published Friday, October 11th, 2013

5-at-10: Mailbag loaded with quarterbacks, questions and quick exits

Gang, thanks for all the feedback this week. Good times.

From the "Talks too much" studio, as Ned Nederlander said, "It's a mail plane — didn't you notice it's little balls?"

From Former Train rider

I'll admit it, I was front and center on the Lane Train and thought he was going to turn UT around super fast.

Now that Kiffin is out of work, what's your Rushmore of worst coaching hires ever? Thanks, and thanks for the 5-at-10.

FT rider —

In regard to Kiffin, we can all see the young emperor's new clothes, or lack thereof.

We believe Kiffin will resurface as a QB coach somewhere next year in the NFL or as an OC in college. Dude has some coveted qualities for each position in that he helped make Jonathan Crompton a serviceable quarterback in his year in Knoxville and on the college level, Kiffin is still an elite recruiter.

So he'll be fine, and we're super interested to see what he has to say tomorrow morning on College Football GameDay.

As for your Rushmore, Kiffin at USC is a possibility, but not Kiffin at Tennessee. At the time, Mike Hamilton was lauded for hiring the hottest name out there. (Hammy's big mistake regarding Kiffin was the chump-change buyout.)

Now Kiffin's successor in Knoxville gets a spot for sure, and Kiffin's current successor in SoCal makes a run. To the Rushmore:

Bobby Valentine, Boston Red Sox: Spy, would you like to finish this?

David Shula, Cincinnati Bengals: Dude finished with a 19-53 record, and unlike every other head coach everywhere, he did not get another coaching gig. Yep, Shula went from NFL head coach to Steakhouse exec.

Derek Dooley, Tennessee: Dude was plucked from the power program that was La Tech with a losing record and in three years at an SEC school that spends more on football than the GDP of most foreign lands, Sir Orange Pants went 1-13 against the SEC in his final two years. Yes, 1-13.

Isiah Thomas, several basketball retreads: How does he keep getting gigs? Thomas edges Coach Ed Orgeron, who is in charge at USC after his stellar 10-25 run at Ole Miss.

———

From Stewwie

Jay wrote: We think it's fair to say AJ is on the Rushmore of the best QBs in SEC history to be sure.

That's a bolder statement than it looks. Who else is on this Rushmore? Cam and Tim have to be there too, right? Unless Cam is left off for only playing 1 year. What about Johnny Football and Aaron Murray? And these are guys from only the past 5 years.

Stewwie,

Great question. And there may have to be different Rushmores considering the passing of this era is so much more prolific.

But, since we're into making tough decisions ("She's into malakas, Dino) we'll go with our SEC QB Rushmore.

Here's the basic qualifications: Simply had to win an SEC title. Period. And national titles are almost a requirement, too. Personal stats matter as well. So, here's what we got:

Danny Wuerffel — Dude won a Heisman and a national title. He was the perfect piece in Steve Spurrier's Fun-n-Gun and helped the Gators introduce the world to the corner route. In truth, Wuerffel and Spurrier launched college football's most dominant program of the last two decades.

Tim Tebow — Yes, another Gator who willed his team to a title and lived up to the hype. Quick side question, how would the world be different if Tebow had picked Alabama and Mike Shula rather than Florida?

AJ McCarron — The team numbers are going to be scary. To quote our man chas9's numbers from Thursday: A. J. has a chance to become the first quarterback to hoist three crystal footballs. He throws a pick only every 74.2 attempts, best in SEC history.

He's 30-2 as a starter. His 93.8 winning percentage is a league record. In his last four games, McCarron has completed a sparkling 77.7 percent of his passes for 938 yards and nine touchdowns. Yes, his winning percentage benefits from playing for a great team on a historic roll. But his individual numbers suffer because of that too. Still, if they run the table this year, and McCarron finishes 39-2 with three national titles, he may be the greatest college football player ever.

AJ Suggs — Kidding. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention. We'd likely take Cam Newton here because he had the single greatest season in SEC history. Yes, Johnny Football's numbers were better last year, but Cam did it being the bell cow of a team that won the whole shebang. We're open for debate on this last spot, so fire away.

————

From Bevo Jr.

I am a transplanted Texas fan, and love how much your paper covers college football. (Could use a litlte more on the 'Horns, but that's another email.)

Just started reading the 5-at-10 and it's now a regular part of my mornings.

What do you think would have happened if Texas had joined the SEC rather than Texas A&M? And after Oklahoma drills us Saturday, who do you think the front runners to be Texas' next coach will be?

Thanks, and what happened to your radio show?

Bevo II —

Wow, welcome to the show and get your money's worth as far as questions.

Let's take these in reverse order. The radio show is in a very uncertain place. We have been in discussion about continuing it and have not heard anything in a while. It felt like Press Row had a chance to be something pretty good — and the feed back and support these last two weeks has been greatly appreciated — so we'll see what the future holds for us in radio.

As for candidates for the Texas job, well, there are going to be some big names tossed around. We think Texas is not done at making a run at Nick Saban. We don't think he'd go there, but that does not mean Texas will take "Thanks but no thanks," and go about their BID-ness.

We think Kevin Sumlin will get very secretive feelers to gauge his interest, and if he's interested, he could be the front-runner. If he's not interested, Texas will deny they were ever interested. In some ways coaching searches are like finding dates to the middle school dance. "Does she like me?" "Maybe." "Well, maybe I like her."

We think Will Muschamp will get a call and so will Charlie Strong. We also believe a big chunk of the Texas fan base wants an offensive guy, and there will be a lot of whispers about Art Briles at Baylor. The other one.

Here's a name we'd keep fresh — Chip Kelly. If the NFL think does not turn out to his liking, well, the Longhorns could be the Longhorns sooner rather than later.

As for joining the SEC, let us think about that one for a minute.

————

From Laughing Boy

Mail Question: Does Tony Gonazles consider giving it another year, next year? Jackson, White, Jones, others, should be healthy next season.

LB —

Could be. And as flimsy as that is, that's the best we got.

The dumpster fire that has become the Falcons is the most unfair for Tony Gonzalez, who is far and away the very best at his position. In fact, Tony G may be the single most dominant player at his position of our lifetime. He and Jerry Rice.

Think of it this way for every other position in all of sports, if someone asked who is the best....(fill in the blank)? No matter the spot — quarterback, shortstop, point guard, whatever — there can at least be some discussion about who's the best ever. If you have a 'who's the best ever' tight end, it's Tony G and everyone else. (Rushmore of the clearest best-evers of our generation: Rice as the best wide out ever; Tony G as the best tight end ever; Mariano Rivera as the best closer ever; Jordan as the best 2-guard ever. Thoughts?)

Yes, all of those guys could be back and 100 percent next year, but the defense is sketchy and the question becomes is it worth it for an outside shot at best. And the saddest part is his former team looks way more Super than his current one.

From Chas9

Friday question: How much do you love the draft. Will the top five QB's drafted be (in this order) 1) Teddy; 2) Tajh; 3) Murray; 4) A. J.; 5) Mettenberger ? If not, why not? I hear UCLA and Oregon have some talent, too. Oh, and A&M.

9er —

We love the draft. You know this.

Here's the top 3 according to Kiper:

Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

Brett Hundley, UCLA

Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Here's the top three according to Todd McShay

Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

Brett Hundley, UCLA

Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Johnny Football, Texas A&M

Stephen Morris, Miami

Here's the ranking we give according to what we've seen and how we believe they could test at the combine:

Brett Hundley, UCLA — Kid has the it factor, is more athletic than Bridgewater and has a stronger arm.

Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville — has any one player ever gotten more out of one game than Bridewater did against Florida? Maybe Matt Flynn on Monday night for Green Bay a few years ago or Jamarcus Russell in the Sugar Bowl against Notre Dame. Bridgewater looked medicore leading the House of Cards to all of 24 points at home against Rutgers. Yes, the same Rutgers that Arkansas scored 24 on.

Marcus Mariota, Oregon — and if Chip Kelly is still at Philadelphia, which figures to have a high pick, this could be a perfect fit.

AJ McCarron, Alabama — Winner. Big. Accurate. Will be a steal for someone like a Denver or a New England late in round 1.

Zach Mettenberger, LSU — Dude is going to test off the charts, in regard to arm strength and accuracy. Arguably the biggest risk/reward guy in the class. Well, he and Johnny Football.

That said, we'd be willing to spend a second-to-third round pick on about any of the guys mentioned above, especially Aaron Murray, who we think could be a 10-year NFL starter.

———

From Jomo11

Jay- What offseason changes do you expect from the Braves ? talk is they WONT resign McCann, who i think is the heart and soul of the Braves

Jomo —

McCann's time is almost assuredly done. Dude is 30 with a ton of miles on his shin guards and no ability to play anywhere other than first base, which belongs to Freddie Freeman for the foreseeable future. (Side question: Is Freddie Freeman related to Morgan Freeman? What about Morgan Fairchild? Yeah, that's the ticket.)

We think — like Weeds wrote this week — that Tim Hudson's time is likely up in the A-T-L, too. As is Uggla's.

Atlanta needs to add a second basemen who can actually contribute with a bat in his hand.

They have the pieces to be right back in the mix next year, even with the subtractions, because remember, the bullpen will be much better and there's no way there could be more injuries next year and the starting rotation of Beachy, Minor, Medlen, Tehran and Maholm — and that's not counting Alex Wood or any other up-and-comers — is deep and talented.

Who knows, maybe when McCann signs with an AL club and comes back to Atlanta, they can have him throw out the first pitch.

To the mascot.

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...

Apparently I need to try to see a UCLA game. What's a Rutgers? Mariota's very good, but his receivers make him look better.

The Falcs have disappointed us, but They've given up only 16 more points than they've scored in five games. The (not so) Giants are -106 points in six games, -100 in five. Stinko. Can Eli get through the season without serious injury?

Stuckey--The other Stuckey (Pistons) got his thumb stuck in a car door. Ouchstanding.

UT's off this week, so maybe there's room for this public service announcement: The Champions Classic, which features Kentucky vs. Michigan State and Duke vs. Kansas, will be played Nov. 12 in Chicago's United Center. They'll only be at early season form, but we can see some great roundball talent. And Florida can see how scary their competition is.

October 11, 2013 at 10:18 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

I'm going to make a case that Dooley was not one of the worst hires of all-time. Hear me out.

In terms of results there is no arguing it. But in terms of timing, it makes sense. Remember, the reason the position was open was because USC had been looking for a head coach. That late in the coaching carousel, they had had a hard time finding one, which is why they went with Kiffin, which was also a terrible mistake given the program and what Kiffin had proven. The Vols are a week later in the game, at a program that was on a downswing, not an upswing. Who was going to leave their job and come to Knoxville? The top coaching prospects out there had already signed. If the Vols had gotten Muschamp (who they supposedly offered the job too), that would have been much better, obviously, but he turned it down for whatever reason. Dooley apparently was the only person who would say yes- and you had to get a coach in there to hold the recruiting class together that would say yes.

Look, Dooley was a terrible hire and not a good head coach. But I guess looking at all the circumstances, I don't blame anyone for how bad it was. They had to do it, close their eyes, and hope for the best. And then you had to give him three years, because that's only fair (seriously- I really think you have to give a coach three years). So they got rid of the mistake as soon as they could.

October 11, 2013 at 10:28 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

The new slogan for the NFL bottom feeders has already been put out there, "Playing Dead for Ted"

The LB Crew will be back at Finley tomorrow, for what is pretty much a playoff game for the Mocs. Please, no letdowns.

Good call on avoiding any obvious headlines on the Mocs' Dee Virgin, a RS freshman, getting quick experience this year.

October 11, 2013 at 10:34 a.m.
chas9 said...

Playing dead for Ted doesn't have the cachet that Suck for Luck did. Dr. Seuss could come up with a better rhyme.

Bama's defense is cringeworthy. Their passing game is impressive, but didja know they have only the 69th best rushing offense? Likely they'd rack up more yards running if they needed to. And they're only 50th in the nation in penalties, which must make for some sore kittens.

October 11, 2013 at 11:02 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Bevo Jr.-

Thanks for joining the 5 & 10 Club. However, you're request is easier said then done.

When the local paper, such as this one, covers not only three major SEC programs + the conferance in general, there is this major tug of war for coverage that has been a long standing issue since..well, forever.

Plus we have the Mocs which is the "UNT/UTA" school in this area.

Unfortunately, the chances of Mo' Bevo coverage outside the Lone Star State is null at best on the account that no one cares. I should know this from experience as I am 'Noogan but have lived in Dallas since May of 2007. As you can imagine, all college appearal is either Longhorn, Aggie, Toad, Mustang, and if it sells, Mean Green + Maverick (the latter being highly unlikely unless you're purchusing at the UTA Bookstore).

Also, I did a joke one night on stage where I said I had my cable turned back on because it is football time in Tennessee but thanks to Oragon and Florida, I'm now questioning that decision.

NOBODY laughed.

I'm literally the ONLY Mocs fan (with a car flag to boot) in a metro population for four million plus. And while I would "love" for the Dallas Morning News to provide more coverage of the Mocs, but I realize how laughable that is.

But don't worry, there's always the Internet. And if you are homesick for Galloway, we have guy up there named Dr. B whose just like him. ;)

October 11, 2013 at 11:07 a.m.
ChattanoogaVol said...

Regarding the Braves...

Malholm won't be back as he was in the last year of his deal and he just isn't very good anymore. I could see the Braves making a play for David Price via a trade. The Braves really need a sure fire #1 ace for the postseason. Also, I see them offering Hudson a 1 year deal to come back and finish his career in the ATL. Beachy is just too fragile to count on. Rotation: Price, Huddy, Minor, Medlen, Teheran. If the Price deal doesn't go down, shift everyone up and put Wood at the back end of the bullpen. I really hope Atlanta goes after a stud #1 starter though.

The Braves also need to address second base. They need a high contact, high OBP guy. Tommy LaStella is just that type of second basemen. He was in Double A this past year and is now in the Arizona fall league. I hope they give him a shot. If not, I think they will still go out and get someone. I guess they will have to eat Uggla's remaining $26 million. Uggla is just BAD.

October 11, 2013 at 11:24 a.m.
jgreeson said...

ChattaVol —

Thought Uggla's deal was through '14, but looked it up and you're spot on. Wow? Two more years at $13 million per. He should wear a mask when he cashes those checks because he's flat stealing.

Price would be a nice addition, and you are spot on about needing an ace, especially in the NL where all the contenders have at least one. Side note: Olney or one of the ESPN scoopsters said the Dodgers could be a player on Price. Wow, a top three of Price, Kershaw and Grienke would win a lot of games.

JMC —

You do the Satellite Office proud.

Serious side question as someone who has marveled at stand-up comics: What's it like when you tell a joke and it's only crickets, like you mentioned about the football time in Tennessee? Thanks, and we'll hang up and listen.

Bama's defnesive numbers are skewed a touch by the sensation that is Johnny Football and the 500 yards he posted on them. In their other four games, they have allowed 19 points. We'll move the Kentucky over/under to 14.5.

Niner, we think Hundley is legit, and one of the big reasons we think UCLA is a title contender. They have a top-10 pick on each side of the ball in difference-making spots.

LB —

Thanks, and while we may push the envelope here, no one wants their mom or their tot to be picking up a sports section and get a bad pun on someone's name. Plus, don't you think Dee's heard about every possible variation on his name?

We're considering bringing the tots to homecoming on Saturday. We'll see.

Stuck —

Was definitely a difficult spot to be sure. Still hiring a guy from La Tech with a losing record because his last name was familiar across the South is hard to defend.

See your points, though.

October 11, 2013 at 12:14 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Good list on the SEC QBs. I would put Cam on there since he won both the Heisman and national title. Other old guys to consider: Namath, Archie, Pat Sullivan.

I don't see McCarron going in the first round. Also, I don't see the Pats using a top pick on him when they already have Mallet. If he fell to the 3rd or 4th round, maybe the Pats take him then.

(Rushmore of the clearest best-evers of our generation: Rice as the best wide out ever; Tony G as the best tight end ever; Mariano Rivera as the best closer ever; Jordan as the best 2-guard ever. Thoughts?)

Looks good to me.

October 11, 2013 at 12:14 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jay-

It depends on your level of expertise (or at least my take on the matter). Newer comics tend to either studder or go "ahhh.ahhh...ahhh" a lot. While no Jerry Seinfeld am I, I've at least clocked enough hours to where I can predict in advance whether a bit will possibly not work (but I do it anyway because how would you know if you don't do it). If you've been on stage long enough and you're good at improvising, you can usually make comments or adjustments based on what your experiencing that will usually recover. What I try not to do (which I hate) is playing with the audience (aka Nice hat, lose a bet?). The reason is because whenever I see that, it tells me you can't think of anything funny to say so you're going to heckle some poor guy as an easy way out. Another option is if you have a one-liner that you have used that gets laughs every time, you use it as a "safety net" as another comic down here instructed me on. Sometimes you can do a bit that you deliberately reference something that you know the audience will not get as a set-up to something they will get. I realize that's more difficult to explain in words.

Hope that helps.

October 11, 2013 at 12:47 p.m.
jgreeson said...

JMC —

Thanks for the feedback. Seems like a tough gig for sure.

Stewwie —

Fair point about the Pats — forgot about Mallett and they seem to like him. Plus, the Pats likely could target a wide receiveror six in the next draft.

We had Pat Sullivan and Peyton and Spurrier on that next list with Johnny Football and a few others. And unless he can find a way to win an SEC title, Aaron Murray may set every record, and never get a ticket to the conversation. Tim Couch on better teams, type of thing.

October 11, 2013 at 1:44 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, i still think Hudson comes back, but at the Braves' price not his. McCann? Wasn't he supposed to be the face of the franchise post-Chipper? His production at the plate the last 2 months was lacking.

And who would take on Uggla's contract at this point? His rapidly declining production - and that's quite the indictment - will not induce suitors.

And Booby Valentine=BrianVanIncompetent.

October 11, 2013 at 1:49 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From Stuck —

On the Braves front- I would love to go after a #1 starter that they can count on, but maybe Teheran or Minor or someone develops into that. Price would be nice. But the hitters- got to get some solid average guys that don't strike out. Chris Johnson and Freddie Freeman is not enough in the postseason. Throw in Gattis and Heyward and Justin Upton, along with Simmons- that's not bad. Two more guys, not necessarily big names, but that put the ball in play, and I think you'd have the pieces to be a dynamic offense. That's 2B and LF. If they sign McCann, then Gattis would move to LF, and you'd need only a 2B. Heyward needs to become more of a contact hitter. That's what he needs to work on all offseason long. If he does that, the Braves are a much better team.

October 11, 2013 at 2:04 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Nobody thought much of Chris Johnson as part of the Upton trade and yet he had a very, very good season. Perhaps the Braves can replicate that in a Struggla swap

And Booby V still stinks.

October 11, 2013 at 2:21 p.m.
ChattanoogaVol said...

Would love to see McCann back with the Braves, but it just isn't feasable for the Braves from a $$$ standpoint. McCann will get a deal somewhere in the $12 to $15 million range for 4 or 5 years and maybe even more $$$ if an American League team like the Rangers pulls the trigger for McCann to catch and DH. The Braves really can't spend that given that they are going to have to come to the table with big $$$$ to try and extend guys like Freeman and Heyward in the next year or so, and Kimbrell and Minor pretty soon thereafter. Plus, Gattis showed he's actually a pretty good defensive catcher (not so much a good defensive outfielder though)who can hit for power. Laird backs up Gattis and the Braves are set at the catcher position for 2014.

October 11, 2013 at 2:41 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - been pretty busy over the last few weeks. Spent the day on the river prepping for the Chattanooga Head race tomorrow. At a late dinner this evening, Mrs Sportsfan tells me that Dodge sales are reportedly up 500% since Ron Burgundy started doing Dodge ads. Got me thinking about what other businesses could use Ron's charisma on tv ads. For next Friday's mailbag,what's your Rushmore of businesses that could use Ron's help?

October 11, 2013 at 9:35 p.m.
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