If you’re a Vol you have to hope and believe that one of these days it will turn. You have to get up off the mat and keep fighting. No other way around it. Forget what everybody is saying about your mental toughness and desire and all this crap. You have to put it behind you and just go play.
On a different note, Cuonzo Martin received some great news on Monday with the commitments of Robert Hubbs and A.J. Davis. As I was reading this news, it hit me. The University of Tennessee is becoming a basketball school. For Martin to pull in two 5 star recruits in the last 10 months is remarkable. I’m realizing what a diamond in the rough Tennessee has in Martin. Am I foolish for thinking that Tennessee is slowly becoming a basketball school? Thanks.
Amen, and pass the biscuits. All you can do is keep on fighting and believing. What are you going to do, change teams? No way — well no way unless your team hires Bobby Petrino and then it's allowed.
And no, you're not foolish for thinking UT is becoming a basketball school. You're just incorrect.
UT can become really good at basketball, and that's great. And we believe they will because this side of Calipari and Billy D at Florida, Cuonzo "The Conz" Martin is the best coach in the SEC. More on that in a minute.
UT can be good — even really, Really, REALLY good — at hoops and never be a basketball school. Look at it this way, a few years ago when Bruce Pearl had the Vols rockin' and even reached the No. 1 spot in the polls, UT football was tepid, and still it was not a basketball school.
That type of culture change would take a decade at least, and here's hoping it never happens. That's not a knock at UT hoops, that's a hope that UT football doesn't struggle that badly for that length of time.
That said, because of all the football hubbub that has happened this week — and this month for that matter — let's take a pause and give The Conz his much deserved golf clap. Well-played indeed.
The Conz has been on the job 18 months and has landed two bona fide five-star players and taken a potential disaster and put the Vols in the preseason top 20. If the 5-at-10 sat in UT AD Dave Hart's chair for a day, here's our to-do list:
1) Call Big Jim and ask for a raise
2) Extend The Conz's contract ASAP and put an obscene buyout in there; a big-boy job at a true basketball school is going to open up soon and The Conz's name is going to be hot
3) Go to lunch, maybe catfish at Calhoun's
4) Call Derek, see what's up
If one has primary responsibility for a train wreck, it should come as no surprise that the engineer is not predisposed to relive it. That said, is there any precedent of the like of Tyler Bray's braying claiming he did not watch game film of what was a ruinous second half against Florida?
As TFP Vols Ace, Patrick Brown noted on the 5-at-10 board Wednesday, the UT leadership quickly engaged in damage control “…both Dooley and Jim Chaney, the offensive coordinator, said that the QB's 'I didn't watch the second half' claim wasn't true. Make of that what you may.” Mr. Brown, what I make of it is what else could they say?
After Bray’s multiple brushes with the law, this latest event is indicative of Dooley’s failure to discipline his quarterback to embrace clear and defined boundaries. This begs the question, who gave Bray reason to believe he has license to say whatever he wants to the press and by extension the Vol Nation?
In other words, if this is what goes on in public, what's going on in private?
FE to the C —
That's a fair question. But "what's going on in private" is a fair question about every college football program from Knoxville to Seattle.
The whole film debacle/debate is puzzling to say the least. If he did watch the film, why would Bray say he didn't? To be cool? To be coy? To be controversial? If he didn't watch the film why would the coaches cover for him? Well we know why the coaches would cover for him, so maybe a better question is why in the world did the coaches not make him watch the film? For Cripe's sakes, his best pass of the second half hit Derek Dooley in stride on the sideline.
We do know there are several types of cool. There's quarterback cool, but that's Joe Montana walking into the huddle on the final drive needing a score to win a Super Bowl and saying, "Hey, there's John Candy. Cool." That's not skipping film sessions. There's charismatic cool, but that's Clooney. And there's general cool. We also know that being cool in some ways is like being tall, you can't get either by wishing really hard or trying really hard to be cool or tall.
For special insight into the Bray fray, let's call on pretend Jon Gruden to hold one of his pre-draft quarterback camps with the public persona Bray has portrayed to Vol Nation:
Jon Gruden: Hello Tyler. Why don't you sit down? Wow, you're a tall drink of water aren't you?
Tyler Bray: No thanks dude, I'm not thirsty.
JG: Hmmmm. OK. Tell me what you love best about football.
TB: The shape. The color's pretty awesome too. It's the whole thing you know. The laces, the feel...
JG: No Tyler. About the game of football. The sport that you play and the job you'd like to pursue.
TB: Oh yeah. Football. That's a tough one... I guess the shape. The color's pretty awesome too...
JG: Let's move along. Walk me through a huddle at the University of Tennessee. You're on the field. It's Rocky Top. People are going nuts. The cheerleaders are smokin' — you know my wife was a cheerleader up there...
TB: Cheerleaders! That's another great thing about football.
JG (snapping his fingers): Tyler. Tyler. The huddle. You got 10 guys looking at you to make the call and the 100,000 people screaming. What's your call?
TB: Justin go deep; CP run fast and get open. On 2. Ready, break. (Claps hands)
JG (still pausing with mouth open and hands tussling his brutal bullet-cut hairstyle): What in the name of Gen. Neyland was that?
TB: Coach Chaney tries to keep it real, you know. On the down low, too. We kind of run in on the fly and keep it tight. Akron couldn't stop it.
JG: What if I said to you, "Double cross Scat 816 Y Clear," what would you say?
TB: You sank my battleship?
TB: You know it.
JG: OK, take me through this film. Here's the second half of the Florida game...
TB: Whoa. That's not our team.
Watching Tyler Bray throw a football is poetry. Watching him play quarterback against good SEC defenses is more of a limerick.
We started this season believing the Vols ranged from a 10-win team to a five-win team. We thought that was because of the variables involved. In truth it's because of Bray, who could be a first-round pick or anywhere else depending on how he handles his BID-ness that does not include the physical part of throwing a football.
The Vols window has narrowed a bit; Bray's window is as open as ever.
I want the real NFL officials back now! Why would The League jeopardize America’s Game just to force veteran officials to swallow a new 401(K) style retirement plan? This is such a chump-change issue for a $9 billion business. I’m thinking we could lock these negotiators in a room with Ray Lewis, James Harrison and Johnathon Vilma and get a resulution by supper time. (You might have to promise to slip Vilma a couple of Franklins.)
As it stands, this is causing a major buzz kill in my celebration of the 40th Anniversary Year of the Immaculate Reception.
Also, I hear a local developer is talking about building some high-rise condos overlooking Finely Stadium. No offense, but this ain’t Wrigley Field we’re talking about here.
Long time no chat. Good to see you're alive and bickering.
First, yes, the area around Finley will not be confused with Wrigleyville anytime soon. But Wrigleyville had to start somewhere too.
As for the replacement refs, amen.
It's time for the NFL to make the call. Go to the booth review and give the real refs whatever they want. And our man Roger Goodell can still save face by saying the NFL made whatever concessions it felt it needed "for the good of the game."
And the longer this drags on the stronger the position for the real refs.
Last week's Monday night game finished on Tuesday, and mainly because the replacement referees were slower than women buying shoes. For the love of Christmas, the replacements were a human rain delay — and this was in the Georgia Dome. And it wasn't like they were huddling up to debate rule technicalities or quantum physics. It was like watching Chris Washburn take the SAT. The lights were on and the wheels were spinning, but there was little progress being made.
And to make matters worse, there was a story this week about how Vegas has said it will starting adjusting the point spreads of the home team as long as the replacement refs are used.
In week 2 of the NFL season, 55 percent of the penalties were thrown on the visiting team. This makes sense because these newcomer officials are not used to the spotlight of 72,000 liquored-up, jerseyed-up, face-painted fans screaming at them. Most of these guys came from NAIA games or lower NCAA divisions. And when the spotlight and the angst come shining down, it's human nature to try to please the screaming horde.
And Vegas noticed. In week 2, the home team went 11-4-1 against the spread.
Plus, for all the offseason talk about player safety, it rings especially hollow if the NFL is going to have it's on-the-field enforcing agents be substandard.
As for your legal hit team of Harrison, Vilma and Lewis, here's saying they'd get this thing settled in about 90 seconds. Then we could shuttle them to D.C., and put health care, the national budget and international affairs on their docket. Heck, we'll have real referees and domestic and global tranquility by the end of BID-ness Tuesday.
Thanks for the tickets, we're looking forward to it. I wasn't sold that the Vols were ready for that type of game.
OK, for my question and if you have more than enough then use another one. I watched the TV show show and it was awful.
I saw where Stuck asked you to put out your list of nominations and have a vote.
Please do this. I feel like what ABC left us hanging.
Please 5-at-10, your our only hope.
You deserved to win. Picking the Gators by double-digits was inspired.
You were not the only e-mailer echoing StuckinKent's idea of posting our own list of finalists and voting from there. Although we used Tiger's because he threw in the Star Wars line at the end.
We're game. Part of us thought, "We're going to proceed a little cautiously here. We're not going to rush into this, because in truth, that's when mistakes happen."
And then we started thinking, "When has the 5-at-10 not rushed into anything?" Which is completely accurate, and in truth, our style.
So let's giddy-up. Here's the 5-at-10 Best in TV ballot (to be fair, five finalists is harder than it looks, considering the comedies that were left off like "The Honeymooners," "Mary Tyler Moore," and others):
Best TV show ever:
All in the Family
All in the Family
I Love Lucy
Best Cop Show
Hill Street Blues
Law and Order
Best sports-related show (non reality)
Friday Night Lights
Eastbound and Down
Best reality show
Battle of the Network Stars
Monday Night Football
America's Funniest Home Videos
As always feel free to discuss and add your own.
Since Auburn is looking very mediocre and I won't see UTC until Saturday, here's a question that can be used anytime:
My red-headed stepdaughter asked me the other day which song I blasted on the radio in the car. I came up with 5, so I thought I'd ask the 5@10 his. Mine are (in no particular order) Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith, A Country Boy Can Survive by Hank Jr, Radar Love by Golden Earring, Born in the USA by Springstein, and Don't Look Back by Boston. Secret guilty pleasures are Whip It by Devo and Pontoon by Little Big Town.
Really enjoying the column.
Thanks for the kind words.
Auburn fans everywhere are looking for distractions to set up through the rest of the fall. We believe we'll attend a few extra corn mazes this year. Maybe an NFL road trip. Who knows?
In fact, we're going to be at the UTC game tomorrow to see what the Mocs can deliver in their next step to the spotlight.
As for your question, well, first let us say thanks. Amid all the serious consternation and hand-wringing, we needed the breather.
And the reason to do a little pandora research on the computer.
We have found that these type of questions need to be answered with the first few songs that pop into your head. Don't second-guess it, and know that we're going to leave one off that P-Davi will think of, but that's just the nature of the beast.
Second, honesty is the only way to play this game, and when Spy has "Total Eclipse of the Heart" on his list, well, we have to giggle at his song choice and embrace his truthfulness.
While we dig your list, there is a group on your list that made ours but the song is different.
Golden Earring's "Twilight Zone"
Bob Segar's "Turn the Page"
Ozzy's "Crazy Train"
Eric Chruch's "Put a Drink in my Hand"
Motley Crew "Home Sweet Home"
And, gang, please feel free to share yours — and know that limiting it to just five is tougher than you would have thought.
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 ...