published Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

5-at-10: Jamarcus Russell comeback, Super rooting interests and players you love to hate

Jamarcus Russell comeback

We love the draft. You know this.

We love the ever-changing nature of the way it plays out. We love the merging merits of need vs. best player available. We love the immediate reviews and the long-term grading of this pick and that draft. (Want to know how the 49ers were able to turn things around so quickly? One, Jim Harbaugh is a coaching ninja, going 24-7-1 in two years for a franchise that was 46-82 from 2003-2010 without a winning season or a playoff berth. Two, they were slap money in the 2011 draft, getting defensive difference maker Aldon Smith in round one, dealing later picks to land quarterback Colin "Humpty" Kaepernick in round two, starting nickel back Chris Culliver in round three, and starting fullback Bruce Miller in round seven.)

And news of Jamarcus Russell's vowed comeback leaves the draft hound in us dumbfounded. Hey, great if the guy can make it back, it's not like every franchise is overflowing qualified quarterbacks in this day and age.

But here are the two things we can say without question about Russell: He is the reason the 5-at-10 is familiar with PurpleDrank (the prescription-cough syrup-based drink that also includes a Jolly Rancher, and guys, we may not know much, but if a grown man is getting his drink on with a concoction that needs a Jolly Rancher or a Life Saver, well, there could be any number of wide-ranging questions asked — not that there is anything wrong with that); and Russell is the worst draft pick ever.

Forget the social and medical purposes of the PurpleDrank (and if you used a lemon Jolly Rancher or a LemonHead would it be YellaDrank, and if so would that guy from YellaWood be willing to be a sponsor... where were we), Russell was the first pick in a draft that included the best running back (Adrian Peterson), wide receiver (Calvin Johnson), offensive tackle (Joe Thomas), middle linebacker (Patrick Willis), cornerback (Darrelle Revis) and arguably the second best tackle in the league (Joe Staley) and the best guard (Marshal Yanda). Ouch-standing.

As a side note, Russell almost single-handedly caused the NFL lockout of a few years ago that was in large part needed to scale in the escalating salaries of first-round draft picks. Russell signed a $61-million deal that included $32 million in guaranteed money — Cam Newton got a total contract worth roughly $22 million for being the first pick in 2011.

So the reports that Russell is now motivated to prove he can play in a league that has not offered him even a second-look since 2009 is hardly worth discussing. The fact that one draft pick can affect so many teams in the league — and the league at its core — is part of the reason the draft is so awesome in its awesomeness.


Super Bowl prop bets

Gang, we have kicked around some of the best off the cuff prop bets and we're committed to doing that through the Super Bowl, which is in roughly 10 days but feels like three months. The big and crazy prop bets — stuff like Joe Flacco's passing yards will be more than Tiger Woods score at whatever PGA tournament is next week or Anquan Bolden's catches will be more than LeBron James' assists — will be later next week.

Today, we'll take the under on the first score happening before the 7:30 mark of the first quarter. Yep, you can bet on just about anything in the Super Bowl.

We asked on the Twitter last night who are you pulling for, and we're interested in your opinion here too. We're trying to figure out who we're supporting, although we're leaning toward the 49ers. Here's why:

We like Jim Harbaugh, who we'll compare to Ben Affleck, while John Harbaugh is more of the Casey Affleck. (Hey, each of the Harbaughs are stout, so that's why we went with the Afflecks. If it was as one-sided as say Tommie and Hank Aaron, it would Frank and Sly Stallone or Ron and Clint Howard, but each of the Harbaughs have skills.)

We have a growing amount of respect for Humpty Kaepernick because he can throw it a lot better than most realize and look at him he's skinny and it never stopped him from getting busy.

Here's a push for us though, and it involves two of the all-time greats at their position: Who would you rather see win a ring — Randy Moss or Ed Reed? Discuss.

(Side note, and Quake feel free to comment on this as a longtime Steelers supporter: We talked to occasional show contributer SteelerFan, who, you guessed it, pulls for the Steelers, and he admits to being in quite the compromising spot here. One, as a Steeler supporter, he's required by moral compass to hate the Ravens; however, if the 49ers win next Sunday, they will match the Steelers' six Super Bowl titles, a fact that gives SteelerFan great pause.)


College hoops

Wow, Alabama delivered a complete performance and presented us with the real chance UK could be the story of selection Sunday considering the Blue Blooded Blue Nation could have the rare chance to win the NCAA tournament one year and the NIT the next.

Side note: And no one will be crying crocodile tears for Coach Cal and the Cats, but when you have to rework your roster and you have Kentucky on your chest, well, you get no mercy and are spared no quarter. The Wildcats are still the biggest game on every team in the SEC's schedule. Case in point: UK drew capacity crowds in Auburn and Tuscaloosa the last two games, and the Tide were able to finish the deal with a 59-55 win Tuesday night that left UK at 12-6 overall and 3-2 in the league with games against four-ranked teams and trips to College Station, Knoxville, Athens and Fayetteville left on the schedule. (Rest easy chas9, we still believe UK is a tourney lock, but the cracks around the surface have to be of some concern, no?)

And we can see what our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer accurately stated this morning, that the league may be down but not out of the title talk considering Florida looks the part of a serious Final Four contender.

And word to the wise college fans out there that may be enjoying watching the SEC take it on its collective basketball chin: Get them now. Because as we discussed Tuesday that the SEC has nine teams in the top 20 recruiting rankings in football, the level of talent being amassed by the SEC basketball programs is staggering.

Fifteen of the top 18 high school players in the country according to have signed. Of those 15, 10 have signed with SEC schools, including five with Kentucky.

Get them now boys, get them now.

Side note: Remember our Too early to pick x Two months from now = the Final Four picks. Send us your Final Four and the entry with the most will win some Masters gear.


  • photo
    Former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno, seen in this 2007 file photo, died Sunday, January 22, 2012. He was 85. (Barbara L. Johnston/Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

This and that

— Wow, it's been a year since Joe Paterno died. It seemed like he was there forever and 40-plus years is as close as forever gets in coaching. But since all the scandal and all the pain, it seems like he's been gone a decade and it's been only a year.

— Speaking of Alabama's win, Tide point guard Andrew Steele is a definite contender for the Stan White All-Stars, guys who feel like they have put in 12-year college careers. We think Steele may have been in Latrell Sprewell's recruiting class.

— OK, this is stranger than fiction. There's a county in Ireland that is considering passing a Drunk Driver's license. How exactly would you test for that, have Paddy O'Callahan kick back a couple of pints and drive the obstacle course?

— We're done with the Manti Te'o story. There's no way this is going to get anything but more diluted and more sad. Part of his interview with Katie Couric was aired Wednesday morning on Good Morning America in which he admitted to lying after finding out about the hoax in early December.


Today's question

Gang, remember the mailbag.

In honor of our UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown's look at everyone's favorite Marshall, Ole Miss's shoot first, talk always guard Marshall Henderson, who are the players that you loved to hate the most?

Can be from any sport, but college basketball is a good place to start.

We'll take a love-to-hate college hoops Rushmore of: Scottie Thurman, Eric Montross, Joakim Noah, Adam Morrison.

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 ...

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.
orangeguy said...

Christian Laettner, John Wall, Miles Simon, Bobby Hurley.

Laettner is in a class all by himself. The other guys just got on my nerves. I'm obviously anti-guard.

January 23, 2013 at 10:52 a.m.
dawg747 said...

Ten Cup: Great 5 @ 10 as usual. Question since reports have Jamarcus weighing around 300lbs. Is he coming back as a qb, a defensive tackle or an offensive tackle? Not that it matters but just was wondering.

Final Four: Duke, Michigan, Kansas and Florida. I just cannot put Louisville in there until they right the ship after another loss last night.

January 23, 2013 at 10:52 a.m.
chas9 said...

If you consume a few YellaDranks with the treated lumber guy in Tuscaloosa, you'll get Yellahammered.

I didn't see the Couric interview. Did sweet Katie use the thumbscrews?

I liked Noah. And I liked the camera showing his beautiful model mother in the stands. My love to hate players would be @#$%* Laettner and three Vols of your choice. OK, Lofton, Pearl and Boerwinkle.

Gussie Moran died this week. Now that we're bombarded with paparazzi's starlet crotch shots, it seems passe, but back in the day (when Spy and fec were pups), it was quite the sensation to glimpse a bit of lacy panties under her Wimbledon skirt.

Guess they're determined to shove a Paterno movie down our throats. Say it ain't so, Joe.

From yesterday--If the Mocs hire Pearl, they should put a clause in the contract that he has to keep his shirt on. Nobody wants to see that flab painted blue and gold.

Yes, there are worrisome cracks. It's no shame to drop a game to a good Bama team on their court, but if they want to be competitive in March, Kentucky has to start winning that kind of game, now. The free throw woes that I warned about yesterday bit 'em and the offense panicked second half, but the Cats played good D.

Let the record show that national champs often struggle the next year. The Wooden era is dead and gone. Jay's right that UK gets and deserves no mercy, but it would've helped to have Willie in the game (short bench I warned about).

And Stuckey's Spartans stole a big one.

January 23, 2013 at 11:17 a.m.
Astropig said...

Jay- Jamarcus Russell? Is this your April 1st column ?

Recruiting- Good to see that CBJ at least pretended to care about recruiting Vonn Bell over at Ridgeland.The guy that preceded Jones at UTK (who shall not be named) was steering the ship toward disaster by not getting in the scrap for players like Bell who have both hometown pride and all world cred. Now,Jones may not get Bell or too many other local studs (he came in way late in the game,remember) , but Vols coaches actually being welcome in the power programs of the tri-state should warm the hearts of true Vols fans...

I think that the wounds are still too fresh to have an accurate take on Joe Paterno's true legacy.Maybe he'll be "rehabilitated" with the passage of time and the outrage over what happened at PSU recedes in our collective memories.Paterno could coach.No argument there. But despite his warriors heart,was he a moral coward for putting "the program" above the welfare of abuse victims? I would be interested to see what this episode will look like when it is viewed 20-25 years from now and Jerry Sandusky is dead and buried.

January 23, 2013 at 11:27 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

"There's a county in Ireland that is considering passing a Drunk Driver's license. How exactly would you test for that, have Paddy O'Callahan kick back a couple of pints and drive the obstacle course?"

This gives me an idea for the new ad campaign with the Ireland Department of Tourism.

Ireland: Stereotypical and Proud of It.

January 23, 2013 at 11:43 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Orange —

We were pro-Duke back in the Laettner days, but we can surely feel the anti-Christian sentiment... wait that didn't read right. And if you have two on there, how close was JJ Reddick to joining the fray.

Dawg747 —

Thought the same thing about the reports of Jamarc's ballooning weight — apparently he swallowed a lot of aggression along with a lot of pizzas.

And did you see the team of studs trying to help him in his comeback? And if Tim Tebow and his unending drive and scatter-gun accuracy can't make it in the league how is a 300-pound Purple Drank going to right the ship?

9er —

We completely yield to your UK au-THOR-a-TIE. We believe this team gets bounced in round 2 of the SEC tournament. Sweats a little on selection Sunday and then is a tough out when the lights come on because they are freakish athletically. And while young, there is a big difference in today's freshmen, especially the elite players that have played in countless big games against top-flight competition.

Our man Paschall echoed your praise for Noah. And offered one Larry Bird from back in the day,

Astro —

No doubt. And while we think the hill may be too tough to scale with Vonn, Butch got back in the game and that's saying something since Bettlejuice Dooley had all but pushed Bell to T-Town or Columbus.

That's a great question, about whether time will — we're going to say heal, because there is no healing from some of these wounds — temper the angst and anger around Joe Pa's legacy. Don't know, but it's a great talking point.


That made us laugh out loud. You and your blarney stone, you.

— 5-at-10

January 23, 2013 at 11:56 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

I woulda gone Jeff and Beau Bridges, rather than Ben and Casey Affleck. To each his own, I guess. Even if Ben and Casey are neighbors (Ben lives about five miles from me, Casey about 25).

Back in the day, I hated Jay Bilas. Liked Duke; hated Bilas. Big dude, smart, good looking, probably got all the chicks. Hated guys like that.

But 5, you know me, and you know most of the players I hate have some sort of New York connection. So pretty much any New York Yankee, New York Jet, New York Ranger or New York Times, even New York, New York (not really ... I value my life, Mr. Sinatra.) or have been Dallas Cowboys. And Pittsburgh Steelers. Hated all of them too. Can't say I hated Andrew Toney. Feared him. Respected him. Appreciated his game too much to hate him.

Can't work up a lot of hate for college players. Teams, yeah. Players, not so much. Maybe I'm to collegial to hate college players. But I digress.

January 23, 2013 at 11:57 a.m.
chas9 said...

Jay--You're right about freshmen today being better. But the flip side is that teams are worse. There's not much doubt that overall quality of play was better when they stayed three or four years.

I blame Gussie for some of Serena's outlandish costumes. Speaking of which, she just took it on the chin. And she'd be on the Rushmore of tennis players we love to hate. Along with McEnroe, Connors and Agassi.

And Spy shames me into admitting that I fear and respect the star collegians more than hate them, even if they have loads of attitude. But I do hate the headbands.

I can testify from experience that beer tastes better in Ireland, so my kinsmen have an excuse.

January 23, 2013 at 12:21 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

I tend to have more hate towards teams then I do individuals. And unfortunately two are all but assured entry into the Sunbelt (JR's words, not mine from this mornings streaming audio broadcast). Which means UTC will have nothing but cupcakes to play with until such time they move up or to the OVC (just my opinion).

This is pure sacrilege in this town but I have never liked Peyton Manning. I'm sure as a person he's as decent a human as their is but just the "aura" that surrounds him like he was the undisputed second coming. At the time, I really saw him more as a "symbol" for the "oppression" of Mother Knoxville regarding all things 615 McCallie Avenue. And that is really not fair but this town really has a hard time letting go of the past. Reagan is dead, Bear Byrant is dead, Peyton has graduated and owns a bunch of pizza joints affiliated with Pappa John "Rockefeller". Move on people, move on.

January 23, 2013 at 12:26 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

JMC - your tourism slogan made me spit my Purple Drank/Cammy Cam Juice mixer on my screen.

I think one of the worse things that happened to college basketball was the NBA drafting the "one and dones".

January 23, 2013 at 12:56 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Nope, Ten Ring, can't see anyone in league interest in a 300+ quarter back who put the ball on the ground more than he got it into the end zone.

Here's what I'd like to do. Secure a barge, fill it up with blue crabs, then drop in Russell face down during one of codiene stupors and beach said barge on some islet in Mobile Bay.

I'm hoping Reggie can manufacture the seven'th pick into a 1 and a 2. Needs galor including Defensive lineman and a playmaking corner. What goes on at three I have no idea.

January 23, 2013 at 1:28 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Rushmore of love-to-hates (and they're all from Duke): Laettner, Battier, Redick, Paulus.

I don't have a strong preference for who wins the Super Bowl, but I kind of hope that Baltimore wins. Not because of Ray Lewis, but for Ed Reed and Joe Flacco. Flacco doesn't seem to get his dues as a great QB, and probably won't unless he gets a ring.

Right on, Chas, about Serena taking one on the chin. Ousted by the up-and-comer Sloane Stephens (also from the US of A). On the men's side, the top 4 seeds are in the semis. Fed plays Murray tomorrow and I think the GOAT will get some revenge for his Olympic final loss to the young buck.

January 23, 2013 at 1:35 p.m.
chas9 said...

Noel's numbers at this point compare favorably to Patrick Ewing's freshman numbers, and are just a shade behind The Uniblocker's. Nerlens' points, blocks and rebounds trail Davis a tad, but he doubles AD in assists and steals. In fact, Double N is the only player in the country in the top 30 in both steals and blocks. His 4.1 BPG are 3rd in the country and his 2.6 steals are second in the SEC, unusual for a big man. Unbelievably, he's on pace to break Rondo's steals record for UK. And The Cats feed off his energy. But he needs to buff up his offense and stay on his feet defending (until he rises to reject one).

Stew--Don't forget little Hurley.

January 23, 2013 at 1:43 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Jeff and Beau Bridges is better across the board — especially since, like Lloyd, Papa Harbaugh was in the BID-ness too. (And Lloyd gets bonus points for being in our first favorite comedy "Airplane" and being one of the home run bit characters in Seinfeld many moons later.)

And gang, this isn't full blown "hate" per se as much as players you enjoyed rooting against for whatever reason.

9er —

Teams are worse, which magnifies coaching, which is a good thing for you and the Blue Nation. Coach Cal is big-time underrated as an Xs and Os guy, and the dribble drive stuff is not easy but it does get easier, which will help.

Last thing we saw from Chad Ford had Zeller No. 1 and Nerlens 2 in the NBA lottery rankings, and while Ford is not Kiper, he's not chopped liver either.

Stew —

We can see Battier, too.

Oh yeah, we had no love lost for William Avery at UConn either.

FE to the C —

Knowing your love of the Raiders and PurpleDrank's complete and total destruction of said franchise for at least a decade, we understand your angst. And yes, the Black and Silver have some canyon-sized holes to fill.

McPell —

There you go, every time some white guy talks about boxing they got to bring up Rocky Marciano/Cammy Cam juice.


There are a slew of folks we know who have Manning backlash. We understand.

But what's this Reagan being dead talk of which you speak?

— 5-at-10

January 23, 2013 at 2:07 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

5 - speaking of rocky times, what are the Titans' needs this off season in your opinion? I agree with you on that the Falcons ought to take a flyer on Latimore.

January 23, 2013 at 2:30 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

PurpleDrank needs to go to the Jets, they can't go a season without the circus starting up again.

I loved to hate Rob and Rex Ryan, one down, one to go.

Titans need help on the offensive and defensive fronts though healed injuries would result in immediate improvement on the OL. I'm not convinced Locker is the man but there's no sure fire starting QB in the draft.

January 23, 2013 at 2:44 p.m.
chas9 said...

You can go to and find their March, 2012 article "Worse Than Laettner: The 18 most hateable moments in Duke basketball history." What? Only 18?

January 23, 2013 at 2:51 p.m.
WilliamRscott said...

Speaking of Downtown P-diddy Brown..."eviscerated"...I had to look it up...well-played (?) New word for this ol' Brainerd boy...

January 23, 2013 at 3:37 p.m.
jgreeson said...

McPell —

Laughter is right. Big needs on the O- and D-lines. And the Titans' aches and growing pains with their recent first-round picks of Locker, Derrick Morgan and the criminal currently known as Kenny Britt do not make the answers seem clear-cut.

Laughter —

In at least one way, it's tough to blame Rex and Rob since their pappy was a very hateable too.

9er —

Thanks. We'll be checking that out when we get to the house — although we don't think you could convince any UK fan there are 18 worse than Laettner stomping on dude and then hitting the shot heard round the college basketball world.

BillytheKid —

We're just trying to educate and eviscerate any and all hunger. It's all about the kids.

"We believe that children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way...

So them all the beauty they possess inside."

— 5-at-10

January 23, 2013 at 4:44 p.m.
mkelly54 said...

Jamarcus Russell is my poster child for quarterbacks to remain in college football as long as they can. That, plus someone to put a foot up their rear-ends when they don't do all their prep work the week of games, during the off-season and maintaining physical training.

There have been countless busts among top college QBs through the year, but getting more college reps is one of the primary tools they can have. That, and playing in a pro-oriented offense.

I wish Russell well; who ever told him to leave LSU after his junior year is probably hiding under a rock these days.

January 23, 2013 at 5:53 p.m.
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