published Monday, August 12th, 2013

5-at-10: Dufner's revenge, Football storylines, best debuts ever

We are half way through tab mania. The 72-page high school preview prints today. It will hit the streets on Friday.

Now, we start on college tab, the 40-page preview section focusing on the Vols, Bulldogs, Tide, Mocs and the SEC. Our wedding anniversary was last week. The Mrs. 5-at-10's birthday is Friday. Lil' 5-at-10 started kindergarten today. We're dealing with a lot of stuff.

Let's buckle up.

From the "Talks too much" studios and in the words of Jean Paul Sartre, 'Au revoir, gopher.'

PGA Championship

One of the TFP sports editor's firm sports theories is that nothing is due but postage and library books. If you think you're going to win because it's your turn or your time or you're owed some type of success, well, that does not happen in sports. You always get what you get. You almost always get what you earn. You most likely will get what your deserve. Occasionally you get the short end of the straw.

That said, karma can be a vixen.

  • photo
    Jason Dufner hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Oak Hill Country Club, Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013, in Pittsford, N.Y.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Enter Jason Dufner, the stoic former Auburn golfer who is so deadpan on the course he makes mannequins look energetic. He collapsed on the final four holes at the PGA Championship two years ago, surrendering a five shot lead and losing in a playoff.

It was the type of loss that could haunt a golfer forever. Or deliver the types of lessons and skills needed to deliver in the pressure-packed setting of a Sunday in a major championship.

Sunday, amid the towering trees and rich history at Oak Hill, Dufner stood tall and erased those memories and vanquished those demons.

He won the PGA Championship, claiming his first major with a 68 on Sunday that was filled with steady and highlighted with spectacular.

He passed and held off Jim Furyk. He was never threatened by a star-studded leaderboard. He earned it, becoming an overnight major champion that was two years in the making. Congrats.

And he left there with a bag full of acorns, hoping to grow some Oak Hill oaks on his property in Alabama as a reminder. Good stuff. Watch out for Harvey Updyke, Jason.

Congrats to Dcrotty, who won our final golf contest of the year by avoiding the Woods/Mickelson trap and picking Dufner (1st), Scott (5th) and McIlroy (8th). Dcrotty, shoot us an email and we'll talk prizes.

———

NFL preseason

Injuries are the key thing to guard against as NFL teams start to check their rosters. Not unlike Thursdays at golf tournaments, the NFL preseason does not mean winning playoff games, but it could mean losing them depending on which players get hurt.

Of the talk of the weekend, here are three NFL storylines we're following (you can learn about the Jets QB shuffle elsewhere, we're not that enamored with Rob Ryan's bunch):

• With each passing day, we believe Jake Locker is going to be Ryan Fitzpatrick's back-up. In the grand scheme of things, does anything hurt more in sports than missing on a first-round QB pick?

• The Falcons' O-Line will be a hot-button issue for the next few weeks — and maybe for the entire season. Less than good times.

• While Vince Young's presence in Green Bay has us worried about the current and future of local-guy-turned-Packers reserve B.J. Coleman, the pressure and focus on Graham Harrell is even greater. None of those three were particularly effective Friday night, but Harrell had two turnovers that led to scores. B.J. was 2-for-7 in limited snaps. He likely will get more reps this week against St. Louis on Saturday.

———

College football news to know

There were a slew of college football scrimmages and such around the south this weekend. Some involved teams of great interest around these parts. Here's what we gleaned:

• As TFP aces Mark Wiedmer and Johnny Frierson noted, the UTC offense had its moments Saturday at Finley. That's exceedingly encouraging considering the level of skill the defense possesses.

• Mixed reviews in Knoxville, but the strength of a Tennessee offensive line that had a 14-play drive without throwing the ball is eye-popping — for both sides. But, not unlike the obvious strength at UTC, the Vols' O-line is so stout that it will make the defensive front seven better every day.

• Per David Paschall, Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper is a bad man. That is all.

• Again per Paschall, Georgia's Todd Gurley is also a bad man.

• Justin Garrett, Auburn's hybrid safety/linebacker who was supposed to have a breakout season as the Star Safety in the Tigers 4-2-5 injured his foot.The severity of said injury is yet to be determined. Also, freshman receiver Tony Stevens, who had turned heads in camp, hurt his hamstring. Not good. (At least Dufner won the PGA, Auburn fans.)

———

This and that

  • photo
    Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor (36) works in the second inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Atlanta, Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

— The Braves lost Saturday after winning 14 in a row. They won again on Sunday. They lead the NL East by 14.5 games. Wow.

— Also of note, the Dodgers swept the Rays and are 17 games over .500 and lead the West by 7.5 games. What a crazy ride for a team that was going to fire their manager in May.

— Kurt Busch won the non-NASCAR NASCAR race Sunday. Hey, if they turn right, then we turn it off. Sorry.

———

Today's question

Our oldest started kindergarten today.

We're pretty bummed about it to tell you the truth. We think he'll love school and be great there, but it seems he's just growing up so dang fast.

Plus, to tell you the truth, we're a little melancholy about it because while he doesn't know it — none of us did at that time — his whole life of responsibility starts today. There are things he has to do now. Sure, with those responsibilities come life's great joys. We're excited for him and his journey. He has amazing gifts that offer him amazing opportunities.

Still, with each new beginning it's human nature to look back at the completed journey.

Maybe we're being overdramatic. Maybe we're being sappy. Maybe we're delirious from the 100-hour work we just finished and the 85-hour work week we're approaching.

Still, we're super proud of that little dude.

So in honor of his first day at real school — pre-K was great and all, but this is all-day, go-to school — let's list the Lee Greeson Rushmore of best debuts:

J.P. Arencibia — the Blue Jays catcher who had hits in his first four big league swings, including a homer on his first swing in the majors.

Orson Wells — Citizen Kane is a pretty high standard as a director

Guns-n-Roses — Appetite for Destruction

Wilt Chamberlain — 43 points and 28 rebounds in your first NBA game is pretty awesome.

Who's on your debut Rushmore?

Discuss and enjoy the day; and hug your kids.

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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Harrythornton said...

Herschel Walker had a nice debut in 1980 for my Dawgs

Deion Sanders had a great debut in 1989 for the Falcons

Bob Horner had a nice debut for the Braves in '78 (he was almost great... dang wrist!)

Jimi Hendrix had an awesome debut album Are You Experienced (License to Ill was pretty rad too)

August 12, 2013 at 10:44 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Harry —

Great call on License to Ill — The Beastie Boys did drop some logic out of the gate.

Who is this Walker fellow of whom you speak?

August 12, 2013 at 11:04 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

TJ Yeldon last year, 11 for 111, considering the stage and his team, was pretty strong.

Locker may look a little better than last year due to a strong line and at least 2 good backs. If they want any kind of difference maker at the position, I agree, maybe look to Fitzpatrick.

August 12, 2013 at 11:04 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Concur on GnR. Daniel Nava of the Red Sox had a great debut - grand slam in his first big league AB. Al Pacino's first major motion picture role wasn't too bad, either, after Francis Ford Coppola made him an offer he couldn't refuse. (It's Mobster week on AMC. I. Am. Stoked.)

Jason Dufner? War Eagle. And didn't anyone else notice his, um, grab walking off 18 with Mrs. Excitement? Yup. A little handful of tushy. For all the flak the PGA Championship takes, it turned out to be a pretty good major this year. Tough venue, terrific field with the winner making clutch shots.

Nothing as is boring as anything to do with the Jets right now. And that includes any discussion on the state of American men's tennis. (It stinks. Moving on....). Boy there were some bad QB draft picks before last year. I'm looking at you, Blaine Gabbert. And maybe you too, Jake Locker.

Props to Josh Reddick for 5 bombs in two games. Great kid, too.

August 12, 2013 at 11:11 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Rushmore of debuts:

Two actually (Kevin Conroy and Mark Hammill from Batman: The Animated Series).

Prior to being what many consider his "iconic" role, Kevin was for the most part an established Broadway actor but outside of that, no one knew him from Adam (or Adam West; BAM!). Since then, he has portrayed the Dark Knight in several animated series and a few direct to DVD movies. But the original series is still by far the most critically-acclaimed by animated snobs such as myself. How well known is he? To most, he is to Batman what Walt Disney was to Mickey Mouse or Mel Blanc to Bugs Bunny or Peter Cullin to Optumus Prime. Viewers, regardless of age, will only acknowledge that person as that character and will accept no substitute (unless the original has passed on)

As for Mark Hammill, until he was cast as the voice of the Joker, he was forever linked to Luke Skywalker. When he does the Joker voice, there is not even a "trace" of Luke's "boy-ish" sounding voice. Andrea Romero, the "Godmother" of VA casting directors (now retired) still talks about the chills after hearing Mark read for the Joker after the part was initally casted to Tim Currey. Thank God Mark was cast instead.

Speaking of Walt, gotta go with Snow White and Seven Dwarfs. Although the Disney "shorts" had been around for close to two decades by the time this movie was produced, this was his debut for a full-length feature. It incorporated a lot of styles and innovations that were literally ahead of their time considering the technology of the mid 1930s.

I know this is not Toon-talk, but when it comes to music and sports debuts, I'm hard-pressed to think of some as a lot of "the great ones" tend to find their stride later on. Like in the case with Yuu Darvish. As you recall Jay I was at his debut game and those first four innings were UUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGG-LIE!

He has gotten better since then.

August 12, 2013 at 11:20 a.m.
WilliamRscott said...

That is former Tennessee Volunteer JP Arencibia...one of the few bright spots in recent UT Baseball history.

Billy-In-Brainerd

August 12, 2013 at 1:28 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Jason Hayward homered on his first swing in his first at bat in his first game in the majors...what more can you do? No, it was not a grand slam.

August 12, 2013 at 3:11 p.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, glad to see Baily Lenoir get his props in the paper last. week. Made sure #1 saw that in for nothing else than to stoke the flames in his considerable belly. East Hamilton v. Signal at Signal August 23rd.

For some musical #1s: The Doors début album, Ditto Dire Straits, Van Halen's first LP, REM Mummer. Yeah, Yeah, 10 Ring there was an EP out there, but that ain't no album.

August 12, 2013 at 3:21 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

I wish nothing but the best for B.J. Coleman. Coleman has a good head on his shoulders and that lends well to his potential as a quarterback at the next level. I suspect Green Bay will go with Vince Young as their number two guy. That being said, the cheesy pack should hope and pray for the continued health of Aaron Rodgers. Young is a great athlete, but he brings more drama to the table than a Mexican soap opera.

For the Rushmore of debuts, I will concur with Harrythornton on Herschel and Jimi...Nice calls. Yasiel Puig is having a heck of a debut in his jump from Hawk Hill to La La land. This one is kind of vague, but I like any debut event listed as the "first annual" anything. The phrase "first annual" is presumptive in such a hopeful manner that I always grin when I see it in print.

Good luck to the little 5'er on his new quest.

August 12, 2013 at 3:22 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - Rushmore of great debuts...Elvis on the Milton Berle Show circa 1956. Changed the world.

August 12, 2013 at 4:14 p.m.
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