Now that Tennessee's coaching staff has switched Aaron from tight end to offensive tackle, however, you'd figure David would be offering his son loads of tips. But that isn't the case.
“I couldn't teach him much about tight end,” David deadpanned, “and Aaron doesn't need much help from me at tackle. From what I've seen Coach Chaney and Coach Cregg are very technique-oriented.”
Jim Chaney is the new offensive coordinator/line coach. James Cregg oversees the tight ends and tackles, so he was Aaron Douglas' position coach before AND after his switch. Aaron's dad liked what he saw from both Vol aides during spring practice.
“They remind me of the way Coach (Phillip) Fulmer taught offensive line,” David Douglas noted. “It's all about steps, position and staying square.”
If David had any concerns about the coaching his son would receive from the new staff, they were erased once he met Chaney face to face.
“The first time I talked to him I really liked the guy,” the elder Douglas recalled. “He's just a good teacher. And James Cregg is, too. They're very technique oriented. I've been real impressed with Coach Chaney and Coach Cregg.”
Like the rest of Tennessee's new aides, Chaney and Cregg are high-energy guys who keep things moving at a very brisk pace.
“The tempo they go at in practice is just incredible,” David Douglas said. “Aaron told me it's the best shape he's ever been in. The game ought to be easy after practice.”
Although Aaron Douglas did a lot of run blocking as a tight end at Maryville High School, he's relatively new to the zone-blocking scheme UT now uses.
“Actually, I haven't done a lot of it, except drill work,” the 6-6, 282-pound redshirt freshman said recently. “But I'm loving it.”
Young Douglas hasn't done a lot of pass protecting, either. When Maryville called a pass play, he usually was running a route instead of blocking.
“I did a little bit of that in high school,” he said. “Learning the steps and everything is an adjustment but if I keep working at it I can get pretty good at it.”
Tennessee's coaches have no doubt about that.
“He's a great athlete that can run,” head coach Lane Kiffin said. “It's just (making) the transition. For him to come in to tackle (from tight end) is a hard thing to do, and we think he's going to do extremely well.”
Aaron has impressed UT coaches with his athleticism but also with his willingness to leave the position he'd played his whole life and assume the thankless role of an offensive lineman.
“That's a difficult task when you ask a kid who's been running routes to move in and play offensive tackle,” Chaney said. “But, by his nature, he's a physical kid, and he's grasping it very well. He's got a lot to learn in pass protection but we're real pleased with his development.”