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Mark Wiedmer

Stories by Mark

KNOXVILLE — Tennessee football coach Butch Jones has said it before this summer. Said it quite often, actually. But the words carried a bit more weight a mere five days from the Volunteers' season opener against Utah State on Sunday evening.

I hope we can all agree that the only fair site for any football game between the Atlanta Falcons and Tennessee Titans — at least those of the exhibition variety — is to play it right here in our own Finley Stadium, given that it's basically equal distance from both NFL franchises' home venues.

When the University of Tennessee's 118th football season kicks off one week from today against Utah State, an old argument may well resurface about which opponent Volunteers fans hate most — Alabama, which owns seven straight wins over UT, or Florida, which has won nine in a row over the Big Orange.

If you've spent most of the summer wondering what happened to that Atlanta Braves team that won 17 of its first 24 games to open the season, well, it appears those guys just may be baa-a-a-a-ack!

If you haven't seen Johnny Manziel's one-fingered salute to the Washington Redskins by now, good for you. You're apparently more well-rounded than those of us who refuse to go to sleep until we've seen the Left Coast version of "SportsCenter."

If the National League playoffs began today, the Atlanta Braves would be dusting off their golf clubs. A mere three games over .500 heading into Sunday night's 4-3 win over Oakland, losers of 12 of their last 17 before ESPN's television cameras arrived for the series finale, the Braves currently stand third for the NL's two wildcard spots, and they've been going backwards.

Ask 100 college football fans what they like best about the sport and chances are you'll get 100 different answers.

KNOXVILLE — At Vanderbilt, the new SEC Network cameras were supposed to visit a women's soccer game Thursday evening.

ATLANTA — In a little less than an hour, the rampaging Los Angeles Dodgers would face the reeling Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

ATLANTA — Nobody beats the Atlanta Braves six straight times in the same season.

Could all this gnashing of teeth and nibbling of nails about the future of professional golf have been a tad bit of wasted energy and angst?

On Saturday afternoon at the sauna known as Finley Stadium, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team did what college football teams do this time of year. It scrimmaged, the humidity be darned.

Three years worth of two-a-day workouts in his hip pocket, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga redshirt junior defensive tackle Josh Freeman had some wise words Tuesday for true freshman running back Richardre Bagley.

The symposium was supposed to focus on soccer concussions, which actually may surpass football concussions in frequency in this country when you include both males and females.

They are questions to keep those of faith, whatever their faith, awake late into the night.

As the first day of Tennessee's preseason football practices ended Friday evening, senior linebacker A.J. Johnson made the following observations to the assembled media: "I came back [rather than opting for the NFL] to be the best we can be, but we're taking it one day at a time. Like today, we had a great practice today, we'll come back and have one more practice. That's our motto: One day at a time."

KNOXVILLE — Just in case you needed another reminder of why life isn't fair, we use today's press ink and newsprint to focus on University of Tennessee senior defensive lineman Jordan Williams.

The scene is from the 1978 remake of "Heaven Can Wait." An angel having just placed his soul inside the body of a ruthless industrialist, a well-intentioned Warren Beatty offers a simple solution for all the innocent porpoises the industrialist's tuna canning company is accidentally killing in its nets.

Austin and Ty Dillon woke up Tuesday morning in Watkins Glen, N.Y., ready to run a few tests laps over the nation's most famous road course in preparation for the NASCAR races scheduled there for the weekend of Aug. 9.

You just don't coach football for 16 years at your alma mater, win a national championship and 70 percent of your games and not sometimes wish your stay had been longer.

They are who we've always thought they are ... pure class. What else needs to be said after Atlanta Braves legends Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux were all inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday?

KIMBALL, Tenn. — At least the kid was honest.

Deftly stacked atop Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin's office desk, the pile of handwritten letters and printed-out emails has grown to almost a foot tall, each one a thank-you note for the school's first national championship in a men's sport.

A few minutes after noon last Friday, Grace Academy athletic director Les Compton scanned his eyes across his school's basketball court filled with dozens of boys and girls of all ages, all of them sporting happy faces.

Since he has eaten close to 80 hot dogs and visited nearly 60 major and minor league ballparks since April 12, you'd think the last thing Tom Lohr would want to do before rating the tubesteaks at AT&T Field on Monday night was to sample similar fare elsewhere in our fair city.

It was Friday afternoon at GPS's indoor tennis courts, the rain playing soft jazz on the roof, Signal Mountain's Emily Hangstefer having just secured the United States women a spot in Saturday's World Deaf Team Tennis Championship gold-medal round.

When you think of combinations that don't often mix well, jocks and cops typically are up there with liver and ice cream, Chuck Fleischmann and Weston Wamp, Alabama and Auburn.

One-hundred and sixty miles to the southwest, at the Southeastern Conference's annual football media event, they've spent much of this week discussing and dissecting the schools every young player reportedly wants to play for. At least almost every young player.

When Cody Godfrey deftly birdied the 18th hole at The Honors Course on Monday, he had every reason to believe his 3-over-par 75 would qualify the former Tennessee Wesleyan golfer for Wednesday's Southern Amateur main draw.

East Hamilton seventh-grader Madison Hayes didn't just reach the Pitch, Hit & Run finals during Monday's All-Star Game festivities at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Madison Hayes certainly hopes she wins her 12-under age group's top prize during today's Pitch, Hit & Run competition at Minneapolis's Target Field prior to tonight's Home Run Derby on ESPN.

Fifteen teams; 982 swimmers. Eighty events spanning 10 age groups, boys and girls. Two states.

South Beach or South Russell? Bikinis or blankets? Surfboards or snow shovels?

When the Tennessee Sports Writers Association asked me a few months ago to inform Roy Exum that he'd been elected to its Hall of Fame, my first thought was, "He's not already in it?"

The news out of the University of Miami on Tuesday had to sound disturbingly familiar to the football fans of Vanderbilt University and Calhoun (Ga.) High School.

Roger Federer tried to hold it in Sunday afternoon.

Will Wade didn't study with great detail Indiana University's recently announced student-athlete "bill of rights."

A sports writing idol of mine once wrote that the only reason futbol was more popular throughout the rest of the world than our American football was because most of the rest of the world couldn't afford to equip its youngsters with helmets and shoulder pads and such.

It's been easy to forget about Wimbledon in this country over the past week. Especially with our United States soccer team performing so much better in the World Cup than our Red, White and Blue tennis players did at the All-England Club.

"If you want to find the truth, the truth is there in the transcripts."

Could it be that we've been too hard on these Atlanta Braves? Could it be they deserve far more cheers than jeers?

Joe Goodman still is not sure his 63-year-old eyes will believe what they're seeing this afternoon at the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon when his 34-year-old law partner David Callahan completes his 52nd triathlon in 52 weeks.

Check out the latest edition on NBADraft.net and you'll find former University of Tennessee post player Jarnell Stokes going to Philadelphia with the 47th overall pick in tonight's NBA draft.

Stupid stoppage time.

"You got Triple-A, Double-A, Single-A ... then you get down to independent ball ... then you get down to the Pecos League ... where you get paid a dollar-nineteen ..."

I'm going to do something today I never previously thought was possible.

Like many of us who want our basketball to resemble poetry in motion, Vanderbilt men's coach Kevin Stallings was pretty much in awe of the San Antonio Spurs' dismantling of the former two-time defending champion Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

The first one through Engel Stadium's black iron gates Monday evening, Bob Mulkey last called Chattanooga home in 1985. But that didn't stop him from leaving his Huntsville, Ala., residence in time to reach Engel before 4:30 on a toasty afternoon more reminiscent of August than June.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Even for the guy who authored the infamous line "You can't spell 'Citrus' without a U and a T,' it seemed an unusually cruel tease.

Maury Wills was 10 years old. He had no shoes on his feet. His baseball glove was actually a brown paper bag he'd pounded a pocket into to help snare ground balls.

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