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March 16, 2012
Former Vols try to shine for NFL scouts
Call it irony if you will or perhaps fitting that former Vols Tauren Poole and Austin Johnson spent Friday afternoon working in the offensive backfield for NFL scouts. The two arrived in Knoxville together, roomed together and together Friday afternoon tried to show the NFL they can help a team at the next level.
And both felt they helped their cause in that regard.
"Just show them whatever they wanted to see," Poole said of his goals Friday. "They wanted to see my change of direction, catching the ball, how I follow direction, my discipline. I think I did that well today. They did a good job coaching me up."
Poole didn't run a 40 yard dash. The only combine drill the Toccoa, Ga. did was the 3-cone drill. The 5-7 209 pound running back was happy that Friday was about football only.
"I'm estatic. The football skills is what I'm best at," Poole said. "It's obvious I'm not a track guy. I'm not going to run a 4.3. I'm good with a 4.5. They want to see my field work. That's why I came out here today. That's how I'm productive. I hope they liked what they saw."
While Poole had his "testing" out of the way thanks to his work at the NFL Combine, Johnson was in the spotlight on Friday. It was his first chance to try and catch the eye of anyone willing to watch. Johnson measured in at 6-foot and 241 pounds. He ran a 4.72-40 and benched 225 pounds 25 times. Then he went to work individual football drills as a fullback.
"When I trained, I did mostly defense stuff and worked mostly on linebacker. This morning, they asked me if I'd do some fullback/running back stuff," Johnson said. "I didn't think I'd be doing some jump cuts but I can jump in there and I was happy to do it. Whatever they need.
"I met most of my expectations on most of the lifts. Some of the things, the drills, could have done better, I thought. It's something I have to move forward and I'll take what I can get and hopefully that's good enough for the teams."
And Johnson admitted he was glad the day was done.
"I was sitting there shaking, shaking when I was running my 40. Little jitters, little butterflies," Johnson admitted. "To be honest with you, a little bit more nervous than I am before a game. It just comes naturally and everyone is watching you here. It was a huge day for me and I've been training 12 weeks for it. I'm glad it's over and now I can get a little rest."
Defensive lineman Malik Jackson appeared at the Vols pro day, but did very little other than to show a bigger look. Jackson weighed in at 290 pounds in an effort to try and erase a label.
"The reason I went up to 290 is that I want to get rid of that 'tweener label. I wanted to show teams that I could get that big, still look good and play at that weight too."
"I went to the combine at 284 and I gained a little weight after the combine and just decided to keep it on. I played last season at 270 so I wanted to try and show teams that I could play at 279 and at 290."