published Friday, April 19th, 2013

5-at-10: Friday Mailbag on UT, the Jacksons, SEC interviews and radio

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.

  • photo
    Tight end Brendan Downs (No. 85) runs with the ball during the 2012 Orange and White game.
    Photo by Jake Daniels /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

From VolsGuy

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.

VolsGuy,

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.

————

From Sportsfan

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?

Sportsfan,

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.

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From Talker

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.

Talker,

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?

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    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.
    enlarge photo

From PDavi

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.

PDavi —

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.

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From Phil

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?

Phil,

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.

————

From Stewwie

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?

Stewwie,

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.

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.
rustyvol said...

I would have to go with Jackson over Robinson. Maybe another famous Jackson(Quinton "Rampage" Jackson) could change Phil's mind.

April 19, 2013 at 10:23 a.m.
chas9 said...

I notice that Jay saw no reason to mention the Hawks in his NBA playoff predictions. Two questions:

1) How do Atlanta and Indiana match up?

2) Does anybody care?

Got a hunch the off season will see lots more shuffling of the Hawks cards. Don't know if the team will ever again have players we can sink our teeth into.

April 19, 2013 at 10:40 a.m.
jgreeson said...

RV —

We think Rampage — high velocity nickname too — could be quite convincing on several fronts.

9er —

There's a pretty fair argument to be made the Hawks are in as bad a situation as any decent team in all of sports.

No, they're not the Bobcats or the Browns or the Astros, but there's no bright light ahead either.

And not unlike the Raiders — and maybe even the Pistons — one horrific draft pick paved the way for the Hawks to leak in the dark cavernous oblivion that is the hamster wheel of being a 5-6 seed that never wins a playoff series and never has much chance to add a serious contributor in the draft.

Concur that there's a real chance Al Horford will spend his formative years as an NBA player in the outpost known as the ATL, a modern day Dan Issel, who is a very good player with legit skils that never gets anything close to his due because his franchise smells like feet.

Pacers should sweep the Hawks. Better depth. Much better defense. Better back-court.

Unless Josh Smith goes nuts, Pacers in 5.

April 19, 2013 at 11:24 a.m.
Todd962 said...

I see you mentioned Colin Hanks as a "second banana sibling" of a celebrity. Now I assume you were thinking of Tom Hanks? Well if Colin is Tom's sibling, then Tom would have had to have conceived Colin with his own mother because Colin is his son as well. Which would make Tom Hanks a true motha f.... Patrick, get back to work!

April 19, 2013 at 12:02 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Todd —

Easy there. Approaching the F-O-I-B danger zone (copyright Glenn Frey).

That said, fair point about the Colin-Jim mix up there.

And how could we forget Jim, who has made a career impersonating his brother's voice as Woody the Sheriff in Toy Story video games and in memorable roles in blockbuster movies like Psycho Sushi, Buford's Beach Bunnies (as Jeeter Buford no less) and Goofyfoot.

Yes, we typed Goofyfoot.

— 5-at-10

April 19, 2013 at 12:25 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

In between reading up on the much more important issues in Boston, I read the Falcons had one of their safeties, an all-pro alternate, arrested for battery. This team isn't far from a Super Bowl and doesn't need that. His contract isn't guaranteed except for injury, if he isn't going to be disciplined enough to keep his hands off the females maybe they should cut him loose and look to the draft for a replacement. They need a pass rusher first but there are also some good safeties.

April 19, 2013 at 1:19 p.m.
Stewwie said...

I like your picks for the NBA awards. J.R. Smith looks awesome at times when he's on fire, but then looks like D-League material when he takes bad shots and makes silly turnovers. Crawford is a good call at 6th Man. Great point about Durant getting in the 50/40/90 club but not being a serious contender for MVP. He's only the 6th different player to accomplish the feat, finished a close 2nd in scoring average, and his team is tops in its conference. All that said, LeBron is still the right choice for MVP.

I feel like the NBA flopping rules have helped clean up the game this year. It will be interesting to see if flopping creeps back in during the playoffs. Will Battier take one for the team and flop on a crucial play down the stretch just to help get a big win? Suspension is only possible after the 5th offense in the playoffs. I think that's too much leeway...suspension should be possible after the 3rd offense. But again, hopefully it won't become an issue at all.

I am most looking forward to the Denver-Golden State series in the first round. I think this one will go the full 7 games. And Steph Curry is going to light it up. The other West series are intriguing as well. In the East, maybe New York vs. Boston will catch my eye for a bit. Not sure who to pick in the East 4/5 matchup, but I would love to see a Heat-Bulls 2nd round series. The Bulls would have zero chance of winning it, but they would keep it interesting.

April 19, 2013 at 1:57 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Not to demean the young lady, or Mocs softball, but a sophomore, a high school sophomore, has committed to UTC softball? Boy, if UTC softball isn't on twitter, Michael Carvell will have a conniption.

5, I know you're stoked for the draft. I'm ... just not feeling it anymore. If I want to see who got drafted, I'll just read the TFP the next day. (Seriously. And you know I will.) I can't take the endless hours of Berman nor of upside nor of potential nor of makeupyourownwordtodescribeanathlete'sgoodpoints-ability. That, and I think Geno Smith isn't all that great, and he might be the No. 1 QB drafted. To paraphrase Connie to Michael in the old man's den ... "There's your draft! There's your draft!"

April 19, 2013 at 4:14 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Boston Globe has a good story on the background of the young man suspected of being a Marathon bomber. Turned out he wrestled in high school at Cambridge Rindge and Latin.

The same high school Patrick Ewing attended, as did Ben Affleck.

April 19, 2013 at 4:19 p.m.
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