Tennessee Needs Leaders: Any Volunteers?

John WhiteCorrespondent IIIMarch 26, 2010

ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 11:  Quarterback Nick Stephens #17 of the Tennessee Volunteers walks off the field during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on October 11, 2008 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

You know how sometimes you can burp, and vomit a little at the same time...?

Come on, you know...a vurp.

I just finished reading about Tennessee's best rostered lineman, Aaron Douglas deciding that he would no longer wear orange, at least not for the Volunteers. I vurped a bit, tasted the bile, then swigged a little iced-tea and recovered my confidence.

If Mr. Douglas and Bryce Brown are indeed leaving for the benefit of their families then I wish them well, and hope that their hardships can be overcome. I just can't stomach any more departures with similar problems—it's TOO CONVENIENT, and contend that some might just need to man-up, or volunteer in this case, now that the depth has gotten more shallow.

For the rest who care about Tennessee football—this is a time for questions. Anytime a young man goes through this much to play football for a program you have to ask if the program failed him. Now, you notice I said ask, and not assume. When you break down the word assume, into three little words, you make an...well you know.

It's really too quick to judge anyone yet, or lay the blame at anyone's feet, especially now that rumors are flying about as to the "real" reason Aaron Douglas has decided to venture elsewhere. I would hasten a guess that in no time the rumors will be revealed by other press vehicles, but not me, not just yet.

It looks a little funny right now—remember that Tennessee's clubhouse was dented last year—as a total of eight players told Coach Kiffin they'd rather go their own way. Isn't it natural that Dooley might suffer a similar fate due to opposing personalities?

The players that departed last season cited two common causes for their flighty wings.

One: They felt a loyalty to Fulmer, and they worried that his personal recommendation in their athletic ability would be undermined by Kiffin.

Two: They would have to prove themselves again, when they had already been given a job and would rather try somewhere else, rather than run the risk of losing their position to another player they would never have competed against in the first place—in front of all of their peers all...over...again.

Personally, I don't think Douglas will be the last. Kiffin had his favorites, and those jaded players are probably going to have their young emotions stepped on again, as Derek Dooley evaluates everything for himself. It sucks, but that's the nature of the beast. I'm sure before everything is said and done, the roster will be reduced by no less than three.

You never know what's in these kids heads. After all, what's up with Bryce Brown hanging out at practice? Does he miss the pads? Is he having remorse? Is he scouting out the competition, or maybe recruiting a potential convert, and playing double agent for God knows who?

I would like to think that he remembers the "real" reason he put that orange cap on early last year, in front of all that media. Or do I?

Behind close doors, none of us can imagine what Lane Kiffin promised this kid, and now that Dooley has arrived, maybe that promise is null and void. Ya know, Oku is pretty darned fast, he could step up and replace BB, that would be enough reason for me to leave if I was the No. 1 recruit in the country.

This very minute, somebody on Tennessee's squad needs to step up and be a Peyton Manning or Eric Berry. It's not the necessity of a phenom, but that the team needs a player(s) that bleeds orange now more than ever. You can't face teams like Florida, Alabama, or even Kentucky without guys that rally players inside the team, and motivate them to play hard, and be leaders. 

They need players that remind them that what they're playing for isn't just themselves, but millions of people that watch and wait on their every move. In the end it is all about your pride, and ours. Trust me—if you go pro, it will only increase ten-thousand fold, so get used to pleasing other people—that's your job.

Yes, you have a job. It's one that you volunteered for. Your education, room and board, and training is your pay. Your ability as an athlete is what got you the job—just like a carpenter can build with his hands. 

The definition of a volunteer can be understood as this:

Volunteer:  charitably giving oneself without obligation, for the act or acts of beneficial service with no intention of reciprocity.

Clearly there is a trend at Tennessee and a few players would be smart to do a little soul-searching, and remind themselves of their obligations to the people, state, and University.

This isn't about all of the players, but if you are offended by this, then it clearly applies to you.