As noted earlier by RockyTopinKY and reported by Wes Rucker, UT freshman defensive end Jacques Smith was charged for simple assault on Sunday. According to UT athletics spokesman Jimmy Stanton, there was "an altercation" between Smith and another student about a girl. As soon as it started, other team members present stopped it. No one was hurt, and everybody left. Several hours later, the other student and his mother decided to press charges.
The knee jerk reaction to this, perhaps locally and almost certainly nationally, will be to see the words "freshman," "Knoxville bar" (as used in the AP's version of the story), and "altercation" and conclude that this is just more of the same from Tennessee, reminiscent of the bar brawl this summer.
But we've been conditioned around here to look for progress, and what the team failed to do this summer (intervene, deescalate, and walk away), they did this weekend. And if the word means the same thing it did 13 years ago in criminal law class, "assault" means the guy thought he was going to get hit, not that he got hit. Still not good, but progress.
Derek Dooley says he's going to handle Smith's punishment internally.