published Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

5-at-10: SEC media blitz, Vick and more Penn State

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

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    Tennessee coach Derek Dooley talks with reporters during Southeastern Conference Football Media Days, Thursday, July 21, 2011, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

SEC media days, prequel

OK, we discussed having questions that won't be asked. And in an effort to be an equal opportunity offender, we'll give one for each school that steps into the spotlight each day.

South Carolina — "Coach Spurrier, how has Stephen Garcia been and when do you think he may join the Gamecocks staff in a mentoring role?"

Texas A&M — "What's the biggest feeling about the move: Being invited to the SEC is like Charlie finding a golden Wonka ticket or being put in the SEC West is like Daniel getting invited to play in the lion's den?" (Wait, that may get asked.) OK try this: "With all that smooching your fan base does, UGA coach Mark Richt and his wife can feel completely comfortable making out on the sideline right? You guys are down with PDA, huh?"

Vandy — "Coach Franklin, have you already started packing your office and do you plan to treat this season as a victory tour before heading off to a bigger gig?"

Missouri — "Pinkel? Is that your real name? You made that up right?"

And let's not forget that SEC commissioner Mike Slive will take the mic today.

Here are few questions Mike likely won't hear:

"Mr. Slive, have you been approached about interviewing for the UTC AD gig?"

"Mike with all of the offseason discussion of the new playoff, how were you able to devote enough attention to the women's equestrian season?"

"Mike, with the power of the league right now and potential new TV contracts and even a network on the horizon, don't you think it's time for you grow an evil mustache and practice your Moo-HA-HA-ha-ha laugh since the SEC is going to be the Colombian Cartel of college sports?"

"Mr. Slive, if you had to pick your fav Harry Potter book, which is it?"

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    Philadelphia Eagles' Michael Vick walks onto the field before an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Vick comes clean

Before we knew the evil that is Jerry Sandusky and before we learned of the sickening silence of Joe Paterno and the rest of the Penn State enablers, we really thought Mike Vick and his dog-fighting ring was the worst sports scandal ever.

Well, Vick has a new book coming in September and USA Today has some excerpts that are quite telling, in that Vick reveals that he had no intention of telling the truth. From Vick's "Finally Free" which is set to be released Sept. 4:

"I knew how to lie with a straight face. Sad to say, Commissioner [Roger] Goodell bought into what I was saying, and I think he truly believed me that I was telling the truth. I deeply regret not telling him the truth from the outset.

"It was a very nervous time for me. I knew I was going to try to lie my way through the whole dogfighting case and see if money, good lawyers, and manipulating the system could get me out of the position I was in — which was a terrible position."

Fortunately Vick was unable to game the system, and he paid his debt with years in prison and millions and millions in fines, fees and lawsuits.

More telling for the 5-at-10 was the part in which Vick says he spent more time scouting dogs and breaking down tendencies of the fighters than he did preparing for his day job or reading the Falcons' playbook. Wow.

Vick's excerpts did three things: 1) We're going to read his book now; 2) As brutal as the dog fighting was, it's kind of staggering to think what Mike Vick could have been as a football player if he had devoted himself to it; 3) As much as we know right now about the Penn State mess, at some point one of the central figures involved will right a book and it likely will be worse than we think it is.

—————

Speaking of Penn State...

NCAA president Mark Emmert spoke openly for the first time since the scathing Freeh report detailed the layers of cover-up and the deafening silence that permeated Penn State and allowed Sandusky to be a child sex predator for decades.

Speaking to Tavis Smiley on PBS on Monday night, Emmert obviously has followed the case — who hasn't — and appears open to any and all measures of punishment:

"I've never seen anything as egregious as this in terms of just overall conduct and behavior inside a university and hope never to see it again. What the appropriate penalties are, if there are determinations of violations, we'll have to decide. We'll hold in abeyance all of those decisions until we've actually decided what we want to do with the actual charges should there be any. And I don't want to take anything off the table."

And if that is not clear as a bell that the death penalty is in play, try this one on for size. Emmert again: "This is completely different than an impermissible benefits scandal like happened at SMU, or anything else we've dealt with. This is as systemic a cultural problem as it is a football problem. There have been people that said this wasn't a football scandal. Well it was more than a football scandal, much more than a football scandal. It was that but much more. And we'll have to figure out exactly what the right penalties are. I don't know that past precedent makes particularly good sense in this case, because it's really an unprecedented problem."

You know the 5-at-10 believes the NCAA should come down full force on the football program. It was worse than a lack of institutional control in the football program; it was complete institutional control by the football program. And that's way more dangerous and damaging than rogue boosters or cheating coaches.

The school has promised changes and even started Monday by announcing that the organizers of "Paternoville" — the place where students camp out before home games — are changing the name to "Nittanyville" after the terror and damage to the legacy of Penn State? Here's wondering if they will honor the victims at the first home game, and if they do let them have the first ever "Moment of Screaming." A moment of silence seems like what started this whole thing, you know?

—————

This and that

— Brentwood Academy defensive back Jalen Ramsey committed to Lane Kiffin and USC on Monday. Ramsey is the top-ranked player in the state of Tennessee and the Vols finished third, behind the Trojans and Vanderbilt, in the chase for his services. The state of Tennessee has seven four-star prospects according to Rivals, and Tennessee has commitments from two — DE Jason Carr of Memphis and OT Austin Sanders of Bradley Central. Three — Ramsey, RB Mark Dodson (Ole Miss) and DE Frank Herron (LSU) — have committed to out-of-state schools. Two more — RB Jordan Wilkins and athlete Corn Elder — are uncommitted.

— Tough deal for Joey Votto, the Reds slugger who will miss up to a month after knee surgery. Know this: Votto, who played a year here with the Lookouts, is a really good dude.

— We can be critical of the good folks at ESPN at times, but we should all offer our heartfelt thanks for the replays of the best college football games from last season that they have been running for the last couple of weeks. Well-played indeed.

— Speaking of TV choices, we were struggling last night — no Braves on a Monday in July means T-R-O-U-B-L-E — and stumbled on "Tombstone" with Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer and a slew of familiar names and faces. We'll say it, "Tombstone" has aged like Raquel Welch. That movie is still as enjoyable and watchable as it was when it was released — almost 20 years ago.

— Kevin Youklis got a standing O in his return to Fenway on Monday night. Booby Valentine did not.

— Gang, don't forget the Openly Open Championship Championship. Pick five golfers — or four if you want to pick Tiger Woods — and the best four finishers count. Add the places up and the low score wins some tickets. Maybe NASCAR in the A-T-L. Braves could be in play. Maybe — BIG maybe — some UT-NC State duckets. Deadline is Wednesday night. Questions? We already have McPell's entry and a few others. Jump in, the water is warm.

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Today's questions

There are a slew of sports cliches that are cliches because they have proven true time and time again. There also are a few cliches that are cliches in name only — meaning they reached a level of acceptance and now they are believed to be true whether they are or not.

Take the cliche, "You have to establish the run in the NFL." Puh-lease:

Here are the top-five rushing teams from 2011:

Denver — 164.5 yards per game

Houston — 153 ypg

Carolina — 150.5 ypg

Minnesota — 144.9 ypg

Philadelphia — 142.2 ypg

Want to know who finished last? Yep, the New York Giants at 89.2 yards per game. The same New York Giants that won the Super Bowl by beating the New England Patriots, who ranked 20th in rushing.

With that knowledge and the physical demands on the position, would you give multi-year, big-dollar deals to running backs — like the ones Matt Forte and Ray Rice got Monday? And, who are the best three running backs of this generation? Seriously, with Adrian Peterson trying to rehab a serious knee injury, we possibly could be at an all-time lull in the position?

We'll give LaDainian Tomlinson the top spot for the last decade, but who else is worthy of discussion?

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...

Emmert's words sound right. Let's hope he means them. Love your suggestion of a moment of screaming.

From yesterday--You say the upper limit for the Vols is 10-2. I get that you're not predicting that, but still, that's just fantasy. You're gonna have to stop listening to Dr. B. If they only lose two, which two of these games are they gonna win: Florida, Gawga, Alabama, S. Carolina? Are you counting on their potentially stellar passing game to singlehandedly beat some of the country's best? I'm not sure your NFL stats apply here.

July 17, 2012 at 11:05 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Thanks for the kind words.

As for 10-2, well, maybe that is a little Dr. B-ish (he is a doctor after all) and that seems like the ceiling for sure.

But Florida is certainly beatable considering the fact they are going to struggle to score points, especially early.

As for the other three, well, UT will likely be underdogs but still. And with a quarterback with NFL talent — we're still not sold on him as a leader, and we're not sure if Tyler Bray is going to be a future first-rounder or forever remembered for his back tat, or both — you have a puncher's chance against anyone.

And no, the NFL stats do not apply to the college game. You have to run it in high school and college to be consistently good. Period. The difference of course is the skills in the NFL passing game. Those guys are S-I-C-K.

Where's your Open entry?

— 5-at-10

July 17, 2012 at 11:31 a.m.
chas9 said...

Love the ongoing questions that won't be asked at media days feature. I'll wait until the last minute to get my contest guesses in. Congrats to Todd for classing up yesterday's 5@10 by quoting Tyson. No, Stewie, that's not Iron Mike. He wouldn't class up a dog fight. Neil deGrasse rocks! His science ain't the sweet one.

Speaking of brawlers, does anybody know how big Saban's daughter is? Unless she got some height genes from her mom, she probably only stands about 4' 4".

July 17, 2012 at 11:54 a.m.
Blueoval said...

I too am loving the Questions That Won't Be Asked at SEC Media Days....good work 5/10

Used to Alabama was about the only school who could come in and steal a player from the state (usually Memphis area) on a consistent basis. TN is not usually considered a talent rich state to begin with but it would be nice to be able to keep the good athletes here. Jay do you have any insight on Dooley the recruiter? Fulmer used to be known as the deal closer, Kiffen the rule breaker (had to throw that in), what about Dooley. I know the program has been down and that's hurt somewhat but so far I'm just not seeing it. I don't read a lot into all the 3 star 4 star hype but I'm hoping the guys he is signing pan out.

My picks: Mickleson, D Johnson, Z Johnson and Woods

July 17, 2012 at 12:30 p.m.
deboman said...

I do not envy Emmert and the task ahead of him. He will earn his paycheck on this one. First of all, this is not the run of the mill investigation that he and his group normally encounter. Details will be overwhelming and it will take a toll on all involved on multiple levels. Second, he is in a no-win situation. No matter what the eventual outcome of their investigation is, the results will be scrutinized from top to bottom for years and years, everyone will have an opinion, and it has the potential to be a career ender. Not fun.

Of 9s list of 4, I would say that they beat South Carolina and Florida. They are going to catch SC with a run game and not much else right now on offense. Should be able to stick in this game, but the game is in SC so that stinks. Florida will be looking for something to get going on offense, and without an established QB, they could struggle. If UT is on their game, they could get the Gators on their heels and that might just be enough.

July 17, 2012 at 12:41 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Not sure how big the young Miss Saban is.

And no, Neil deGrasse Tyson is not related to Mike. He's the guy that started the chicken processing company, right? They do good work.

Oval —

Thanks for the kind words and you are in for the contest.

We'll reserve you're email for Friday's mailbag. Deal?

Debo —

So true about Emmert being between a rock and a bigger rock.

Look at the extremes — there's no one there now that had much if anything to do with the Sandusky nightmare; but something has to be done. And no matter what he does, it will not be harsh enough at the same time as being too harsh. That's a pickle.

South Carolina has holes; so does UGA. What do we really know about the Gamecocks offensively other than Lattimore is a monster? Georgia's offense is going to quarterback-driven like UT's with a less-proven receiving corps.

Both games are winnable. Both games are losable. It's part of the huge curve that faces every Johnny Vols Fan this fall.

— 5-at-10

July 17, 2012 at 1:36 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

After some careful research (and throwing some darts at a dart board), here are my five for the Openly Open Championship Championship:

Lee Westwood, Ricky Fowler, Padraig Harrington, Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer

I almost always pick Tiger or Phil in a major because they are the most likely to perform well, because they've dealt with the pressure and won so much. But Phil is playing so poorly, and if I took Tiger, I only got four players, and I can almost guarantee I would have been out of it as one guy would miss the cut. I'm hoping I've got four guys who make the cut and can make a run. Other problem- I like Justin Rose a lot in this event, but I tend to think that playing with Tiger the first two days for a guy like Rose won't be good for him. Just like it won't be good for Sergio. So I'm eliminating them. And I don't like that I have both Fowler and Harrington since they are playing together the first two days. Things like that scare me too. But these are the players I feel most comfortable with...I think. Check back in five minutes. I'll probably have changed my mind....

Thanks for the contest.

July 17, 2012 at 1:38 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I think what happens is to win, you play good defense and you have to stop the run. Then the converse of that gets applied and all h-e-doublehockeysticks breaks loose.

With the rough being rough at Royal Lytham and St. Anne's (I guess after the name Bushwood was taken, they had to go to something longer and more pretentious sounding. I hear Royal Lytham and St. Anne's and I expect to hear right after - bingo night will not be held Wednesday because Sister Mary Margaret Catherine is on vacation. But anyway, I digress...)

I'll take guys who put the ball in the fairway and have shown the ability to make putts. That leads me to pick these five:

Zach Johnson. His fairway bunker shot on the second playoff hole last week was tree-men-dus. Plus, he's accurate off the tee.

Jason Dufner. Also accurate. Also can make good putts and is a good lag putter. Plus I don't think he even has a pulse.

Luke Donald. Because it's really just about time, isn't it?

Ernie Els. Oh, why not?

And now for your winner .... No Tiger. No Phil (um, Phil, you wanna see what Tiger's NOT doing? Yeah, he's NOT hitting driver at every box, or at any of em. Yeah, you might want to do that). No Rory, and that pains me.

But for hitting fairways, making putts and already showing championship mettle, the Claret Jug will remain in Ulster.

With Graeme McDowell.

July 17, 2012 at 1:59 p.m.
Stewwie said...

What? "Tombstone" over Team USA vs. Brazil? Ok fine. The Americans had to overcome poor shooting from Kobe, 'Melo, and yes, even the Durantula to pull out the win. LeBron was a force scoring 30 points. I think both of these teams will make the semis at the Olympics along with France and Spain.

[We'll give LaDainian Tomlinson the top spot for the last decade, but who else is worthy of discussion?]

Easy call with LT but harder to pick another two. Maybe Edgerrin James and Tiki Barber? Lots of running-back-by-committee these days in the league.

[Take the cliche, "You have to establish the run in the NFL." Puh-lease]

Four of those five teams that you listed have mobile QBs. I wonder how many of those rushing ypg are from the QB. If the QB is getting lots of rushing yards, it's probably because he's not a good passer or his protection is awful. Either way, you've got to be able to throw the ball to avoid being too one-dimensional and predictable.

That said, a good running game (led by a good running back) is very important, especially in the fourth quarter when trying to protect a lead. A good stat (if it exists) might be to see what teams' rushing ypg are by running backs only. You don't have to have 150 rush ypg to win games, but you must be able to run it when needed.

Disappointed that the TSSAA board didn't give very much consideration to dropping the multiplier. I was hoping they'd follow Georgia's (and other states') lead in getting rid of it. As for why, I think Boyd's coach hit the nail on the head in his comments to Mr. Hargis about it.

July 17, 2012 at 2:43 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Stuck —

Always glad to have a contest. And nice list of picks — we agree it's a lot tougher to pick Tiger if you only get four, but here's saying wc777 picks him anyway.

Spy —

McDowell is on our list, too. So is Harrington and Dufner (War Eagle). Would love to have Els, but can't do it. Zach's margin for error is too slim.

And remember, gambling is illegal at Bushwood and we never slice. (Side note: Played in a legit tournament this weekend and forgot how much fun the pressure and intensity of competing can be. Went 76-82. Good times all around.)

Stew are our sunshine —

We should have mentioned the USA win, but it was a friendly after all. That said, LeBron has become the Alpha dog and if winning a title has allowed him to take the reins of this group, look out.

Great call that after LT it's tough. Really tough. We hate Tiki — quintessential stat guy who runs for 135 and a score in a 35-27 loss and fumbles twice in a tight game.

Great point about needing a chain mover, though. And we were equally as disappointed in the TSSAA ruling on the multiplier and the classification. (Side note: Grant Reynolds is aces.)

— 5-at-10

July 17, 2012 at 2:59 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

The New York football Giants averaged 116.5 yards per game rushing in four playoff games last year, with their running backs averaging 111.5 yards per game. They gave up an average of 111 yards per game in the playoffs, but only 75 yards per game to opposing running backs.

July 17, 2012 at 3:24 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

Running backs in the last decade how about Eddie George, Curtis Martin & Jerome Bettis?

5/10, when I post a golf score like that its usually front 9/back 9.

July 17, 2012 at 3:47 p.m.
Todd962 said...

As long as nobody's jumping to conclusions...it may have just been a tune-up friendly for the "Dream On" team last night, but even Obama made the statement that the 92 team likely would have never been down to that Brazil team. And he is the leader of the Free World after all. I guess the 2012 team is out of the running for G.O.A.T. and will just have to settle for a gold medal.

If you ask me, which I am glad you did, last night just returned the true Dream Team back to their rightful spot back atop Mount Olympic B.A.-dom alongside Mark Spitz' mustache. Imagine how many more gold medals Spitzy would have had if that caterpillar on his lip hadnt been dragging him down in the pool. You dont see Michael Phelps rocking a nose neighbor in the pool, do you?

July 17, 2012 at 3:50 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - Put me down for Furyk, Sergio, Paul Lawrie, Lee Westwood, and Ernie Els. Sergio's gotta win a major soon...

July 17, 2012 at 4:55 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

All hail the New York Giants. (Great line from one of those animated movies the tots watch.)

McPell —

Eddie George was good; Martin was better; Bettis was a load. We like Ed James that Stew mentioned too. And if Peterson had not blown his knee, he'd be in the discussion.

Mr. 962 —

Thanks, and we're going to leave the Obama commentary for the kids over at Clay Bennett's cartoon fun house. No thanks.

But you did give us a great idea for Wednesday's question. Gracias.

You in the contest?

sportsfan —

You are in the contest.

Like the love Ernie Els is getting this week.

— 5-at-10

July 17, 2012 at 5:37 p.m.
Todd962 said...

It was interesting to see how freely Obama was mingling with fans but probably a good idea to avoid political topics in this FOIB column. Clay doesn't seem to have much trouble stirring up absurd commentary. If you see David Cook around the office give him a hug. His attempt at a humor piece on a film festival somehow turned into a race riot today. "Well that escalated quickly..."

I will have to get the picks to you tomorrow.

July 17, 2012 at 6:01 p.m.
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