published Thursday, April 19th, 2012

5 at 10: Pat Summitt steps down, More NFL Draft and Pudge Rodriguez

Remember about Friday's mailbag and that we have vowed to use the word "Twitch" frequently after UT football coach Derek Dooley praised Jordan Williams' "twitch" earlier this week. From the "Talks Too Much Studios" here we go.

Summitt steps down

Pat Summitt stepped away from the day-to-day duties of coaching the UT Lady Vols on Wednesday. It was the right move at the right time, considering the season and all the complications and implications of Summitt's early on-set dementia.

Our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer has another great look at Summitt and the situation here.

Granted, the folks in Knoxville are going to discuss it more with the media today, but let's take a moment to assess Summitt.

Wow. And you know what, you can make an argument that Summitt meant more than any coach in sports history. Read that again.

Who meant more to their sport than Summitt to women's basketball? See became the game's face — its glare if you will — and gave the sport an identity for a lack of a better word.

In fact, in sports who has meant more for their gender. Consider where women sports have come in the 38 years Pat Summitt coached. Sure, those 38 years have overlapped the 40 years of Title IX — the federal mandate that demands equal sports opportunities for males and females — but Summitt was its champion.

There's no way to gauge her impact and it has little to do with the mind-bending numbers of wins, titles and championships.

We use terms like giant and greatness, legends and legacy far too frequently in sports. And it's moments like this that remind us of why that overuse can be a bad thing.

There is no accurate word to describe Summitt and here time in Knoxville and here value and meaning to her program, sport and gender. No words are suitable because all of the words have been used before.

And what Summitt did was unbelievable, unimaginable and utterly impossible to duplicate.

  • photo
    Georgia’s Cordy Glenn (71) will protect quarterback Aaron Murray as a right tackle this year after starting all 13 games last season at left guard.
    File Photo

NFL draft: Offensive line

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, Wednesday was about the receivers and today we'll do the offensive linemen.

USC tackle Matt Kalil is a slam-dunk prospect, with or without twitch. Barring injury, the guy is a left tackle for the next decade-plus. Period.

David DeCastro, the guard our of Stanford, has been described by Mel Kiper Jr. as the best guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson. And when Mel speaks, draft people should listen.

So we have an elite left tackle prospect (who likely will go to Minnesota at No. 3) and a guard who is drawing favorable comparisons with the best at his position in the last 25 years. What's after the top two.

In some ways, the offensive line crop is comparable to the quarterback class. There are two prospects at the top that look like sure-fire All-Pro players for a decade and from there, it's a blend of quality and question marks.

Here's our top 10 with some additional comments on those pegged in the first round:

1) Matt Kalil, USC

2) David DeCastro, Stanford

3) Riley Reiff, Iowa — Described as more solid than spectacular, and while we love solid, spending a first-rounder on solid is actually anti-solid.

4) Jonathan Martin, Stanford — Three Stanford players projected in the first round and tight end Coby Fleener could be a fourth. Jim Harbaugh's a pretty good coach, huh? Harbaugh may be the Ace of Twitch.

5) Cordy Glenn, Georgia — He's strong and athletic, but any SEC fan out there, can you even tell us what number Glenn wore? Kind of forgettable, huh?

6) Bobby Massie, Ole Miss — Big-bodied tackle that has made some moves up draft boards lately.

7) Mike Adams, Ohio State — Another guy that passes the eye test in the combine but played rather quietly.

8) Peter Konz, Wisconsin

9) Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin

10) Zebrie Sanders, FSU


So long Pudge, see you in Cooperstown in five years

We asked part in jest/part in seriousness about Jamie Moyer's Hall of Fameness.

Well, now there are reports that Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez is going to retire next week. And there is no doubt about his invitation to Cooperstown.

In fact, Pudge is the best catcher ever. Twitch.

Pudge is one of a slew of the players from the most recent generation that you could make an argument were the best ever.

Here's an all-star team from the last 25 years, and several of these players deserve discussion as the best ever at their position (and we're not including the prominent steroid boys of Bonds, Sosa and A-Rod who would be shoe-ins on this team):

C — Pudge Rodriguez

1B — Albert Pujols

2B — Robbie Alomar

SS — Derek Jeter

3B — Chipper Jones

OF — Ken Griffey Jr.

OF — Tony Gwynn

OF — Ichiro

RHP — Greg Maddux

LHP — Randy Johnson

Closer — Marianon Rivera

Of that list, we'll take Pudge, Pujols (when it's all said and done), Alomar, Griffey and Rivera against anyone from history.


Twitch and that

— Downtown Patrick Brown and his band of renown had a full day Wednesday. In addition to Summitt and football practice, he also shared with us UT's assistant football coaches' salaries Interesting stuff. UT is paying its nine assistants an average of a little more than $330,000 a year. That's nice cabbage if you have the twitch to make it last.

— Great stuff from the regulars yesterday. We were out of the office and could not participate, but we got caught up later in the evening. Mr. 962 is on his game and the answer to 9er, yes, Downtown is almost always downtown at the capital of Vols Land. And we agree with the general feeling that Moyer is not a Hall of Famer, but wow, it's closer than anyone could have imagined. We had a twitch and you guys scratched it.

— SMU is trying to hire Larry Brown. Yes that Larry Brown. Who knew he was still alive? Larry Brown? It's simply re-twitch-ulousness.

— Want to know what is twitch-less? Jair Jurrjens getting an offensive explosion in which every Braves starter — including Jurrjens — got at least one hit and scored at least one run and still not being able to go five innings to get the win. The Braves were so good at the plate that every one that came to the plate got at least one hit, and that includes two pinch-hitters. Still Jurrjens got the yank because he allowed seven hits and four walks in four innings. Heck Livan Hernandez has better numbers than Jurrjens right now and Livan is 203 years old. (Rounding up of course.)


Today's question

In honor of Pat Summitt, we'll make this one as easy as possible: Who are the four faces on the Mount Rushmore of coaching?

We'd likely go Lombardi, Wooden, Auerbach and Summitt.

And as a bonus question, if there was a college coaches Mount Rushmore, who you got?

Would it be Wooden, Summitt, Bryant, Coach K maybe?

And, with the sad news of Dick Clark's death, here's a final bonus Mount Rushmore: Who are the four faces on the Mount Rushmore of TV hosts? Carson, Clark, Oprah, Sullivan?


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 ...

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.
AndrewLohr said...

"There's no way to gauge her impact and it has little to do with the mind-bending numbers of wins, titles and championships." Uh, without, say, at least 60% or so of the wins she couldn't have had the impact?

April 19, 2012 at 10:59 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Andrew —

The fact that she was able to make such an impact was a direct result of her success on the court.

Our point, however, was that the lasting impact itself has little do to with basketball scores and cutting dow nets.

— 5-at-10

April 19, 2012 at 11:09 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent

Funny about your Mount Rushmore- yesterday, on the Lexington Sport Talk here in town they did the Mount Rushmore of college basketball coaches in honor of Summit. Most of the listeners agreed that she belonged on it. Wooden, Rupp, Naismith, Phog Allen, Dean Smith, Coach K, Summit, Bobby Knight...all of them deserve a mention on that Mount Rushmore. Not sure who you leave off. In terms of meaning the most to their sport, Wooden, Naismith, and Summit are clearly the heads, and not sure who the next is- quite possibly Phog since he was the mentor to so many other great coaches.

As far as best 2B of all-time being Robby Alomar- I'll take Rogers Hornsby or Joe Morgan far before Alomar. He was great and all, but not in the same class with those guys (and probably a few more- those just jumped to mind). Of course, Ryne "Ryno" Sandberg was my favorite back in the late 80s early 90s, so Alomar will take a backseat to him, but I can at least grant you that Alomar may belong ahead of Sandberg. And if you're saying Griffey belongs as the greatest OF or CF? Because Griffey isn't as good Babe Ruth. Just don't believe it. If Griffey could have stayed healthy, then this discussion would be a tremendous one, though. As far as Pudge goes, I GUESS I'll follow you there. There's room for debate there, but I'd be comfortable with it if I were you. Pujols and Rivera are no doubt the best to ever play their position (assuming Pujols stays healthy and keeps on producing- and there may be some debate with Pujols since he plays 1B, such a traditionally strong position, but I think he probably deserves that spot).

There are three things that get me going- college football, college basketball, and Baseball Lists. I could play games with Baseball Lists all day long....

April 19, 2012 at 11:10 a.m.
chas9 said...

Wow. The biggest coach's shoes ever to fill.

Bobby Cox isn't on Mt. Rushmore?

April 19, 2012 at 11:27 a.m.
jgreeson said...

StuckinKent —

The coaches Mount Rushmore is tough all the way around, but Summitt is a no-brainer.

We'll take Griffey as the best center fielder, and he would likely have been regarded as the best player ever if not for the injuries (although you could say that about several, including Mickey Mantle).

We expected some Morgan and even Hornsby mentions at second base, we'll still take Alomar. It's tougher to compare to Hornsby because of the era, but Alomar's numbers are sick. He's the best defensive second basemen ever and here are his offensive numbers compared to Morgan's:

Avg: .300 to .271

HR: 210 to 268

Hits: 2,724 to 2,517

RBI: 1,134 to 1,133

SB: 474 to 689

Runs: 1,508 to 1,650

And Morgan played five more years. (Although we had no idea Morgan had that many steals. Wow. Talk about twitch.)

As for Pudge vs. Bench, well, it's nowhere near as close as you might think.

But, we're with you. We can do baseball lists for days at a time.

— 5-at-10

April 19, 2012 at 11:29 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

We all have a special spot for Bobby, but no way. Not from all sports.

Heck, with only one World Series title, he may not even make the Managers' Mount Rushmore. Would he knock off in no order LaRussa, Stengel, Sparky, Torre, Mack, et al.?

— 5-at-10

April 19, 2012 at 11:31 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Another thing about Coach Summitt. I had a friend who was a TA at UT-K while working on his doctorate. He had some of the Lady Vols in his classes, along with other athletes. He said Coach Summitt's girls were always in class and always paid attention and got their work done on time. The other athletes, well, not so much. But Coach Summitt stayed on her girls' bee-hinds to make sure they did what was expected of them in the classrooms and lecture halls.

Coaching Rushmore should be Wooden, Auerbach, Scotty Bowman, Lombardi. But God forbid that Geno Cheati-emma ever get on there before Pat Summitt. I have no problem at all with Coach Summitt being on top of the coaching mountain with the others.

Letterman has now been on for nearly 30 years, dating back to the 1982 debut of Late Night. And that does not include his short run of a morning show on NBC (which I loved but sadly, the ratings did not). Carson hung up the star on the floor after 30 seasons with The Tonight Show (not including, also, his time as host of "Who Do You Trust?"). How about Alex Trebek for consideration, too?

And I'd go with Alomar over Little Joe. He was also a better defensive player, in my opinion, and didn't have nearly the protection in the lineup Morgan had. Other than Joe Carter and maybe Devon White, can you name any other position players off the 92-93 Blue Jays teams? But the Big Red Machine lineup was loaded with Hall of Famers, or those who could be in it, nearly from top to bottom.

April 19, 2012 at 11:45 a.m.
WilliamRscott said...

Regarding the best managers in MLB history, I have to rule out any Yankees manager. The Yankees have always had the resources to get the best players, going back to the 1920s and prior to MLBs institution of a draft. With his run of consecutive division titles, Cox has to be there. (And I am a Phillies fan.) Please allow me to throw out Dick Williams (Boston, Oakland, San Diego, etc.). And Williams was thrown out of a lot of games like Cox and Earl Weaver. It is after noon, so let's drink on it.

April 19, 2012 at 12:10 p.m.
chas9 said...

UK's Matthew Mitchell, whose team had a very good year, is among the throng of Summitt proteges singing her sky-high praises today. And three of his assistants have learned under her as well. There's nothing like her legacy.

April 19, 2012 at 12:20 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Phil Jackson over Auerbach on the coaching Rushmore for sure. Jay, I'd like to hear 3 reasons why you choose Big Red over the Zen Master.

As for the other Rushmores, what's more important for putting someone up...short GREAT career, or a long tenure being consistently good with a little bit of greatness? If the latter, I think Bobby Cox deserves a strong consideration. Also, for football, gimme Don Shula over Lombardi.

If there's a second team Rushmore for football (pro at least), I like Bill Walsh. Very underrated IMO. Great coach in the 80s with 3 Super Bowl wins. Also, his impact on the game is still evident today. Have you seen his coaching tree? Wow. He may be gone but his innovative offense is alive and well in the NFL.

April 19, 2012 at 1:18 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

I think years from now we'll be talking about Summitt's coaching tree.

April 19, 2012 at 1:38 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Whether it's fair or not millions of sports fans have no appreciation for women's sports. If the sport is down the list to many or most does that lessen the importance of her achievements?

Phil Jackson was in the right place at the right time. Ego management is big in pro sports but many others could have done as well with the two sets of stars he had, in Chicago and LA. Didn't he skip out of Chicago when Jordan retired, and retired from LA when things started going downhill a little?

April 19, 2012 at 1:59 p.m.
choptalker said...

Cut to a shot of Mike Piazza going "Hey?!?"

Pudge was much better defensively, but Piazza was the greatest offensive catcher EVER! Before you rush over to baseball reference Mr. 10, just know that the career numbers are going to look a lot closer because Pudge played so much longer.

April 19, 2012 at 2:18 p.m.
Todd962 said...

While it is not the way I would have liked to see Pat leave the game(as a result of her health), its refreshing to be able to talk about the legend and good works of a coach compared to the other coaches we have seen leave their posts lately.

She would have had an impact on the game with or without the championships. This is a woman that came into the game as a head coach who was washing team uniforms and driving teams buses. I am not even sure women's basketball was a sanctioned sport at the time. She leaves it with a lasting legacy at a university and a sport that is reaching heights that would have never likely been imagined 38 years ago. The wins and championships certainly broadened her platform to fight for the games equality and acted as a catalyst to take it to the heights it is, but you cant tell me looking into the fire in her eyes that she wasnt going to be reaching it regardless of wins.

And as I was watching ESPN's highlight reels yesterday a faint tear came to me eye, followed by a twitch in the corner of mouth, and then a laugh from those ridiculous pant suits. What people in the 80's and early 90's were thinking is beyond me. "Oh Pat, orange leather pant suit, very nice touch."

Hmm, three reasons to pass on Phil. Michael, Kobe, Shaq? Guy hit the lottery of coaching. I am not entirely sure Jordan let him talk at timeouts once the post season started.

April 19, 2012 at 2:32 p.m.
Stewwie said...


If memory serves me correctly, neither of Phil's exits was his choice. After all the success in Chi-town, both the Jerrys ran Phil out of town (along with the rest of the Bulls' stars) after the '98 championship. The Lakers have twice decided not to renew Phil's contract (after the '04 and '11 seasons).

As far as winning with the two sets of stars that Phil had, it's a lot easier said than done. Just ask the current Heat team. Yes, having a good one-two punch will put you in contention most of the time, but winning it all is a total team effort. If the stars don't get this through their heads, they will not get the rings. This is where good coaching becomes paramount in the quest for the title. Despite his rather unorthodox style, Phil was great at unifying his teams to work together to accomplish the task at hand.

April 19, 2012 at 2:38 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Alex Trebeck is a great call. And somewhere Paul Molitor is doing his best Rodney Dangefield, "I get no respect" rotuine about the early 1990s Jays.

Summitt's commitment to her girls getting educated is legendary. Period.

Letterman has been on 30 years? Wow, but then again it's been 25-plus years since he called Terry Forster a big tub of goo.

Laugher —

First off, we're open to drinking on anything at almost any time. So cheers.

Dick Williams is a good call, and you make a fair point about Yankees managers dealing from the bottom of the deck, especially in the 1950s.

And fair point about the interest of women sports, but think where they would be without Pat.

9er —

Wonder how much consideration the UK coach got during the discussions about Pat's replacement.

Stew Stallone —

Bill Walsh is an EXCELLENT call. Certainly the coach of the Tim Duncan All-Stars (the team of no-doubt first-ballot Hall of Famers that for some reason don't get the acclaim they deserve).

And you want to talk about a coaching tree? Wow, Walsh left more imprints in coaching than Happy Days left on 1980s TV.

As for Red over Phil, well, Red put those teams together, too. And while we give Phil mega-props for juggling the egos of today's mega-star prima donnas, Phil landed in Chicago with MJ at his prime and cherry-picked the Lakers with Kobe and Shaq. (And to be fair, while we fully support your GREAT call on Bill Walsh, Tex Winters was more Bill Walsh-esque than Jackson.)

McPell —

No doubt. Pat's ripples will be felt for a decade at least. Here's hoping they rename the player of the year award after her.

ChopShop —

Hey, Piazza was our favorite player for a longtime. Dude could mash, and if he had allowed the move to fist base rather than trying to set every offensive record for a catcher, you'd be talking about a guy with a .320 career average and 500-plus homers.

But Piazza was a catcher in name only. Dude was mediocre calling a game and could not throw out two-week old garbage.

Yes, Pudge played longer, but you know the game well enough to know Piazza's feeling maay be hurt at calling Pudge the best, but there's not much of a debate.

Mr. 962 —

Excellent point about discussing Pat's accomplishments after her exit rather than trying to use her accomplishments to prevent her exit or rationalize how that exit came to pass. And while we're over the top with praise of Pat's accomplishments — hair styles and fashion choices were not her strong (leisure) suit.

And we're pretty sure MJ let Phil talk. Jordan was too busy eyeing the talent in the first five rows.

Phil Jackson was great, but so was Norman Dale. And it doesn't take a genius to get the ball to Jimmy Chitwood with the game on the line. You know?

— 5-at-10

April 19, 2012 at 3:03 p.m.
moonpie said...

Of all the baseball players listed, Mariano Rivera was the most dominant, for the longest. Was it four years ago when Yankee fans were bemoaning Cashman resigning him to a three year deal? Even they didn't realize what they still had. He was a 1 pitch wonder. I'd take him on my team today.

April 19, 2012 at 10:45 p.m.
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