Former Tennessee point guard Melvin Goins attempted transition from basketball to football was short-lived. UT coach Derek Dooley confirmed Wednesday night that Goins wouldn't return to the football program.
"It wasn't my decision," Dooley told GVX247.com at the Big Orange Caravan stop in Chattanooga. "I think Melvin, he did what he wanted to do. He wanted to try it out and see, and that's what we'd talked about. That's why I wanted to see. That's why I wanted him to come out in this spring, because I knew what kind of investment it was going to take, and I knew the challenge it was going to be for him to be even a guy who's in the two-deep. That was why it was important for him to get out there in the spring, instead of working out all summer and coming in for two-a-days and getting disappointed.
"We support Melvin. He was great about it, and I think he's making the right decision, to be frank with you. . . . Football's not an easy sport to just jump in and start playing."
And Goins agreed with Dooley's assesment in an interview earlier in the day with WNML radio.
"I had a great time during spring football, just to be able to experience a whole new culture in the sports realm and to be able get to know those guys," Goins said.
"Being on this campus in high-major Division I athletics, you're so dialed into your culture - if you play basketball, that's what you are around all the time. Football is the same way, and we really never interact as student-athletes. . . . It was good to be able to go out there and experience that culture and interact with those guys and find out what kind of guys they have over there and just the pedigree of what they do in their program."
Goins got a taste of it and even was credited with a tackle and pass defended in the Orange and White Game, but the UT coaching staff made clear several times it planned to sit down with the prospective defensive back and be honest about his future on the football field.
Considering the large number of players the Vols have set to arrive in the secondary for fall camp, the degree Goins is on pace to earn this summer, the waiver he would need for an extra year of eligibility and the possible options he could have with his natural sport, the decision to pull the plug was likely a foregone conclusion.
But Goins made the most of the time in a helmet anyway.
"I had a wonderful time with the football team over there, I like how they operate and it was a good experience for me," Goins said. ". . . I had a couple good hits away from the ball, got to beat up a couple of receivers - also got beat up a little bit.
"I caught an interception in one practice, tried to return it and cut up on the inside and got clobbered by two offensive linemen. That really woke me up and introduced me to football."
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