Aug. 18, 2009
BY DREW EDWARDS
Tennessee running back Bryce Brown missed his second straight practice on Tuesday, although an early morning MRI revealed no significant damage to the injured hip that kept him from Monday's workout.
But despite some good news, UT coach Lane Kiffin said that the highly touted true freshman wasn't feeling so great.
"He had a great scrimmage (Saturday), and then we get the news that the NCAA is continuing to investigate him, his whole history going back to when he was young," Kiffin said. "I know that bothers him, and it's pretty unfortunate." Kiffin said that the NCAA is looking into a possible eligibility issue in Brown's past that doesn't stem from his recruitment or from academics.
According to Kiffin, the NCAA is investigating something from his sophomore year at Wichita (Kan.) East High School.
"It has nothing to do with his recruitment by us," Kiffin said. "It has nothing to do with his recruitment by anybody. It's just something that my information says goes back to when he was a sophomore in high school that is very unfortunate for him. I think he had a 3.6 (grade point average) in high school, graduated early. I think he's got a 3.7 here so far. It's very upsetting for him and all of us."
Asked if the NCAA's involvement was a distraction for Brown, Kiffin said, "I think it's a gigantic distraction. I think it's very unfortunate."
Tuesday's news, coupled with the hip injury, dampened some of the enthusiasm Kiffin felt after Brown's performance in the Vols' scrimmage Saturday.
"I think Bryce had a great last four practices before (Tuesday), capped off with a great scrimmage," Kiffin said. "They didn't have many big holes when he was running. He made a lot out of a little. He's extremely physical. An extremely great mentality out there. You saw him run people over and pop right up.
"I was so excited about it, I ended up leaving here pretty late that night after the scrimmage, texting him. It's just unfortunate that we came back the next day and told him he's going on the right track and he's really going to be special and he's excited to get going and this happens. He's a competitor. He'll be back out there."