published Monday, August 20th, 2012

5-at-10: Foxes, connections and where does Bray rank on the valuable list

Hope you had a great weekend. And the 5-at-10 compound, we focused on a plethora of chores that had backed up during our extended run at our desk during football preview stuff.

But it's here, and it's all happening.

From the "Talks too much" studios, here we go...

  • photo
    UTC golf team member Steven Fox reacts to winning the 37th hole of the U.S. Amateur golf tournament Sunday at Cherry Hills to beat Michael Weaver in Cherry Hills Village, Colo.(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Clever like a Fox

UTC senior golfer Steven Fox gets huge, Huge, HUGE high 5s all round for rallying from 2 down with two holes to play and winning on the first playoff hole to claim the biggest prize in amateur golf — the U.S. Amateur.

Here's TFP golf ace David Uchiyama's recap of the events http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/aug/20/utcs-fox-rallies-to-win-us-amateur-chattanooga/.

We can make a real argument that this is the biggest moment in UTC sports history and it's a slam-dunk for the 10-plus years the 5-at-10 has been in town.

Wow, just wow.

It was amazing golf, and Fox never flinched. Dude was a stone-cold killer. Down two he won on the 35th hole with birdie and watched as runner-up Drew Weaver's 5-footer for par and victory lipped our on the 36th hole.

On the first playoff hole, Weaver's wheels were starting to come, feeling the affects of his lipped-out chance to win eight minutes earlier, Weaver hooked his driver on the short par-4 first hole. He chunked his approach and hit his chip thin. He had a 15-footer to save par and was left to wrestle with the ever-painful emotions of coming this close.

Fox left nothing to chance, stepping on the gas and pouring in his 18-footer for birdie and likely invitations to the Masters (we've played it, nice track), the U.S. Open and the British Open.

Dude had a good day, huh? And so did UTC, which got mentioned in every meaningful newspaper across the country this morning and had a three-hour commercial on NBC Sunday with Fox parading around with the Mocs' Power C on his clothes and "Chattanooga" on his blue and gold bag.

————

Sports at its core

Of all the different sports and athletes and moments and everything, our favorite part of athletics in general is the emotion of the games. The intensity, the dealing with pressure, the handling of adversity, the moment. Ah, the moment.

Steve Fox embraced the moment and mastered it. It was a pleasure to watch.

But as we try to peel back the core of sports and the underbelly of what makes sports fun, it's about connection as much as it is emotion.

We need a connection, a rooting interest to truly be invested. Steven Fox gave us that Sunday and we should be grateful. Think of it this way, if that had been Drew Weaver and some cat named Stephen Box from Pigsnuckle, Ark., and it played out the same way, it would have been great emotion and a nice moment. But we wouldn't have cared too much. Why? Because we feel the connection with Fox.

And that connection is everything.

Don't think so? How many swimming events have you watched this month? How many did you watch in the previous three years? Same competitors, same sport, but different venue and the fact that Phelps, Locte, Franklin, et al., were swimming for the U-S-of-A gives us the connection we need to be vested.

Maybe it's the ESPN-azation of sports in general. There are so many sports on TV 24-7-365 that we have to tune out all the other sports save the ones we're connected to. It used to be there were two national baseball games on a week — One on Saturday and ABC's Monday Night Baseball. The rest were highlights on Saturday morning's This Week in Baseball with Mel Allen (great show by the way).

Now, you could watch three baseball games a night if you were so inclined and heavily in debt to your cable company.

It's the connection, and that connection can not be more felt than when we have a local kid excel like Steve Fox or when out country or schools or towns are represented in everything from frisbee to football or archery to yodeling.

————

Listify brother, LIST-I-FY

We have covered a slew of different lists from the college football realm, and while the battle of middle earth is about 10 days away, we're still committed to reviewing any number of top-five lists. We have covered who is the most pirate coach in college football and the who is the most ninja college football coach and who are the leading Heisman candidates.

So today, we're going to cover the top five most valuable players — quarterback edition. This is different from Heisman candidates; these are the guys that if world came tomorrow any one of these five had torn an ACL, there'd be folks that would call in sick on Tuesday and look for ways to send back the season ticket money.

1) Matt Barkley, USC: Dude came back for his senior season and the entire Trojans' title shot is built around their quarterback.

2) Denard Robinson, Michigan: Denard is electric, and the Wolverines are a week 1 win over Alabama from being favored in every game and poised to make a BCS title game appearance. If Mr. Robinson falls, so does Michigan. Ku ku ca choo.

3) Aaron Murray, Georgia: The Bulldogs have a stout defense and a relatively easy schedule (no Arkansas, LSU or Alabama) so big things could be attained. Without Murray, those big goals — winning the East, playing in a BCS bowl, even upsetting the West winner and playing for all the marbles — are pipe dreams.

4) Tyler Bray, Tennessee: We believe the Vols' have the biggest swing radius in all of college football; this group could win five games or it could win 10, and everything in between is an option. If Bray goes down, though, those wide-ranging options become winning five games or winning six and heading to Nashville.

5) Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech: The Hokies star has a lot of Cam Newton-type attributes. Big, fast, athletic and with a rocket arm, Thomas is a top-five NFL prospect (we love the draft; you know this).

————

— Dodgers looked good — and how much money is Hanley Ramierz making himself right now — and the Braves stalled in the three-game set between the clubs in the A-T-L. Despite dropping two of three, the Braves certainly are in a good spot, as TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer reminds us here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/aug/20/last-years-slide-aside-braves-still-in-good-spot/.

— Jeff Gordon got his feelings hurt during Sunday's NASCAR race. He was upset that Dale Junior passed him. (Hey, it's Michigan, and nobody this side of Jivin' Jim Tressel owns Michigan more than Dale Jr.) This is actually a good thing. When Gordon is acting like a baby, we know that he's actually invested in the event and feels his team has a chance. We spent the last two-plus years with Gordon being an afterthought which is no good. Gordon acting like an adolescent, though, gives us yet another contender.

— On the irony chart this has to be a 212, right? Danica Patrick was leading the Nationwide race this weekend when track debris caused damage to her car and for all intents ended her chance at winning. The track debris was a shoe. Yes, a shoe thrown onto the track by a fan. And hey, we all know nothing can get the attention of a female quicker than an interesting pair of shoes. http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nascar-from-the-marbles/while-leading-montreal-danica-patrick-hits-shoe-222709159--nascar.html

— OK, we know Melky Cabrera's steroid cheater. Apparently he wants to dabble in cyber-terrorism, too. Cabrera and his peeps tried to pull a fraud by setting up a fake website to convince the players union and MLB that he unknowingly ordered some supplement that spiked his testosterone levels without his knowledge. Somewhere, during his 50-game suspension, here's hoping he plays Connect Four and looks across and says, "Pretty sneaky, ese."

— It was great to have high school football in the air Friday night, and major league props to East Hamilton and LaughingBoy. First the Hurricanes flat slapped Signal Mountain around. Second, LB said Baylor was the best team in the area (we had previously stated our belief that Signal was the area's best) and that played out Friday. East Hamilton and power runner Logan Jackson deserve some major props this morning.

-- There is the glory of connecting between fans and teams, and then there is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUMFDr3bHe4&feature=youtube_gdata_player. There's connecting with your team, and there is getting married with the clergy in an official's jersey and Big Al storming the front and the Alabama theme song playing as you walk back up the aisle. Watch this and tell us how big of an upset is it that there was not a "Roll Tide" at some point in the ceremony.

—————

Today's question

You know we love the draft. We also love that there was meaningful football on the TV this weekend — high school stuff and some NFL preseason games in which starters played all of the first half. Yay.

We watched with interest the Colts-Steelers game Sunday night and we could not be more impressed with Andrew Luck. Seriously. Here's a baseline for our praise — he looks like a young Peyton Manning but is more athletic.

In fact, if you had to start your NFL team today, who are you taking first?

Here's our top five: Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Matt Stafford and maybe Jason Pierre-Paul.

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.
dawg747 said...

Ten Cup: Great 5 @ 10 today. Kudos to Steven Fox for hanging in there and taking victory from defeat. My team was not playing this past Friday so I took in the Signal Mtn. at East Hamilton game. The Canes are beasts and have a great amount of speed. Their offensive line opened up holes you could have run through. Logan Jackson ran through the line several times without even being touched. For as good as Signal is supposed to be they got a good ole fashioned whupping. It was a fun game unless of course you you drove down from Signal Mtn. Andrew Luck was spot on last night coming back after the interception and leading the Colts to a score. I love the way he can roll out and find a receiver a lot easier than peyton can.

August 20, 2012 at 10:25 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

JG...I also found myself clued to the idiot box watching our Mocs golfer Mr. Fox put himself up there with Jones, Palmer, Nicklaus, Woods, and Mick...it may surpass the Sweet 16 run, which found the Mocs on the front page of USA Today...and the Jimmy Fallon Show a couple of years back with Don Juan Shulman...It is indeed amazing that many so Chattanooga supporters do not realize both the men and women's teams are among the nations elite...

August 20, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Great, great commentary on Fox's triumph yesterday in the US Amateur. David Uchiyama's article was the first thing I read this morning. I have not been this proud of being a UTC fan since March 14, 1997 when Johnny Taylor lead the B-Ball boys to the Sweet 16. Unfortunately, I didn't get home until around 3:30 PM CST and by then they were on the 10th-11th hole. But just seeing all the UTC blue and gold on national television was unbelievable. Today at work I'm wearing my black UTC golf shirt with the Power C on the front. Technically I'm in "violation of team rules" because we're not suppose to wear shirts like that except on casual Fridays or if you're pulling a weekend shift.

As for and I quote "And so did UTC, which got mentioned in every meaningful newspaper across the country this morning".

That's a BIG negative Ghost Rider and I'll tell you why.

The answer is it had nothing to do with Jerry's World.

Page 1-5C Cowboys breakdown of the preseason game against San Diego this past Saturday. Fox's win got two small paragraphs in the second to last paragraph. Sorry, that's just how it is down here. Love ya DMN.

One thing is for sure, when I'm wearing my UTC jersey on Saturdays (nice plug for the football team as well on NBC via the UTC golf coach). and them Longhorn and Aggie faithful ask me about my colors (this happens every year) I'm telling them its the Chattanooga Mocs. Home of Steven Fox.

On a humorous note, I wonder how many UTC polo shirts the bookstore is gonna sell?

August 20, 2012 at 10:41 a.m.
jgreeson said...

dawg747 —

Glad you took in a game. We full encourage folks going and watching other teams — there's no better way to spend $10 bucks (ticket and a coke/water, maybe some popcorn) and it helps all of the local programs.

Two big parts of emotion were at play Friday at East Hamilton: There is no more powerful motivation for a team than the "No one believes in us" rallying cry. The Hurricanes had that in full force. Secondly, there are few affects as crippling in high school and college athletics than 16-24 athletes hearing how great they are for an extended stretch. The Eagles had that in full force too. That said, East Hamilton is going to be hard to handle — and this week's Hurricanes-Ooltewah game may be another free-for-all.

OG —

We could not turn away from Fox's run. It was awesome. We can see someone think Coach Mack and the guys making the Sweet 16 as the biggest UTC moment, but this is right there with it.

RunJMC —

Show your gold. The Power C deserves some love today. You what else does — Rick Hart and Co. changing the logo a few years back. What if Steven Fox had made that same run with the Mocking Bird logo or the train, and NBC announcers had heckled it?

As for the polo shirts we'll guess 2.

— 5-at-10

August 20, 2012 at 10:57 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Having not been to a high school football game in some 15 years, I decided to take my two boys to a cheap one Friday night. It was cheap, and they wanted to go to a football game. And the local team did finish second in Kentucky last year. So we went and watched the Scott County Cardinals take on the Seneca Something Or Others. Scott County won 46-14. I was struck by several things: 1) I've forgotten how bad kicking is in high school games. The punts were ugly. The kickoffs weren't much better. Scott County made 4 of 7 extra points, and the three good ones all just barely made it over the crossbar. Seneca missed their lone extra point attempt of the night, but at least he actually kicked the ball. 2) Quarterbacks can't throw the ball in high school. Seneca was completely obsessed with the idea that they were a throwing team. They had receivers running wide open waving their arms 20 yards down the field all the night. The quarterback would throw it. It'd be too long. It'd be too short. I think they completed one of those longer passes all night. When he wasn't misfiring, the ball was bouncing off the receivers helmet or going right through the hands. 3) Referees are worse at high school. Let me correct my earlier statement. Seneca actually completed two long passes. One of them was perfectly thrown, the receiver came down with it, took two steps, dove for the pylon, got the ball just across the goal line, the ball hits the ground and pops out. The refs ruled it incomplete since the ball came out at the end. I was 25 yards away, and it was clearly a catch- no doubt about it. I thought the only debate was if he got in the endzone or not. Turns out an official who was shielded from the play by the receivers back decided he had not caught the ball, overruling a guy in much better position. Are these guys going to be replacement officials next week for NFL games? So, in conclusion, it was exciting to go to a high school game, and fun to watch, but I was fairly unimpressed by the overall play, especially considering Scott County is supposed to be one of the best teams in the state. Not that Kentucky is good at high school football or anything. Just saying that if either team was in Texas, they wouldn't win many games, I don't think.

August 20, 2012 at 10:58 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, you read my mind about the afternoon-long commercial for UTC golf yesterday. That's all I could think while watching it, what a great advertisement this is for Guhne and the golfing Mocs. And Fox gutting it out ... well, you said it. Wow. Just wow.

Hmm ... I take Calvin Johnson first. Then probably Arian Foster (before last season, it would have been the other AP). Then Rodgers. Then maybe Vince Wilfork. Gotta have a dominating guy in the middle. Then again, he may eat everyone else. Then howsabout a little bit of a change up and going with a gamechanger - Patrick Peterson.

August 20, 2012 at 11:27 a.m.
jgreeson said...

StuckinKent —

No offense intended to our fine neighbors to the North, but grading high school football on a Kentucky game is like the 5-at-10 saying high school hoops is doomed watching a game in the suburbs of Chatt-a-Vegas.

That said, NFL fans everywhere better get braced for replacement refs. And the assured fallout from that.

Spy —

Guhne has had a great summer no? Got a raise (deservedly) and an extension. Now this. Good times all around.

Calvin Johnson finished sixth on our list, and Patrick Peterson was right there, too. No way we take a running back — too big a chance of injury and it's a complete passing league now. And we like your logic on a big body in the middle, but Vince Wolfolk is too old. Maybe Suh, which would give the Lions three of the top 15-20 young players in the league.

Here's our top 10 draft board (we love the draft, but you know this):

1) Rodgers

2) Luck

3) Newton

4) Stafford

5) JPP

6) Calvin Johnson

7) Patrick Peterson

8) Navarro Bowman

9) Joe Thomas (Cleveland tackle)

10) A.J. Green ????

Discuss.

August 20, 2012 at 11:45 a.m.
chas9 said...

I'm feeling the love for the UTC Fox. But how good is he? That's not me being snide. I hope Fox is the new Tiger. I just don't follow golf. Can you give me some context? Are there many one-hit wonders who get in the groove one (big-time) tournament but never scratch again? David's story was good. And I like your connection point. Yodeling rocks.

Jivin' Jim? That's a good one.

Yep, the Mocking Bird was a really bad idea. Glad the cat ate him. And he was riding Purdue's train. Slick PR consultants. Ugh.

August 20, 2012 at 11:48 a.m.
Todd962 said...

Signal Mountain likely didnt get the message we got prior to every game of my high school career. Our goal every year was to win the state championship, but for every team that stepped on the field with us, that WAS their state championship. Its the reason that a team that was getting murdered by us celebrated their only score of the game like they had just won a gold medal. Price of being at the top of the pyramid is you are going to be getting every team you play's best every night. Hopefully that will be Singal's wake up call for the remainder of the season. But it sure gave East Hamilton everyone's undivided attention for the rest of the season, teams and fans alike.

Fox was awesome. It reminded me of Mindaugas's performance in the dunk contest a few years back. Sitting on the edge of your seat in awe that a Moc is taking it to the big boy schools. Great stuff.

August 20, 2012 at 12:08 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

ordinaryguy-

I knew before the morning was out someone would mention the USA Today article. I have a small box of front-page newspapers and my copy of Johnny Taylor going for the slam dunk against Illinois is still there. Along with the front page of the Chattanooga Times for that day.

JG-

I'll swing by SMU on my way home today to see if I can at least leave a message of thanks at their front office.

August 20, 2012 at 12:19 p.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, all props go to East Hamilton, a team with good size up front and excellent speed at seemingly every skill position on both sides of the ball.

As for Signal, poor tackling, especially on slant routes which more often than not broke for touchdowns, and a sputtering offensive line are but two factors that contributed mightily not only to East Hamilton's victory but the margin too. East's quarterback deserves props for sticking those slants in stride.

The only negative I took away from my visit was the lack of bleacher space for the visitors.

10 Ring, I'm quoting you here: "Secondly, there are few affects as crippling in high school and college athletics than 16-24 athletes hearing how great they are for an extended stretch. The Eagles had that in full force too."

My contact with the Signal team may not be as authoritative as yours, however, I do hear things about the program in backrooms on the darkest of nights. What I don't take away from these interludes is absolutely no in-alterable conceit of the "greatness" the Eagles über alles.

Sometimes its impossible for the student athlete avoid hyperboil that can turn to hubris such as...one of your friends of this page on the Jumbotron at the Jamboree predicting Signal will at the very least make to the State Semis after the Eagles whipped a small and slow Central squad.

August 20, 2012 at 12:24 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - I watched the EH - SM football game Friday evening and the US Amateur Sunday afternoon from the comfort of my easy chair, and I got to wondering about Karma and it's impact on sports. For the Friday Mailbag...Does Karma exist and if so, what impact does it have on sports, athletes, and coaches?

August 20, 2012 at 12:31 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Great question. Fox is not as accomplished as Stephen Jaeger or as polished, but we thought UTC golf coach Mark Guhne's was spot on that match play was perfect for Fox because he can block out a bad hole quickly.

That said, golf is like 92 percent confidence, especially when talking about those guys at that level and the difference between winning and losing can often be a single swing over the course of a weekend. So Fox will forever have this as a confidence builder and baseline. Plus, the names on that trophy speak to the level of accomplishment winning this is.

962 —

Great call about the pressure of being everyone's Super Bowl. You get everyone's best swing and everyone's biggest trick play and everyone's best effort.

It's a chore.

FE to the C —

Don't misunderstand, this is not a shot at any of the kids. This is strictly about sports and hearing how great you are as a team often can dilute the edge needed to be great.

This is a characterization as a whole and is a by-product of any team hearing they are great.

How many times do you see a high school or college team look great one week and pull off a huge win, and then the following week they are flat?

That said, we still believe Signal and East Hamilton could very well meet in the state playoffs later this year.

— 5-at-10

August 20, 2012 at 12:35 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Sportsfan —

You're in the mailbag. We like it, and will need some time to debate it.

— 5-at-10

August 20, 2012 at 12:36 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, why do I have a fantasy draft tonight? And why are they televising it?(I'm not kidding; one of the local stations is covering our fantasy draft).

August 20, 2012 at 2:06 p.m.
jomo11 said...

Steven Fox "You da man" . . . the other question what local sports story has the TFP covered since you have been here Jay, has been any bigger ?. . . .i cant think of one ? . . . .and remember you are in Chattanooga not Athens, Atlanta or B'Ham

August 20, 2012 at 2:35 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

The only way that could be worse television is of Tim McCarver, Billy Packer and Joe Morgan are doing the the play-by-play.

Guh-Ross.

Jomo —

Great question. Great question.

Let me get back on that.

— 5-at-10

August 20, 2012 at 2:41 p.m.
chas9 said...

NO-O-O-O! Not Joe Morgan!

If you go to San Francisco, you're sure to find some gentle people there.

August 20, 2012 at 2:50 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Baylor might be the best team still but the quarterbacks aren't getting it done even against a very bad Soddy-Daisy team. Pick one and stop the rotating, put the other one at wideout. Not many teams could stop 6'6" and 6'4" put on one side. The best player so far has been the running back.

East Hamilton was tremendous. Has Signal Mountain beaten one team in its existence when they weren't the heavy favorite? Granted they are the heavy favorite in most games.

I'd still take Tim McCarver over the Olympic gymnastics broadcasting crew. "How are these (vault) gymnasts able to make their jumps knowing beforehand their best won't measure up?" right before "thud" and nobody being impressed.

August 20, 2012 at 3:22 p.m.
jomo11 said...

PLEASE Jay dont put Fox in a headline with that mental case Tyler Bray . . . .

August 20, 2012 at 3:23 p.m.
chas9 said...

The Rocket will pitch again. Clemens starts for The Skeeters Saturday. The Skeeters ain't much, but at least they're not the Astros.

August 20, 2012 at 3:56 p.m.
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