published Friday, August 30th, 2013

5-at-10: Friday mailbag

Not surprisingly, there were several questions about football.

Let's get to it.

From the "Talks too much" studios, that's why they play the game.

From a slew of you

  • photo
    UTC running back Marquis Green (21) is tackled by UT Martin's Thad Williams during the Mocs' season opening football game against the Skyhawks Thursday at Finley Stadium.
    Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

What happened to the Mocs?

Gang —

We received several of these in the last few hours. Some of them were more tersely worded, too.

We'll speak to TFP UTC football ace Johnny Frierson early in the 1 o'clock hour on Press Row on 105.1 today.

Here's what we know.

The loss hurts — in every direction. In the standings. In the locker room, where a talent bunch of guys wants to believe this is the year even if it started like so many before it. In the view of the casual fans. In the view of the 12-state region that received the broadcast on CSS for which UTC picked up the tab. (Side note: The announcing by JR, Quake and Keith Cawley was top-shelf. It likely was the best part of the night for the home folks. That and the fireworks.)

The Mocs' strength — a defense that boasts some playmakers — was pushed around in moments that mattered most.

The offense still looks to be Jacob Huesman and some guys in blue, regardless of who the coordinator may be.

We also know that the nut-job writer of a certain family-oriented, interweb-based sports column who had real thoughts this bunch could be unbeaten going into Tuscaloosa was just a bit a outside.... tried for the corner and missed... by a few months. Wow, how bad was that prediction?

————

From Tim

This is not a question for the mailbag as much as a plea for you to continue making your picks. With the economy the way it is, I very much needed the extra 'entertainment' you provided last year.

Thanks and go Rebels.

Tim —

Wow. The opening of college football was great for everyone who is not a Mocs fan. What an exciting Thursday.

And for those that like to wager a little 'entertainment' on these festivities, well, college football offered up pretty quickly why it's called gambling.

Vandy's leading by three in final minutes late Thursday night and Jeff Scott breaks off a 75-yard TD run with 1:07 to play for the game-winning score in a 39-35 victory. Scott's run also allowed the Rebels, who were favored by 3, to cover.

In the nightcap, the betting balance was even more thrilling.

USC is favored by 20 at Hawaii. The Trojans are comfortably leading 23-5 in the fourth quarter and appear to be cruising. Justin Davis punches in a cosmetic TD with 42 seconds left to give USC a 30-5 edge and makes those that picked USC smile. Twelve seconds later Hawaii throws a 60-yard TD pass for not-so-meaningless score for bettors.

Thank goodness football is back.

————

From Johnny Vols

Why go with Worley? Seriously, he seems to be the least talented of the four.

Enjoy the column and the radio show.

JV —

  • photo
    Junior Justin Worley was told Sunday night he would be the starting quarterback for Tennessee in the Vols' season opener Saturday against Austin Peay.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The only thing we can figure is Justin Worley's experience won the UT starting quarterback job in the end. The fact that Butch and Co. waited this long into camp to name Worley screams to us that they wanted to give each of the freshmen — redshirted Nathan Peterman and true newcomers Josh Dobbs and Riley Ferguson — as many chances as possible to try to grab the job.

We know that Butch Jones and his folks know more about football, saw every rep in the preseason and have more skin in this game than we do. So if you're a Vols fan you have to trust that, right.

We also believe two important things:

• Worley's experience edge will be key in the week two test against Western Kentucky. The Vols should roll Austin Peay on Saturday with your cousin Sally at QB. (Of course we though the Mocs were going to roll, too.) But the week two test will be tougher, and while the Vols should win, the biggest way to allow Western Kentucky to hang around — and to potentially let WKU coach Bobby Petrino steal one — is rookie mistakes at quarterback. Of all the things Worley is or is not, we know for sure he is not a rookie.

• We also believe this is not over. As Bluto said in Animal House: "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? And it ain't over now."

————

From Charles

Why don't you do more NFL stuff? It's only the most popular sport in the country.

Did you see anything in the preseason worth discussing?

Thanks and thanks for the 5-at-10.

Charles,

It's tough to glean much from the preseason because it is a compilation of an audition for fringe guys, teams looking for depth, starts trying to work off the rust and stay healthy.

We'll definitely do more NFL in the days ahead, but college football has — and almost always will — dominated our focus.

Here are five things we observed this preseason:

  • The Falcons have issues. Seriously.

  • The Titans have two fringe quarterbacks, which means they have no real quarterback.

  • The Jets are so quarterback starved they signed the guy that the artist formerly known as Vince Young beat out in Green Bay.

  • We are officially tired of hearing about RG III's knee, Tony Romo being underappreciated, Aaron Hernandez in general and Joe Flacco banners.

  • This may be the most wide-open the NFL has been ever. There are a slew of teams that can win the Super Bowl, which will be played in New York. Outside. In February.

————

From T.B.

I want to tell you that I have been reading the 5-at-10 from the start, way back in 2010 when it was really short. You do talk quite a bit.

Good stuff. Here's my question for you

If you put all SEC coaches in a battle royale, who wins?

T.B. —

Thanks for reading and for sticking around through the growing pains.

What a great question. OK, in the old-school rasslin' world, a battle royale would start with like a few guys in the ring and then staggered new entries would come on down. Here's the setting:

We'll start with the four new coaches in the ring, and then have them enter, two at a time, in order from worst to best in terms of record.

  • photo
    In this Nov. 24, 2012, file photo, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema shouts from the sidelines during an NCAA college football game against Penn State in State College, Pa. . A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, that Bielema has agreed to become the new coach at Arkansas. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

So in the ring are Bret Bielema, Gus Malzahn, Butch Jones and Mark Stoops.

As they're going at it — Malzahn is crafty folks, don't let the glasses fool you — the following tandems enter every couple of minutes in this order:

Pinkel-Freeze;

Mullen-Franklin;

Miles-Spurrier;

Sumlin-Muschamp;

Saban-Richt.

Here's the action as we see it.

At the urging of Gus Malzahn, the three new coaches team up on Bret Bielema and try to use pace and a no-huddle approach to getting the bigger, stronger Bielema out of the match early. The strategy works, but Stoops taps out in the process.

As this is happening, Pinkel and Freeze enter. Freeze gets the drop on Gus and the two are going at it. Butch topples Pinkel rather quickly and awaits the next challenge.

As the Franklin and Mullen tandem enters, Butch charges Franklin and the altercations between Freeze and Malzahn stop and each go after Mullen hard.

Franklin bests a winded Jones and Mullen falls quickly against the double team of Freeze and Gus, who shouts, "This is for Cam" as Mullen is toppled.

Les Miles and Spurrier come down the aisle and Spurrier stops short, pulls up a chair, grabs some popcorn and opens a Coors heavy (It's the banquet beer folks) and watches the action. He says plainly, "This is dumb; why would I even think about something like this."

Miles enters as Franklin, Freeze and Malzahn are sizing each other up. Miles says plainly, " Anticipating was not what they need to hear the personnel call and be give the directive. That did happen at times."

Stunned and confused at what they just heard, Miles topples the gassed Gus and the flummoxed Freeze as Sumlin and Muschamp enter.

Muschamp is a screamin' demon, unloading on Franklin first as Miles and Sumlin go at it. Muschamp handles Franklin; Miles tried to confuse Sumlin, but to no avail.

Saban, who is talking to a five-star high school battle royaler about his process of being successful at battle roayles, enters as does Richt. Saban tries to use his dark side of the force on Sumlin, who again, shrugs it off and thumps the Alabama coach. Richt tries to talk it out with former Georgia player Muschamp, who screams, "I want your job" as he taps out Richt.

Sumlin-Muschamp walk to the center of the ring, and the winner is....

Who you got?

————

Editor's Note: We had several Johnny Football questions. Here are two.

  • photo
    Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel throws during NCAA college football practice in College Station, Texas.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

From Big Talker

OK, you and the rest of the talking heads have been all over the NCAA about the Johnny Manziel stuff. You don't know what happened. You weren't there.

Is the NCAA a joke? Yes but you don't know Manziel did or didn't do for sure. He's a college kid and they deserve to be paid any way. Why don't you just stick to talking about middle school cross country or whatever.

I doubt you'll print this in you fan-filled mailbag thing, but if you do, I guess my actual question is what would have been a fair punishment for Johnny Manziel considering it's obvious the NCAA did not have any proof.

—and—

From UGA Grad

Who should be the most hacked off about the Johnny Football ruling -- AJ Green, Dez Bryant, Bruce Pearl or Alabama fans?

Thanks, and ask Paschall this question on Press Row -- you guys are pretty good.

Gang —

Let's do the last part first. In order, the anger list should be exactly as you listed it.

AJ has the right to be the most hacked — dude did it, told the truth about it and got four games. Dez lied after freaking out, and he did it when the NCAA still had a power stick in the game. Bruce not only lied, but tried to get a high school kid to lie for him — while Pearl got a tough hand, it's not like he's completely a victim.

And almost every single Alabama fan we know is thrilled that Johnny Football will play. It may haunt them in 15 days (we doubt it) but none of the Tide backers we know wanted to hear the belly-aching of beating a Manziel-less Aggies team.

As for Big Talker, well, no we don't know for sure, but if the NCAA doesn't have anything then, there should be NO penalty at all.

This smacks of "we know you did it; you know you did it; let's all shake hands and make it go away."

Heck, this explains why the meeting between Manziel and the NCAA took six hours; everyone had to get their stories straight.

There's only two paths that make sense here — multi-game suspension (AJ got four games for admitting to selling his jersey for less than Manziel was allegedly paid) or nothing.

A half? That's crud and you know it, whether he did it or not. In fact, if he didn't do it, why is Johnny Football and Co. not crying foul and appealing. If he didn't do it, he's they are punishing an innocent guy.

PUH-lease.

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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chas9 said...

The Demon Deacs brought the blue ho's to their knees. Guess the Smurfs didn't cheer hard enough.

I'm hoping the Big Blue turn Bobby P's face red so you can run the boiled lobster photo again.

If Jadeavon hadn't had the flu (or whatever), The Cocks would've beaten the billy goats by more than the 18.5 as I predicted. Now who gets the Heisman?

August 30, 2013 at 10:20 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Words cannot begin to express what I feel last night. So I won't.

There's a lot of questions I would like answers to but that's not going to change the end result (One being the community "apathy" factor [11,000? Seriously?]). But also everything from why T-Rob wasn't used (Yes, I read the article this morning) to other key players.

I an't changing my colors anytime soon but last night was beyond mediocre. I didn't even want to get out of bed.

Anyway, Jay, if you read this, I mailed out some new clippings including that column piece I was telling you about earlier this week. I also have clippings involving the Cowboys HQ move from across the street to Frisco.

Enjoy.

August 30, 2013 at 10:30 a.m.
Stewwie said...

[This smacks of "we know you did it; you know you did it; let's all shake hands and make it go away."]

Totally agreed. Why accept punishment (no matter how light) for something you didn't do? The fact that he accepted any kind of suspension is an admission of guilt IMO.

On to last night's disappointment...

What was more disappointing...the offense or defense? I say the defense for sure. The offense pulled within a TD twice in the 2nd half, but the D could not stop the vanilla running play. What was most surprising to me was the way our D-Line was getting manhandled. And the missed tackles in the secondary (especially on their last TD) didn't help either.

I'd like to call BS on the T-Rob hammy injury. C'mon...even NBA players play through worse injuries than that. I mean, to be limited is reasonable, but to keep him out all game?? Not even use him as a decoy?? I wonder if something else is going on. And one other thing, please play Huitt and Shepherd. I think those guys deserve a shot too.

August 30, 2013 at 11:19 a.m.
Walden said...

...as much as I hate him, Muschamp.

August 30, 2013 at noon
LaughingBoy said...

Special teams meltdowns, critical turnovers at the worst times, and just plain egg-laying have been commonplace with the Mocs the last several years even when they appear to be more talented than the opponent. How many years does a coach get, regardless of how pitiful a program was before, until the seat becomes hot? We're debating whether to go back or not this year.

August 30, 2013 at 12:11 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

After last night, the best thing for the Mocs might be having GSU and Appy not eligible for the SoCon title. They can still claim the automatic bid. But after last night, an at-large bid, with the schedule they have ... probably not so much.

August 30, 2013 at 3:52 p.m.
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