published Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

5-at-10: Bray's combine shot, UT hoops and NASCAR contest

Remember Friday's mailbag and to send in your NASCAR picks for the contest below.

From the "Talks too much" studios, let's make like Jordan McRae and stroke it from long range.

NFL combine issues

The most interesting aspects of this year's NFL combine — the carnival extra-ganza of college football stud ducks trying to impress NFL scouts — likely will happen off the practice field inside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy.

There is the saga and all-important interviews for Notre Dame linebacker and internet dater Manti Te'o. Te'o has a body of work on the field that has garnered and deserved first-round attention. Dude made plays. His off-the-field puzzles, however, make his news conference and interviews arguably the most important of the week. He is not alone in answering difficult questions about difficult subjects, however.

In fact, the biggest movers among the game's most important position will be decided every bit by the answers they give as the spirals they toss. Yep, the most wide-open quarterback class in recent memory will feature a slew of cats trying to make the most of the vacuum atop the draft board. We know that a slew of teams with new coaches need new quarterbacks, and need them now. Unless you want to make Joe Flacco the highest-paid player in the game, the free-agent market offers little quarterback help. The trade possibilities are over-paying for Kirk Cousins or taking on the albatross of Matt Flynn's contract.

So there's the draft and the real chance of finding an Aaron Rodgers falling or reaching for Brady Quinn or Jake Locker.

Let's look at five quarterbacks who could really get rich by handling their BID-ness in Indy:

• Tyler Bray, Tennessee: We've said from the very start that Bray has serious NFL physical skills. Last week, NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. said Bray likely will be a second- or third-round pick. If dude shows the maturity that every UT fan has craved for the last three seasons in the interview process and can convince a team — any team — that his 5-cent head has made major progress toward his million-dollar arm, he could sneak into the first round. Seriously. He needs to be prepared to answer some questions about bottling throwing, back tats and loco dances with grace and charm, though.

• Geno Smith, West Virginia: Five weeks into last season, the 5-at-10 had Geno Smith winning the Heisman and West Virginia playing Bama for the national title. Uh, not so much. Still several folks have Geno as a real possibility as a first-round guy because of his physical gifts. We get it. He'll need a wow-type moment off the field this weekend to re-generate that kind of buzz in our view.

• Mike Glennon, N.C. State: Glennon has a big arm and the experience. In fact, his skills forced the Wolfpack coaching staff to ask Russell Wilson to go away a couple of years ago. (Of course that Wolfpack coaching staff was asked to go away a couple of months ago, too.) Glennon is atop many QB draft boards at the moment, meaning he's a first-rounder unless he flops. Of course we can't see spending a first-round pick on any QB that could only manage 21 points against a Sal Sunseri — SAAALLLLL!!! — defense.

• EJ Manuel, Florida State: Manuel is a supreme talent who almost always seemed to be underachieving because he has that big-time arm that scouts love. How he grasps the technical questions and the interviews will be key. We know he has a big arm, can he show an accurate touch will be the physical question.

• Since Matt Barkley will not throw because of injury, here are two names we think can emerge this week: Syracuse's Ryan Nassib and Duke's Sean Renfree. Nassib is underrated as a talent and experienced as a college starter in a pro-style system. Renfree lacks the big arm but has spent a few years learning at the altar of Cutcliffe, and there's something to be said for that.

————

Hi Tennessee basketball, it's nice to see you again

We asked on Twitter (@jgreesontfp) last night if Jordan McRae is a first-team All-SEC player. If you watched last night's dazzling showing — a career high 34 points and 6-of-6 shooting from 3 — the question may need to be reshaped to ask if he's a first-team All-American. It was that type of effort.

Get our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer's take on the Vols' surge is here. Our UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown's report on the Vols's win over LSU is here.

Here's a key quote from Downtown's story after the Vols' 82-72 win over LSU: "It's a different team," coach Cuonzo Martin said. "This is the team I thought we'd be at the beginning of the season, but you go through things and guys have to learn and guys have to grow. I didn't think Trae and Jarnell would have been the guys they were earlier in the season, but they're playing the way they're built and advertised and that's why you're having the results."

The Conz is right, this is a different team. It's playing with nothing lo lose and galvanized by the locker-room glue that desperation can congeal. The Vols need a miracle to make the NCAA tournament, and playing for a miracle is way less stressful than playing with meaning on the line.

This is not to take away from the Vols' recent run — four straight wins have moved UT's tournament hopes from life support to critical condition, and any improvement in regard to the bubble should be embraced. This is to acknowledge this was the team we expected from the start, and that makes this run bitter sweat in some aspects. Yes, it's nice for it to have arrived, but it's also fair to wonder why it was so fashionably late that the Dance party may have already escaped UT's grasp.

Sometimes, as Ray Kinsella once said, the cosmic tumblers click and the universe opens itself up and shows you what's possible. The reverse is also true, and for a painful stretch from Christmas to Groundhog Day, the miss-mash play of these Vols was diabolical in its dichotomy. Their strengths — Skylar McBee's shooting, Trae Golden's dependability, Jarnell Stokes' presence, etc. — were their main weaknesses.

Through it all, The Conz remained steady and focused. Maybe he knew what this team was and what it was not. Maybe he knew all along, and shared that belief in the quote above.

Sadly, it still feels like a lot of improvement that's a little too late (if this bunch had showed up a game earlier and not lost at home against Georgia, this is a really different conversation). Still, for these better Vols, better late than never does hold some promise for the immediate future.

————

NASCAR contest

  • photo
    Danica Patrick, left, displays the flag with Tony Stewart after winning the pole Sunday during qualifying for the NASCAR Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Patrick became the first woman to secure the top spot for any Sprint Cup race.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Join our Hit and Miss Daytona 500 contest. Give us the winner and where Danica finishes. If multiple entries pick the winner, Danica's finish will be the tie-breaker, and we'll use our normal Price is Right rules (closest without going over). If no one picks the winner, we'll see if anyone picked Danica's finish exactly right. If no one picks a winner or Danica's finish exactly right, we'll go to the entry(s) with the highest finishing driver, and then use Danica's finish as a tie-breaker. Deal? Deal.

We're playing for some sort of trinket — either from the Final Four or the Masters, you pick — and we'll try to get a slew of the local sports folks involved. Quake and Cowboy Joe are in. We're still trying to get Dr. B — he's a doctor after all — and we'll call Jim Gumm and Wells from ESPN radio. Any TV folks interested?

Here's our entries so far:

5-at-10: Kevin Harvick and 22nd

Mrs. 5-at-10: Jimmie Johnson and 35th

ESTUBuc13: Jeff Gordon and 33rd

BIspy4: Dale Jr. and 35th

Dawg 747: Jeff Gordon and 15th

Addictedtochalupa: Matt Kenseth and 12th

Orangeguy: Dale Jr. and 19th

McPell3: Kasey Kahne and 12th

TennFlyer: Tony Stewart and 15th

Sportsfan: Carl Edwards and 28th

Ordinaryguy: Danica Patrick and 1st

SportTalk's Quake: Clint Bowyer and 21st

SportTalk's Cowboy Joe: Dale Jr. and 32nd

BlueOval (via the Twitter... Nice): Tony Stewart and 32nd

OTWatcher: Brad Kesleowski and 15th

ThatIDidKnow: Kurt Busch and 12th

scole023: Dale Jr. and 11th

Tiger: Denny Hamlin and 18th

Harold: Matt Kenseth and 22nd

WarEagle: Tony Stewart and 5th

JJ: Jimmie Johnson and 9th

Quick side question heading into Daytona: If Danica was able to pull off the win, other than making OG's pick arguably the best prediction in the 607 5-at-10s we've done, where would it rank in NASCAR history? Where would it rank in women's sports history? Discuss.

———

This and that

— More college hoops: The clicker at the 5-at-10 compound had to go in for service after bouncing between the Vols-LSU and an old-fashioned slugfest when Indiana won 72-68 at Michigan State. Indiana is the best team in the best conference in the country, and if football has taught us anything, that should account for a lot, considering the Hoosiers deal with big-time foes and bigger pressure every night.

— Missouri punched it's ticket to the NCAA tournament with a 63-60 win over a Florida bunch that simply pantsed the Tigers last month in Gainesville. At 19-7 overall and now with a feather-in-their-cap win over the No. 5-ranked Gators, Missouri is in. That result also helps UT, since the Vols play Missouri in coming days and UT needs every chance to use a resume BeDazzler and add sparkling things to their tournament argument.

— Did you see the story that Johnny Football Manziel is taking his entire Texas A&M class schedule online, so as not to disturb his classes and other students? This is not a good precedent in our view. Not in the least. And how is it that Cam Newton can return to Auburn after two years in the NFL and carry on as a normal student, but Johnny Football can't?

— OK, Miami's football program has been accused of a lack of institutional control by an NCAA outfit that tampered with a legal investigation and bungled its case so badly the NCAA VP of compliance was fired. Lack of institutional control, huh? What's Miami's defense, "We know you but what are we?"

————

Today's question

Doing our morning research (yes Spy, we do actually do a little research every now and then), we stumbled across this story about movies based on real-life events and how screenwriters change some details to add drama or action or a villain as to add intrigue to the movie's script. Interesting read if you have a moment, and the topic is germane at the moment because three of the Ocsar frontrunners — Lincoln, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty — were mentioned. Apparently details and facts were altered for affect.

Historic movies apparently are just catching on to what has been a sports staple. Dan Devine (played by Hall of Fame sports-movie-bad-guy Chelcie Ross) was not the battle axe he was portrayed as in "Rudy," and Gary's car crash in "Remember the Titans" happened in the spring of his senior year rather than before the state title game (side note: The Titans stomped their foe in the state title game without the need of any last-second trick play).

We know there were liberties taken with "Rocky" or "Field of Dreams" and we know in our soul that "Bad News Bears" was a documentary. (What? It wasn't? Really? OK.)

This is not something new, and we're not sure what our question is other than whether you're OK with it. We can see altering some details — in the book "The Natural" Roy Hobbs strikes out in the end, for example — but how much liberty should screenwriters get with "based on real events" movies?

Discuss.

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.
ordinaryguy said...

JG the Danica prediction was with tongue firmly planted in cheek...that is my shtick (actual correct spelling) as is my extreme dislike of anything orange (except nehi)and it has served me for many many years on television and radio with fans and detractors...however if Danica were to win it would be the biggest story in both NASCAR history and women's sports hands down...Am I the only one or is Johnny Football starting to become an egomaniacal jackwagon...you brought up Cam returning to Tigerville and being a regular Joe and speaking of Joe's what about Namath being just a schmo in the land of the stolen debit card...distraction my butt, he just wants to be "special"...Movies taking liberty with facts is always the case and makes for more entertainment...heck Oliver Stone does it all the time just look at JFK lol...

February 20, 2013 at 10:20 a.m.
orangeguy said...

I still think Bray sneaks into round 1 after dazzling at the Combine. Needs to prove that his head is more than a helmet rack. Still, not watching.

I smell an academic fraud investigation coming Manziel's way. I don't like him being allowed to take all online classes because of his "fame." Not at all.

The NCAA makes me laugh out loud for real. How in the world can that institution go after Miami full bore while admittedly botching parts of the investigation? This is unfathomable to me. And I can't stand the 'Canes.

If I'm watching a Hollywood production, based on actual events, I expect embellishment. Don't really care either way as to which parts they embellish.

February 20, 2013 at 10:29 a.m.
mcpell3 said...

Misrepresentation of facts in historical movies? The NCAA still taking Miami to the woodshed based on bad evidence? Johnny football taking imaginary classes with Teo's girlfriend? The next thing you'll tell me is that reality TV shows aren't real.

I hope Bray has been working on his brain more than his footwork if he wants to be drafted above the 3rd round.

February 20, 2013 at 10:54 a.m.
TennFlyer said...

5@10er I must respectfully disagree with Bray sneaking into the first round. Of the last 10 teams drafting none of them need a QB with the exception of Vikings depending on what you think of Ponder. Teams that finish this high, finish there for a reason, good QB play. A team drafting earlier will not spend a high 1st round pick on Bray, they would just wait until the second round to pick him. He MIGHT sneak into the early second round but not the first. Renfree on the other hand has the opposite problem - million dollar head, five cent arm. Barkley is a enigma, I like that he came back but was dissappointing, Smith, Glennon, and Manuel can be hit or miss. I think Bray falls into the bottom of this group.

February 20, 2013 at 10:57 a.m.
chas9 said...

Guess Jay was listening to his Clarence Carter eight tracks this morning. Stroke it to the east. Stroke it to the west. I be strokin'.

Yes, McRae had a night that brings Jodie Meeks to mind. His six of six beyond the arc helped The Vols hit 10 of 15 treys, 15 of 20 for two games. That's gotta be a near record pace.

But the law of regression to the mean (ask Spy) will take over when The Vols wrestle a mad Gator next week. After they travel to College Station to play a scrappy team that beat Mizzou, Ole Miss and UK with Noel.

Weeds reports that Coach Cuonzo is not overwhelmed by yesterday's win, and that's wise. LS&U is only RPI #107. The Aggies at #75 RPI will be a better test.

But Golden and Stokes were terrific, too, and Jay's right on about The Vols' strengths becoming weaknesses becoming strengths. Few teams ever have back-to-back games hitting 58% and 57.4%.

For elite basketball, though, it's The Big Irrational Number Conference. If the books offer an NCAA wager of Big Ten teams vs. the field, I'd take the former. IU looks to be best, and as of now Little Dipo is my POY. Olidipo is the kind of player a championship team can ride all the way, like Kemba Walker in 2011.

The best fiction in non-fiction award goes to "In Cold Blood." The fiction part was inserted into the great Truman Capote's book by the man himself, so it's not the movie to blame. But the wily, diminutive writer with the distinctive voice manipulated his material so artfully that it's hard to complain.

Strokin'!

February 20, 2013 at 11:35 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jay,

Where to begin:

Johnny Football: Old news in the 972. Galloway (and his Quake and Cowboy Joe wannabe flunkies) already covered this two days ago.

Real Events vs. Drama: I read that article this morning and not really all that shocked. I will go on record that the source material is more accurately played than in past movies and TV shows inspired by actual events. I've seen televised interviews with Adrian Cronauer and he doesn't act anything like Robin Williams portrayal in the movie. Does that mean I'm never going to watch Good Morning Vietnam? Hell no. "Vegas" on CBS is supposedly based on the adventures of the real Sheriff Lamb from 1960-1973. However, I can definitely tell some of the story lines every week are wayyy over the top. I do enjoy the "future talk" they sometimes sneak in "It's this new device called a pacemaker".

Danica: A win at Daytona would not just break the glass ceiling it would full-bore shatter it. If anything, it would convience other hopeful femme drivers to take up the sport. However, the Devil's Advocate in me makes me think what would happen if a woman NASCAR driver with short hair and tomboy-ish features were to break that ceiling instead. Would she get the same noteriaty as someone with Hollywood looks like Danica? I'm guessing not.

Combine: I'm guessing since I haven't heard a peep out of Frierson regarding this that means none of the graduating Mocs are trying out. I was very excited for this last year due to BJ but now..don't..really...care.

February 20, 2013 at 11:41 a.m.
jgreeson said...

OG —

Tongue in cheek or no, you're in the books. Hey, if she finishes DFL, you're none the worse for wear (it didn't cost nothin') and if she wins, well, you OG the Greek.

Orange —

The Miami-NCAA thing is going to be sneaky interesting to watch. Pot meet kettle; kettle, pot.

McPell —

Of course reality TV is real... where do you think the reality comes from?

TennFlyer —

Agreed that no one in the bottom half of the draft other than the Vikings will look for a QB. That said, there will be a race to follow the recent trend of dealing picks to get into the back half of the first round to take a QB.

If you are the Chiefs, the Raiders, the Cardinals, the Jags, et al. will be looking to get into the back half of round 1 to take the QB they want. It may be Bray.

— 5-at-10

February 20, 2013 at 11:41 a.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - I entered college a year or two after Animal House was released, and as near as I can recall, I believe the film was historically accurate.

February 20, 2013 at 1:04 p.m.
chas9 said...

I don't like Johnny taking only on-line courses either. But universities all across the fruited plain are rushing headlong into offering coursework on-line for budget reasons. If you offer it to other students, how can you deny it to athletes?

A U. of North Dakota radio announcer has been suspended two games for referring to UND's loss as a "choke job." When did it get t be unsportsmanlike or obscene to refer to a team or athlete choking?

February 20, 2013 at 1:19 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[but how much liberty should screenwriters get with "based on real events" movies?]

I'm fine with the directors doing what they need to do to make what they feel is a good movie. The fewer liberties though, the better, especially if the movie is about a person or event that most people are familiar with. That said, my wife and I saw "The Vow" last year (based on a true story), and we came away pretty disappointed. We both already knew the amazing story of the real-life couple of which the movie is based, but the movie went a completely different direction with it. I think the movie would have been much better had they stuck more to the true story than what they did.

Mailbag question? Since Friday will be the day after the NBA trade deadline, who are your top 5 contenders for the title? I'm curious to see where Garnett, Josh Smith, and Redick end up if they get traded. Kupchak says Howard and Gasol are staying put in L.A.

Someone asked last week what your top 5 rides at Disney World are. I'd like to see what those are as well. (A few of us gave our Rushmore of rides last week.) And no answer is a bad answer because, come on, we're talking about Disney World. Just don't put "It's a Small World" on your list. Hahaha. And did you use the new Fastpass+? Not sure yet how I feel about that new supposed improvement to the park experience.

February 20, 2013 at 2:03 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Jordan McRae is from my neck of the woods. Literally. One of his high school teammates was Rion Brown, now a key player for No 2 ranked Miami. IIRC.

Does it say more about Jim Larranaga or the state of college hoops that Miami is No 2 in the nation and it ain't football, baseball or parties with hookers and blow?

February 20, 2013 at 2:28 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

We're with you on the Big Ten vs. the field. Could be three Big Ten teams in Atlanta for the Final Four.

And yes, tons of students can take online classes, but you know that whole perception=reality thing. This is a bad road to travel, in our view.

JMC —

Your guess is golden about Danica's looks being a huge edge as a groundbreaker. Heck, it's a huge edge for dude's too. Sponsors want appeal, and either it's appealing to be winning or to be Dale Jr., you know?

No Mocs will be combining.

Sportsfan —

Animal House is different. It's a documentary with the names changed to protect the Betas at Auburn.

"Hi, we're the 5-at-10, rush chairman... Dang glad to meet you."

You guys playing cards.

Stew —

The Toy Story interactive rides were awesome. The old favorites of Space Mountain and the Race Cars were great. The Perry the Platypus (if you do not know who that is, well, know that Phineas and Ferb is way, Way, WAY underrated) scavenger hunt was way cool.

The Fastpass is nice; it further makes a gameplan a must to fully enjoy Disney.

Spy —

Miami's coach has done an excellent job. It says more about college hoops that Miami is going to be a 1 seed and we can't name a starter on their team.

February 20, 2013 at 2:42 p.m.
Todd962 said...

You should never let facts get in the way of a good story. My favorite movie example is in Braveheart during the "Battle of Stirling Bridge." The battle in the movie is depicted in a giant open field with face-punch-invoking speeches being made, gluteus exposure to the opposition, and general badassery taking place. The real battle was fought mostly around a bridge with the British getting overzealous and attempting to cross the bridge at inopportune times while the Scots "kill't" them by the hundreds. During filming a local approached Mel Gibson to ask why there was no bridge in the scene of the Battle of the Stirling Bridge. Gibson responded that "the bridge got in the way", to which the local responded, "Aye, that's what the English found too."

February 20, 2013 at 2:58 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Come on, 5, Miami's starting five is easy to name. It's Barry Larkin's kid, then that other dude, and that other guy, then the guy whose name you find at the end of a bowl of Alpha Bits and then um ... um ... whatshisname.

See?

My attorney sent me a text message the other day, with a picture of him and Herman Boone, coach of the real Remember the Titans team. Didn't Joe Kirby go to that high school?

February 20, 2013 at 3:44 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jay-

I know who Perry is but like Spongbob, I never really found anything about Phineas and Ferb to be appealing. Disney Channel has only "one" decent cartoon and that's Gravity Falls with new episodes far and few between. D:

Did get a chuckle when I saw a while back "Ferb" getting busted for DUI (Yes, Ferb is V/Aed by a 22 year old)

Also, love the "Animal House is documentary with the names changed". A year ago, I read a local columnist here in Dallas who was covering Mike Judge's animation film festival he has every year over at Mockingbird Station. He wrote "If 'King of the Hill' was a real life show, it will be a documentary." (actual quote)

February 20, 2013 at 4 p.m.
jgreeson said...

962 —

Dearly departed Ferrol Sams (Uncle Sambo) used two phrases almost every time we ever saw him:

— If Mama ain't happy, nobody's happy

— Never let the truth get in the way of the story.

Heard a similar story, but our version ended with Gibson going on a drunk tirade blaming serveral Jewish folks for everything. Or maybe that was a different movie... Lethal Weapon 2 maybe.

Spy —

Yep, Joe Kirby was a junior there for the Remember the Titans run. Said the football drama was overplayed and the racial drama was actually underplayed in the film. So it goes.

And Will patton, the guy that plays the white assistant that helps Coach Boone, is an all-that-guy actor. He's that guy in "Gone in 60 Seconds" and "Armageddon" and "Postman" and "Inventing the Abbotts" and "No Way Out" and a slew of others.

February 20, 2013 at 4 p.m.
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