published Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

5-at-10: SEC media days, Open heavyweights, Johnny Taylor and modern SEC coaches Rushmore

It's here. It's all happening.

The SEC media days are on us, and we're on it. TFP aces David Paschall and Downtown Patrick Brown are on the way to Hoover. We'll spend a good chunk of Press Row — our afternoon radio show from 1-3 p.m. on ESPN 105.1 — talking about it.

In regard to a previous request, here is our Twitter handle — @jgreesontfp. Feel free to follow along; don't cost nothin'.

From the "Talks too much" studios, hey whatever happened to Ratt — 'Out of the Cellar' was a great album then nothing? Round and round.

SEC media days

  • photo
    Steve Spurrier is the head coach of South Carolina

Let's capsulize the info as best we can.

What happened yesterday: Johnny Football reportedly apologized to the Texas A&M staff. Dude is a college kid forced into the glaring mega-bright spotlight that is being the hottest name in the SEC. Still, he has been the spoils of success are pretty sweet, too. Also Vandy released the names of the four players that were dismissed from the program in the offseason because of alleged sex crimes.

Who's up today: South Carolina, Florida, Missouri and Ole Miss take the stage after SEC commissioner Mike Slive gives his state of the conference address.

What we expect today: South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier will gig someone. It's officially not an SEC media event until Spurrier delivers a zinger. In fact, as long as he is involved in the SEC, he should take the stage immediately after Slive. Slive will be asked about his retirment plans. Each of the four quarterbacks in Hoover today likely will be asked about social media and the pressures on and off the field of being QB1 at a football crazy campus. Someone you may not heard of before will say something we are talking about tomorrow.

Thoughts?

———

British Open

Yes, we're having an Open contest. Pick five and the top four count, but with the spinning twist that at three countries have to be represented.

The winner will get a prize pack that could include anything from a hat — looks good on you, though — to some TFP gear to even some Mocs football tickets. Who knows, right?

Before we get to the super early birds, let's talk a little about what winning this thing would mean for a few of the big names.

For Tiger, and we'll discuss this more later this week, it would restart his majors march. A win for Tiger becomes the biggest story in sports — well unless Johnny Football starts dating Lindsay Lohan, which would melt the interweb and cause alcohol stock dividends to triple.

For Phil, it would be major No. 5 and put him tied for 14th overall with the likes of Lord Byron and Seve and a few others. Plus, the clock is ticking and while he's playing great right now, other than baseball and cycling where the training regime includes the fountain of PED youth, not many people improve athletically after turning 40.

For Rory, it would be a storybook ending to a miserable professional year. It also would likely be a fairy tale since the world's No. 2-ranked player has given us little reason to believe he can contend.

We'll discuss sleepers and the rest tomorrow, but here are the early picks and we'll see if some of the other media folks in town are interested in playing.

Billy in Brainerd — Lefty, S Cink [USA]; D Clarke [N Ireland]; L Oosthuizen [S Africa]; and...drumroll please...Y(ing?) Yang [Korea]

5-at-10 — Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Ernie Els

Mrs. 5-at-10 — Phil, Graeme McDowell, Kuchar, Rory, Jason Day

War Eagle — Dufner, Donald, Scott, Tiger, Westwood

Fred — Tiger, Rickie Fowler, Rose, Johnson, Day

More to come...

————

UTC goes back to the future

Will Wade continues to impress.

  • photo
    Former UTC standout Johnny Taylor will be a graduate assistant for the Mocs next season.

The new Mocs basketball coach reached back into the program's once-rich history and added former star forward Johnny Taylor to the coaching staff.

Taylor, who is still working to finish his UTC degree, will be a student assistant that provides a local connection — he went to Howard before a junior college detour and going to UTC — and can offer the experience of a 15-year professional career that has covered the globe.

We have zero idea what kind of coach Johnny Taylor is or could be. As a student assistant, though, he has some pretty stellar qualifications.

But this is as much about Taylor the coach as it is about re-engaging the fan base. Since we've been here, we've heard about how great UTC hoops was and how much fun the games were. Well, Wade and Co.'s first battle is not on the court — it's a war against apathy within the family.

Taylor is a winning move in that war in our view.

————

This and that

— Hey the home run derby just ended with a Cuban player for a California team who is not in the game winning the title. No, not Puig, the other one.

— OK, watching Yoenis Cespedes hit bomb after bomb was kind of cool. Just not cool enough to make up for Berman being Berman and not cool enough to keep our attention for three hours. That said, the wrestling-style championship belt he won was a nice touch.

— Metta World Peace has decided to play for the Knicks. Which city war will be better next basketball season: the battle for L.A. or the brawl in the Big Apple? We think the latter.

————

Today's question

Remember the contest and the Friday mailbag.

Let's move quickly:

We discussed this on the radio show some Monday, and feel like it could come up today, but what former athlete would have been the most fun to follow on Twitter? Discuss, and feel free to include a possible Twitter handle. Paschall mentioned former USC QB Steve Tannehill, who would have been a hoot and we think his handle could have been @mullett18.

If you had a Mount Rushmore of modern-day SEC football coaches (let's say since the advent of media days in the mid-1980s) who makes it? Spurrier and Saban are dunks of course. Who else you got?

Will you watch the All-Star Game? Why or why not?

Is there an action movie that holds up better than Die Hard, which turned 25 on Monday? It's still very watchable today.

Discuss.

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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MocTastic said...

Welcome home Johnny Taylor.

July 16, 2013 at 10:13 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Fired up about JT. Think the schedule is easy enough that Wade may sneak away with a really good record. Next year's schedule will be tougher, but if they find a way to replace Z Mason, the team will be even better.

I'll get my British Open picks to you later on this week. Going to be tough to figure out countries to go with....

July 16, 2013 at 10:30 a.m.
mcpell3 said...

I would nominate Les Miles just for chewing grass, the hat & his press conferences, assuming that Vince Dooley & Pat Dye are part of the "Old Guard"

Open picks - Westwood (ENG), Fujita (JPN), Kuchar (USA), Oosthuizen (RSA) and Woods (USA)

Yippie Kai-yea....

July 16, 2013 at 11:06 a.m.
Stewwie said...

Rushmore of SEC coaches since the '80s: Saban, Spurrier, Fulmer, Miles.

Ron Metta Artest World Peace to the Knicks? Not sure how much value that guy is able to add at this point in his career. Maybe they signed him to be a good role model for Melo? Well...hopefully not.

Ever since the baseball All-Star Game tie in '02, I haven't watched another midsummer classic. In fact, I can't remember the last time I watched any baseball game at all on TV.

July 16, 2013 at 11:12 a.m.
mrspud said...

I will watch at least some of the All Star game. I keep waiting for another Pete Rose at the plate moment but we know that ain't gonna happen. I did enjoy the HR derby last night.

Just put Spurrier and Saban on the Rushmore twice each. Spurrier with a FL visor and a SC visor and Saban with LSU and Bama shirts. No one else is close.

Mr. Spud

July 16, 2013 at 11:24 a.m.
jgreeson said...

MT —

Knew you'd approve of that message.

Stuck —

Concur with that assessment — on both counts actually.

McPell —

Did he say Dooley and Dye were part of the 'Old Guard' or were old guards?

Either way Les is close. This is a monster year for Les Miles all things considering.

Stewwie —

Fair point about not really watching a baseball in a while. Sure we have the Braves on as background chatter, but it's like sports-version of music videos... sure they are on, but are we watching them per se?

Spud —

That's a true conteder sir. We can see why Mrs. Spud digs you. Or it could the eyes.... see what we did there?

July 16, 2013 at 11:44 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Didn't watch home run derby - didn't want to subject myself to 3 hours of "back back back back," which lead me to yell "lay the egg already, berman!"

Still working on my Open 5, 5.

July 16, 2013 at 1:24 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, have you discussed the sheer brilliance of the SEC in scheduling media days during the all star break and with little overlap with the British Open? Talk about having the stage to yourself.

July 16, 2013 at 1:35 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Somebody please alert me when Chris Berman retires. I will start watching broadcasts on ESPN again when he does.

July 16, 2013 at 2:26 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

I have not yet entered the "twitterverse", but to answer the question of former athletes that would be interesting to follow...Muhammad Ali came to mind immediately. Ali would have been gold on Twitter back in the day. Mark Fidrych was just crazy enough to be interesting and Ricky Williams would have taken his followers on a spiritual quest, not to mention those inevitable tweets sent while he was baked.

Jay, if you are truly interested in following up on the band Ratt, the lead singer just recently released a brilliant tome that will go down in literary history. Well, that's a bit much. He did put out a book though. I think it can be summarized as: Got a record deal, made lots of money, did a bunch of drugs, banged a bunch of groupies, lost all the money. That old story.

No thoughts on SEC Media Days. I love SEC Football, but for the life of me I cannot work up any interest in a series of press conferences. Coach-Speak-A-Palooza.

July 16, 2013 at 3:11 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I'll probably watch the All-Star Game. Because there is nothing else on.

Good call on Die Hard, 5. yes, it does hold up well. So does Commando, as does Where Eagles Dare. No CGI, good script, great acting (Burton and Eastwood). Good stuff.

OK, my open 5.

Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland and it's still part of the Crown, so that means I'm limited to how many other Great British golfers to be chosen). No. 2 in European Tour Order of Merit. Already a major champion.

Billy Horschel (U.S.). Playing very well this year.

Matt Kuchar (U.S.). Following the footsteps of Cink, Duval and Robert Jones.

Jason Day (Australia). Dude is bound to break through at some point. Why not Muirfield?

Charl Schwartzel (South Africa). Not the biggest dude in the world but he's got big game.

July 16, 2013 at 4:25 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Saw that the late Furman Bisher is a finalist for the writers wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame. But he's up against Roger Angell and Mervin Durslag. That is pretty stern competition.

July 16, 2013 at 5:20 p.m.
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