Gang, it's here. It's all happening. We are talking nothing but football and a little this and that. Remember about Friday's mailbag
From the talks too much studios, here we go.
Before we get to our college football list, there are a few things the 5-at-10 loves. We love the draft. You know this. We loved pretend Al Davis. And we miss him. We're also really fond of theme shows.
Our theme today is second chances.
Top five second-chance stories in college football this year
1) Zach Mettenberger, LSU — The former UGA quarterback got in trouble off the field, left Athens for junior college and has landed in the driver's seat of one of the nation's best teams. If he plays well, the sky is the limit for the Tigers. And for him.
2) Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina and Knile Davis, Arkansas — Two stud running backs coming back from season-ending injuries.
3) Arthur Brown, Kansas State — Arguably the nation's top sideline-to-sideline linebacker, Brown has made the most of his chance with the Wildcats after leaving Miami. Here's saying he finishes his career in Manhatten strong.
4) Charlie Weis, Kansas — We have discussed previously how Weis has certainly helped the economy in Lawrence. After a less than impressive run on the field and a bristly run off it with Notre Dame, how Weis handles all aspects of being a college head coach this time around will be interesting.
5) Robert Marve, Purdue — The 23-year-old quarterback who transferred from Miami got a rare sixth year of eligibility. He's suffered through two knee injuries and been part of a a recruiting scandal with the Hurricanes.
Young at heart
The Buffalo Bills released Vince Young on Monday.
It's somewhat staggering to believe. Think back four years ago. A short four years, and the overwhelming change from then to now.
OK, Michael Phelps was still the Don Corleone of Olympic studness.
But Vince Young was 18 months removed from winning the national championship at Texas in arguably the best college football game not involving an SEC team. Young was the NFL offensive rookie of the year in 2006, led the Titans to the playoffs in 2007 and seemed destined to be the next big thing.
Move south, and the Atlanta Falcons were dealing with the fallout from the Mike Vick dog fighting scandal and the aftermath of Bobby Petrino's less-than-memorable 13-game run as an NFL head coach.
Tennessee had Young and was coming off a 10-6 mark with one of the more respected coaches in the league in Jeff Fisher.
Atlanta had drafted Matt Ryan and was coming off a 4-12 mark and had just hired Mike Smith.
And now, four short years later, the Titans have been completely remade. And Young is out of the league, possibly for good.
Young has battled with coaches and his emotions. He famously left the Titans for a short period a few years ago, and it prompted worries about suicide, and he infamously threw his pads in the stands in a fit of childishness that sealed his fate and time in Nashville.
And Ryan has flourished, winning 43 games in his four years as a starter.
Young has wasted a couple of extra chances — the Bills were his third team in 20 months — and it's anyone's guess whether he'll be back.
Ryan is going nowhere anytime soon. In fact, he's on the short list of folks that we'll all-but-guarantee will retire having played for only one team.
Da'Rick lands in Cookeville — aka Chatta-North
Da'Rick Rogers, the dismissed former Tennessee Vol wide receiver, has joined the Tennessee Tech football program.
The former Calhoun High star, who is the highest-rated area prospect in the Rivals.com era, will try to replace former Red Bank star and Tech standout Tim Benford, who had 3,097 yards and 27 touchdowns in his 216 catches during his standout career with Golden Eagles.
Rogers has all-world talent, NFL first-round talent. He's 6-foot-3 and fast and physical. He was an All-SEC player last year and was projected to match that achievement again.
The Da'Rick got in Da'Rick's way.
He stands at a crossroad, the salvation offered by Watson Brown and Tennessee Tech meshed with the stakes that failure at Cookeville and the wasted second chance could be a dangerous double strike in the eyes of NFL people.
''We've met with Da'Rick, and he understands our expectations,'' Brown said plainly Monday.
Rogers got this second chance in part because of the Calhoun-connection. Tre Lamb, the Tech quarterback, played with Rogers at Calhoun, as did running back Adam Urbano for Hal Lamb, Tre's pop.
No one knows Rogers' future, but he should embrace the chance at present. Hopefully, the talented receiver will look to be more like Benford, who has made a splash with Dallas despite not getting drafted last April, as opposed to Dez Bryant, the Cowboys' former first-rounder who has a three-person security detail provided by the Cowboys in an effort to keep Bryant out of trouble.
There are second chances in life, and we all need them. How we use them — or waste them — can be as defining as the reasons why we needed the second chance in the first place.
This and that
— Speaking of second chances, here's another opportunity to sign up an play "Can you beat Jay?" our SEC football picking contest. Here's the link — http://contests.timesfreepress.com/upickem/registration/login.asp?contestid=67288 — and, hey, as Bluto says in Animal House, "don't cost nothin'."
— The Braves were stuffed 3-0 by the Padres and 22-year-old rookie right-hander Casey Kelly, who fanned four and allowed three hits in six scoreless innings to win his big-league debut. And if Casey Kelly's name sound familiar around these parts, he was a UT football commit as a quarterback coming out of high school in 2008 before being drafted by the Boston Red Sox. Kelly was the only QB commit in that class, which included Herman Lathers and Prentiss Waggner. It was not a good class, unless of course you're talking about the best college football recruiting classes that included big-league pitchers.
— Want to know how one recruiting class can change the direction of a program? That 2008 Vols class ranked No. 35 in the country and the top-ranked players were Gerald Williams, the late Aaron Douglas, Marlon Walls and E.J. Abrhams-Ward. Alabama had the top recruiting class in the country that year. It was a haul that completely reshaped the Tide and included seven players taken in the first two rounds of the NFL draft, and two more that will be. The NFL draft picks are Julio Jones, Mark Ingram, Mark Barron, Marcel Dareus, Dont'a Hightower, Terrence Cody and Courtney Upshaw. Safety Robert Lester and All-American offensive lineman Barrett Jones will join them next spring. Forget computer rankings — although the Rivals.com folks nailed this ratings since the Tide class was far and away No. 1 — a recruiting class that produces nine — NINE times... GRACE — draft picks in the top two or three rounds is staggering. Best recruiting class ever.
— Programming note: We're planning on stopping by the 102.3 studios today for SportTalk this evening about 5 p.m., and we'll make our regularly scheduled appearances Thursday afternoon with Chris Goforth around 2 p.m. on 1370 AM and Friday evening again with Quake and Co. on 102.3 around 6:20 before high school football.
Free flow Tuesday.
What game are you most excited about this weekend?
Are you signed up to play "Can you beat Jay?"
Any ideas for the next contest?
Is there a worse timed event than the U.S. Open tennis tournament?
Discuss, and remember the mailbag Friday.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...