published Friday, March 1st, 2013

5-at-10 Mailbag: Dream combine, best draft, Oscar hosting, a quick Q&A and the Vols tournament chances

Great week gang. Hope the weekend is as good as you make it.

From the "Talks too much" studios, let's try to stay gold Pony Boy.

From Junkie,

Like you I watched way too much of the NFL combine. Not sure if the Mrs. 5-at-10 heckled you about it, but I heard about 'watching guys in their underwear' more than once.

I also agree that LeBron James would destroy the combine and that made me think who would be the best combine guys of all time. Thoughts?

Thanks and keep up the good work.

Junkie —

Thoughts? Thoughts, you say? About a dream combine? We have a river of thoughts and as always are happy to share.

Let's take LeBron off the table. We know he's a monster. Let's also pay special homage to Deion Sanders/Leon Sandcastle (those commercials are excellent) who is arguably the fastest football player ever. Whatever his 40 time was, it was not fastest enough and here's why: Deion was not just fast, he was as fast as he needed to be. If that meant out-running Darrell Green on a kick return, fine. If that meant tracking down a headed-for-the-house wide receiver from across the field, OK. Deion could likely run a legit 4.2 if motivated. And if he needed to out-run or chase down someone, we think he could have posted the unthinkable. That said, our dream combine would be:

• Bo Jackson — He came out of Auburn before the days of the structured form of the combine as we know it. He would have cracked every speed/size metric every new-age scout could muster.

• Wilt Chamberlain — Dude was such a freak. Seriously. Do you know why the rule that the free throw shooter can't cross the foul line until the ball touches the rim was adopted? Because Wilt would take a couple of steps and jump 15 feet and lay it in. Plus, if "having a way with the ladies" was a combine measurable, well, Wilt was money.

• Jim Brown — Want to talk about ahead of his time? Wow.

• Allen Iverson — He would drop a low 4.3 even a time possibly in the 4.2s in the 40 and test off the charts on the "quick" drills.

• David Thompson — We'd love to see what Thompson would have checked in the vertical before his injuries/problems. He was the father of the urban legends of guys jumping and taking a quarter off the top of the backboard. At 6-foot-4.

One more to grow on: Shaq. Just because he's Shaq.


From Sue B.

Do you like the draft more than the actual games? And if you are such a fan of the draft what do you think is best draft ever?

Thanks and a friend of mine told me about your column -- thanks, you are funny some of the time and I like that there's no cussing.

Have a nice day.

Sue B. —

Thanks for swinging by and feel free to stop by anytime — don't cost nothing.

No, we do not like the draft more than the actual games; it's a different sort of appreciation that is based in the similar need to see how things play out. One thing that the draft always has, especially in the early rounds, that you are not assured of in the games is drama. Games can be boring or blowouts or what have you. The draft is filled with intrigue. So it goes. (Side note: Back in the day before we had tots and discovered what busy really is, we played a lot of Madden on the XBox. We got to the point that thumping the computer on the highest levels was not that difficult, so the offseason stuff provided more enjoyment. So it goes.)

Great question about the best draft. Let's break it down in several avenues since this is your first question and we want to make sure you get your money's worth:

Best single team draft: The 1974 Steelers got four future Hall of Famers in one draft (Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster). Thank you, good night.

Best first round — NFL: The 1983 draft had six Hall of Famers in the first round with John Elway (1), Eric Dickerson (2), Bruce Matthews (9), Jim Kelly (14), Dan Mario (27) and Darrell Green (28). There were only 28 teams then so roughly a quarter of the first round was a Hall of Famer. And in an effort to explain the eternal struggles of your Atlanta Falcons, they drafted Mike Pitts No. 16 overall. Alas.

Side note: The 2007 draft is the modern version of this with the league's top receiver (Calvin Johnson), corner (Darrelle Revis), tackles (Joe Thomas and Joe Staley), guard (Marshal Yanda), kicker returner (Jacoby Jones), running back (Adrian Peterson) and arguably the best inside linebacker (Patrick Willis). Wow. Of course none of those went No. 1 — that was JaMarcus Russell, the Oaklans Raiders fans' version of Sal Sunseri.

Best first round — non-NFL: We'll take the 1984 NBA draft. There were four all-timers in the first 16 picks. And if you were going to put together a team, the 2007 NFL draft offered great balance, but try out the picks that went to the NBA teams in 1984: point guard John Stockton, 2-guard Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley at one forward and Kevin Willis at the other and Hakeem Olajuwon in the middle. Nice.


From TGiles

Did you watch the Oscars? Didn't that used to be fun and entertaining and hosted by big shots?

If they offered you the chance, would you host it and what would you do different?

Thanks and War Eagle...

TGiles —

Love all the new faces offering up questions today. Good times.

We missed the Oscars this year, and have for the last several years. We enjoyed watching the Oscars back when we went to movies and had favorites to pull for; now, unless they have "Best Disney variation of a good Disney movie designed to get you to buy something... and the nominees are" Category, well, we're not vested. As an example, we saw exactly one of the movies — Argo — that was a key player in the awards and we rented that one the Friday night before the Oscars. (Side note: Want to know one thing we would most definitely change? If the date of the Oscars is say, Feb. 20, every picture that has a nomination in one of the big categories, we would make sure it was available to rent on the DVR/OnDemand no later than Ground Hog's Day. We'd watch the Oscars if we had skin in the game. No skin, no interest — it's like Jeff Spicoli taught us... No shoes, No shirt, No dice.)

As for hosting, well, heck yeah we'd give it a shot. We've always been, shall we say, a touch on the over-confident side, so yeah, we think we could pull that off. That said, that is arguably the toughest gig in Hollywood.

First off, being funny is hard. Being funny on call is harder. (Writing funny is the hardest in our view because there is no sense of timing, tone or gesture. If you can write funny, well done sir. It's tough.)

Being funny in front of an auditorium of stars would be intimidating on the highest scale. You add to the fact that the audience of stars wants you to be funny about the things they care about but none of them wants you to be about them.

Hats off to anyone who gives it a swing.

The one thing we would change is let's do away with the all the musical numbers. But that's the easy way out to try to do comedy in song rather than deliver jokes. Look at it this way, there are a ton of supremely funny folks that have come up doing silly — Ferrell, Sandler, Jim Carrey Mike Myers, Tina Fey, et al. — and they came up doing the sketch comedies of SNL and other shows. How many of them did stand-up?

Want to bring funny back to the Oscars, have Seinfeld or Eddie Murphy — for our money the two funniest guys of our lifetime — do it.


From JVFan

If the Vols and "The Conz" Martin win out, we're in right?

Tell me we're in. After the Dooley disaster and firing Pearl... I need some good news.

Thanks and thanks for the 5-at-10, it's actually a nice sports discussion without the trolls and the folks saying stuff just to get a rise out of people. Keep it up.

J.V. Fan —

Thanks for the kind words.

If the Vols win out through the regular season, we think they go to the SEC tournament on the inside of the bubble.

And we're going to type this knowing that if Cuonzo "The Conz" Martin reads this, he'll cringe to the point of convulsions, but, what the hay... OK, if the Vols win out that would be 20-10 with a nine-game winning streak and being the talk of the league. It also would mean the Vols got pay back for the awful loss against Georgia and won an elimination game against Missouri.

In fact, if the Vols win out, here's hoping that when he's asked about the NCAA tournament, "The Conz" says something along the lines of, "Our tournament started in early February and we just embraced 'the win and keep playing' mentality. Well, we kept winning so we should get to keep playing."

That said, if the Vols win out (which we like the chances of that with Florida in the rear-view), they must win at least one game in the SEC tournament. Two would be better, but one is a must.

And yes, Johnny Vols Fans everywhere are starving for some good news. Here's a bit of it if you're interested — our UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown details quarterback Riley Ferguson, one of the Vols signees last month here, and to tell you the truth, we like the cut of this kid's jib.


From New here,

This is my first letter and while I haven't been reading long, I'm starting to catch on. Let me ask you a few questions to make sure.... What's the best Ralph Macchio movie? Song you like but are embarrassed to admit? Best football player ever? Best athlete ever? Favorite TV show? Mary Ann or Ginger? Best book you've read in the last few years?

Thanks and hope you get these right.

New here,

Wow. OK, kind of feels like a job interview and it's been a while since I've been on one of those. But we're game... it's a mailbag right?

What's the best Ralph Macchio movie? We'll go "My Cousin Vinny" then "Karate Kid" and "The Outsiders." Each produced at least one sure-fire quote that most everyone should be able to play along with: "The two Utes... What's a ute(youth)?" and "Sweep the leg" (there are a ton we use around the office from Karate Kid) and "Stay gold Pony Boy."

Song you like but are embarrassed you like? Total Eclipse of the Heat, Bonnie Tyler (but to be fair, we never really get embarrassed)

Best football player ever? This one's tough, but we'll take Lawrence Taylor.

Best athlete ever? This one's not that tough — Bo Jackson

Favorite TV show? Wow, so many. Pressed, we'd have to say "The Wire" but "The Simpsons" and "Cheers" are supremely great.

Marianne or Ginger? The Mrs. 5-at-10.

Best book you've read in the last few years? "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand, the same genius who wrote "Seabiscuit." Was happy to hear the Coen Brothers are working on a script for "Unbroken" and was less than thrilled to learn Angelina Jolie was directing said project.

Well, hope we passed. Sort of.


From Tommy

What's the thing you're going to be watching most during spring football practice in the SEC?

Thanks and thanks for the 5-at-10.


Our SEC ace David Paschall will have a quick look around the SEC and the questions/issues for spring in Sunday's paper.

The 5-at-10 is supremely interested in the transitions of the new staffs in Auburn and in Knoxville.

How the coaches embrace the challenge, how the players embrace the coaches. That's a lot of of important embracing.

Here's hoping each of them can hug it out.

Feel free to discuss any of the above, from draft questions to the Vols tourney chances to our job interview.

Whatcha got?

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.
hometownhero said...

Saw the name Bruce Pearl so I had to bring this up: I've seen a lot of Pearl on ESPN and I can't help but think why UTC doesn't throw the kitchen sink at this dude to coach basketball???? Am I missing something here, the recruiting violations should've run the course by now.. Media gurus, I put this on you to make it happen

Frustrated Mocs Fan

March 1, 2013 at 10:15 a.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - Great to see the newbies today. With all due respect to the 5 at 10, the trophy for funny literature goes to Dan Jenkins. I belly laughed through many of his books, but the classic was Dead Solid Perfect. I re-read it from time to time just because it's so funny. After Mrs. Sportsfan, you can put me down for Marianne.

March 1, 2013 at 10:18 a.m.
chas9 said...

Dan Mario? Do you mean Marino the quarterback or Martino the street preacher who proclaimed that God is a Republican? I know Willie Cauley-Stein (7'0", 250) is just a kid, but when he grows up to be a man like LBJ, he'd make a nice target for some NFL quarterback. As a high school senior last year he caught 57 passes for 1140 yards and 14 TD's in nine games. The Real Poor Index has New Mexico #2. The Dook loss could make the Lobos #1. They have a good resume, but I'm skepticable. Only loss outside top 50 is to #72 S. Dakota State, before Christmas. But best wins are over #16 UNLV and doubtful #17 Colorado State, so Alford's athletes are not final four good. Wonder if Rodman wore his best wedding dress when he met the North Korean grand poobah. The much-tattooed sometimes-blond hipster hoopster might've been more simpatico with the current pooch's father, the midget with freaky hair. Nixon used ping-pong diplomacy to open up China, so maybe basketball diplomacy can crack N. Korea. Did you ever think of Dennis as diplomatic? And what do you put in an AdvoCareV 100 Bowl?

March 1, 2013 at 10:23 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Hometown Hero/Frustrated Mocs Fan —

We kicked this around last month or may be in January.

We love this idea. He has one more year on the NCAA imposed Show-Cause penalty, so do what Western Kentucky did with Bobby Petrino.

Hire him and a bargain price which would be a good deal for each side — he's getting back into the game; UTC is getting a top-flight coach for an affordable price. Put a large buyout that decreases after two or three seasons; that way you either get Pearl for three seasons — and three seasons of Pearl would go a long way to fixing the mess that is UTC basketball right now.

If someone comes and gets Pearl before that, he has at least started the rebuilding and the buyout means you covered your costs.

Among the biggest hurdles for UTC hoops going is the apathy around the program. Pearl would fix a bunch of the apathy as soon as he walked in the door.

March 1, 2013 at 10:25 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Sportsfan —

Spot on. With Lewis Grizzard writing essays for the Lord, Dan Jenkins is the LeBron James of writing funny.

In fact, every time we see him at Augusta we make a point to speak to him, call him Mr. Jenkins and thank him for his work. His a sports writing Good Fella for crying out loud.

"One day some kids from the neighborhood carried my mother’s groceries all the way home. You know why? It was outta respect."

9er —

Zinger after Zinger. Who's Dan Marino? And was he better than Dan Mario, who could really play?

Do you have an RPI replica Voo Doo Doll?

Great mailbag Rushmore: Rushmore of biggest stunners to become an international diplomat? And yes, Dennis Rodman surely makes the list.

— 5-at-10

March 1, 2013 at 10:32 a.m.
chas9 said...

Picking Cousin Vinny means you pass. Does the mailbag diplomat Rushmore start today or next Friday?

I understand why hometownhero is a frustrated Mocs fan, but I'm not so sure you dump the incumbent coach, given budget constraints. The team is exactly in the middle of conference standings as of today, and with a win Saturday could be the fourth team to get a bye for the tournament. Sport Talk's gurus declaring Schulman a lame duck last week made 'em mad and now the team can't be beat.

No doubt Pearl would cure the local apathy, though. Bobby P's coming back at WKY, so it could happen here, too. He'll have to paint over that hairy orange chest with blue and gold, though. Or better, keep his shirt on. Can you see Tubby pulling that stunt?

March 1, 2013 at 10:42 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Hey Chas9 - the Mocs basketball budget is in line with all the teams in the SoCon. most fans dont understand why with the city, tradition, practice facility,etc that the Mocs should consistently be at or near the top of SoCon. the budget IS there to do it

March 1, 2013 at 11:18 a.m.
hometownhero said...


Hate to say it, but your point about the current coach is true. He's doing just enough to get by and realistically speaking probably wont get fired. But the truth is, they have to do something to get that program going again. If you haven't been to a game this year (and I dont really blame you), they've been pretty sad.

The bottom line is it would be a great move. Especially in a current NCAA climate where mid majors like your Butlers and VCUs can play with the big boys--and get that national TV time. To me, its disrespectful to the fans to live in the basement of college hoops every year.

March 1, 2013 at 11:20 a.m.
chas9 said...

OK, jomo and homer are getting me to dreaming again about the way Moc basketball used to be. I assume the real money would be in whatever coach's shows and endorsements package could supplement the taxpayer funded paycheck. I'll bet the money machine that is Sport Talk would happily pay The Pearl some sweet appearance fees.

Wonder if we could afford the Belmont coach?

March 1, 2013 at 11:51 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

We'll do the Rushmore of Shocking sports-nuts turned diplomats next week. And yes, we think Ward Burton needs consideration. (If you do not know of the former Daytona 500 winner, look him up on YouTube. Dude's Virginia-based, Northern-Southern combo accent is CUH-razy hard to understand.)

And no we can's see Tubby pulling that stunt. But then again, anyone who answers to 'Tubby' shouldn't be spending a lot of time in public with their shirt off.

Jomo —

Budget is middle/upper-middle of the SoCon, no? It's not where CoC or Davidson are. Maybe a couple of others, but for the most part you are correct.

And the disconnect between John and the fanbase can never be fixed in our view. Ask yourself this — and HTH we'd like your view too — if John led the Mocs to the SoCon title and the NCAA tournament, how many Mocs fans would be upset that that high-mark of success would mean more time for John on the bench?


The environment at Mocs games this year has been rough. Rough.

And you're right, it's hard to blame fans who want change from showing their feelings with the most powerful weapon they have — their wallet. And the lack of tickets being used is pretty clear.

— 5-at-10

March 1, 2013 at 11:58 a.m.
chas9 said...

As the TFP reports, The Lady Vols have secured the regular season SEC championship by beating A&M in Knoxville. But The Lady Cats have just beaten them in College Station and the season ends with UT at UK. Should be a great one. And an opportunity for Kentucky to make a statement. One poll has UT ranked higher, the other UK higher nationally at present, so the outcome should settle that debate. At least until the tournament.

March 1, 2013 at 12:05 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

We long for the days of UTC basketball home games being an event.

As for the Lady Vols-Lady Cats... who has a higher RPI (ducking)?

— 5-at-10

March 1, 2013 at 12:08 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, you know my distaste for the NBA these days and for the incessant fawning of all things LeBron (dude can ball, but I don't need all LeBron all the time).

Yet ... that Harlem Shake video the Heat did is outstanding. Love it. Love it. Love it. Right down to whoever it is in the Super Mario costume. That's inspired.

March 1, 2013 at 3:16 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Looks like I missed a lot today. Hopefully Jay can read this. I may have to email it.

"Ferrell, Sandler, Jim Carrey Mike Myers, Tina Fey, et al. — and they came up doing the sketch comedies of SNL and other shows. How many of them did stand-up?"

To answer your question, Carrey started in stand-up and was later trained personally by Rodney Dangerfield himself. He was one of Rodney's last hands-on patawans if you will. Mike Myers started in sitcoms for Canadian television and also did some stand-up before hitting SNL. Sandler also comes from a stand-up background. Tina Fey attended on just being a comedy writer and had originally no interest in being in front of the camera until she was tapped for Weekend Update. Will Ferrell actually wanted to go into sports broadcasting and was studying that at UC Santa Barbera before deciding on going into showbiz in general (I even got to see some show air one of his rare UCSB sports broadcasts).

RM flicks: Karate Kid 1 and 2, the Crossroads (an HBO-only film) Favorite songs I'm embarrassed to like: Glory of Love, Africa No stand-our favorite for gridiron.

Already expressed my two cents on several occasions regarding the Mocs BB program. Thank God for the women.

March 1, 2013 at 3:32 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Also, Lauren Michaels originally recruited out of the improv troupes such as Second City, Chicago City Limits, the Groundlings, etc. like his own personal farm league. For whatever reason I am unclear of, he later switched to almost exclusive stand-up people with Sandler, Spade, Farley (who did have Second City training), and Rock. However, the ratings suffered on the account doing stand-up and doing sketch comedy is the same as driving a car vs. an 18 wheeler. Both require completely different skill sets for success.

McFarline's primary skill is animation and is damn good at it. I even saw his "What A Cartoon" shorts from 1996 on Cartoon Network not knowing what he would morph into. However, just because you have success with "The Comedy Central Roast of..." doesn't mean that skill set will work successfully at the Oscars.

March 1, 2013 at 3:58 p.m.
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