published Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

5 at 10: Draft love, twitch appreciation and is Jamie Moyer a Hall-of-Famer

Remember about Friday's mailbag. From the "Talks Too Much Studios" here we go.

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    LSU running back Kenny Hilliard (27) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Rueben Randle (2) and guard Will Blackwell (60) during the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NFL draft: wideouts

OK, let's go ahead and get this out of the way: We love the draft; you know this.

OK, now that we're done with the formalities, let's get to BID-ness. Last year we let the draft sneak up on us without proper previews.

Not this time. We're going position-by-position heading into next Thursday's first round. Monday we did quarterbacks, Tuesday was running backs and today is about the receivers.

Justin Blackmon is far-and-away the top receiving talent in this year's draft. And it's not that close.

He has 4.39 speed in the 40 and he's 6-foot-1 and right at 210 pounds. Blackmon is a well-rounded blend of the stereotypical descriptions of wide receivers.

Plus, dude runs great routes and competes for the ball in the air as well as any of the elite college receivers in recent years despite being three or four inches shorter than most of them.

He will be off the board no later than No. 6 to the Rams — unless someone trades up to get Ryan Tannehill — or No. 7 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. And if Blackmon's still on the board when receiver-starved Jacksonville picks, here's saying they will run their card to the podium.

Here's the top 10 receivers, and we include tight ends here because with the changing nature of the game and the growing importance of tight ends, there will be almost as many of them picked in the first two rounds as the receivers.

1) Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State

2) Michael Floyd, Notre Dame

3) Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech

4) Coby Fleener, Stanford

5) Rueben Randle, LSU

6) Kendall Wright, Baylor

7) Brian Quick, Appalachian State

8) Dwayne Allen, Clemson

9) Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina

10) Orson Charles, Georgia

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    Knoxville News Sentinel Tennessee defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox works with players, from left, Tyler Wills, Charles Karlosky and Grant Jessen during spring practice at Haslam Field. This was Wilcox's first campaign with the Vols after spending the previous four years as defensive coordinator at Boise State.

UT spring update

The Tennessee Vols are speeding toward Saturday's Orange-and-White game that will signify the end of spring practice.

Here's what we know about spring practices everywhere:

Goal No. 1 — No one gets hurt.

Goal No. 2 — Read goal No. 1.

Goals Nos. 3-1,241 — Dozen of variables on "Have a little fun, find a little depth, work some fundamentals."

UT's spring practice this year is different of course since during the offseason the Vols replaced something like 35 assistant coaches. (OK, it was seven, but it feels like more.) So the Vols needed to install a new defensive look, changing bases and trying to find pieces for a 3-4.

And when there is change afoot and players are moving around coaches get the chance to explain that rationale. And that can be enjoyable. Our UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown shares with us here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/apr/18/vols-working-williams-at-linebacker/ that UT is looking at Jordan Williams at linebacker. When UT coach Derek Dooley talked about Williams, a 6-foot-5, 260-pounder who had been an undersized defensive end, here's the description: "He's in that 'tweener zone for D-line [or] Jack, so his size and body type is a little better suited [for linebacker]. He's got good twitch. He's got a very high motor. Physical, high-motor guy, toughness, twitch."

Heck, with the limited numbers at the position, UT may be looking at Downtown Patrick Brown at linebacker. Downtown is definitely a high-motor guy with twitch. (It's official, we're using twitch a bunch for the rest of the week.)

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    Kentucky coach John Calipari, center, addresses the crowd during a championship celebration at Rupp Arena Tuesday, April 3, 2012, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/The Lexington Herald-Leader, David Perry)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Thanks for the memories

On its way to the national championship, Kentucky started three freshmen and two sophomores. It would look to be the foundation for a dynasty.

Of course in the here today, gone this afternoon world of college hoops, those five Wildcats declared for the draft. (All five are loaded with twitch, for what it's worth.)

And you know what, those five dudes should have declared for the draft. You could make an argument that Marquis Teague or maybe Doron Lamb would have been better served by returning to school, but that's a testament to the depth of this draft more than anything. Each of the UK underclassmen will get drafted.

And don't be all up in arms about Kentucky embracing the "One-and-done" lifestyle. Those are the rules, and John Calipari has found a way to land the best recruits in the country within the rules of that system. And unless the NCAA changes the rules, Kentucky is simply smarter or more crafty than everyone else in regard to working inside that system. In the words of Hyman Roth, the great gangster in "Godfather II" and the old-school representative of twitch, "This is the business we have chosen."

Do the rules need to be changed? Probably, if for no other reason than helping to protect the college game. All this turnover makes it difficult for casual fans to feel any continuity with any of the teams.

But until they do, don't begrudge Kentucky for being the best under the current system in place.

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Twitch and that

— Your Nashville Predators went to Detroit and dropped some twitch on the Red Wings. Nashville and goalie-extraordinaire Pekka Rinne, who had 40 saves, survived an inspired Red Wings effort and return to Nashville with a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series. How great was Rinne? Dude faced 41 shots — including 17 in the second period — and was unfazed. "Usually, the game gets easier when you face more pucks," Rinne said. That's Twitch-tastic friends.

— We all need editors with twitch — the 5-at-10 especially — and this can't be debated. But did you see the "Welcome to the SEC" T-shirts put out by some company in Texas called Aggieland Outfitters? It's a Texas A&M maroon, has an SEC logo and the the words "We may be new to the conference but we aren't new to the game." The designers are new to geography, though. The outline of the SEC region on the shirt includes North Carolina, which has as many SEC schools as Canada, and fails to include MIssouri and... (wait for it) Texas. Ouch-standing.

— Jessica Dorrell resigned from her job with the Arkansas football program and was paid $14,000 to handle "all matters between the parties." Part of the settlement included Dorrell, a 25-year-old former Arkansas volleyball player who was involved in an affair with former Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino, agreeing not to sell or profit from her association with Arkansas athletics. Sweet twitch in time saves a dime, Arkansas bought her silence for 14K? Arkansas AD Jeff Long is a wizard. Here story would have brought at least 10 times that for a made-for-Lifetime TV movie.

— That'll give you an eye twitch. After missing a year with a neck injury that required at least four surgeries, Peyton Manning will return to action against the blitz-happy Pittsburgh Steelers next year. Wow.

— Want some college football recruiting twitch? Ridgeland safety Von Bell is ranked as the No. 60 prospect in the country in the ESPN 150. Bell has more than 25 scholarship offers. Dude can play.

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Today's question

Our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer has an enjoyable column on Jamie Moyer in today's TFP. Moyer became the oldest pitcher in major league history to earn a win Tuesday night, pitching seven scoreless innings at the tender age of 49 in a 5-3 victory over San Diego. Granted San Diego is not exactly a line-up of sluggers loaded with twitch, but still.

Dude is 49. Dude is so unassuming, when you google "jamie " he's seventh on the list of Jamies, ranking between Jamie Bell and Jamie Chung.

When Moyer made his debut in 1986 with the Chicago Cubs, gas was 89 cents a gallon and a Tandy 600 Portable Computer was $1,599.

Want to talk about society changes during Moyer's professional career? The U.S. sold arms to Iran in 1986 and IBM launches the first laptop. What about sports changes? When Moyer recored the first of his 268 wins in '86, Mike Tyson was about to be the youngest heavyweight champ of all-time. (Moyer and Tyson have had different career arcs, don't you think?)

Moyer has 268 career wins, and the way he looked Tuesday, he's got more than a few more on the horizon. So our questions for you today are two-fold:

Is Jamie Moyer a Hall-of-Famer? Let's say he wins 10 more games this year and maybe a few more next year, and he finishes with 280 or so and wins a big-league game at the age of 50, is that enough to get into the Hall?

Second, where on the cool/quirky list of records does "Oldest guy to win a big-league game" rank?

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.
chas9 said...

One of our local sports radio gurus declared last week that Dorrell's settlement would be five million. I wondered at the time how he came up with that specific number, and I thought his prerdiction was high, but you're right that $14,000 is the best bargain since Manhattan sold for a handful of beads.

Your take on Kentucky's fab five or six is right on. And The Uniblocker says Noel is better than he is. Next year's UK starting five will be all five-star guys, all rated from #2 to #22 in their high school classes according to the Rivals 150 lists.

April 18, 2012 at 10:44 a.m.
Todd962 said...

I think "twitch" can be a double edged sword. You view it as having quick reaction to fill a hole as a linebacker with no regard for your own personal safety, you may be alright. Then you think about the "twitch" that some of those guys have in their eyes... Lattimer from "The Program" smashing cars windows with his head, Owen Schmitt running out of the tunnel beating his own helmet against his head to the point of stitches, or the kind of twitch that makes you take your helmet off and attempt to bludgeon your opponent. Fine line...

Didnt the Arkansas homewrecker already get $20K from Bobby. You mean to tell me for a few hickies and some road rash I could be bringing home $34 large. Not a bad deal for ole girl.

I dont know if Moyer passes the HOF checklist. 268 wins is impressive in the league, no doubt. But when it takes a career spanning four decades it starts to dissipate its worth. Being 50 and still fanning batters is impressive though. Thats stuff they make Disney movies for ABC Family about. I say we stick him in the Novelty Wing of the Hall thats located across the street. He'd look good along side one handed Jim Abbott's no-hitter, Pete Rose's what if exhibit, and Barry Bond's rookie season hat sitting next to his home run record season hat.

April 18, 2012 at 12:02 p.m.
chas9 said...

Todd, your material's twitchy. Jay, if you ever need a fill-in, give Mr. 962 a shot. Or at least a rimshot.

April 18, 2012 at 12:09 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Moyer isn't an HoFer. Not even close to being a Cy Young guy and how many All-Star Games has he made. You gonna reward a guy for longevity, you give him a gold watch, not a bust in Cooperstown.

How much twitch does Fredi have when it comes to watching Jair Jurrjens pitch these days (done after four this afternoon)?

How long before Petrino's former paramour shows us another side of herself in, say, the magazine with the rabbit logo?

And on the topic of sports cameos (almost went with speaking of, but I didn't want to have to work in a by the way and follow it up with my irregardless), where was the love for Xavier McDaniel in "Singles"? I'll ... stop right there.

April 18, 2012 at 2:02 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Does anyone out there believe Larry Brown has a shot to make SMU basketball into anything? I dont see Calipari leaving a top recruits living room with a commitment in hand to be wooed away by how many Werther's can be pulled out of a 71 year old ball coach's pocket. His NBA experience and connections will only go so far to catch the eye of 18 year old "one and done'rs."

April 18, 2012 at 2:20 p.m.
deboman said...

While Moyer is doing some outstanding work while most folks his age are struggling with ice bags after a night of co-ed softball, the baseball Hall voters seem too finicky a bunch to bring him on board as a full time member. Novelty wing sounds about right.

Have to say that I understand the rules allow for the building of a One and Done team, but think that it’s become less and less about recruiting student athletes and more about creating college 'dream teams'. What makes it worse is that this trend is primarily being driven by NBA eligibility rules and not the schools. It seems like the actual colleges have less and less control over the athletes and sports at all. Football players remain on campus a while longer, but even there, outside forces are dictating the rules (BCS) and eligibility requirements. I guess I don’t see the benefit to any of the parties involved by having a kid enroll for a semester, pass a few classes (only one semester’s worth really) and then ride off into the sunset. Think it’s a bit comical that the first article I read on Nerlens Noel is loaded with questions not about what he can contribute to UK, about how long he’s gonna stay.

Nice win for the Preds to put the Wings feet in the fire. Maybe Detroit can add Moyer and add a little youth to their group. Both squads are getting chances, but Nashville is finishing and should grind out a series clinching victory at home. And you have to love all the talking heads giving their expert opinions at the start of the season, playoffs, or series, but none are failing as bad as the 75% or so that predicted that the Penguins would face the Canucks in the Cup finals this year. Both would be eliminated tonight with losses going a combined 0 fer 8. Not good.

April 18, 2012 at 2:49 p.m.
chas9 said...

CNN's reporting Pat Summit has stepped down. Is Patrick Brown downtown?

April 18, 2012 at 2:53 p.m.
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