published Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

5-at-10: Tennessee spring football and the Braves

Hey gang, remember Friday's mailbag and feel free to offer any ideas for the NFL draft contest. We love the draft; you know this.

Tennessee spring football

We spoke with TFP football ace Downtown Patrick Brown on the radio show Tuesday. We discussed the Vols quarterback situation. He wrote more on that all-important topic in today's TFP here.

  • photo
    Tennessee quarterbacks Justin Worley, Nathan Peterman and Joe Stocstill, from left, take part in warmups before one of the team’s scrimmages this spring at Neyland Stadium.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The competition between Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman will be one of the primary focus points of Saturday's Orange-and-White game. There is no way to overstate the importance of quarterback play, especially in the SEC. There's also little way to overstate the importance of taking a significant forward for each of the two primary QB candidates, especially Peterman.

If neither Worley nor Peterman take control of the race, then the competition likely still will be open when highly touted freshmen Riley Ferguson and Josh Dobbs get to campus this summer.

If that's the case, then your likely opening-game starter is Worley, primarily based on actual game experience. But with the true freshmen in the mix, Peterman could likely serve as the back-up this fall as one or both of those hotshot newcomers and then could very well get lost in the shuffle between a potential experienced senior (Worley) and two gunslingers (Ferguson and Dobbs).

Here's what new UT coach Butch Jones told Downtown Patrick Brown: "It's being able to turn momentum and make a big play, extend plays [and] just overall command presence," Jones said after Saturday's scrimmage. "I see it, but I still need to see it more on a consistent basis. It has to become innate, it has to be habitual, it has to be engrained in them and it comes with reps, it comes with confidence and it comes with putting the time in.

"That's why again this week is going to be critical, and the spring game's going to be critical when we actually get bodies in the stands to see how they perform."

If Vegas set a line on the UT quarterback race, we'd see it as:

Worley — 2-to-1

Peterman — 7-to-2

Dobbs — 15-to-1

Ferguson — 15-to-1

(And since wagering is for entertainment purposes only, we'd be really tempted to put a little side entertainment on Dobbs.)

————

Break up the Braves

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    Atlanta Braves pitcher Tim Hudson delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on Saturday, April 13, 2013, in Washington.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Braves have won 10 in a row after a stirring comeback that included three solo homers in the eighth inning for a 6-3 win over Kansas City.

Atlanta is 12-1. There are stil holes — this team will likely lead the free world in Ks — and you can make an argument that the Braves have had the easiest schedule in baseball so far, whipping the Cubs, Marlins and now the Royals during the streak.

But, and you know we like this Braves team, there are three hidden strengths that were highlighted Tuesday night:

• The Braves played poorly and won. They made three errors. They looked sluggish at times, and they still were able to flip a switch and win.

• We talk about the power up and down the line-up, and it's evident. With that comes strikeouts, and that can be scary, especially come playoff time. But as a tangent to that power comes the ability to change a game and make the most of a pitcher's mistake. Ask Royals closer Kelvin Herrera, who had not allowed a homer in a year but allowe three on high-90s fastballs up in the zone to Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Dan Uggla.

• Several folks have mentioned to the Braves' soft schedule to start. And aside from the impressive three-game sweep, the Cubs, Marlins and Royals do stink. That said, how many times in recent years have we bemoaned the Braves' inability to thump the bad teams, especially the perpetual-thorn-in-the-side Marlins? If you were like the 5-at-10 and complained about how the Braves in years past seemed to play down to certain levels of competition, then we have to praise them for stepping on the next of the weaklings.

————

Draft prep work

We love the draft. You know this.

We're going to spend at least one segment from now through next Thursday discussing something about the draft.

Today's topic:

Mike Glennon vs. Tyler Bray

We asked our radio co-host David Paschall if he would take Mike Glennon or Tyler Bray. He paused and said Glennon, taking the guy with a big arm and less talent and less off-the-field drama, over Bray, the guy with a bigger arm and more talent and a ton of off-the-field drama. (Side note: We would have loved, Loved, LOVED to have seen how Butch would have handled Bray if Bray had returned for his senior year. It would have either been a) Bray dismissed from the team; b) Bray, outside contender for the Heisman and there's little room in betwee.)

We see Paschall's pick and get it. If you think neither Glennon or Bray is going to be much more than a clipboard-holding, ball-cap-wearing back-up, then you take the kid with less drama. That is certainly Glennon.

But we have maintained since early in his career that, despite all the swirling issues, Tyler Bray has a big-time NFL arm, a rifle that few can match in regard to power and precision.

Will that arm talent be enough to overcoming the other stuff? That's the big question.

But if we were an NFL GM and needed a quarterback of the future and were in the back half of draft and Glennon and Bray were on the board, we'd pick Bray.

Any draft questions? As for the draft contest, we're thinking the first overall pick; the Titans' first pick; the Falcons first pick and.... we need a couple of other categories. Thoughts?

Discuss.

————

This and that

— Tip of the cap to the Yankees for playing "Sweet Caroline" — the Red Sox's traditional song — as a tribute to the tragedies in Boston

— On the radio we had some interesting discussion about the future of UTC athletics. Thanks for those that participated in that dialouge. Here's UTC ace Johnny Frierson's breakdown of and three questions with UTC AD candidate No. 2, Mike Buddie. We're planning on discussing the UTC athletic department candidates with Johnny Frierson on Thursday's radio show sometime between 1-3 p.m. on ESPN 105.1 FM.

— The final spot in the NBA playoffs will be decided tonight. If the Lakers beat Houston, the Lakers are in. If they lose and Utah beats Memphis, then the Jazz are in. Even as an eight seed, the NBA playoffs seem more playoff-y with the Lakers involved, no? That said, we're pretty sure the over-play on ESPN about the Lakers' "being the most dangerous No. 8 seed EVER" is going to be so omnipresent, we're already tired of it. Say it with us, "Let's go Utah" (clap-clap.. clap-clap-clap). Side note here: In the above paragraph we typed "Lackers" twice instead of Lakers. Something seemed fitting about that, no?

— Nate Montana, the former Notre Dame signee who transfered to West Virginia Wesleyan, was invited to participate in San Francisco's pro day combine. Nate Montana is the son of Joe Montana (and is not related to either Joe Mantegna or Nathan Arizona). And, yes, we believe that any of Bill Gates' kids would also get invited to Microsoft computer camp, too. So there's that.

————

Today's question

Pat Summerall died Tuesday. He was 82.

We believe he was one of the all-timers in regard to broadcasting.

What's your Rushmore of all-time TV play-by-play guys. It can be in any sport, but it has to be play-by-play guys and it needs to be TV (if we included radio, it would be a lot of the beloved Southern guys like Ward, Munson, Ledford, et al).

We'll go Vin Scully, Summerall, Keith Jackson and we're kind of torn for No. 4. Could be Brent Musberger even though we think Musberger should have called it a career about three years ago, but his career resume is an all-timer. Could be Jim Nantz, who gets to be the voice of major sporting events like the Super Bowl, the Final Four and the Masters.

Thoughts?

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.
titanic said...

Pat Summerall, Jim Nantz, Al Michaels, & Dan Hicks

April 17, 2013 at 10:24 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Titanic —

Al Michaels is an excellent call.

And has one of the true walk-off moments in the history of sports.

Well-played indeed.

April 17, 2013 at 10:29 a.m.
MocTastic said...

Heyward, Upton and Uggla weren't back to back to back. Gattis was in there before Uggla and made an out.

April 17, 2013 at 10:49 a.m.
MocTastic said...

I had heard so much about Vin Scully being so great..then I actually heard him do a game on radio years back. He is a storyteller, however, he told stories to the detriment of the game. He would be telling a story about the old days and then say that it was a 3-1 count on a batter that he had never mentioned even coming to bat. Maybe he was good at some point waaay back in the day, but don't push him as a great until you have actually heard him do a radio game.

April 17, 2013 at 10:54 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From StuckinKent —

Time to be nice to the Royals......

They are 7-6, and were picked by some "experts" to be a contender in the AL Central, and possibly steal a wild card. They're closer than you think to being a decent, above average team. They're ranked #13 in the most recent power rankings on ESPN.com. If they stink (and they might), then a whole lot of teams stink in baseball (and they might). The good news is that if that's true, the Braves should have a really easy time winning a bunch of games.

Any time you win ten in a row, you are doing a lot of things right. I don't care if the Braves were playing the Lookouts- that's tough to do in baseball.

April 17, 2013 at 11:10 a.m.
jgreeson said...

MocTastic —

Thanks for the head's up. We'll fix the sequence.

As for the Scully thing, uh, we have heard him. A lot.

Growing a Dodgers fan, he was simply the best in the game. He may tell too many stories before, but we'll put him up with about any of them.

Ever.

April 17, 2013 at 11:11 a.m.
biff_loman said...

J-Up hit a 86 MPH changeup to the stratosphere

April 17, 2013 at 11:17 a.m.
orangeguy said...

Scully is tops. Matter of fact, I move we call it the Vin Scully Rushmore of fantastic TV play-by-play guys...

Pete/Skip share a spot for me. They were the voice of my childhood. Sean McDonough called two of the greatest plays of my life... Bream's slide and Stoerner's stumble (and fumble). Phil Jackson is CFB royalty. And Costas' voice signals "big event" to me. He makes a July game feel like October. (I don't care for his commentary on SNF, tho)

Braves are notorious for slow starts & struggles vs. bad teams. This start has shattered both perceptions. It's all gravy, man. Loving it.

April 17, 2013 at 11:18 a.m.
chas9 said...

Another reason to like the Bravo's chances is that they OWN the Gnats, who are likely to be their toughest competition. Winning head to head is twice as nice in the standings.

I was surprised to read that Summerall was 6'4" and played tight end. Kinda thought of him as typical kicker size.

Jim McKay or Al Michaels.

April 17, 2013 at 11:20 a.m.
MocTastic said...

One person that should never be mentioned in being in any top announcers list is Tim McCarver.

April 17, 2013 at 11:22 a.m.
chas9 said...

Yesterday Jay asked "Better starting five — UT's Golden, Hubbs, McRae, Stokes, Maymon vs. UK's Harrison, Harrison, Dakari, Randle and Cauley-Stein?" I was away from the computer all afternoon, and nobody else cares this time of year.

If those are the lineups, UK has a cumulative 13" size advantage, so I expect UT would play Hall instead of Hubbs a lot in a big lineup. And UK will sometimes play a smaller lineup with Poythress and Lee subbing for WC-S, Randle and Dakari. There will be some really interesting matchup gamesmanship from both benches.

But assuming Jay's lineup, Tennessee's experience and Kentucky's talent will result in a draw at center and point guard. Stokes is more a power forward than a center, but Dakari gives UK its first true center of the Calipari era. Davis, Noel, Orton, Cousins, WC-S are all big forwards.

Maymon will be outplayed by either Randle or WC-S. Hubbs will be schooled by Aaron Harrison.

Hard to say what the matchup will be, but McRae will win at his wing position, though he won't dominate because KY will have more defensive quickness and grit than they did this year.

April 17, 2013 at 11:46 a.m.
orangeguy said...

Rather Keith Jackson is CFB Royalty... Phil's royalty too tho. Just a different Rushmore.

April 17, 2013 at 12:01 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I go Al Michaels, a throwback to Curt Gowdy, Keith Jackson (though, painfully, his last year or two was not his best) and ... hmmm ... I'll go Foster Hewitt.

Scully's great, and so was John Ward. Nantz is way too in love with himself (hello, friends?). Scully always gets major props for flying solo all these years with the Dodgers and he was quite capable on NBC's Game of the Week. Just too many Dodgers stories for my liking.

Also gave serious consideration to Skip Caray. Remember, he did Hawks games way back when and even preseason football when TBS carried it. Let's not forget his great job doing Motoball from the Goodwill Games.

Very good call on the underrated Sean McDonough. Has called a number of sports and handles them all well. Sure, his daddy paved the way, but Sean is good on the mike in his own right.

And as 5 knows, I am big Wes Durham fan. A little over the top at times but dude is incredibly well prepared and his broadcasts show just how much homework he has done. That in itself is a rarity these days.

April 17, 2013 at 12:06 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Howard Cosell. He made Monday Night Football into what it was. He made announcers that came after him alot of money. Love him or hate him, he revolutionized the industry.

April 17, 2013 at 12:08 p.m.
jgreeson said...

MocTastic —

Cosell is an excellent call. Dude was money on MNF (even made it the cultural icon it is), boxing and even Battle of the Network Stars.

Also, he was one of the few that could do play-by-play and color commentary. (Yes Spy, we said it.)

And McCarver is a tool of the highest order.

Orange —

You're right on both fronts on the Jackson name. In fact, you've even given us tomorrow's question. Well-played indeed.

And this start is gravy. What a fun bunch to watch.

9er —

Nice breakdown, and you're right about the size mismatch. One other great storyline next year will be if Golden, Stokes and McRae return with Maymon and Hubbs and Hall and the rest, Martin will be facing a tournament-or-bye type of hot seat in our view.

Stuck —

Fair point about the Royals. And when they are 15 games under .500 in mid-July, they'll start the fire sale (in our opinion).

Biff —

Thanks. Good point. Had the game on TV in the background and Simpson and Co. were talking about this kid's heater. Alas.

Spy —

Durham is aces. Very well prepared. Gowdy was great back in the day when being great was expected. That's the crazy thing, those guys back in the day were like the top five or seven TV announcers in the profession. Now with 8 million broadcasts there are some bad, Bad, BAD announcers out there.

Great debate today gang.

April 17, 2013 at 12:22 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Agree with MocTastic. Cosell was one of the few, very few, announcers, who compelled you to tune in simply because he was doing the game. As 5 alluded, there are now many announcers who make you want to tune out.

April 17, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.
titanic said...

One more for the record, I think Brad Nessler is pretty darn good also.

April 17, 2013 at 1:25 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Cosell helped make Muhammad Ali what he became, and Ali helped make Cosell a household name. If either one of them had never lived, the other would have had a much less conspicuous life.

April 17, 2013 at 1:27 p.m.
chas9 said...

Love Cosell, but I think of him as more an analyst than play by play. I don't remember if he was color or play by play, but I loved ol' Dizzy.

April 17, 2013 at 1:29 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[What's your Rushmore of all-time TV play-by-play guys.]

Keith Jackson, Marv Albert, Al Michaels, Skip Caray

I liked Pat Summerall, but never thought he was "great". One good thing about his personality was that he never let his talking get in the way of the game (Nantz and Buck talk way too much, IMO). However, Summerall's lack of emotion was a little bit underwhelming at times especially during the big plays during the biggest of games.

[Any draft questions? As for the draft contest, we're thinking the first overall pick; the Titans' first pick; the Falcons first pick and.... we need a couple of other categories. Thoughts?]

I like those you mentioned. What about also doing the first SEC player chosen and the number of SEC players drafted in the first round?

Jay (mailbag?), what are your NBA playoff predictions (series winners and results)? Also, who would you give the season awards to? The MVP and Rookie of the Year are definite locks (or at least should be), but Defensive Player of the Year, 6th Man of the Year, and Coach of the Year are up for debate. And...what impact (if any) will T-Mac have for the Spurs?

April 17, 2013 at 1:34 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Exceptionally well said.

Titanic —

We think Nessler is underated, especially since he gets like C-plus, B-minus sidekicks.

MocTastic —

Fair point. And having that running budy/inside source (especially when said inside source is the biggest name on the planet) is worth something.

9er —

Seems like Cosell was analyst on football and play-by-play on boxing, but we could be mistaken there. He definitely did play-by-play on battle of the network stars.

As for Dizzy, he was the one who had the great story about the young couple down the third-base line who was so much in love that he was kissing her between the strikes and she was kissing him between the...

Stewwie —

You're in the mailbag.

Over/under on SEC players in the first round will be part of the event.

— 5-at-10

April 17, 2013 at 2:05 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

So what's Dan Uggla's WAR? Not war, Dan Uggla. But what is the WAR for Struggla, now batting .167 with three dingers and four ribbies. And more whiffs than homers and RBIs put together.

April 17, 2013 at 2:16 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Frank Broyles was one of my all-time favorites broadcasting college football on television. I realize that Broyles would be a longshot on any Rushmore list as his broadcasting career was relatively short and he is likely remembered more as a coach and athletic director. Frank brought knowledge of the game and enthusiasm that was always present but never over-the-top. It doesn't hurt that his accent was perfect for coverage of southern college football games. Frank working alongside Keith Jackson should be required listening for some of those goofballs ESPN currently employs to cover college football.

April 17, 2013 at 3:01 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Did anybody here actually hear Mel Allen call a game? I LOVED him on This Week in Baseball.

April 17, 2013 at 3:12 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Dan Uggla's WAR is against curveballs. It's like Charlie Wilson's war except we're all victims.

GD —

Sir, great call on the required listening. There are a lot of college football announcers — we're looking at you Mark Jones — who were obviously absent the day they taught broadcasting at broadcasting school. And that reminds us, we need to send a donation check to whichever school hired Bob Davie and got him out of the booth.

And for really bad, Andre Ware to the white courtesy phone, Andre War to the white courtesy phone please.

MocTastic —

Loved Mel on TWiB, too. Never heard him actually do a game though.

April 17, 2013 at 3:47 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

I agree with just about all of the announcers mentioned. I will pass on Costas.

Possible draft contest, first QB picked other than Geno Smith, winner also if the guess comes before Geno Smith.

April 17, 2013 at 4:40 p.m.
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