Has the Tennessee chapter of the Bryce Brown saga come to an end? The most complete information currently comes from John Brice at VolQuest ($), who quotes Derek Dooley from day one of spring practice this afternoon:
"On a personnel matter, Bryce Brown came to me today and indicated he's dealing with a lot of personal and family problems right now. Concerns, that I believe, stem from and what he told me stem from, No. 1 some of the reasons why he came here," Dooley said. "Number 2, his experience over the first six months when he was here. And as of right now, he's not a part of the team.
"It doesn't mean we've kicked him off by any means. We want Bryce here, and he's going to be here through the rest of the semester. But my focus really is on the 85 guys who are here and have great spirit about the direction of the program. And we're excited about having our first practice."
The VolQuest article includes the complete statement from Dooley. Read more from Wes Rucker here.
Earlier today, I was trying to remember a year where the first spring practice was getting less attention than this one, because the basketball Vols are set to play their opening round NCAA Tournament game later on tonight. But apparently we can't have that around these parts.
But if I have to talk about something other than basketball for a minute, can we talk instead about David Oku or Tauren Poole? Toney Williams? No?
Bryce Brown came with his share of baggage from the recruiting process - 367 days ago, not all of us were sure what to think of Lane Kiffin's biggest prize. But that baggage never really manifested itself into anything negative in Knoxville - Brown played behind our hero Montario Hardesty, and did pick up 460 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. He has the look and build of a future star, which goes with that whole number one recruit in America thing.
But things have changed in Knoxville, and just as Lane Kiffin was not the right man for Lennon Creer, so too may Derek Dooley not be the right man for Bryce Brown. These things do happen with coaching changes, and though we may like it less when it happens to guys with Brown's hype, we handle it better when it comes at a position of great quality depth like tailback.
We may want to look for more sensationalism in this story, and maybe we'll find some...but I hope we don't. This isn't a 100% done deal yet, as Dooley and others have mentioned...but if it ends with Brown and Tennessee parting ways because it isn't working with Brown and Dooley, it sounds like neither party will be too heartbroken over it. And because of Poole and Oku, neither should we.
Back to basketball.