Blog Entry

Ex-Volunteer Aaron Douglas signs with Alabama

Posted on: December 17, 2010 4:32 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's hard to criticize much about the first year of Derek Dooley's tenure at Tennessee. After the sudden departure of Lane Kiffin from Knoxville and Dooley's whirwind hire, he still managed to hire a well-respected staff, salvage an impressive recruiting class, and drag the least-experienced Volunteer team in years to a bowl game behind rapidly-developing quarterback Tyler Bray.

Perhaps the only truly debatable decision Dooley has made has been to play hardball with a handful of Volunteers who asked for transfer requests in the wake of Kiffin's departure, notably former No. 1 overall recruit Bryce Brown and former freshman All-America lineman Aaron Douglas. Dooley denied Brown his release, apparently keeping him off scholarship at his hometown Kansas State program, and responded to Douglas's claims that he needed to get away from certain influences in Knoxville by granting him a waiver only on the condition that Douglas transfer somewhere eight hours' drive or further away. Those highly unusual steps -- taken to "protect the program " in Dooley's words -- may have successfuly sent the message that any future Volunteers who wish to transfer will need to be in good standing with Dooley ahead of time, but it also created a good deal of enmity between the program and Brown and Douglas.

Now that enmity may be coming home to roost in Douglas's case. After spending this season at community college Arizona Western, Douglas has transferred back into the SEC, and at the last school Vol supporters would want: Alabama.

For his part, Dooley says he's happy that Douglas has landed on his feet:

"First of all, I wanted to release him," Dooley said after practice this morning. "I didn't want to deny a release, which is what we normally do. I thought he needed to get away, and I thought it was good for our team that he wasn't close by, too.

"I thought everybody benefited, that we just get away from the deal for a little bit and I think it worked out well for our team and it worked out well for Aaron. Everybody should be happy."

But to hear Douglas say that he didn't originally want to play against Tennessee but that "the stipulations with my release opened up everything," it doesn't take a whole lot of reading between the lines to see that responding in kind to Dooley's less-than-accomodating decision was a motivating factor in his choice of new school.

If so, then certainly Douglas is opening himself up to his own charges of pettiness. But that wouldn't change the fact that if Dooley had simply approved a standard release, Douglas likely would have ended up somewhere that wasn't Tuscaloosa. Maybe the message sent to future potential transferees was worth it, but if Douglas plays a role in maintaining the Crimson Tide's recent success in the series (and judging by his play in his one season on Rocky Top, he does), it will have to be asked of Dooley if, maybe, it wasn't.

Since: Nov 9, 2010
Posted on: December 20, 2010 10:24 am

Ex-Volunteer Aaron Douglas signs with Alabama

Bryce had a neon sign flashing "has issues" before he even stepped foot on campus at Tenn.  I mean he took a recruiting visit to KState I believe before his before the start of his senior year, and "met a girl."  He then transferred high schools to be nearby.  He then was between Auburn, Tenn and KState (or Nebraska, whichever the one was he moved to), diddled around and had his offer pulled by Auburn and signed at Tenn along with another top RB.  He just oozed with issues, and TN/Dooley probably should have handled it a bit better from an outsider's p.o.v. as more of a blessing to have one less headache considering some of the trash Kiffin brought in.  Tenn is going to be a force to deal with...maybe not next year, but definately in 2012.  You don't play that many freshman and not have a good team by the time they're all juniors.  Probably couldn't have timed it much better either with uga and fl having bumps in the road as well.  I look forward to Tenn giving bama a game again.

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: December 18, 2010 4:59 pm

Ex-Volunteer Aaron Douglas signs with Alabama

I don't blame Dooley in the Bryce Brown case. Brown jerked Tennessee around for several months and finally asked for a release one month before the season began. That is no way to act and maybe Brown learned a little life lesson.

As for a "standard release ", it is up to each individual school and coach. There is no "standard".

BTW, Knoxville is a five hour drive from Tuscaloosa.

Since: Dec 18, 2010
Posted on: December 18, 2010 4:38 pm

Ex-Volunteer Aaron Douglas signs with Alabama

Great post. I'm just sad my team got caught. Fight on!

Since: Nov 9, 2010
Posted on: December 18, 2010 9:42 am

Ex-Volunteer Aaron Douglas signs with Alabama

A university can't tell a kid where they can and can't go once they grant a release.  They're one shot is when they do the release to make it conditional on where they initially enroll.  Once that is over, the kid can go where ever they please.  Bama could try to do whatever they want, but if you release a kid they could go to Auburn the following year if they wanted.

Since: Jul 6, 2008
Posted on: December 17, 2010 11:45 pm

Ex-Volunteer Aaron Douglas signs with Alabama

douglas is a lucky man and i sulute the vols for letting the man do what he wanted but i hope he doesnt change his mind again because alabama would never ever have given douglas this chance theres no way he would have ever played for a sec team are uab because bama wouldnt have allowed it

Since: Jun 21, 2009
Posted on: December 17, 2010 4:59 pm

Ex-Volunteer Aaron Douglas signs with Alabama

Why is Tennesse fielding volunteers? Why can't they come up with the money to pay their student-athletes just like every other university? This is sickening news.

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