From the Talks too much studios, let's make the magic happen...
It’s Halloween week and it’s time to exorcise all of the bad things that has happened to Derek Dooley these last 3 years. I do feel like we’re in the waning days of Dooley’s tenure at the University of Tennessee. But before closing this terrible chapter, I want you to rehash the top 5 worst moments of the last 3 years. Let it all hang out. Make me angry. Make me cry. Make me sad. Get it out 5@10. Make me relive those terrible moments because it’s about to change. There’s a light at the end of this tunnel. Whether it be Jon Gruden or whoever, we’re about to start on a new chapter and this time it will be different.
P.S. Who makes the final call on Dooley’s future? Dave Hart or the big $$$ boosters?
Been a tough year all around. Auburn and Tennessee — teams that have sort of a kindred spirit because they share two of their most-hated rivals in Alabama and Georgia — have been disappointing. (Although to call Auburn disappointing is either a) an injustice to the word 'disappointing' or b) a clear sign that the person does not know the definition of dumpster fire when that dumpster is filled with tires, sulfur, decaying skunks and diapers filled with Indian food.)
Here is a quick bottom five of Dooley's lowlights to date:
1) 10-7 with a wide receiver playing quarterback. No other information needed, right? Let's just move along like we don't care because Dooley's team put forth the least-caring and energetic effort we can recall in UT history last November in that loss at Kentucky.
2) The purposeful and crafted number 31. If you think Alabama and Nick Saban posting three 31-point wins over Dooley's Vols has been by accident, well, then you are not well versed in the dark arts of Lord VolderSaban. We believe Saban has called off the dogs on his former assistant with a five-score lead each time. And when your chief rival consistently proves its five scores better than you, well, crud. Who wants to watch that?
3) Watching the 8-second highlight DVD of "Defensive fundamentals with Sal Sunseri: Tackling is optional." (Seriously, how can a defense have at least three NFL players — Sentimore, AJ and Maggitt can play — and be this bad. Wait, we follow Auburn, we know the answer to that except it's on the Tigers' offense.)
4) The situation you and your Johnny Vols Fans brethren are in this very morning. The numbers are brutal and worn out — 0-15 against ranked foes is the big one. Do you want UT to drop a November game to make sure there is a change? We don't know the answer to that. In fact, we're not completely sure there will be a change, especially if the Vols win five games before Signing Day. So, the fact that you head into a Saturday not knowing if you want your team to win or lose is a poignant testimony about the unsettled nature of this program in Year 3 of Dooley.
5) The fact that if we flipped the intent of this list — what is the list of Dooley's best moments? — the highlight of the last three years is beating Vandy in overtime. And beating Vandy should be the baseline of expectation for UT not the high point. Wait, this may be the No. 1 thing on the lowlights list. (Scratch that, there's nothing that beats losing to UK for the first time since Reagan and Alex P. Keaton were stars of the conservative renaissance.)
And the answer to your P.S. is "Yes." Seriously, we think it's Hart call, and that's how it should be. If it was the big-money boosters, he'd already be out since there is virtually zero support behind the scenes and the only positive thing most pro-Dooley Johnny Vols Fans are saying is "Well, he did inherit a mess."
We're close to the same age, right? So are you as excited as I am about the new Star Wars movie.
Seriously, what other old-school movies would like to see another version of? Thanks, and thanks for the FOIB sports column.
PS - I'm 45.
We're close in age — we turned 42 a month ago Saturday. We're a MAN! We're 40 (plus 2)!
That said, we do not share your excitement about the reports that Star Wars is coming back, especially since George Lucas sold his production stuff to Disney for the tidy sum of $4 billion.
Three new Star Wars films are in the works, and they are reportedly from Lucas' writing and deal with Luke Skywalker in his 30s and 40s, which is fine if we want to watch Luke dealing with the Force of nature that us carpooling and Little League and what not. Still the biggest hurdle for the Star Wars series is replacing Darth Vader.
Plus, we can see Disney super-loading it with little kids stuff, and that's fine for the next generation. But if you're going to do that, do it with a new cast and set of ideas. Kids today won't know, but their parents who were kids when Star Wars was the B-O-M-B will. Maybe they will be stoked like you are Harold, maybe they will be indifferent like we are. Either way it kind of makes us sad that there are not enough good new ideas out there to make new movies. Sigh.
Here are the movies we want to see the next chapter of (this is not a remake list, which would be completely different and topped by Red Dawn 2012, which is in the works — Yay — and this list does not have Anchorman II, which is also in the works — Yay squared):
Braveheart II: Let Robert the Bruce take the fight to a Longshank-less England. We're in. Heck, we'd even watch a prequel about William Wallace learning his tricks in his travels with his uncle after his family was killed. Show us how he learned outlawed tunes on outlawed pipes.
True Lies: Of all the action movies, this one is supremely underrated. Sure, it's not Die Hard — what is? — but True Lies is closer than most. Call it Truer Lies, and with the international terror that is going on, there's certainly not a shortage of storylines.
The Breakfast Club: Class Reunion: Try to tell us there wouldn't be 10 million 40-46 year-olds in line for early tickets for this one. And it's not like the cast is super busy of late either. You could make this one for $25 million and a PBJ with the crust cut off.
Dodgeball II: One more for Patches: We need this if for no other reason than we need more Cotton and Pepper and ESPN 8: The Ocho.
Ferris Bueller Jr.: You know you'd go watch this.
Now for movies we don't need:
Raiders of the Lost Ark 12: Indy Jones and the Adventures in Assisted Living
Karate (Grand)Kid: Let it go Daniel-son.
Cars III: Cars 2 was bad enough, let's not flatten the ties on Lightning and the gang any more.
Rambo V: Peace talks at the U.N. with Angelina Jolie; the other headline we had was Rambo V: Let's hug it out
RoadHouse II: We would have had this on the other list, but since Patrick Swayze passed, the legend of Dalton passed with him. R.I.P., and nobody puts Baby in a corner.
Got some questions for you (Friday mailbag or whenever). What's your Rushmore of football team juggernauts (pre 1978 and post 1978 - when scholarship limits were instituted)? Bama would have to be at the top of my post 78 teams. As an aside, it appeared that CBS was really promoting the GA Bulldogs during the second half of the game. I'm not a fan of either team (I just enjoy SEC football), but it appears that television broadcast commentators pick their favorites. Is that because the network tells them to?
As for the CBS guys, well, we don't think they are vested in any one team as much as they are vested in the SEC. And when Georgia had the Florida game wrapped, it became apparent that the Bulldogs are the frontrunners in the East.
So, since CBS has the SEC title game and whomever comes from the East will be a sizable underdog to Alabama, the CBS folks need to start the interest campaign ASAP.
As for your Rushmores, great question. Side note: We probably need to get someone on keeping a collection of our Rushmores. That would be interesting.
Disclaimer: These runs have to be at least three-year stretches, otherwise it could be Cam Newton- or Johnny Rodgers-type roll over a season or two. Three years is the baseline and teams should get bonus points for longer runs like Miami from 1986-92 because that's truly impressive.
1) The U from '86-92 — Two Heisman winners, three national titles and a 76-6 mark. This was a bad group.
2) Alabama 2009-and beyond — Potentially three titles in four years and a river of NFL talent on the roster and on the horizon. It's like the computer that Gary and Wyatt built in "Weird Science" — "It's moving. It's working. It's working by itself." (Side note: There's no way Nick Saban is putting a bra on his head. Kirby Smart maybe; Saban, no way.)
3) Nebraska 1993-95: A two-point loss to FSU prevented Nebraska from three-peating. The Cornhuskers were 36-1 in this stretch.
4) USC 2002-2006: Pete Carroll's team was littered with NFL talent — including three Heisman winners. The Trojans went 56-5 and got the edge over the early 2000s Miami teams because USC won two titles.
1) Notre Dame 1946-49: Not only did the Irish win three national titles and go 36-0-2 in this stretch. They never trailed over this three-year stretch. You like apples? How about them apples?
2) Oklahoma 1953-58: The Sooners went 60-3-1 in this stretch and won by an average of more than four touchdowns. Oklahoma posted 27 shutouts in those 64 games. Wow. Picture what Auburn football is this year, and imagine the exact opposite.
3) Alabama 1961-66: The Tide won a share of three national titles, went 60-5-1 with two perfect seasons and went 5-1 on New Year's Day bowl games.
4) Army 1944-46: Amazingly, this team played the No. 1 team on our list to a scoreless tie in 1946. The Cadets covered this three-year span without a loss — 27-0-1 — and beat teams by an average 42-6 on the way to two national titles.
Question for the mailbag: I think that UTC's Fire defense is effective when it's run at certain times during a game (but not the whole game). You said last year that the Fire D is flawed at its core. Can you give us a brief overview on how to play that D and then explain why you think UTC (or any team) shouldn't use it?
Playing the "Fire" defense, as we understand it, is a double-down on the post player once the ball is thrown into the post. The other three players are forced to rotate and scramble — generally trying to move up a guy, which means they move to cover the guy that is one pass away. It's designed to take away a low post threat and hopefully create turnovers and tempo. For this to work there needs to be great pressure on the ball and create anticipation from the off-the-ball defenders. There also needs to be some element of surprise, which is impossible for UTC since it has used the defense a great deal over the last handful of years. That means UTC foes work with their post players to move the ball quickly before the double team arrives and that sets this defense up to fail before the pieces are put in motion. The quick pass to the post and back — what TV folks and analysts call working inside-out — extinguishes Fire rather quickly.
We agree that Fire can be effective, but it has to be part of a defensive approach as opposed to the fundamental basis of it.
As for the core, we believe Fire is flawed at its core in the Southern Conference. That's a big distinction for the following reason: The SoCon is filled with undersized guys that spend their summers hoisting jumpers. There are not dominant big guys in the SoCon, and certainly not enough of them to warrant a base defense that doubles the post regardless of who is in the post. If Shaq is down there and UTC is trying to stop that, fine, run Fire until the nets burn.
But to double UNCG's power forward or Elon's 5 just on principle and allow one extra pass — just one extra pass, not even the four that Coach Dale would prefer, since every UTC opponent practices against Fire — to create a wide-open 3 is cracked. Think of it this way: UTC held opponents to the lowest shooting percentage in the SoCon last year at 40.7 percent. So Fire must be working, right. Well, UTC allowed 300 made 3s last year — 50 more than the closest SoCon team — and roughly half of the 1,895 shots attempted against UTC were 3s. Teams know what is coming and are prepared for it.
Think of it this way, if you were playing a team that preferred to run the football because it had mediocre receivers, would you say, "OK, we're going to double the wide outs to make sure they don't beat us. Sure, we're going to have to get a little lucky and hope they miss some open shots against our six-man defensive front, but let's go. Fire."
I have been reading since late 2010 when all the Cam stuff broke, and I Iove the column. Seriously. It's how a few of us at work start our day and it really kinda starts our conversation for the day.
There were a few of us that laughed out loud at you comparing Zach Mettenberger as a cross between Zach Morris and Dewey Oxberger.
It also got us trying to guess who is on your All-time Rushmore of Fat Guy Comedians. I said you'd have Candy, Belushi, Farley and Ron White. My buddy — will you call him Tommy Dooley-Lover — says you'll go Candy, Drew Carey, Belushi and Zach Galifianakis.
Who you got, and who wins between me and Tommy?
Thanks for the kind words and for the question.
You and Tommy Dooley-Lover have excellent lists. Here's our fat guy comedy Rushmore:
John Candy — One of our all-time favorites, and Uncle Buck is a true comedy classic. Plus, with Buck, Vacation, Stripes, that's a pretty good trio as a starting line.
Rodney Dangerfield — Talk about a trio of starting points: Easy Money, Caddyshack and Back to School is OUT-standing. Plus dude was a stand-up machine.
Jackie Gleason — The original Fat Guy funny man.
John Belushi — We bounced back and forth a great deal, and we almost eliminated Belushi for Farley because in truth, Belushi was not that heavy. But his SNL run was very good (even if it was a touch overrated in our eyes) and no other heavy hitter has the comedy trio of Animal House, Blue Brothers and Neighbors. Plus, dude is a Hall of Famer in regards to physical comedy, which is a lot harder than most think.
Great question, and it looks like you and Tommy D-L pushed. So you guys play nice.
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 ...