published Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

5-at-10: Draft ponderings, One for momma, Braves and Rushmore of sports speeches

We're a day away from the draft. That's good stuff. Enter the contest below. And don't forget the mailbag.

From the "Talks too much" studios, if it gets breezy at the draft, does that make the draft drafty? And if you get a 'Co-Cola' from the tap, are you having a draught at the drafty draft? And if you are doing this while waiting to here if you're name is called for military service, are you having a draught at the drafty draft before you get drafted?

Draftapoolaza

Warnings: The draft is this week. We love the draft. You know this.

As you may have heard, there are some very good players at the top and some questionable quarterbacks circling atop the list for needy teams.

Ironically, today is the birthday of the dichotomy of quarterback draft lessons.

  • photo
    Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray scrambles against Kentucky before being lost for the season with a torn ACL.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas would have been 81 today. He was a ninth-round pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1955. Mel Kiper Sr. likely was stunned that his stock fell that far.

At the other end of the spectrum, Alex Smith turns 30 today. The No. 1 overall pick in 2005, Smith was the 49ers' No. 1 choice over some kid named Aaron Rodgers, maybe you've heard of him.

The result? Diamonds and disasters. That's the draft — isn't it grand?

We touched on this on Press Row on Tuesday and feel sure it will come up again, but we'd take the flyer on Johnny Football over Blake Bortles or any of the other highly ranked QB prospects. If we are the Texans and need a slew of things including a QB, we'd likely draft Jadeveon Clowney No. 1 overall and look for a QB later. In truth, if Teddy Bridgewater was there atop Round 2 that would work. We'd also consider waiting to see if we could get Aaron Murray atop Round 3. We're big fans of Murray, the tough-as-nails former UGA quarterback.

So it goes, and we're close — ever so close — to the draft. Good times.

Side note: Remember the Drafting the Draft contest. We need who you think will go No. 1, who the Falcons will pick with their first pick, who the Titans will pick with their first pick, how many SEC players go in round 1 and what number selection is Aaron Murray. Enter your picks in the comments below or hit me on Twitter at @jgreesontfp.

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God bless the mommas

Sports can be special. Be them the moments of success that teach or the moments of failure that teach or the moments of learning that teach the teachers, sports can leave a lasting and tangible impression on everyone.

For those watching from a far, there were two real and human moments this week between mothers and sons that were inspiring and somewhat transcendental.

  • photo
    United States basketball player Kevin Durant arrives to watch a women's beach volleyball match between USA and Austria.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Kevin Durant won the NBA MVP as expected. His acceptance speech was complete and total class. The scoring machine who poured in more than 32 points a night in wrestling the league's top honor from LeBron James took to the podium and offered a heart-felt thank you to everyone in his inner circle.

He offered his strongest praise for his mother, Wanda Pratt. It was impossible not to be touched.

"Single parent with two boys by the time you were 21 years old," Durant told the crowd through tears. "Everybody told us we weren't supposed to be here. We moved from apartment to apartment by ourselves. One of the best memories I had was when we moved into our first apartment. No bed, no furniture, and we just all sat in a room and just hugged each other. We thought we'd made it."

Now he has certainly made it by any measure, and he shared the moment with those closest to him and allowed the rest of us to share in that experience.

Along those similar lines, in advance of fulfilling his NFL dreams, former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater followed through on the promise he made in elementary school to his cancer-surviving mom and bought her a pink Cadillac Escalade.

Excuse us for a second, it's a little dusty in here.

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Braves win

  • photo
    Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Gavin Floyd (32) works in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, May 6, 2014, in Atlanta.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Hey, Braves, two runs? Way to go. Let's try to ration those puppies — we may need one or three of them later, you know. Atlanta got eight hits too, which officially counts as a barrage lately.

The good: Duh, the pitching was aces again. Gavin Floyd returned to action, going seven strong innings in his first start of the season. He allowed one run on six hits, before the lockdown combination of Dan Carpenter and Craig Kimbrel pitched perfect eighth and ninth innings respectively, each fanning two. The 2-1 win over the Cardinals was made possible by Chris Johnson actually getting a hit with runners in scoring position.

The bad: You know that too. All jokes aside, the offense is stagnant. Appreciate Fredi (with an 'I') juggling the lineup, but if you are going to hit the pitcher No. 8 in the order, why is Danny Struggla not in the No. 9 hole, where he is mathematically assured of getting fewer chances to make outs over the long haul?

The Uggla: Bagel-for-3, and he's now 3-for-his-last-34 (.088). Ouch-standing. In his fourth year with the Braves — and making more than $48 million so far with $13 million more due next year — Uggla is 354-for-1,671. That's a less than stellar .212 average with 79 homers and 525 strikeouts. If you take out the torrid 49-for-130 with 12 homers stretch during Uggla's 33-game hitting streak in 2011, Struggla's numbers with Atlanta are 305-for-1,541 (.198) with 67 homers in 445 games.

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This and that

— When LeBron James gets into it, he's fun to watch, no? The Heat apparently got a little tired of hearing about the Nets' 4-0 run against Miami during the regular season. Miami dropped a 107-86 Game 1 spanking on Brooklyn. James made 10 of his 15 shots and the Heat cruised. Side note: Who told Andrei Kirilenko to go with the serial killer hair cut? Heck, even the Birdman's mohawk was more sophisticated that that.

— Spurs being Spurs. San Antonio crushed Portland by whipping them in the efficiency categories. Portland shot less than 38 percent and had 20 turnovers. Hey, that Gregg Popovich guy knows what he's doing. You want balance? Six Spurs scored in double figures, and that's with Manu Ginobili going 0-for-6 from the field and scoring two in the 116-92 Game 1 thumping.

— Clayton Kershaw went seven scoreless innings. Glad he's back in the bigs, but if he needs to sharpen his skills, he'll always be welcomed back in Chattanooga.

— Another successful Porky's Open, according to our man Weeds.

— Here's hoping Luke List and the rest of the locals TFP golf ace David Uchiyama caught up with make a serious run at the U.S. Open. Here's Uch's look at Luke and a slew of the others with local ties.

— How about that? The Pirates beat the Giants 2-1 after replay was used to correct a missed 'out' call and made Starling Marte safe at home with the game-winning run in the ninth. Some are calling it a watch-off win for the Pirates. Nice. Lost in the drama was that Tim Hudson got a tough luck loss. Hudson has been lights out for the Giants — going 4-2 with a 1.99 ERA and a staggering 36-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

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Today's question

We were so impressed with Kevin Durant's speech, it got us thinking. Yes Spy, that's a dangerous thing.

What's our Rushmore of all-time sports speeches?

Gehrig's "Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth" is a no-doubter. Win one for the Gipper maybe? If Herb Brooks delivered the speech Kurt Russell did in Miracle, well, that's a contender. Rick Moranis' speech at halftime in "Little Giants" is pretty good too. And does the "Lollygag" rant count?

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.
jomo11 said...

Jay- being an Auburn guy, have read Pat Dye's new book ? . .speaking of draft busts, in Dye's book he talks about Andre Bruce and that the only scholarship offers Bruce had out of high school were UT-Chattanooga and Auburn

May 7, 2014 at 11:18 a.m.
titanic said...

Was that Rockne's or Leslie Neilsen's Gipper speech. The one Leslie gave in Airplane was pretty moving.

May 7, 2014 at 12:25 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

To hear Eruzione and the rest of the 80 Olympic team, Brooks' speech between the second and third periods of the next game against the Finns -win, and it's the gold medal; lose, and the Russkies get gold - was pretty salty and motivational as well.

But if we're looking for motivational speeches, do we have to go even farther (further? Can we get a ruling on this? Where's Ron Bush?) than Patches O'Houlihan?

Pirates beat the Giants 2-1, a night after both teams scored more than 10 runs.

Too bad there's not a 10th spot in the order for Struggla to hit in. I mean, there was tee ball.

May 7, 2014 at 12:50 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay-Sports speeches? No one comes close to Jimmy V's speech at the ESPN awards. Distant 2nd thru 4th. Belushi's "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?", the head coach's speech after the team's first loss in the movie Undefeated (see link- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckku5q...), and Chevy's "be the ball, Danny.".

May 7, 2014 at 8:42 p.m.
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