Gang, great week. Simply excellent. From the Masters to the spring games to the draft, it's here. It's all happening. As always feel free to chime in on any of the topics below and if you want to call the radio show today between 1-3 p.m. on ESPN 105.1 FM, the number is (423) 648-1051.
From the "Talks too much studios" please Hammer, don't hurt 'em.
I am going to the spring game and I am pretty exicted.
You're a professional, what should I be looking for. I know the game is justa scrimmage, but what are you looking for on Saturday?
Thanks and thanks for the 5@10.
PS — The radio show is awesome.
Thanks for the kind words about the online column and the new radio deal. And for calling us a professional. Paschall and the TFP sports editor are going to spend almost all of our two hours talking spring games — UT, UTC, Alabama, Auburn, et al. — today from 1-3 p.m. on ESPN 105.1 FM. Swing by, don't cost nothing.
As for the Vols — and judging by your handle you're headed North to Knoxville tomorrow — there are a slew of things to watch for.
The quarterback competition is first. Looking for playmakers with speed and missability. Looking for corners and safeties that can cover and tackle (or walk and chew gum). Looking around to make sure Sal Sunseri — SAAALLLLL!!! — is nowhere near the 865.
The biggest thing we'd think will jump out off the Neyland turf tomorrow is the energy. Butch and Co. have boundless supplies of energy and that shows in how they have approached the spring and the recruiting. There is reason to believe again. Sure the Vols have a monster hill the first half of 2013, but there is at least reason to believe as opposed to waiting for the bad to come.
That in and of itself is the definition of all of Spring and the working definition of these Vols' spring in particular. And that means the spring was a success.
For the mailbag. Yes, I know it's late. There's a fairly big bike race coming to town next month. Is the TFP going to do anything to help educate their readers about the event and who and what to look for during the event? I saw some riders checking out the course recently near the VW plant, so it appears the riders are taking it seriously. Will Chattanooga?
We have had several talks about preliminary plans and actual coverage of the biking event.
We're fully prepared to give this event — which is a national championship — the play it deserves.
That's a fair way to describe it, too — "eduate readers on the event." Because we're talking about a sport that has a lot of layers and a completely different vernacular.
As for Chattanooga, well, that's a more difficult question to answer. If the organizers embrace the event aspect of the bicycle racing and time trials as much as the sport aspect, then yes, we believe it can catch on.
It's a cool event with some great athletes, but if the organizers think people will show up in droves just for the cycling, well, that's a little more up in the air.
Love the 5@10 and think it's awesome. I also am a big fan of the draft and that's what my question is about.
Why do you love the draft (we know this) as much as you do and what do you think the Falcons will do? Thanks and keep up the good work.
Not exactly when we fell head over heels in love with the draft, but we're there. You know this.
That said, we do know when it passed the levels of really enjoying it and it reached levels of irrationality. Before we had tots and some other things and we only thought we were busy and had time to play Xbox Madden football, well, the offseason intrigue got to be more intersting than the games themselves.
We're not there with the actual draft — it's great and all but it's not better than watching football. But it does blend college success and NFL promise with a complete level of unpredictability that makes it great theater. At least for us. We love the draft. You know this.
As for the Falcons, that's a great question. We're planning on devoting almost all of next week to the draft. We'll review the spring games on Monday and all, but from there it's draft-draft-draft. Like Marcia-Marcia-Marcia, only different.
Atlanta has needs. It also has talent.
The depth of defensive linemen in this draft could really benefit an Atlanta team that needs passing rushing help. There are also questions at corner and at middle linebacker. A future solution at tight end beyond saying "pretty, Pretty, PRETTY please come back Tony G." would be great too.
Here's what we perceive to be the Falcons' dream board.
1) Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert falls all the way to 30. This seems exceedingly unlikely;
2) Some quarterback-starved team like a Cleveland or even Philadelphia wants to trade into the late stages of the first round to get in front of the Jacksonville Jaguars and is willing to give the Falcons multiple picks for No. 30.
3) One of the top-flight corners like a Desmond Trufant slips to them.
And here's another question for you, the Falcons could use a franchise middle linebacker — Akeem Dent is not the long-term solution. Let's pretend (sorry) Manti Te'o is on the board at 30. If you are the Falcons, do you make the pick?
Former NBA and LSU basketball star Shaquille O'Neal playfully grabs the neck of Lucas Mininger, director of marketing for topical pain care for Chattem, during a visit to the company's offices. O'Neal is appearing in a new series of commercials for Chattem's products.Photo by John Rawlston.
Now that you're on the radio, who would be the four best (most entertaining) SEC guys to interview. Current or former SEC counts.
I have Shaq, Charles Barkley, Spurrier and Les Miles with honorable mention to Joe Kines and John L. Smith.
Thanks and the radio show is awesome.
Thanks for reading and for listenting. The two-week radio trial run/adventure David Paschall and the TFP sports editor has been fun.
We had James Franklin on Thursday and dude was aces. Quick question: Have we gotten to a place that Franklin is a top-five coach in the SEC? We think so. In our ultimate value determination — would you trade this guy for that one? — let's examine Franklin.
Which schools would Vandy trade coaches with?
Alabama and Saban — of course.
South Carolina and Spurrier — yes. (and judging by the excellent interview Franklin gave, his style is definitely more Spurrier than Saban — just saying)
From there, we think Vandy takes the call, thinks about it and says, "Thanks but no thanks."
All four of the new guys, there's no way. Richt maybe, Miles doubtful, Muschamp no thanks.
Maybe Kevin Sumlin. But there's only two for sure yeses and that's kind of surprising, right? That Vandy has what can be argued to be the third-best coach in the SEC?
As for you question:
Chuck Barkley is the Bo Jackson of this category. Dude is legit funny and opinionated and above all honest. He'd be awesome.
Great call on Shaq. Spurrier's aces, and we can't believe it, but we may have to agree on all four of your names. Well-played indeed.
As for Joe Kines, we don't need to interview him. We just need this clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBkZO6WQ278 over and over and over. God bless you Joe Kines and God bless the inside trap.
Enjoy the 5-at-10 and the thing this week about family names was pretty funny.
I think Robinson tops Jackson when it's all said in done — you ready to surrender?
Surrender. Surrender? Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbot? Heck no, and it ain't over now.
The swell family Robinson is an impressive group, but we stand by the Jacksons, even if we butchered our first entry. Let's look at the Jackson's two-deep:
Michael — best pop artist ever
Bo — best athlete ever
Phil — best NBA coach ever
Keith — best college football announcer ever
And the second string has legit talent and some big-time nicknames
Stonewall Jackson — one of the great military minds of all time and a boss nickname for a general
Reggie "Mr. October" Jackson — one of the best clutch hitters ever (Side story: We had not been in the sports journalism thing that long back in the late 1990s and we were at Turner Field in the press box. We go to the little sports writers' room and we're at the urinal. In walks Reggie and saddles up in the urinal next to us. We say, "Hey, you're Reggie Jackson," with a little too much excitement for the men's room. He said without missing a beat, "Yep, let's not shake hands, huh?" Clutch.)
Shoeless Joe Jackson — one of the greatest pure hitters ever
Janet "Ms. Jackson if you're nasty" Jackson — the most talented of the all the second-banana siblings of uber famous folks. Think Frank Stallone or Colin Hanks or Clint Howard wouldn't love to have her career.
And that's leaving off a president (Andrew), a star on Dawson's Creek (Joshua, who played Pacey), a Chattanoogan made good (Samuel L.) and one of Charlie's Angels (Kate). Never mind country music's Alan.
We'll stand with Jackson. Thanks.
Jay (mailbag?), what are your NBA playoff predictions (series winners and results)? Also, who would you give the season awards to? The MVP and Rookie of the Year are definite locks (or at least should be), but Defensive Player of the Year, 6th Man of the Year, and Coach of the Year are up for debate. And...what impact (if any) will T-Mac have for the Spurs?
We're legitimately excited about the NBA playoffs. We'll take LeBron and the Heatles against the field too.
As for your question, if LeBron is not the MVP, then they need to abolish the system. Here's how great he was: As TFP hoops junkie Mean Gene Henley texted us during the radio show yesterday, Kevin Durant finished the year with 28-8-5 and shooting 50-40-90 and he may not get a single MVP vote.
Portland's Damian Lillard is a dunk as rookie of the year.
Defensive player of the year, we'll go with Marc Gasol (which will likely draw a fist pump from TFP UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown, who is a Grizzlies junkie. Hi Patrick — now get back to work). Side note: Three years ago, if we said, wow that Gasol guy is having a great year, what would the odds have been that we were talking about Pau rather than Marc? Something like 1-to-7? Side note: LeBron deserves consideration for this too, since whenever the game gets close, he shuts down the opponent's best player — be them Rajon Rondo or Kevin Durant.
Sixth man, there's a lot of support for J.R. Smith, but we prefer Jamal Crawford of the Clippers. Smith likely will win because he scores a ton, but we think Crawford is huge for the Clips.
Coach — it's got to be between George Karl and Mike Woodson. And they both get points for how they have adjusted to the Carmelo Anthony deal. Karl has the Nuggets rolling; Woodson has Anthony playing like a true alpha dog and the Knicks poised as the only hurdle for the Heatles in the East. We do know Mike D'Antoni and whatever corpse is coaching the Hawks do not deserve consideration. We'll take Woodson for doing it on the big stage in the brightest light.
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 ...