Aaron rarin' to go

Aaron rarin' to go

Since most Tennessee tight ends have been glorified offensive tackles, moving from the former position to the latter essentially is a matter of dropping the word "glorified."

Still, most guys would be reluctant to leave a position which involves catching an occasional pass for a position that only provides recognition when you are flagged for a false start or holding. Fortunately for the Tennessee Vols, Aaron Douglas isn't most guys.

The 6-6, 280-pound redshirt freshman didn't just accept his recent transfer from tight end to offensive tackle; he EMBRACED it.

"I was 100 percent for it," he said this week. "These coaches know what they're doing, so I trust them with what they want me to do."

It would've been interesting to see how much impact Douglas could've made as a tight end, the position at which he earned Street & Smith All-America recognition as a senior at Maryville High School in 2007. It was, after all, his natural position.

"I played tight end my whole life, since I was eight years old," he said. "But the adjustment to tackle was what needed to be done, so that's what I'm doing for the team."

Although Douglas was known for his blocking as a high school tight end, the task is a lot tougher when blocking is all you do. Still, he believes he's adjusting nicely to life at offensive tackle.

"It's been going really well," he said. "It's been a lot of hard work getting used to the new position but I've liked it so far."

Since he usually was running routes on passing downs at the high school level, Douglas admits that learning to pass-protect is the toughest adjustment he's had to make.

"It's such a key to playing the tackle position – the kick step and everything," he said. "Trying to master that has probably been the toughest thing, so I've just got to keep working at it."

The fact Tennessee is playing a new offensive scheme this spring makes Douglas' learning curve a little steeper but he doesn't mind.

"It's definitely an adjustment," he conceded, "but the scheme's awesome and I'm loving it, so it's going well."

Had Douglas remained at tight end, he would've been third-team behind senior Jeff Cottam and junior Luke Stocker. At right tackle, he is second-team behind sophomore Cody Pope with a good chance to start if he progresses quickly. That's a lot of incentive.

"Definitely," Douglas said. "Everybody's trying to earn a spot out here, and that's a big motivation."

As most Vol fans are aware, Aaron's mom, the former Karla Horton, was a Lady Vol basketball standout. His dad, David, was a former UT offensive tackle.

So, how did David react when his son was moved to the position his father played 30 years earlier?

"He was definitely excited," Aaron said. "He was REAL excited."

David was such a quality tackle at Tennessee that he went on to play five seasons in the NFL. An exceptional technician, he has offered his son a few tips on tackle play in recent weeks. Right?

"Yeah," Aaron said with a grin. "He throws little pointers every once in awhile."

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