published Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

5-at-10: Future for The Conz, Combine, Home plate, Comedy geniuses

The future for The Conz

The future for The Conz

Our UT beat ace Downtown Patrick Brown — in England would he be Downton Patrick Brown? — provides an interesting look a the job security questions buzzing around Cuonzo "The Conz" Martin in today's TFP.

His story is here.

It is no secret that the 5-at-10 believes this Tennessee is worse than the sum of its parts. That's a big and loud criticism of coaching more often than not. This is one of those times.

We believe this should be the third best team in the SEC, and a sure-fire NCAA invitee. It is neither of those, and ultimately that falls at the clipboard of the coaching staff.

That said, Martin's view of the outside spin cycle is both appropriate and accurate. He can't control it and it does nothing but slow any progress the Vols can make. It is counterproductive at its core and to debate it or dwell on it makes it worse. (Side note: Counter-counter productive actually sounds like that is productive on a metaphysical level, not unlike your enemy's enemy is your ally. My head hurts.)

So Martin ignores the negative, which is to say he has ignored his team's point guard play since Christmas. Kidding, kidding. Mostly.

Martin and the Vols have three weeks to make their case that they are the team that beat Virginia and Xavier and can be a scary double-digit-seed. They have three weeks to remind folks that the roster has top-25 talent despite mid-60-esque struggles.

They have three weeks to finish strong and make a statement.

And if they don't, here's saying The Conz won't have to worry about the negative then either. There is no charge, positive, negative or otherwise, for jobless coaches.

———

Combine takeaways

The combine concludes today. Yes, we're a little sad about that.

Still, we got a lot of information to dissect. Let's go.

  • photo
    Jadeveon Clowney
    Photo by C. B. Schmelter.
    enlarge photo

Jadeveon Clowney is a physical freak that leaves scouts and experts puzzled. The combine enhanced his reputation as the most gifted athlete in this class — 6-6, 266- 4.53 electrically clocked 40, 38-inch vertical jump — and somehow managed to add to the convoluted image he has after an indifferent junior season at South Carolina. He had not put a lot of prep work in on the bench press and he elected to skip the other running drills. Like most of the gifted among us, Clowney's talents come with trepidation.

Louis Nix is now our favorite player in this class. We talked about Nix — a likely late first-rounder — losing weight because scouts said he should and he wanted to feel "sexier." Good times. Now comes this video, where Nix falls not once, not twice, but five times during the standing broad jump. His good-natured reaction to the potential embarrassing moment is great. And scouts know a guy like that can't help off the field in the locker room, too.

It's official — no matter the rule changes or the equipment alterations or whatever measures the football czars take, the NFL is going to be a violent place. When you have guys like Clowney and linebackers Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr — two cats that measured 6-4 or better and between 245-255 pounds and ran low 4.6 times in the 40 — and defensive tackles such as Aaron Donald — 285 pounds with an unofficial 4.65 40 time and 35 reps of 225 pounds on the bench — it's never going to be safe. Those are big guys who get to places in a big hurry with bad intentions.

———

Home plate contact

Baseball has taken steps to try to remove base runners running over catchers.

Call it the Buster Posey rule if you will, but it's also a one-year experiment that actually seems like an acceptable compromise in an era when those type of things seem as frequent as Rosie O'Donnell skipping a meal.

Runners can try to run over catchers when a) They have possession of the ball and are blocking the plate and b) if they come up the baseline to try to field a throw.

The first exception allows baseball to avoid the plays where guys are out by 9 feet and they meekly slide. It will look worse than it sounds. The second exception protects runners from getting caught up in jet wash as the play happens.

We like this compromise and understand it. Originally we were against this idea, but the unprotect catcher waiting for the throw who gets drilled is a needless risk, and this compromise address that situation first and foremost.

Ah compromise, why do you visit us so infrequently?

———

This and that

— Jerry Jones celebrated owning the Cowboys for 25 years. It's hard to think of someone making a better investment, considering Jones paid $140 million for the team in 1989. Yes, $140 million.

  • photo
    Dan Wadley
    Photo by C. B. Schmelter.
    enlarge photo

— McCallie basketball coach Dan Wadley stepped down Monday. Like our all-around ace Stephen Hargis tweeted out last night, we have been hearing for more than a week that if the McCallie job came open that former Mocs coach John Shulman would be their guy.

— Major props to Jim Foster's XX Mocs, who pulled out a double overtime win at Samford on Monday for their 20th consecutive win. Twenty in a row is a bunch. Period.

Today's question(s)

We have two today. First, we have NCAA bracket expert Joe Lunardi on Press Row today on ESPN 105.1 FM. The time is fluid, but we'll tweet out (@jgreesontfp) when we know for sure. You can also listen to the broadcast here at timefreepress.com.

What would you ask Lunardi, who specializes in the study of NCAA tournament selections?

  • photo
    In an undated file photo, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, center, and Harold Ramis, right, appear in a scene from the 1984 movie "Ghostbusters". Harold Ramis died early Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, in Chicago from complications of autoimmune inflammatory disease, according Fred Toczek , an attorney for Ramis. He was 69.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The other question is a touch sad. Harold Ramis died Monday. He was 69.

Ramis was one of the funniest minds of our lifetime. Dude was an actor and a director and even produced some major motion pictures. But Ramis' talent was writing funny, something that is terribly difficult to do. The New York Times called him an "alchemist of comedy," and that seems just about perfect.

And dude was at all-time apex in his field for a six-year stretch that was Jordanesque. From 1978-84, Ramis wrote Animal House, Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes and Ghostbusters. He also found time to direct Vacation in 1983. That's Ruth in the latter-20s, Tiger in the early-2000s dominance.

We could go with several Rushmores here and Ramis would qualify — most dominant run comes to mind or a Rushmore of comedies (but that's borderline impossible) — but we'll go back to Ramis' main strength. What's your Rushmore of comedy writers? Go.

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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WilliamRscott said...

From the Blue [west] side of the Ridge: Wadley out, Shulman in. Hearing it for a week? How about a month or 2?

Here's guessin' Austin Clark + Ricky Bowers are lickin' their chops. Thanks Access America.

Billy - In - Brainerd...the East [red-neck] side

February 25, 2014 at 10:11 a.m.
dawg747 said...

Ten Cup: Wadley was a great coach from his days at Tennessee Temple until now. I hate to see him leave but I do not think he had as much success at McCallie.

I did not get to hear all of Press Row yesterday but on your rushmore of Canadians did anyone ever mention Ferguson Jenkins of the Cubs? He was born in Canada.

February 25, 2014 at 10:25 a.m.
chas9 said...

For what it's worth, ESPN's Basketball Power Index rates Kentucky at No. 4 in the nation this week, saying The Cats are the fourth No. 1 seed. RPI says UK is #10. I'll take that. Gladly.

Yesterday Jay said Cal's cagers are the #2 bracket busting team. Who's #1? Can't be The Vols, because they'll be in the leftover tourney.

No more World Peace. Ukraine and Central Africa are in turmoil.

The Cuonz said yesterday "for us, our goal is to be on top when the smoke clears, that’s the bottom line." Good call, coach.

And from spring training land, B.J. has reportedly rebuilt his swing. It don't mean a thang, if you ain't got that swang.

Current Rushmore: Larry David, Woody Allen, Ricky Gervais, Mike Judge.

Old Timers Division: Bob Newhart, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, all of whom wrote for and with Sid Caesar.

Honorable mention: Monty Python, Steve Martin, Tina Fey, Nat Perrin (Marx Brothers and Addams Family).

Ramis is right there with the best.

February 25, 2014 at 10:48 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Great lists. Well played indeed.

No. 1 on the bracket-busting list is UNC, which could win it all or lose in Game 1. You know this.

And when his momma bows her head at night, Mrs. Artest truly prays for World Peace now.

747 —

No, Fergie did not make it, but that's a good nomination.

As for Wadley, fewer Skogens + tougher competition = lesser results. Sometimes math makes perfect sense.

BiB —

Heck, we heard rumblings that Shulman would be interested in the McCallie even when John was at UTC.

February 25, 2014 at 10:57 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

You talking to Lunardi? That should be interesting. Lunardi is tremendously interesting to listen to. And, contrary to popular belief, he is pretty accurate. I normally disagree with him on a few things, and we normally split the difference on selection (he does a touch better on seeding, but he is paid to do it). Should be another interesting bubble few weeks. I love Championship Week.

February 25, 2014 at 10:57 a.m.
chas9 said...

Canadiens with class: Pamela Anderson, John Candy, Mike Myers, Dan Akroyd. And Jay's case yesterday on 105.1 for newspapers, especially the TFP, brought a tear to my eye. Reminded me of Crash's rhapsodic monologue about believing in long, slow, deep, wet kisses that go on for days.

February 25, 2014 at 11 a.m.
Stewwie said...

I also heard the Shulman-to-McCallie rumor a while back. But I didn't think much of it at the time because I heard about it from a semi-reliable source and I didn't think Shulman would want to take that much of a pay cut. Then he got the job at Access America. (Is he still there?) But if taking a pay cut means following your heart in doing what you love to do, then kudos to John if he ends up at Big Blue to coach.

Speaking of Shulman, has anyone else noticed the Mocs playing "Fire" at times this season? The key to its effectiveness is the unpredictability in its use and having all 5 members of the D staying in assignment and communicating. When the Mocs have played it this year, the rotations have been very crisp. It's not too surprising that Wade has used this at times with the Mocs' lack of beef on the front line (especially when Z is on the bench).

February 25, 2014 at 11:23 a.m.
chas9 said...

Ask Lunardi the obvious question, is this the most wide-open tournament ever, or do we say that every year?

February 25, 2014 at 12:18 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

We went with Anderson, Gretzky, Myers and Carrey. Cue Spy in 5, 4, 3, 2...

Thanks for the kind words about the speech.

And sadly Lunardi had to reschedule. So it goes.

Stewwie —

We have noticed that in the time or two that we have watched the Mocs. In truth, the 'Fire' concept makes sense as a defense.

What did not make sense was a) running it 90 percent of the time and b) running it against teams with 6-6 power forwards that were short on power and 6-2 shooting guards that could really shoot.

And yes, the rotation has been good. These kids played hard, but in truth they played hard last year too, despite all the swirling distractions.

February 25, 2014 at 12:51 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - Ramis' passing is sad. Watched the cast, writer, producer interviews on my Animal House 25th anniversary DVD last evening with Mrs. Sportsfan just to remind ourselves about how funny he was. Rushmore of humor has to include Dan Jenkins, Mel Brooks, Ramis,and Norman Lear.

February 25, 2014 at 12:53 p.m.
MocTastic said...

I now officially have Mt Rushmore fatigue.

February 25, 2014 at 1:06 p.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, Clowny will land in the top ten, however at that exalted region, he's a "project" in serious need of increased strength, and the proper motivation, if possible. His 225 bench effort was a joke, displaying his lack of self motivation and commitment.

Clowny will most likely be drafted to one of many losing franchises. Do you burn a number one on some one who could start whining after fruitless seven games broadcasting his poison on his own radio show like Randy Moss did in Oakland?

Reggie McKenzie best say no to this trap even if the need is great. Al Davis (pbuh) would never take a pass on Clowny's of raw talent and rawer still maturity level. While outstanding measurables cannot be coached, neither could the head cases which seeming haunt many of these "athletes."

February 25, 2014 at 1:14 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Agreed on Fire, Jay. Fire is an aggressive D and that may be why Wade likes it too. But it's also easy to beat if the opponent knows it's coming and/or anyone on the D gets out of position. Ultimately, it comes down to risk/reward and also how you match up against the opponent. For example, when Z is on the bench resulting in a thinner front line, it might make sense for the Mocs to play it for a few possessions. But not 90% of the possessions.

February 25, 2014 at 1:44 p.m.
chas9 said...

sf--Yes, Lear for sure, but I'm not sure Jenkins qualifies for the category. If we include funny book writers, lots of names come to mind.

February 25, 2014 at 2:11 p.m.
jgreeson said...

We thought Jenkins, too. And Grizzard.

Tough category, and sorry MT that we've have tired your tires. What's your Rushmore of fatigues?

Sportsfan —

As someone who was in a fraternity (and the question is not whether we did or did not take a few liberties...) Animal House watches more like home movies than parody. Wow, it's amazingly true to form. And the behind the scenes stuff of Delta House and Bushwood make it evident that the party did not stop when the cameras quit rolling. Wow.

Ramis will be missed for sure.

FE to the C —

But our man Al would find a way to corral and motivate Clowney. At least old-school Al would, the guy that took the hodgepodge collection of 70s-80s Raiders talent and made the Super.

February 25, 2014 at 2:19 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - Bill Murray said the following about Ramis, "He earned his keep on this planet. God bless him." We should all strive for that epitaph when our time comes...

February 25, 2014 at 5:49 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Rushmore comedy writers ...

Mel Brooks

Carl Reiner

Larry David

Eddie Murphy

Rushmore of Canadians... (my mom doesn't count since she had to give up her citizenship to get a higher security clearance).

Bobby Orr Mike Myers Geddy Lee Gordon Lightfoot

February 25, 2014 at 10:06 p.m.
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