outside and told me he would call the cops if I didn't leave. I told him to go ahead, but fortunately my friends convinced me to leave.

FYI, this was three years after getting my B.S. in engineering and was a "professional" at the largest employer in the city. Bottom line, things happen and your first response is often not always a good one.

utchuckster writes:

I like what one guy said. Put him in a seat on the 50 yd line put coolzone around him give him a nice cup of cold water. and have all the others run the steps and they will take care of thier own.

orangenwhitefan writes:

Are steroids legal in the SEC now? I had no idea.

VolzsFan writes:

in response to MothershipChip:

If he does not get kicked off the team people will be up in arms about the return of the "Fulmer Cup" at UT. I hope he gets to stay but I am sure to be in the minority.

I will educate you on the "Fulmer Cup". It was started as a joke by a Florida student in the heyday of that rivalry. They keep annual scores and cumulative ones as well. Alabama, Georgia and several others have been at the top of this Cup each year. Fulmer's Vols never where. In fact, in the cumulative rankings Tenn does not even enter the top 10. Therefore, in spite of the local yokals thinking that Tenn is thug U, they might realize that there are many many other schools with a worse record. Now, without thugs you do not win in football or basketball at the highest levels. As we get more and more library types at UT, you will continue to see that.

CarbonCopy (Inactive) writes:

in response to DERELICK_MY_VOLS:

I heard the guy Austin wanted to fight was making "Momma Jokes" about Mr. Johnson's mother.....big big mastake to make.

I heard it was "your mommas neck is so thick" .......something like that..

CoffCoVol writes:

in response to DERELICK_MY_VOLS:

I heard the guy Austin wanted to fight was making "Momma Jokes" about Mr. Johnson's mother.....big big mastake to make.

trust me, if the guy had made "momma jokes" it would have been much worse.
But 'wanting to start a fight' come on, man... send them home, not to jail.

Txvol57 writes:

Visions of Lattimer putting his head through car windows...STARTING DEFENSE!! PLACE AT THE TABLE!! WOOOOO!!

Volunatic writes:

in response to DERELICK_MY_VOLS:

I heard the guy Austin wanted to fight was making "Momma Jokes" about Mr. Johnson's mother.....big big mastake to make.

His neck could beat up most of the college guys on the Strip on a Saturday night.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

As another poster stated(in so many words), no one is at fault except Mr.Johnson.

A senior regarded as a leader should know better than that.

IMO, he should be suspended for the entire Montana game to send a message..If Dooley really wants to send a loud and clear message, he needs to be suspended for the entire second game.

Kelly8 writes:

If he was a regular UT student, he'd be suspended from school for a year by the Office of Judicial Affairs. Not saying that's what should happen, but if he weren't on the football team that's how it'd go down.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

To add to my post, I just don't think that him running up and down the steps and ramps @ Neyland will teach him a lesson..Remember Darren Myles??? Didn't teach him anything.

I trust that Dooley will issue the punishment he sees fit.

traderjoe writes:

Let's be honest, this kind of behavior is not isolated to UTK or any other college football team. It's time to face what's really going on. Football players have brain injury and/or are so hopped up on 'roids that they are unable to control their behavior. Put on a helmet, get your bell rung a few times, and you will be acting like any of these guys with damage to your prefrontal cortex. What else can it be?

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to PatientlyWaiting:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're right..Sheesh!!! What was I thinking??? LOL!!!

easleychuck writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

I will educate you on the "Fulmer Cup". It was started as a joke by a Florida student in the heyday of that rivalry. They keep annual scores and cumulative ones as well. Alabama, Georgia and several others have been at the top of this Cup each year. Fulmer's Vols never where. In fact, in the cumulative rankings Tenn does not even enter the top 10. Therefore, in spite of the local yokals thinking that Tenn is thug U, they might realize that there are many many other schools with a worse record. Now, without thugs you do not win in football or basketball at the highest levels. As we get more and more library types at UT, you will continue to see that.

Nice try VzsF, trying to educate the unteachable. Problem is trolls live under bridges and basically are just very, very stupid beings. Why do you think they hangout on out-of-town newspaper sites of other schools and post troll babble. Your facts will only serve to confuse them. Then again, it could drive them into a troll-like rage and cause them to leap into a river ending their miserable existences.

Never mind, please carry on educating the masses and the dirty, smelly trolls, too.

rocky_topper writes:

I hope Dooley boots him from the team. Maybe they can find a spot for him at UTC.

newtonrail writes:

Why isn't his parents phone # blacked out. I can see some idiots calling it already.

GerryOP writes:

I suggest that AJ be suspended for the 1st half of the 2011 SEC Championship Game ... for being stupid enough to get caught acting like a fool.

GerryOP writes:

in response to SmokeyTheBlueTickHoundDog:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Our village idiot has spoken...

Also, you must have missed it, Doofus was fired 2 1/2 years ago.

Classof72 writes:

This guy punches parked cars. This is weak. I heard he was arrested and charged with "impersonating a Tennessee Vols linebacker."

Real Tennessee Vols linebackers are strong. Jack Reynolds cut a car in half with a hacksaw because we lost a game. That is a strong linebacker.

Mr. Johnson shows a good linebacker attitude, but obviously needs more healthful exercise and needs to focus his energies where they can do some good. I'm sure the coaches are eager to help him get some healthful exercise and focus on hitting on the field, not in the parking lot. Running stadium steps is a good way to blow off excess energy while improving stamina and developing a sense of calm, focused strength. Hitting SEC guards and running backs is much more challenging and rewarding than hitting parked cars, which will seldom knock a linebacker on his fanny. At least Mr. Johnson wants to hit. Maybe the coaches can build on that.

FearlessFreep writes:

Hopefully he gets booted, or at the least suspended for half the year.

College is college, I get it, but there have to be consequences for your actions - particularly when you have the privilege of wearing the orange. Dooley made the expectations perfectly clear up front to all members of the squad.

GerryOP writes:

in response to FearlessFreep:

Hopefully he gets booted, or at the least suspended for half the year.

College is college, I get it, but there have to be consequences for your actions - particularly when you have the privilege of wearing the orange. Dooley made the expectations perfectly clear up front to all members of the squad.

Surely you jest....

VOODOOley-2011 (Inactive) writes:

The other guy yells "Your Daddy's a DRUNK and your MOMMA is a HOOCHIE KOOCHIE Dancer"

College students should all get to drink at age 18 just like the serve in the armed forces. Otherwise, make Iraq 21. It takes 1-2 years of solid college drinking to step up to the big leagues; you wait 3 years to tie one on in College and you'll end up in the back-seat of a police car.

AFVol423 writes:

Coach will make the right decision as far as punishment. I just want to say COMMON MAN! Stop the stupid behavior. It's late July time to put the summer behind you and get your mind right for season.

volaholic45 writes:

What do you suppose that shirt size is, about 23 and a half? Either that or his head is the size of a big orange. Bad luck for everyone else that he gets mean drunk instead of happy drunk or sentimental drunk.

Run him till he pukes, game suspension, or whatever. But the boot would be crazy. It ain't Johnson Bible College.

Ironcity writes:

in response to Kelly8:

If he was a regular UT student, he'd be suspended from school for a year by the Office of Judicial Affairs. Not saying that's what should happen, but if he weren't on the football team that's how it'd go down.

If he was a regular student the school would never know what had happened nor would they care if it didn't happen on campus. Most students live there lives without a newspaper reporting it.

Bloodrunzorange writes:

in response to Kelly8:

If he was a regular UT student, he'd be suspended from school for a year by the Office of Judicial Affairs. Not saying that's what should happen, but if he weren't on the football team that's how it'd go down.

If he was a regular student we would not be talking about this. Just another name in the Daily Becon Crime log on Monday morning. Austin and any other student with no previous encounters with the law should receive the same punishment by "Judicial Affairs". GBO!!!

PetePanuskanator writes:

in response to VOODOOley-2011:

The other guy yells "Your Daddy's a DRUNK and your MOMMA is a HOOCHIE KOOCHIE Dancer"

College students should all get to drink at age 18 just like the serve in the armed forces. Otherwise, make Iraq 21. It takes 1-2 years of solid college drinking to step up to the big leagues; you wait 3 years to tie one on in College and you'll end up in the back-seat of a police car.

I agree and so many College Administrators want the age limit decreased to 18 but the Federal Govt. withheld the State highway funds to keep it at 21. Go to Courtrooms in Cookeville and Johnson City and see all the college kid "criminals" who are drinking and getting arrested.

DroopyDrawers writes:

I think the News-Sentnel(SP)blows anything about the Vols out of proportion.

Fire Adams;and now, Austin Ward.

Volborn writes:

in response to TKG_VOL:

What's up with his neck? Doesn't it look about twice as long as it should be?

...and twice as wide. They checked him for alcohol, what about HGH? Roid rage can cause people to punch cars.

GerryOP writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And our village idiot speaks again...

Really lil' ZZGataboy, you can change your name but your silly posts continue to expose you...

apatric5 writes:

in response to Kelly8:

If he was a regular UT student, he'd be suspended from school for a year by the Office of Judicial Affairs. Not saying that's what should happen, but if he weren't on the football team that's how it'd go down.

no he wouldn't. In my three years at UT I've never heard of that happening or any reason other that poor grades

TrueVolFan writes:

Thankfully, I'm certain the LAST place coach Dooley is going to go for direction on discipline is on a message board from pretend to be know-it-alls!
Coach Dooley will handle this the way he sees fit in the best interest of UT Football and Austin Johnson, and hopefully no other.
It's embarrassing to read some of the comments by some of the members our fan base sometimes.

I was fortunate enough to get to watch the team practice with Coach Mac during my 9yr olds football camp in June, and I can tell you I left there pointing out to my son the work ethic that Austin Johnson displayed. In the middle of what felt like a 100 degree day, he was busting his rear end and led every single group run they had. I would hate to see a kid put in that kind effort and dedication to a team to have it ripped away at the first mistake they made.
Does he have any history of trouble? Anybody else hurt in the incident? Any property damaged? What was done to justify kicking off the team or missing gametime?
He is of legal drinking age, and lost his cool. Perhaps he had one of you Trolls who love to post ignorance sitting behind him at the bar heckling him knowing he couldn't touch you. Maybe he heard all he wanted and called the jerks bluff? Lots of factors neither you nor me know anything about.

I trust Dooley! He'll do what he believes to be right and that will be good enough for me! Go Vols!

VOLinATL writes:

'Roids and booze...bad combo.

Malloryjoy8 writes:

Good Lord, what is up with his neck?!

GetReal2 writes:

in response to Prostar:

If he has not been in trouble previously, and I don't think he has, then this is strike one. Stupid move on his part, but, he has to grow up. I'd make him run the stadium steps until he pukes, now, how did all that booze taste?

I agree. If this is the first offense, run the steps and learn. If it happens again, may need a bit stiffer consequence. These are just college kids. We forget they aren't really adults yet. Their brains don't connect all the dots sometimes!!
Besides, we were about due for a Vols team mbr arrest...We haven't had one in a few months, have we?

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