Hope your weekend was as good as ours. Great weather. The T-Ball Bulls delivered another fine performance. We finished writing a book. Planted some hydrangeas. Grilled some red meat.
Now it's time to focus on one of the underrated weeks of the sporting year. We love the draft. You know this.
If you have a specific team or player you'd like to discuss either email us, get on the Twitter (@jgreesontfp) or we can discuss it in the comments. Plus, when the two-week special radio feature on ESPN 105.1 resumes on Tuesday from 1-3, there will certainly be some draft discussions.
From the "Talks too much studios" let's drop some knowledge.
College football rewind
The spring has sprung and we're left staring into the abyss that is the college football offseason.
Here's what we know:
• Tennessee had more than 61K at its spring game and the more we hear about Butch Jones, the more we like the guy. We'll see come September if he can coach (we believe he can), but we know he can create energy, and that's something the Vols program desperately needed. Dude can also recruit, a fact that can't be overstated at this point for a Vols roster in need of talent.
We also know, as our UT beat ace Downtown Patrick Brown tells us here, that the UT quarterback debate rages on. We think Josh Dobbs and Riley Ferguson are going to have something to say about this come fall.
We also know there was a Jacquez Smith sighting on Saturday, and that if the light comes on for the former Ooltewah star, look out.
• We know that UTC completed its spring drills by completing goal No. 1 — no significant injuries. We also know that with that much talent and experience returning on each side of the ball, we believe the Mocs are the class of the SoCon. Yep, read that again. And, as UTC beat ace John Frierson tells us here, the offense found its stride in Saturday's spring game, which is encouraging considering the new coordinators on each side of the ball. From Frierson's report — six TDs of 23 yards or loner. Nice.
• We know Alabama will be preseason No. 1 and is stacked.
• We know there were some great photos of Auburn's spring game and the final rolling of Toomer's Corner. More than 83,000 folks showed up in Auburn on Saturday, which is encouraging for a program that needs some good news. Less than encouraging is, that like Tennessee, the quarterback issue is is far from settled.
Side question: Any of you go to a spring game on Saturday? What were your thoughts? Discuss.
Side question II: Are you ready for college football's nuclear winter? We're not. We're on this and developing a plan.
Welcome Mocs new AD
UTC officially hired David Blackburn as its next athletic director. Good hustle by UTC beat ace John Frierson to keep the TFP out front on this from the start.
Our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer offers Mr. Blackburn an excellent checklist of pressing items here that quite simply is spot-on from top to tale.
We believe Blackburn to be a good hire. A very good hire, in fact. And we believe Weeds hit an absolute homer with his six-point to-do list.
One other thing we'll throw out there: The fact that the search committee was not blinded by the orange on Blackburn's resume is encouraging for the future, at least it is in our mind. We know some old-school UTC fans are wary of Big Brother in Knoxville, but we still be believe Blackburn is a great pick.
Plus, if he can get the Vols and Lady Vols basketball teams down here a little more frequently, all the more better.
(Side note: We were prepared to offer more here, but Weeds aced his column. Well-played indeed.)
NFL draft contest
We're going to go all over the map on our draft stuff. And we offer this pledge: If you ask we'll answer in regard to the draft. Heck, we're even willing to do research if need be. We've pushed our chips in and we're waiting on the flop.
We've been doing this 5-at-10 thing for a while now — this is 650 consecutive Monday-Fridays actually — and we have developed a few contests that we must do.
There's the "Mastering the Masterful Masters" contest (which should be sponsored by MasterLock). Side note: Congrats to TNBuck who picked up his T-Shirt last week for winning. Thinker, we still have a hat for you.
There's the "Bowling for a Bowl of Bowl Games" picks contest.
There's the "First 1 out, Last 'dog in" college hoops contest.
There's the "If you ain't first, you're last" Kentucky Derby contest.
And there's the "Feeling the Draft."
Your entries will have five parts. If there's a tie after the first round, please check back Friday because we'll have a second-round tie-breaker.
Here are the categories:
First player picked:
Titans' first pick:
Steelers' first pick:
Falcons' first pick:
SEC players drafted in round 1:
Winner will get a Masters hat. Send in your entry, don't cost nothing.
This and that
— The early winner in this draft so far is the Tampa Bay Bucs. In need of a cornerback, the Bucs turned the 13th pick in Thursday's first round — and a conditional pick in 2014 — into the best corner in football. Tampa dealt the picks to the Jets for Darrelle Revis. Wow.
— Brittney Griner came out and talked openly about being gay to the media. Side question: Would this have been bigger news if she came out and said she was heterosexual?
— The NBA Playoffs started, and there were two excellent games Saturday. Sunday was blah — although the Heat put on their serious pants and handed the Bucks a plate full of "Take THAT." LeBron scored 27 points on 11 shots and went 27-10-8. OUCH-standing. We're pulling for our man Downtown Patrick Brown's Grizz, but we do not think they have enough for the Clippers. Alas.
— From the "Go fast, turn left" file: Matt Kenseth sprinted to the front with the help of a well-timed caution flag to win in Kansas. Kenseth held off Kasey Kahne. It's worth noting here that Kenseth is the third consecutive pole-sitter to win at NASACR's top level. Could be coincidence; could be another arrow in the quiver of those who say NASCAR is no where as entertaining as it used to be.
— The Atlanta Braves lost three in a row to the Pirates over the weekend, ending the 5-at-10's prediction that they would finish 158-4. Alas. Friday night's 6-0 loss was head-scratching. The Braves got two hits, did not draw a walk and amazingly did not leave a runner on base. CUH-razy stuff. From the "Take-the-good-with-the-bad" file — the Braves struck out 27 times in those three losses. Side note, part 2: The Braves are 13-5 and we're on board with this bunch and think this will be a fun ride. They head to Colorado today, and as good as they have been so far, they still have three of their eight everyday players — Dan Struggla, Jason Heyward and B.J. Upton — not hitting their weight. Literally.
We'll be dealing in draft questions all week.
What player — in either basketball or football — did you miss on the most?
We mean, coming into the draft, which guy coming out of college were you sure was going to be a stud in the league and never did. He was a first-round pick and when the selection was made you said, "Wow, that's a great pick" and regret saying it around your buddies because every time his name comes up the whole crowd says, "Wow, that's a great pick."
Here's the two that came immediately to our head: Football — former Auburn running back Ronnie Brown; Hoops — former Georgia Tech stud Tom Hammonds.
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 ...