published Friday, January 13th, 2012

5 at 10: Friday mailbag

From "the soon to be named studios" here we go.



  • photo
    Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley reacts during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011, in Knoxville, Tenn. South Carolina won 14-3. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

From Jharvey1984

Jay,

What are you basing your "public perception" on — message boards, call-in shows? I'm a huge Vol fan as is most of my family and close friends and none of us are too worried about how long it is taking. I understand that there is a recruiting element, but as far as I'm concerned, it should take as long as it takes to find the right guy. I would rather it take six months to find the right guy for the job than two weeks for a bad hire. the consequences of the latter would be heavier than any consequences suffered by the former, in my opinion.

Jharvey,

This was asked at the end of Thursday's discussion and was in reference to the sports editor's column in Thursday's TFP on the trouble facing Derek Dooley since they still have not hired a defensive coordinator. The column got a ton of feedback — some good, some bad — and please know that your feedback is always welcome — good or bad.

In this case, Jharvey makes a very good point. In fact, in most situations, we'd agree completely that talent rather than timing is of the utmost importance. Taking an extra day — or even an extra week if needed — in most cases to land the right guy is the smart play. Especially if that guy was coaching in a January bowl game or in the NFL playoffs.

But this is hardly most situations. Dooley is facing a huge, Huge, HUGE year in 2012, and there have been four assistant coaches make lateral moves — leaving for same jobs at different colleges — and one coach retire. It's hard to recall a mass exodus of this magnitude. So replacing these coaches as quickly as possible is very important; and by all accounts UT's new offensive line coach — former UNC coach Sam Pittman — was a nice hire that happened within hours of Harry Hiestand's departure.

As for "public perception," we should have been a little more clear in our column. Part of it is social media, part of it is feedback we get in the TFP sports department, part of it is talking with other sports writers in other markets and coaches at other schools, and part of it is hypothesis — the names that are being tossed around have not been overly eye-popping. Five coaches leaving after a disappointing season, and there have been only two hires made — that perception feels a lot like abandoning a trouble program and the way to quash that feeling is to hire a stud at the highest profile opening, and do it quickly.

(And you touched on this, but the recruiting factor is way more important than public perception. In fact there were reports that the Vols staff is so thin, they can't have the don't have enough coaches to have the full supplement on the road recruiting right now.)

As always, thanks for asking and for the feedback.



  • photo
    Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer signals number one after the Volunteers beat the Florida State Seminoles in the Fiesta Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., in this Jan. 4, 1999 photo. The BCS consists of four bowls _ the Fiesta, Sugar, Rose and Orange _ with automatic bids going to conference champions in the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC and two at-large spots. There is one goal: No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the final bowl game of the season. But,Fulmer wants a playoff _ along with dozens of others, including Ohio State's John Cooper, Florida State's Bobby Bowden and Florida coach Steve Spurrier.

From CelticVol

Hey 5@10,

Explain to me why Phillip Fulmer, who has a .741 winning percentage, 1 national title, 2 conference titles, a history of ace recruiting, and an unscathed record with the NCAA, can’t get a college coaching job anywhere.

CelticVol,

We would have been able to use some kind of logic to explain this until recently.

Think about it this way, there are some misconceptions/preconceived notions/what have you about Fulmer that have forever tarnished his coaching resume. (And that resume is getting better and better and being remembered more and more fondly the longer Tennessee languishes.)

He battled weight concerns — and the unfair ridicule that came with that. He battled the modern trend of every fan base needing to have bigger and better and right now. (Heck, when Steve Spurrier left Florida, he talked about how the Gators finished No. 3 in the country and since they didn't win the SEC East, it was a down year.)

And some of those perceptions have lingered with Phil, who has not seemed overly aggressive in trying to land a job, which could be a factor for ADs wondering how much Fulmer wants to start over at a new program. There were always some silent whispers that without stud coordinators David Cutcliffe and John Chavis, Fulmer would be hard-pressed to match his sterling run in Knoxville.

All of these could have/would have been fair arguments until Kansas hired Charlie Weis for a job that Fulmer was reportedly very interested in.

With all the yahoos who have landed college gigs — Bob Davie got a job (New Mexico), Jim Mora Jr. got a job (UCLA), Terry Bowden got a job (Akron) — there's no explaining why Fulmer has not. That is if he was interested in any of those, of course.

Sorry, C-Vol, we don't have a good answer for you. Sigh.



  • photo
    Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, center, and fullback Geoff Meinken (10) celebrate after Luck scored a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Los Angeles, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011. Stanford won 56-48 in overtime. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

From McPell

5/10

We heard a rumor that you love the draft. So how about an early mock draft? We know all the underclassmen have not declared, but give us your best shot.

McPell,

Not sure who would spread rumors, but it is true: The 5-at-10 loves the draft. (You know this.)

The river of underclassmen that are entering this draft will dominate the activities of the first round. And, as you mentioned, there is still roughly 48 hours until Sunday's deadline to declare.

That said, let's give this a swing, and remember, this is very early — and the first of many mock drafts as the process continues to build to April. We'll do a top 10 (and the order is more or less a guess-timate) and if we have time we may get to the back half of the first round later today.

Giddy up:

1. Colts — Andrew Luck, Stanford. This will happen and will be the story of the draft.

2. Rams — Matt Kalil, USC. Perfect talent-need match.

3. Vikings — Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State. The Vikings have dozens of holes, but spent a No. 1 on a QB last year and have Adrian Peterson, so RGIII and Trent Richardson don't fit.

4. Browns — Robert Griffith III, Baylor. The Browns pray it works out like this.

5. Buccaneers — Morris Claiborne, LSU. An aging secondary needs a lift. Claiborne is that and then some.

6. Redskins — Trent Richardson, Alabama. Need a QB, but after the big two, there's no one close to value here. Could trade down; could push another needle into the voo-doo doll that looks like Matt Barkley, who really hurt the 'Skins by coming back to USC.

7. Jaguars — Riley Reiff, Iowa. Receiver is a huge need — and this seems a little high for Alshon Jeffery.

T8. Panthers — Quitnon Coples, UNC. And the Julius Peppers stories can begin.

T8. Dolphins — Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama. Another team that needs a QB, but will look elsewhere. Dre will test off the charts.

10. Bills — Luke Kuechly, Boston College. Another team that needs a perimeter threat at receiver. Bills also need a play-making linebacker for a defense that is starving for play-makers.



  • photo
    Alabama head coach Nick Saban celebrates with his team after the BCS National Championship college football game against LSU Monday, Jan. 9, 2012, in New Orleans. Alabama won 21-0. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

From BamaBlood

5-10,

First time writing, but love the column. Thanks.

Did you see the Birmingham News ranked the BCS championship teams? It was pretty interesting. They had this year's Alabama team at No. 11, which seems 
a little low.
 What do you think the best BCS champ is?

BamaBlood,

Thanks for pointing this out — and costing me a good 30 minutes of reading this thing inside and out.

(Here's the link for those interested, (Where does Alabama 2011 rank among BCS-era national champions?).

We concur with the claim that Miami 2001 was the best of the BCS era. And it's not really that close, especially in talent. As we wrote last week when asked about the best defenses of all time, that Miami team had first-round picks sitting the bench behind other first-round picks on the defensive line, in the secondary, at running back and at tight end. Wow.

We agree BamaBlood, that No. 11 is too low for this Alabama team. There's a boatload of NFL talent, and the Tide boasted the best defense of the last 20 years.

We also think 2010 Auburn was too low — we think they were 10th, but since the link was down, we're not sure — considering that there was nothing that came close to stopping Cam Newton.

Here's our top 5 (with two add-ons)

1) Miami, 2001 — Too talented

2) USC, 2004 — Offense was overwhelming; defense was underrated

3) Alabama, 2009 — Look back at the waves of talent and depth that team had. Impressive.

4) Texas 2005 — Vince Young was a great college player.

5) Florida 2008 — Tebow and Brandon Spikes were among the best leaders of the last decade, and they were on the same team.

6) Ohio State 2002 —Unbeaten and stunned a stacked Miami team.

7) Auburn 2010 — With Cam Newton, these Tigers could have played with any team on the list.

8) Alabama 2011 — Same as above, except change "Cam Newton" to "this defense."

9) Tennessee 1998 — Seems like longer than 13 years ago, huh.

10) FSU 1999 — Remember how good Peter Warrick was? Wow, dude was good.

  • photo
    Georgia wide receiver Tavarres King (12) pulls in an 80-yard touchdown reception in front of Michigan State safety Isaiah Lewis (9) during the second quarter of the Outback Bowl NCAA college football game Monday Jan. 2, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (Chris O'Meara)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

From OTWatcher

Love the 5@10. There's been a ton of talk about college football playoffs this week. I love March Madness, but don't think that will work for football.

What's your view on the playoff talks and what will happen?

Thanks.

OTWatcher,

This has been the second-most tiring storyline in sports this week. We have said from the start that a playoff is a better way to determine a champion, but we're scared of a college football playoff because we don't want it to ruin the best regular season in all of sports.

Here's what we wrote about an eight-team playoff last month http://timesfreepress.com/news/2011/dec/03/greeson-regular-season-still-big-power-polka-playo/, although NCAA president Mark Emmert said he would support a four-team playoff and nothing more. (That said, the NCAA won't have the final call here — it will belong to the university presidents and the BCS folks. So keeping flapping you gums Mark.)

We'd like to look at a plus-1 situation if it was only needed and give it a little flexibility. This year the plus-1 would have been on the front end — Oklahoma State and Alabama playing to see who got to play LSU. In some years, the plus-1 would be after the bowl games — think 2004 with matchups of four unbeatens with USC-Utah and Oklahoma-Auburn and the winners playing. If there are two clear frontrunners in a season, then there won't be a need for a plus-1. That seems fair.

But know this, once it starts, there will never be a chance to get that playoff toothpaste back in the tube. And also know this, right now it's the No. 3-ranked team that is complaining, well, if there's a four-team playoff, the No. 5-ranked team (and its fans, boosters and elected officials) will bemoan the unfair system. Heck, we have 68 teams in the college basketball tournament, and there are always coaches and teams saying they were robbed by not getting invited.

As for the the most-debated story this week, Holy Buckets, there's no debating that the Tim Tebow overkill has dominated sports news this week to a point of saturation that we interrupt this answer to announce that SportsCenter has just started an hour-long special "Tebow: Boxers or Briefs." Sweet biscuits and jam, the Tebow stuff is beyond control right now. Maybe it's because we're from the SEC and we've had several years to get accustomed to the good player/great guy/strong Christian total package that is Tim Tebow, but wow, here's guessing that even Tebow's mom sees another ESPN talk show discussing her son and flips the channel. It's beyond imagination. And sweet bibles, bullets and bootstraps, if the Denver Tebows win at New England this weekend, there will be a new ESPN channel — ESPNT — by the Wednesday morning that is devoted to nothing but Tebow.

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.
Eustice_Chase said...

Questions- Superb

Answers- Superber

I dont believe Kobe drained 40 last night...unless it was Ounces of Bud Ice...Im not saying...im just saying

What do the 2001 Canes team and the 2008 Gators team have in common? Yeah you guessed it...two of their star players Run the ball for the Denver Tebows..

I have a question Jay... How helpful will Josh McDaniel be to the Patriots in this weekends matchup against his former employer?

Andrew Luck going to the Colts #1 overall and the Colts getting the Redskins #6 Pick this year and thier First Round Pick Next year for Peyton Manning...any takers ?

I sure hope not !!!

January 13, 2012 at 10:45 a.m.
Stewwie said...

[And also know this, right now it's the No. 3-ranked team that is complaining, well, if there's a four-team playoff, the No. 5-ranked team (and its fans, boosters and elected officials) will bemoan the unfair system. Heck, we have 68 teams in the college basketball tournament, and there are always coaches and teams saying they were robbed by not getting invited.]

You're exactly right about that, Jay. I am for a playoff, but there is not an easy solution for the FBS. I personally think that the FCS does it right...smaller conferences where everyone plays each other within the conference and no conference championship games.

No one really talks about it, but LSU was pretty much penalized for having to play in the SEC championship and put their perfect record at risk, while Bama got to stay home and not have to play an extra game. Some say LSU still would have made the title game if they had lost to GA, but if that's the case, what's the point of having a conference championship game? Looks like just a money-grab to me. I say let's get rid of conference championship games, or else make them matter; you must win your conference championship to play for a national title. What do you think, Jay?

I like your BCS champions list. However, I would move '10 Auburn to #6, '11 Bama to #7, and '02 OSU down to #8. Remember that OSU squeaked by in '02 because of the worst blown call in BCS history. Miami had the game won for a few seconds before the unsure ref finally threw his flag to call a bogus interference penalty.

January 13, 2012 at 11:46 a.m.
fechancellor said...

Draft??? What's a draft???

January 13, 2012 at 12:43 p.m.
ChattanoogaVol said...

Sunseri named DC...and it only took 10 days.

All three coaches hired so far (Jay Graham, Pittman, and Sunseri) are top-notch recruiters. Two of the three have coached in the SEC already with success. Graham and Pittman already have big contacts in the Carolina's which will help recruiting.

Big JC DT Daniel McCullers just anounced he is going to sign with Tennseee. 6'5"/6'6" and around 370 pounds. Think Sunseri may be implementing the 3-4.

Waiting for your article on all this good news on Friday the 13th.

January 13, 2012 at 1:16 p.m.
jgreeson said...

EC —

Thanks for the kind words.

Yes, we believe Josh McDaniels would be a useful tool during practice this week considering he drafted Tebow (and WR D. Thomas, who torched the Steelers).

Here's saying the Colts would take that deal in a New York second. What if they could add Andrew Luck and Trent Richardon in this draft. WOW. Just wow.

We're fully prepared to discuss the NBA starting Monday when the ban/timeout expires. (That said, did you see D-Howard shoot 39 FTs last night? Buckets.)

Stewwie —

Spot on about the NCAA tournament. We've said from the beginning that the first rule that has to be changed is you have to be a conference champ to play in the BCS title game. (Although, we don't think that's fair in a four-team playoff.) The BCS game had the two best teams this year — and that it is its mission — but a nonconference winner should not be included.

Fair point about THE Ohio State getting that bogus call. Maybe the refs knew that 10 years later Lord Urban Meyer would take the reins and they wanted to start kissing up early.

FE to the C —

We love the draft. You know this.

ChattanoogaVol —

Love the Jay Graham hire. Heard good things about Pittman. The Sunseri hire seems like it will be OK. We stand by our original view that Sunseri may be a great coach, but there's a lot of unknown hiring any Saban defensive assistant if for no other reason than Saban is a micromanager of his defense.

As for recruiting, well, Graham has some chops; Pittman seems OK but can you name the last big-time O-Lineman that played at UNC; Sunseri has a big-time reputation as a recruiter, but that has to be tempered somewhat because Saban is the best recruiter in college football.

Landing McCullers is HUGE. You can't overstate it, especially if the Vols are going 3-4 next fall (which would seem likely since that's what Sunseri was a part of at Alabama).

Granted, getting Sunseri is a better hire than some of the other names we've heard — and having him place for a big recruiting weekend is big.

Does that get me back in the good graces of Vols fans?

January 13, 2012 at 1:49 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Yes I did see D_WHIIIIIIIITE shoot 39 Ft's....and coinsedentaly he had a career high in pts.... As far as the colts and Manning go...i really want to be that guy that stays a Colts fan even after Manning leaves...but I am afraid I cannot do that! and I do not want to see him in Washington! I was kind of Hoping to see him land in Miami with Jeff Fisher as the Head Coach... or in Minnesota with Adrian Peterson running the ball... or heck even in Tennessee with CJ2K.... oh and hey I met Lebron James over the summer...we were at a Pay Phone bank with my Friends Alan and Ceaser, I asked for Change for a dollar and he only gave me three Quarters! ...sorry it never gets old!

January 13, 2012 at 2:24 p.m.
jgreeson said...

EC —

We're glad you're back.

Is this place beeper friendly?

Best places for Peyton, in order:

1) New York Jets — the Giants-Jets Manning Bros. face off would awesome in their awesomeness (plus that means he'd get to host SNL once a season).

2) San Fran — Colts get Luck, who was coached by Harbaugh; Manning joins forces with Harbaugh and with the talent the 49ers have at every other position, Harbaugh and Manning nuke the league for the next three years.

3) Miami — And we like the Fisher-Manning combo idea

4) Washington — plus he can pal around with some of the Capital Hill folks for his senatorial campaign... Manning '18 would work nicely on a campaign sign, huh?

5) Jacksonville (which moves to LA) — Gets to be the first star of the LA Stars or whatever they will be called, and gets to light up the Colts twice a year.

Cotton needs new shorts.

— 5-at-10

January 13, 2012 at 2:35 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Wait ... ESPNT? ... you mean ESPN isn't all Tebow all the time already? As I sat eating lunch (buffalo chicken sandwich, fries, Key lime pie, sweet tea), one of the TVs had on the abysmal ESPN2 morning show and they had the gall to ask their two commentators, knucklehead Skip Bayless and whoever else was in the revolving chair (I miss Woody Paige) who was responsible for Tebowmania? Pot,kettle. Kettle, pot.

And is there any wonder what the number one sport, particularly among followers of the 10 who has welcomed 5, is in these here parts? There are four NFL playoff games. At least two project to be awesome. Another will be one of the most watched playoff games of all time.

And yet the bulk of today's mailbag is ... college football.

January 13, 2012 at 2:37 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Fiver- I like Jacksonville by way of LA, MIami and San Fran... Manning needs one of two things... Warm(er) weather for his body and/or a Dome...but Yes San Fran would be lovely!

the Jets sounds good...real good...and Plaxico could be the first WR to catch a Super Bowl Clinching TD pass from a Manning...and if he went to the NFC how awesome would it be to see Manning vs Brady for the whole kit-n-kaboodle??? awesome indeed...it would smell of rich Mahogney

January 13, 2012 at 2:50 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

but it looks as if the Ram(athorne)s have landed Jeff..no relation to Amy... Fischer..

January 13, 2012 at 2:53 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

You know us, we try to give the people what they want.

Or as Brian Fanata says, "A little something for the ladies... Sixty percent of the time, it works every time."

Skip Bayless is the absolute face of EVERYTHING that is wrong with sports journalism/broadcasting/whatever. Period.

EC —

Guess Jeff wants to get good Cardinals tickets in the summer time. So it goes — although, maybe the Rams could beat Jacksonville in a winner heads to L.A. type of sweepstakes. They even have a ready made name — the L.A. Rams... seems like it has a certain ring to it, no?

(And any time we can get kit-n-kaboodle into context, well, we're all better off. What? You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate the whole... wheel of cheese? How'd you do that? Heck, I'm not even mad; that's amazing.

And we thought Jeff was related to Carrie Fisher. So it goes.

— 5-at-10

January 13, 2012 at 3 p.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, yes, I know you love the draft. The Raiders dealt new GM Reggie Mckenzie bad hand with just 5th and 6th round picks. As such, I'm more attuned to the free agent market this year.

Mr. Mckenzie says he's 3-4 man as opposed to Oakland's present 4-3. I'm thinking DT Richard Seymour with his 2012 $15 million pay day is trade bait even if played he the 3-4 in New England and no matter his positive club house presence.

January 13, 2012 at 3:07 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Fe to the C —

That makes more sense. Wow, we had no idea that Reggie was that hamstrung from the start. (Big reggie was a nice, Nice, NICE addition, by the way.)

Seymour was an awesome 3-4 end in New England, and Rolando McClain was an awesome 3-4 inside linebacker in college (provided he doesn't shoot anyone else between now and then).

Big key is finding a NT that can create havoc. Here's hoping it works for three reasons:

1) The NFL is more fun when the Raiders are good;

2) Reggie is good people, no matter what Hue Jackson says;

3) A Denver-Oakland battle for supremacy in the AFC West would be great next year. The Ghosts of Al Davis representing one side; Saint Timothy and the Denver Tebows on the other.

Bring it.

— 5-at-10

January 13, 2012 at 3:14 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I'd have said Jay Mariotti but Skip Senseless is also a first round pick in the sports journalist tool draft.

If the Jags move out west, maybe they can become the California Bulls and we get "First and 10: A New Beginning" on HBO. But I think the gal from "Designing Women" is a wee bit past her prime to reprise her role.

January 13, 2012 at 3:21 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

If that series comes to pass, the only way the 2012 version of Delta Burke will be involved will be wearing No. 76 and starting at left guard.

ZING.

— 5-at-10

January 13, 2012 at 3:34 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I also don't buy into the whole "getting Josh McDaniels back gives the Patriots added insight into the Broncos."

One, the system they're using now is nothing remotely close to what McDaniels ran, so it's evaluating apples and oranges. Two, is there something they didn't know from the 20 hours of video they watched everyday before the regular season matchup and all the video The Emperor has watched in the last week and a half? I doubt it. All that stuff does is give the ESPN talking heads something to talk about. Even when it's nothing.

Especially when it's nothing.

January 13, 2012 at 3:56 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

So Bispy what your saying is...its nothing?

January 13, 2012 at 4:05 p.m.
wyldmon said...

Great picture of a Georgia player in a losing effort against a team (MSU) with higher academic standards! That's right, we came down here and showed you (again) how we do it up North!

January 13, 2012 at 4:51 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

EC, it might be something.

But it isn't. I'll stop right there before we get into a whole metaphysical, existential tangent on nothing being something otherwise it wouldn't be anything at all.

January 13, 2012 at 4:53 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

McDaniels could be huge Saturday, especially since Tebow is such a secret and no one knows anything about him. (Did you know, we heard he's a virgin? To bad we can't find anything on him on the Interweb.)

And dude, just because you majored in physics, please don;t go all linear and multi-layered and such. Tangent? Isn't that ol' George Hamilton? A ten gent? Thank you, we'll be here all week.

Wyldmon —

Uh, OK. Michigan State is a fine school, but don't sell Georgia too short (and as you can see from our bio, we didn't go to Georgia).

Michigan State may be the bee's knees, we're not up to speed on Sparty's academic history. But, with the Hope scholarship and the increased standards, getting into UGA is pretty tough.

As for the respective football histories (recent or long-term) between Michigan State and Georgia, or any Big Ten school against a comparable SEC school, and we'll take our chances.

But we're always up for a discussion. (And until recently, when you would chant MSU, MSU, MSU in your posts, we always though you were a Miss. State fan.)

That said, the MSU win over UGA was our favorite bowl game of this bowl season. It had great drama, and it had Jon Gruden doing the analysis (minus Ron Jaworski, mind you) and he was great. It was a fun watch.

EC —

It's either nothing... or it's no thing. But don't get them confused.

January 13, 2012 at 5:34 p.m.
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