published Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

5-at-10: Eight days, eight days, eight days

Gang, loved the discussion about duos yesterday. Excellent stuff.

We're close to football season — you can almost hear it, you know. That said, remember Friday's mailbag.

From the "Talks too much" studios,

  • photo
    Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig breaks his bat as he hits a single against the San Francisco Giants.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Yasiel Puig

Ah, the dichotomy of the Dodgers young superstar.

He was benched for conduct unbecoming and later fined for showing to the park late Tuesday. Inserted into the game later, he hit a game-winning homer.

Ah, the good and the bad. The balance between a headache and heart-stopping talent. So it goes.

We have known about Puig the mercurial from the beginning of his stint in Chattanooga this spring. Management folks warned of being temperamental and young. We also recognized the fact that he is young and from a completely different part of the world and that the only common thread is Puig's baseball skills have been touched by the hands of the gods. Dude has every skill. A Spanish-speaking Mike Trout if you will.

And who are we to think this 22-year-old rookie from Cuba should be a young Frank Thomas on the field and an experienced Derek Jeter off it? We have heard a river of excuses about Johnny Football's antics, ranging from "he's just a college kid" and "he's young." But Puig's roughly the same age and after living a life in poverty now has eight-figures (and he didn't break any rules to cash his checks) and the adoration of millions, but he's "out of control." PUH-lease.

Yaisel Puig's energy and passion are good for the game. And they have been good for the Dodgers — who are 50-19 since Puig was called to the big leagues in early June.

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Local guys making NFL pushes

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    Green Bay Packers quarterback B.J. Coleman drops back to pass during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Saturday in St. Louis.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Kudos for TFP ace Johnny Frierson to continuing to track B.J. Coleman and a slew of other Mocs who are trying to make NFL rosters. Read about it here.

We think B.J. made huge strides for himself last Saturday night with a big-time drive in the fourth quarter that led to the first TD pass of his NFL career. Was it preseason? Yep. Does that matter? Nope. (Seriously, if you were fighting to make a professional sports team and you hit a homer in spring ball or scored a TD in the preseason, like that wouldn't be wicked cool. PUH-lease. It would be the "We caught a fish THIS big" with hands spread as far as they can go moment, times like 10.)

B.J., as Ace Frierson details, is blessed with options. If he makes the 53-man roster as Aaron Rodgers' back-up, great. If not, he could return to the practice squad in Green Bay. Or he could get claimed by another team.

Options are good. We like options.

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Former coaches

Which to you find more weird: That Phillip Fulmer was under fire for saying that his bosses made mistakes in firing him or that Akron has hired Jim Tressel to teach students about coaching football?

Let's tackle the latter first: Jim Tressel will direct "General Principles in Coaching" at Akron, the school where he began his coaching career. Great news. And here's hoping that as his professor profession progresses (how about that alliteration and assonance there Spy?) he tackles graduate level stuff like a business course called "Trading jerseys for tattoos: What's a fair exchange rate" and an ethics course called "When a half truth is not a complete lie" or even a pre-law course on "Dodging questions 400." Good times.

As for Fulmer, well, the former UT football coach who is looking better and better the farther and farther the Vols program slides from the salad days of 1995-2001 during his tenure took some heat this week because he said he had issues with Mike Hamilton and the leadership at UT at the time he was fired. Some even said he refused to take responsibility.

Hogwash. Fulmer was hardly perfect, but taking a swing at a guy who was frustrated by and still holds a grudge against the powers that be that fired him from his dream job is at-best petty and at worst bitter and mean-spirited.

As TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer shares here, Fulmer is doing his thing, be it helping ETSU restart football or spending time with his grandchildren.

The two things that jumped out of Weeds' column this morning were:

A) Fulmer still has a tough time going to watch the Vols practice because of the emotional ties. We've said it a million times, but it's just as true today as ever. Question his play-calling or his recruiting decisions or what have you, but no one could ever question Phillip Fulmer's love for the UT program. And they still can't. We respect that.

B) That Fulmer preferred to be more reserved in his comments to Weeds than he was recently about Hamilton and Co., and that was likely a wise thing. Here's something that we hate about the current state of the business we're in: We as sports writers and such bemoan the fact that the Sabans of the world give us canned quotes and coach speak. Then when someone says something that they believe, the vitriol that comes from some corners is so over-the-top that who can fault the athletes and coaches from speaking in cliches and canned hams.

E-Gads.

We do know this: As we discussed recently on Press Row — our radio show with David Paschall from 1-3 p.m. on 105.1 FM here locally and at espnchattanooga.com online — the longer UT toils in mediocrity, the better Fulmer's career looks. Period

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This and that

— Maria Sharapova debated changing her name to "Sugarpova" as a publicity stunt for the upcoming US Open to help promote her candy company of the same name. Well, there's no need to now. Well played, Maria. And now when she loses in the third round, it won't make the candy look bad.

  • photo
    New York Mets' Zack Wheeler (45) delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in New York.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

— The Braves lost 5-3 to the Mets. More importantly, no one was injured.

— Mike Vick has been named the Eagles starting quarterback. We think this presents a real fantasy football value, and gives the Eagles a chance to really score under new coach Chip Kelly.

— Al.com has issued an apology for offending women with a story about a "Football for women" operation it was promoting in Mobile. The lead sentence to the story about the event says football is vexing and tough to understand, "especially for women." Yep, that one left a mark.

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Today's question(s)

Gang, football is vexing and tough to understand for everyone.

Feel free to ask any and all football questions here today. We can call it a throwback (screen) primer.

Like explain how Von Miller gets six games for a drug violation and the Texans defensive end goes all Maximus in front of the nation and gets one real game for ripping off an opponent's helmet and swinging like a weapon?

Or why is it called the Read Option? Yes, we know the quarterback holds the ball in the running back's belly for one count while he 'reads' the defensive end. But in truth, isn't every option play in football a 'Read Option?' The old school triple option was a series of reads: first reading the defensive tackle while deciding to give it to the fullback and then reading the outside linebacker on whether to pitch or keep. We'll call the spread based running play the Midline Option from this point forward.

Bring it.

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 ...

5
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.
chas9 said...

I'm as guilty as anybody of deriding the former Vols coach as The Great Pumpkin or Fill-up Fullmore, but the guy is a solid citizen. And he never lost to a Kentucky team with a wide receiver playing quarterback.

Football is easy to understand. It's women who are vexing. Maybe tomorrow The 5@10 could answer our questions about dames.

And did the new FOX Sports Network hire Regis Philbin? Really? Say it ain't so, Joe.

August 21, 2013 at 11:28 a.m.
chas9 said...

Elsewhere in today's fishwrapper, Downtown Brown quotes UT Coach Cuonzo Martin saying "In my three years here I've thought we've had a good nonconference schedule… the previous two years and this year have been great." But that's just the coach-speak horsefeathers that Jay writes about.

In fact, The Vols' non-conference schedule stinks. Full disclosure, so does Kentucky's. In fact, all SEC teams play weak schedules, and it hurts them come tournament time.

August 21, 2013 at 12:17 p.m.
volscot said...

I'm a UT grad, but I was there just before Fulmer's coup. I appreciate him as a coach and am thankful for the heights to which he took our team. I also agreed with the decision that it was time for him to go, but it was - and still is - obvious that he wasn't going to bow out gracefully on his own.

The thing that makes him look even worse is that after Gene Defilipo turned down the UT AD job when "Double D" Doug Dickey retired, Fulmer was the chairman of the "Hamilton for UT AD" caucus. Brent Hubbs confirmed on his website earlier this week that Fulmer even got Pat Summitt and Buzz Peterson onboard, and they all lobbied the Pres to hire Hammy.

So, lobbying for a guy to be your boss and then throwing him under the bus repeatedly every chance you get after he fires you for having two losing seasons in four years makes you appear bitter. Come to think of it, I understand Fulmer is a full, active participant in "Battle of ex-UT Coaches Silent Treatment Game" with Johnny Majors. Seems there's bitterness on both sides of that game board.

Fulmer was a great coach that unfortunately stayed too long, didn't upgrade his assistants when needed and micro-managed the new ones when he did, and doesn't think any of what happened when the team underperformed was his fault. But he's deservedly a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, and I'll be forever grateful to him for the enormous success of my team from the mid-90's to the mid-00's.

Sorry for rambling. I'll hang up and listen.

August 21, 2013 at 12:54 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Slow day it seems. It's now 12:35 PM and only three comments.

Saw the update for the "cross-conference" rivalies. ::yawwwwwnnnnnnn::

Anything short of Tennessee vs. Texas A&M is not even going to wake me from a nap.

August 21, 2013 at 1:37 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Somewhere, Chad Johnson is looking at Sugarpova and applauding in a fit of envy.

Do love me some alliteration, 5. Assonance, however, is an acquired taste.

Sharapova's getting to the third round? Who died?

Good call on the read option, 5. The end squeezed, that means pull and get on the corner, make the safety in the alley commit and this could be subtext for something unpleasant.

August 21, 2013 at 2:56 p.m.
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