UT's offseason off to troubled start with Downs' arrest

Tennessee tight end Brendan Downs runs the ball during a drill in practice at Science Hill High School's Steve Spurrier Field in Kermit Tipton Stadium in Johnson City, Tenn., Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee tight end Brendan Downs runs the ball during a drill in practice at Science Hill High School's Steve Spurrier Field in Kermit Tipton Stadium in Johnson City, Tenn., Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Tennessee sophomore tight end Brendan Downs was arrested for underage consumption of alcohol and public intoxication outside a Knoxville bar early Sunday morning, an inauspicious beginning to what is a pivotal offseason for the struggling football program.

Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, who was given interim head coaching duties when Derek Dooley was fired a week ago, is directing the program until a permanent coach is hired. That means keeping players focused on academics until the end of the semester, trying to hold together Tennessee’s fragile recruiting class and dealing with off-field issues.

Police say Downs, 19, was removed from the Whiskey Dix nightclub at 1912 Cumberland Avenue by a manager. Once outside, Downs “created a disturbance by becoming loud and using profane language.” A Knoxville police officer who was working an extra job in the bar’s parking lot placed Downs under arrest at about 1 a.m., according to Knoxville Police Department Sgt. R. Eastridge.

“We are aware of the situation and are gathering facts,” Tennessee spokesperson Jimmy Stanton said.

Stanton said the matter would be handled internally.

Downs, a native of Bristol returned quickly from a serious knee injury suffered in August and played in nine games as a backup to senior starter Mychal Rivera. Downs caught three passes for 39 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown against Akron on Sept. 22.

The arrest occurred only a few hours after the Vols celebrated a season-ending 37-17 victory over Kentucky at Neyland Stadium.

The win helped ease the gloom of a disappointing season that ended in a 5-7 record and a search for a new head coach.

Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said last week that he wanted a proven head coach to replace Dooley, who was only 15-21 in his three seasons at Tennessee.

In the meantime, the current staff is dusting off resumes and doing what they can.

“I’ll continue to do whatever Mr. Hart would like me to do in this role,” Chaney said.

The first order of business is academics. Classes end Dec. 4, so today starts the last full week of classes this semester.

“We’ll continue to help these young men (in) whatever they need as far as going to class,” Chaney said. “That’s the key thing right now. Football is over and now we have to finish up strong in finals. Coach Dooley was big on that and we’ll continue to fight his wishes all the way to the end. These young men will finish strong academically if it’s the last thing we do. We want that.”

Recruiting is understandably difficult during a coaching transition, but Chaney and his staff can at least tell signees to hold tight for a few weeks until a new coach is brought in.

“We’ll have a number of coaches out on the road being visible with our Tennessee orange to the recruits,” Chaney said.

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 91

Vol_For_Life writes:

Celebrating that first conference win I guess

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

Great! We beat Kentucky and these kids get a big head like they've accomplished ****. What a joke!

Volunatic writes:

I'm hoping there won't be a rash of incidents like this before Tennessee gets a new coach who can make a statement about discipline off the field.

Orangeblood13 writes:

It's one guy
But you trolls enjoy making your jokes

uttcut writes:

When the cat's been fired....

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

in response to Orangeblood13:

It's one guy
But you trolls enjoy making your jokes

It's "one guy" who is being counted on to replace Rivera who just so happens to be our best TE since Witten! Kind of a big deal!

thevoice writes:

No rules when the boss aint around.

Clarkrm0706 writes:

Glad the bartender became concerned after serving the minor, several apparently.

PUL4VOLS writes:

I don't know whether to type "this was Dooley's fault" or "guess some people can't handle winning." Either way, it was dumb and I hope he receives due treatment for it. The Vols will need tight ends who stay in line next season.

darbhoo writes:

Any of you ever consume too much alcohol before you were 21? Let's not let this start a major deal. They are all kids like each of you were.

Let the first of you with no sin caste the first stone.

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to darbhoo:

Any of you ever consume too much alcohol before you were 21? Let's not let this start a major deal. They are all kids like each of you were.

Let the first of you with no sin caste the first stone.

I actually drank less after I turned 21. Still question the bartender though.

wazzya69vol writes:

So???? Let's not make it a bigger deal than it is. One good kid got arrested at 19. The season is over, let the Judge and his parents deal with it. Getting loud and apparently cussing out loud was his demise. A dumb mistake by a good kid.

Ayres_Hall writes:

Well, some of you begged for a return to the 90s.

FWBVol writes:

in response to wazzya69vol:

So???? Let's not make it a bigger deal than it is. One good kid got arrested at 19. The season is over, let the Judge and his parents deal with it. Getting loud and apparently cussing out loud was his demise. A dumb mistake by a good kid.

I don't think running a story is making a big deal out of it. Granted, if your average 19-year old student is arrested for the some thing it might get two lines in the arrest report section of the paper. But when a guy is on a football scholarship at a major university the season might end but he remains on scholarship 24/7 year round.

Vols20 writes:

in response to GiveHim6TDTennessee:

It's "one guy" who is being counted on to replace Rivera who just so happens to be our best TE since Witten! Kind of a big deal!

Ever drink too much and act like an idiot while in college? Yea, me too. It's a bad choice, and he will pay the consequences. However, it's not the end of the world.

tdvol1989 writes:

So does this mean that part of Dooley's disciplinary strategy was to lose so that no one would be in the mood to party? Hmmm. Interesting.

clvolfan writes:

in response to Clarkrm0706:

Glad the bartender became concerned after serving the minor, several apparently.

Yeah,I guess it would not have mattered to him had he not become loud and unruly.

BigOrangeSlim writes:

Well he cant be into too much trouble heck he helped the Vols win and WE ALL know that winning is everything! Just ask Coach Dooley!!!!!!

Bark_at_the_Moon writes:

in response to darbhoo:

Any of you ever consume too much alcohol before you were 21? Let's not let this start a major deal. They are all kids like each of you were.

Let the first of you with no sin caste the first stone.

Kid is a SLING BLADE!

Ironcity writes:

Who cares? I don't. Party on!!

Rock85 writes:

in response to BigOrangeSlim:

Well he cant be into too much trouble heck he helped the Vols win and WE ALL know that winning is everything! Just ask Coach Dooley!!!!!!

Well Dooley wouldnt talk to you anyway Slim. He was above speaking to the Common.The Dooley you love is the one Tennessee made up. Not the real Dooley,you really have no idea

darbhoo writes:

in response to FWBVol:

I don't think running a story is making a big deal out of it. Granted, if your average 19-year old student is arrested for the some thing it might get two lines in the arrest report section of the paper. But when a guy is on a football scholarship at a major university the season might end but he remains on scholarship 24/7 year round.

I think making a big deal of it as you suggested is wrong if making a big deal of a "regular" student is not done...both 19, both drunk and rowdy but the athlete is singled out? If he was on a swimming scholarship would that make any difference?

The media is looking for ways to smear the Tennessee athletic program. At one time not too long ago, Vols athletes were protected from these kinds of stories. Now they are targeted.

This is much ado about nothing. The story is not worth even the time I have spent to type this. Lighten up.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to Clarkrm0706:

Glad the bartender became concerned after serving the minor, several apparently.

Yea, I thought about that too. Was he charged for serving a minor?

jt45 writes:

Wonder if the Manager made any money off of him before throwing him out to his Off Duty Cop for the bag and tag. Once upon a time this kind of stuff wasnt news, those were better times.

manniesghost1903 writes:

I personally think the Knoxville police spend more time rousting UT athletics then they spend against real criminals. No wonder the crime rate is so high. I would like to know the motivation behind this "special vigilance" UT athletics seem to draw.

BigBadVol writes:

Perfect!

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

This wouldn't have happened if Dooley hadn't gotten fired..........

......JUST KIDDING!!

lemme_axya_this writes:

in response to Vols20:

Ever drink too much and act like an idiot while in college? Yea, me too. It's a bad choice, and he will pay the consequences. However, it's not the end of the world.

Exactly, some people will use anything for an excuse to condemn others.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say we all did it. Witch Doctor say make him run grass-cutters thats what Coach Mawk made us do. Witch Doctor say he will puke and that makes the world be a better place again..lol
Bones never lie.

ColdBlackWind writes:

When I was over there legal age was 18....and we still got into trouble. All coaches, old or new, have to deal with this. Have you never heard one say, "we are talking about 18-22 year old young men". Get over it. The favorite thing to do for football players at that time was to troll Kingston Pike drive-in joints an beat the phooey out of mouthy high school kids. Never made the news.

voloffaith writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

u r 'notfunnyanymore' for sure.....they are someone's son so grow up and holster that broad brush labeling........

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to ColdBlackWind:

When I was over there legal age was 18....and we still got into trouble. All coaches, old or new, have to deal with this. Have you never heard one say, "we are talking about 18-22 year old young men". Get over it. The favorite thing to do for football players at that time was to troll Kingston Pike drive-in joints an beat the phooey out of mouthy high school kids. Never made the news.

The year I turned 18, they changed the legal age to 21. I figured they were just daring me :)

OKVOL24 writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Great idea kick every college football player off the team who drinks, oh wait if you did that college football would not be around.

RaineyVol writes:

Love how people bash football players like they don't have lives... Everyone in this forum drank under age when they were younger.

Vol_in_Mich writes:

What a bunch of Losers! Not the kids, most of the numbnuts who post on here! I can't believe some of you morons, you would find something to gripe about if you won the lottery. Why is this news anyway?

GO Dave Hart - Get it right!

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

There's probably a lot more to this story than whats being written Does the bar do an ID check? Did Downs have a false ID? I think a full investigation should be done and people responsible should be held accountable. IMOP

OwensboroVol writes:

in response to GiveHim6TDTennessee:

Great! We beat Kentucky and these kids get a big head like they've accomplished ****. What a joke!

People drink for reasons other than celebrating. These kids have been through a rough time this year. I read somewhere that the replacement of a head coach is similar to your parents getting divorced. Anyway, if you don't know why he was drinking, you might want to reserve comment.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say we all did it. Witch Doctor say make him run grass-cutters thats what Coach Mawk made us do. Witch Doctor say he will puke and that makes the world be a better place again..lol
Bones never lie.

I wouldn't be shocked if the whole team got arrested after that horrible display of fb this year. Make him run the stadium until he passes out or throws up like WD suggested.

CantStandCantStandSaban writes:

As a former occupant of the 201 Poplar drunk tank in Memphis, I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, "REALLY?"

Pistolpete13579 writes:

Gruden isn't going to be happy about this!!!

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

Dear Dooley's recruits: This is the kind of thing you get arrested for in college. I hate to say it, but it's kind of normal. So how about you stop smoking pot, stealing from other athletes, stealing peoples' cell phones, kicking off-duty cops in the head, and just have a drink???

Seriously though...this is a non-problem, problem. Brendan, we all know you're gonna drink. But son, you've gotta learn that you can't start yelling outside the bar. That makes it too easy for the cops.

NYvolFan writes:

Not related, but a shocking report about Dooley's recruiting practices:

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/20...

VolzsFan writes:

in response to Ayres_Hall:

Well, some of you begged for a return to the 90s.

Yea, all that winning and all!!!!

Stop being a douche. You cannot and do not win on this level without some kids on the edge and getting into trouble. No school does. You want to win and you want players that are animals yet they have to go straight to the library or Thorton Center and not do what every other college kid does? You want to return to the best era in school history (the 1990's) or the second best era in school history (2000-2008), than do not whine about a few kids getting in trouble. That is the way it goes. Bail em out and let them play. Get a pacifier for Ayers Hall.

TNPilgrim writes:

Why is this even a story? Just imagine: a 19-year old college kid goes out on Sat night and has too much to drink at a campus pub. The author of this article needs to either go back to journalism school or find another line of work.

sadsadvolfan writes:

These are young men (18-22), I get it but they have to make better choices. They are young adults. The bartender should have not been serving him, I'm sure he could tell he was underage even if he did have a fake ID. The bottom line is the player himself made a bad decision to drink until he was not in con trol of his temper and caused a scene. I do not believe all KPD targets atheletes thats absurd, but the officer had a job to do and he did it. What if the player had left in the shape he was in and had gotten in an accident and killed some innocent person or himself, you would be blaming KPD for not arresting him. I wish they would close all the bars and Knoxville might be a better place to live. You can celebrate, cope with life or whatever is bothering you without drinking. I do it everyday without drugs or drinking. We need to help this young man and hope and pray he learns from his mistake.

Tru138 writes:

Can't say as I blame him. A lot of sorrows need drowning.

Tru138 writes:

in response to NYvolFan:

Not related, but a shocking report about Dooley's recruiting practices:

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/20...

Disturbing.

Colliervol writes:

Brings to mind Ron White: "Hey, I was not intoxicated in public. I was intoxicated in a bar. They threw me into PUB-LIC!

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to Colliervol:

Brings to mind Ron White: "Hey, I was not intoxicated in public. I was intoxicated in a bar. They threw me into PUB-LIC!

First thought I had also.

UTKin1992 writes:

My first weekend at UT as a freshman, I bought a pony keg for me and my dorm pals. No ID. Never drank a beer before. UT will draws you in like a siren. Don't be so hard on the kid.

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