published Friday, September 7th, 2012

5-at-10: Mailbag

It's been an eventful week, huh, Mocs fans? CUH-razy.

Before we start, we have to wish our son Lee a Happy 5th Birthday. He is such a great kid. We are truly blessed. In fact, we'll give him the first word this morning. Here is his go-to joke: "What do you call a cow that cuts the grass?"

(Dramatic pause)

"A Lawn Moo-er."

Bows and says, "Thank yoooouuuuuu."

He gets his sense of humor from his mother.

From the "Talks too much studios," let's get to the mailbag.

From StuckinKent

You liked shiny things as a youth? You liked the Dodgers and Cowboys? You liked teams that won all the time? As much as it pains me to say this as a Tennessee fan, how did you wind up an Auburn fan and not an Alabama fan?

We liked baseball and the NFL before we fell in love with college football.

So, as a youngster in the late 1970s, we saddled up with the Dodgers and the Cowboys — they were on TV the most, they had sweet uniforms and they won more than they lost. It was a young sports fan's trifecta.

As we started to follow college football, our first crush was Georgia and Herschel Walker, but all of our friends liked Walker and the Bulldogs, so we needed to be different.

That led us in the early 1980s to a young freshman running back named Vincent Jackson and his leap over the top with Keith Jackson going nuts and a scrappy defense standing tall at Legion Field. It was love at first sight.

And Auburn's uniforms are pretty boss.

(Side note: If we had graduated high school during the time of the HOPE scholarship, we likely would not have gone to Auburn, though. We decided on Auburn in June after we graduated because we thought we were going to get at least a partial basketball scholarship to Georgia Southern. As it turned out the last scholarship of that signing class went to a kid GSU didn't expect to land — if we were lower fringe and a reach, this kid was upper fringe and waiting to see if an SEC school was going to offer. That kid was Charlton Young. Few years ago when he was on John Shulman's staff we had a good laugh with him about it. Things worked out pretty swell, this way too. Thanks Bo.)

From Samcro

  • photo
    Terrell Robinson during practice at Scrappy Moore Field in this file photo.
    Photo by Staff File Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

I saw Trob play several games at South Pitt and UTC. Never saw a Diva but I could be wrong. Of course anyone at this paper is not going to go against UTC because of the need for future interviews. Also there is no way you wouldn't support a former student at the prestigious Baylor school over a Local kid from a mere public school not even in Hamilton County. Wouldn't want to upset the mountain folk around here would we? Just take any week in particular and count mentions of Baylor in the sports page compared to mentions of all other area high schools combined.)

Thanks for the question and the chance to respond.

We saw Terrell Robinson play several times at South Pitt, too, and when news first broke of his decision to leave the UTC football team here's what we wrote: "The puzzling thing is this seems so out of character for Robinson, a good student who was a warrior at South Pittsburg High School and was SoCon co-Freshman of the Year in 2011. But it is where the Mocs find themselves this morning; their QB decision made by the choices of the choices."

As for your claims about going against UTC, well, that's simply not true. First, almost every UTC fan we know wants more UTC coverage in the paper. And that's understandable. Secondly, when things go badly on the hill, the sports section has always held their programs to the task. Ask Rodney Allison. Or even John Shulman last year. We have no problem taking anyone to task, but how are we to blame UTC or Russ Huesman for trying to convince a kid not to quit and then eventually taking him back after the fact? If you want to discuss race or alleged nepotism then say it. Knowing Coach Huesman, we know for a fact that neither the color of a kid's skin or his last name has anything to do with whether he gets on the field. Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course, but an opinion different from that is wrong. In our opinion.

Finally, as for the high school thing, well, over the course of the school year, Baylor may very well get more ink than any other school. But that's because they offer the most sports and they are consistently contending for state titles in almost all of them. It has nothing to do with whether we "want to upset the mountain folk" or not.

The TFP sports editor went to Campbell High School, a public school outside of Atlanta. So if we were going to be biased toward our alma mater, you'd be reading more about the Panthers.

And if you ask Vic Grider and anyone involved in the South Pittsburg football program, we'll bet they believe they get a fair amount of ink. Know why? Because they contend for state titles almost every year.

That said, thanks for the question and feel free to swing by our little F-O-I-B sports column any time.

From CelticVol

  • photo
    Atlanta Braves pitcher Kris Medlen throws against the Philadelphia Phillies in this file photo.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Hey 5@10,

In a week’s time my pessimism has turned to optimism about the Vols. I’m now trying to hold down my expectations. Anyways this week I’d like to talk to you about Kris Medlen. Wow, Jay, this guy is dealing it. He is almost Maddux-like with his approach to his pitches. Do you think the Nationals are wishing they would’ve took the Braves approach with Medlen by limiting Stephen Strasburg’s innings at the first of the year in order to save him for the end?

Also, I didn’t realize how big of an effect the new rule on a player’s helmet coming off would have in games. That rule is big especially when your quarterback’s helmet gets taken off. This altered a few calls by the Clemson coaching staff when Tajh Boyd’s helmet came off 17 times (Good Gracious get that kid a new chin strap!). If a player’s helmet comes off, can the coach then call timeout to avoid the player having to sit out a play?

Great question.

First off,let a little optimism run wild about your Vols. How long has it been since you have had a good feeling in September. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Encourage it. There's a very real chance they take a 4-0 mark into Athens and are playing for big things. Good times.

As for Medlen, what can you say? Dude has been the glue that has held the staff together for the last five weeks. He's been money — and he's saved a lot of miles on the bullpen. And, the Braves' plan of saving his innings on the front end with Medlen was genius. Genius.

Granted that gamble was easier for the Braves than it would have been for the Nationals, considering at the start of the season Medlen would have been considered the teams fourth, fifth or sixth starter. Plus, the Nationals have not had a winning record before this season, so hatching a plan of saving Stephen Strasburg's arm until the pennant race would have seemed a little silly in April. (Especially considering almost everyone thought the NL East was the Phillies' playground before the season.)

Still the Braves get major props for holding an ace up their sleeve. In fact, if Fredi Gonzalez had anything to do with that meeting, it's yet another well-played stroke for the Braves' second-year manager. Nationals' manager Davey Johnson and Pirates' skipper Clint Hurdle will run away with manager of the year voting, but we need to give Fredi G. his due. Dude has had a great year.

As for the helmet rule, we did not realize how often that happens in a game — and you're right, Tajh Boyd needs a new lid. Our interpretation of the rule is no, the player has to come out unless it's the final play of the first half or the final play of regulation before going to overtime. Of course, if the helmet comes off because of a play that draws a defensive penalty (i.e. facemask) then the player doesn't have to come out

From Jomo

  • photo
    Mocs quarterbacks Terrell Robinson (17) and Jacob Huesman (14) work during practice in this file photo.
    Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

I hate this about T-Robb, if his family was pushing him for this choice, maybe cooler heads will prevail and they will re-think this rash choice. I am sure there is still a window for T-Robb to come back . . . .

Jay- what are your thoughts on Jax St. game, match-ups, etc ?

We have this live lingering belief that the Mocs are going to play really well Saturday.

Two emotional scenarios that fascinate us about college and high school football teams: First, they almost always struggle after being told how great they are for an extended period; two nothing rallies the troops more than the opportunity to say "it's us against the world."

We believe the Mocs will embrace the head-scratching turn of events of this week and play hard. And well. Now it's fair to point out that the starting point of "it's us against the world" is almost always a crossroad, and a wrong turn can wreck a season. Here's saying the Mocs avoid that turn this weekend.

And since we've been consumed with a slew of other sports items and we're not up to speed on the playing habits of the JSU Gamecocks, we've asked for UTC football ace John Frierson's view on the matchups. Look for more in Saturday's TFP of course, but here's what he sent:

"It’s been a tough week for the Mocs due to the Terrell Robinson situation, but they did catch a break when it was announced Wednesday that Washaun Ealey, the former Georgia running back, was suspended for the game. Even without Ealey, the Gamecocks have a lot of offensive talent.

JSU coach Jack Crowe has two proven guys at quarterback in Marques Ivory and Coty Blanchard and both will play (sound familiar?). Ivory’s a big guy at 6-1, 235 pounds, while Blanchard is a lean 6-0, 180. Ivory is more likely to stay in the pocket and Blanchard is more of a runner.

However, don’t forget that it was Blanchard who in his first career game in 2010 threw a pair of touchdown passes and completed the pass on the 2-point conversion to beat Ole Miss — a certain UTC beat writer’s beloved alma mater — in overtime.

Last week at No. 8 Arkansas, JSU actually led 14-7 in the second quarter before losing 49-24. Receiver Alan Bonner was the star for JSU with eight catches for 107 yards and a touchdown and two runs, including a 4-yarder for a score. Arkansas is known for its offense, but the Gamecocks put up 24 on an SEC defense — hard not to be impressed by that.

A very motivated Mocs team should take the field at JSU Stadium. The Mocs remember well their last trip there, in 2010, when they blew a 17-0 second-half lead and lost 21-17. Cornerback Kadeem Wise definitely remembers being called for pass interference on a desperation heave on fourth-and-8 at the UTC 24-yard line, which allowed JSU to cut the lead to 17-14 and go on to win."

From sportsfan

I know that the 5 at 10 doesn't deal with hypothetical situations very often, but for the Friday mailbag... If Mizzou beats Georgia on Saturday evening, does that put Richt on the hot seat by the Dawg Nation? I know in the SEC a coach is only as good as his last win, and effort doesn't replace results, but with expectations high for the red and black, an early loss might wear thin with the fan base. Thanks and I'll look forward to your response.

There is a certain amount of every fan base that will put any coach not named Nick Saban on the hot seat after disappointing losses. (Of course it's been so long since the Tide had a disappointing loss, we don't know how they'd act.)

There would be a small fraction that would try to start the hot seat talk if Richt and Co. lose at Missouri. But in truth, that group has more than likely wanted Richt gone for a while.

Couple-to-three things about hot seats:

Because of the salaries and the passion and the interest and importance of college football in the South, everyone not named Nick Saban is on the hot seat whether they know it or not. That's just the way it is.

That said, there should be a sliding scale for coaches and their accomplishments. If a coach wins a national title he should get no less than a three-year reprieve from the hot seat. A conference title gets a two-year pass and a division title gets a a year away from it. Now this is barring a complete and total collapse (like 1-11) or serious rule violations or laws broken of course.

The other thing about college football coaches and hot seats, the best way to avoid them is to recruit your tail off. First, you recruit well, you're going to have some horses and be competitive most years (ask Saban). Second, if you have a star-filled recruiting class, that helps job security almost as much as winning.

Of course, we believe Richt's Dogs are going to be ready to play and this talk will be mute (like that Spy?) by Sunday morning.

about Jay Greeson...

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 ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Tell JMC this little nugget, since he was asking where he could get the Mocs game on Saturday:

The OVC carries all their home games on their website for free. Therefore, the game is on there for free this weekend.

September 7, 2012 at 11:35 a.m.
chas9 said...

I'm a proud public school grad and an ardent supporter of public education. I've taught in several area high schools, including S. Pittsburg. We have some excellent public schools. But there's no need for an us against them attitude. Baylor is a very good school (in more ways than one) and deserves its coverage for the reasons Jay mentions. And a lot of "mountain people" are talented and hard working so naturally they get covered by the press when they do newsworthy things.

September 7, 2012 at 11:59 a.m.
Todd962 said...

Good end to a crazy week Jay. I suppose your calm and collected responses to things comes with years on the job, and its probably ill-advised for the sports editors to call people dufusses when he's selling papers. You do a great job.

Enjoyed Mr. Hargis' column about about the T-Rob fiasco. I think it speaks volumes about Terrell's choice to travel seperately to the game and support his team. Lets hope this is a turning point for his career because he is a player that has a tremendous upside for his age at this level. When Coach Huesman has to debate over which great quarterback to build his team around, its not always a bad thing to have to deal with options.

September 7, 2012 at 12:03 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Stuck —

Thanks for the tip.

People helping people — that could be the new code of the 5-at-10. That or, "Hey let's throw out a couple of movie lines and make up another Rushmore."

They each have a certain amount of charm.

9er —

You bet we do. And we have some public schools that are doing amazing things considering some of the hurdles and constraints out there.

Concur about not needing the us-or-them mentality. In fact, we sometimes chuckle when people call in here and say "You need to cover more prep sports." First off, we cover more prep sports than any other paper we know of. But more importantly, they are not looking MORE prep sports; they are looking for THEIR prep sports. And that's cool.

We'd rather them be clamoring to be in the paper than not.

Amen and pass the biscuits... we're hungry.

— 5-at-10

September 7, 2012 at 12:07 p.m.
jgreeson said...

962 —

Thanks for the kind words. As far as dealing with readers the three axioms that have served us best are:

First, never respond to an angry e-mail or voice mail irritated.

Second, we can never win an argument, especially about prep and youth sports, because people are fighting for stuff for their kids. As a parent we respect that. As a sports editor we let them speak their peace and agree to disagree.

Finally, we embrace the fact that this is OUR sports section — yours, his, hers, theirs, everyones. And everyone should have a voice and input. We're as much a steward of that as we are the captain of the ship — sure decisions have to be made the we make them to the best of our ability.

That said, the sports editor around these parts can be kind of goof.

— 5-at-10

September 7, 2012 at 12:20 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, I think the talk would be moot, not mute. Though it could get muted, which also would work. And happy 5th birthday to little 5.

September 7, 2012 at 12:35 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

StuckinKent,

Thank you very much! I sincerely appreciate it. :D I'll catch the Mean Green some other time.

September 7, 2012 at 1 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

Jay to get fired up for the AU v MSU game I pulled the highlights from the 2008 game...both of them. Here they are you for your (short) viewing pleasure -

September 7, 2012 at 1:40 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Todd962 wrote-

"Enjoyed Mr. Hargis' column about about the T-Rob fiasco. I think it speaks volumes about Terrell's choice to travel seperately to the game and support his team."

I enjoyed that piece to. I know this paper probably frowns upon competing online publications but Randy Smith (of former WRCB fame who now teaches at my prep school ala mater) wrote a piece in the Chattanoogan.com about T-Robgate that is definitely a good read and perspective on the issue.

jgreeson wrote-

"First off, we cover more prep sports than any other paper we know of. "

Ohhhhh really ::flips through sports section of his DMN::

I'm teasing Jay. It's mostly the "Skyline" and "Southlake Carrolton" show followed by "them-there other schools". And you people back home than the us vs. them mentality is bad in Chattaboogie? Heh.

September 7, 2012 at 1:49 p.m.
Todd962 said...

I thought the 5@10's mantra was E.L.E., Everybody Love Everybody. The ultimate combo for the 5@10 would be a Rushmore of Movie Quotes. Seems failproof.

"Cinderella story. Out of nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac...It's in the hole!"

September 7, 2012 at 1:51 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Interesting story about you and C.Y., Jay.

T-Rob is a lucky man getting to come back. Even luckier if he didn't have to do about a hundred stadiums to earn his way back. Glad he's back because he's a great talent and a class guy, but I don't think he'll be fine with splitting time for the next 3 years. If he's not the full-time starter by the end of the season, I think he'll transfer. If Jacob keeps up his good progress, I can see the split reps lasting a long time so long as both are in the program. What's your prediction, Jay? Will T-Rob finish his career as a Moc?

Phil Steele has the Mocs #15 in his FCS power poll. JSU is #17. Thanks for the heads-up on where to find video of the game, StuckinKent.

[A conference title gets a two-year pass and a division title gets a year away from it.]

That seems reasonable. Too bad it didn't work out for Fulmer. A division title in '07, then fired midway through '08. Knowing what we know now, do you think most Vol fans would like a do-over and keep Fulmer past '08?

September 7, 2012 at 2:01 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Wow, guy goes to Mellow Mushroom for a birthday slice with his tot and some knowledge is slug around the joint.

From the top...

Spy —

Thanks Sherlock. We were trying to be coy... stupid interwebs are worthless for tone, inflection and gestures. Man you can sure wreck havoc on a guy's mojo (again, kidding, kidding.)

McPell —

Ahhhhh, 2008. The 3-2 debacle and the 14-12 win over Tennessee that was just as ugly. There was no way we were going to click on that link — it very well could have made our eyes bleed.

Back in a few...

September 7, 2012 at 2:23 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Which is why I threw in the muted.

So ... Tiger and Rory are paired together at the Beemer whatever it is in the middle of Indiana. But it's the first week of the NFL, so what should be getting some attention is getting little.

Meanwhile, on EsPN2, dithering talking pinheads Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless continue to yammer on about a backup QB in the AFC East and what they think he will do this season. I swear, if ESPN's vast array of networks ain't showing a game, I ain't watching anymore.

It's stuff like that that makes hope the Mayans are right.

September 7, 2012 at 2:33 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Run JMC (and 962) —

We concur that Terrell making the move to drive down and support his team was a great call.

No, we know the Chatta-Vegas doesn't have the market cornered on us-them hijinx. We can understand someone wanting more for their team, kid, school, etc., but have never understood the "you cover that team, kid, school, etc., too much" angle. So it goes.

962 —

At 10 til 2 on a Friday afternoon and you're going to hit us with a Rushmore of movie quotes.... Wow.

OK, and completely off the top of our head — and this will surely be a topic we revisit next week, because these are not the funny, or our most used or sports movie quotes, these are the four that jumped into our head as soon as we read the question.

1) Frankly my dear I don't give a damn. — Rhett Butler

2) I'll make him an offer he can't refuse. — Vito and Michael Corleone

3) I'll make it. — Jimmy Chitwood

4) Here's looking at you kid. —

Next group of head-scratchers that were right there...

— What we have here is a failure to communicate.

— I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It smells like victory.

— You talking to me.

— I think you're going to need a bigger boat.

— And a slew of them from Crash Davis that we could fling around like rag dolls.

And E.L.E. was fine and good in younger days. Now we'll borrow from Faber College and the boys at Delta House — "Knowledge is Good."

Skip to our Stew —

As of this morning we'll say yes. If Jacob grabs the job by the facemask in the next three weeks, we think Terrell will explore his options. Either way, though, if he transfers and sits next year he'd only have one year left.

It didn't work for Fulmer, but that unraveled off the field as much as on, and when pressed by administration Fulmer pushed back. Hard. And it cost him.

And even with the debacle that was the last three seasons in Knoxville, almost 80 percent of the Vols fans we know think it was time for Fulmer to go.

And if he had stayed, where would they have been. Maybe a little better off — Tajh Boyd was committed to Fulmer and UT but Kiffin said no thanks. But still not in the upper crust of the league.

— 5-at-10

September 7, 2012 at 2:49 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Our advise to you is to start drinking heavily.

Better listen to him Flounder, he's pre-med.

(We've been inspired by 962's afternoon revelation and we'll answer all questions for the rest of the day with a movie quote. When the Mrs. 5-at-10 asks what we want for supper before heading to our high school football game tonight, "We want a hamburger, no a cheeseburger...." "You'll get nothing an like it."

— 5-at-10

September 7, 2012 at 2:51 p.m.
sportsfan said...

more Rushmore movie quotes:

"Can't swim? Hell, the fall will probably kill you." Butch to Sundance

"We all got it coming, kid" William Muny

"...and don't call me Shirley" Leslie Nielson in Airplane

September 7, 2012 at 3:02 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Sportsfan —

Can he swim? With a name like Rock?

Wow, imagine a Clint Eastwood movie quote Rushmore, with only one per given character/movie:

— Dying ain't much of living — Josie Wales

— Do you fell lucky, punk.

— Go ahead, make my day.

— The entire saloon scene at Greely's in Unforgiven. (You fat man, speak up.)

— 5-at-10

September 7, 2012 at 3:43 p.m.
fechancellor said...

sportsfan,

Gunny Hartman any line during his intro to his recruits.

September 7, 2012 at 3:49 p.m.
Todd962 said...

"Gentleman, you cant fight in here! This is the War Room!"

"We've got no food, we've got no jobs, our pet's heads are falling off!!"

You've provided me with a chuckle to head into the weekend with. A weekend filled with copious amounts of beer drinking alongside a law seeking Gilbreath. You know anyone who fits that description Jay?

"We're on a mission...from God."

September 7, 2012 at 4 p.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

Swede! Swede! Swede!.

I'll give you a beer if it'll shut that hole under your nose.

962 —

Tell Gonz we said hello and ask him about THE photo from a beach trip a decade or so ago.

We're on a mission from God is good. So is...

Elwood: It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses.

Jake: Hit it

Orange whip? Orange whip? Three orange whips.

RIP John Candy

— 5-at-10

September 7, 2012 at 5:09 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

How's it work on stains? (Another great Clint quote, also from "The Outlaw Josey Wales.")

September 7, 2012 at 5:44 p.m.
Samcro said...

Cudos to you sir for your response to my not so nice comment about the UTC quarterback situation and high school coverage in the paper. I respect people who address a challenging comment versus just ignoring it. I do enjoy your column daily and plan to continue doing so.

September 10, 2012 at 4:52 a.m.
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