Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The last thing in the world Tennessee needed on the eve of opening its fall camp was a member of the team's dwindling linebacking crew putting himself in suspension jeopardy with off-the-field trouble.
Guess what, Vols? A member of your dwindling linebacking crew has put himself in suspension jeopardy with off-the-field trouble. Senior Austin Johnson was arrested sometime around 3:50 a.m. Sunday morning and charged with disorderly conduct and public intoxication. Johnson posted a total $1,000 bond and was released some nine hours later.
A Tennessee spokesman said the school was "aware of an incident" it was "in the process of investigating ... for additional information."
After a junior year in which he recorded 44 tackles in his substitute's role and saw the field in every quarter of the season (one of only four Vols to do so), Johnson was slated to enjoy his first starting role at middle linebacker. But with outside linebacker Herman Lathers injured and possibly gone for the season, Johnson could now be forced outside.
Either way, a front seven with just one returning starter -- defensive tackle Malik Jackson -- can sorely afford to have one of its most experienced members miss any time through suspension. If Johnson (pictured back in his days as a fullback) misses the season opener against Montana, it's likely no harm done.
But anything further than that (much-improved Cincinnati visits Knoxville in Week 2), and a linebacking unit already lacking any returning starters will have its hands very, very full.
UPDATE: Vols beat writer Austin Ward provides some details of Johnson's arrest on Twitter:
At sometime after 3 a.m., we'll remind you.