5 at 10: Pat Summitt steps down, More NFL Draft and Pudge Rodriguez

5 at 10: Pat Summitt steps down, More NFL Draft and Pudge Rodriguez

April 19th, 2012 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Remember about Friday's mailbag and that we have vowed to use the word "Twitch" frequently after UT football coach Derek Dooley praised Jordan Williams' "twitch" earlier this week. From the "Talks Too Much Studios" here we go.

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Summitt steps down

Pat Summitt stepped away from the day-to-day duties of coaching the UT Lady Vols on Wednesday. It was the right move at the right time, considering the season and all the complications and implications of Summitt's early on-set dementia.

Our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer has another great look at Summitt and the situation here.

Granted, the folks in Knoxville are going to discuss it more with the media today, but let's take a moment to assess Summitt.

Wow. And you know what, you can make an argument that Summitt meant more than any coach in sports history. Read that again.

Who meant more to their sport than Summitt to women's basketball? See became the game's face - its glare if you will - and gave the sport an identity for a lack of a better word.

In fact, in sports who has meant more for their gender. Consider where women sports have come in the 38 years Pat Summitt coached. Sure, those 38 years have overlapped the 40 years of Title IX - the federal mandate that demands equal sports opportunities for males and females - but Summitt was its champion.

There's no way to gauge her impact and it has little to do with the mind-bending numbers of wins, titles and championships.

We use terms like giant and greatness, legends and legacy far too frequently in sports. And it's moments like this that remind us of why that overuse can be a bad thing.

There is no accurate word to describe Summitt and here time in Knoxville and here value and meaning to her program, sport and gender. No words are suitable because all of the words have been used before.

And what Summitt did was unbelievable, unimaginable and utterly impossible to duplicate.

Georgia's Cordy Glenn (71) will protect quarterback Aaron Murray as a right tackle this year after starting all 13 games last season at left guard.

NFL draft: Offensive line

OK, let's go ahead and get this out of the way: We love the draft; you know this.

OK, now that we're done with the formalities, let's get to BID-ness. Last year we let the draft sneak up on us without proper previews.

Not this time. We're going position-by-position heading into next Thursday's first round. Monday we did quarterbacks, Tuesday was running backs, Wednesday was about the receivers and today we'll do the offensive linemen.

USC tackle Matt Kalil is a slam-dunk prospect, with or without twitch. Barring injury, the guy is a left tackle for the next decade-plus. Period.

David DeCastro, the guard our of Stanford, has been described by Mel Kiper Jr. as the best guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson. And when Mel speaks, draft people should listen.

So we have an elite left tackle prospect (who likely will go to Minnesota at No. 3) and a guard who is drawing favorable comparisons with the best at his position in the last 25 years. What's after the top two.

In some ways, the offensive line crop is comparable to the quarterback class. There are two prospects at the top that look like sure-fire All-Pro players for a decade and from there, it's a blend of quality and question marks.

Here's our top 10 with some additional comments on those pegged in the first round:

1) Matt Kalil, USC

2) David DeCastro, Stanford

3) Riley Reiff, Iowa - Described as more solid than spectacular, and while we love solid, spending a first-rounder on solid is actually anti-solid.

4) Jonathan Martin, Stanford - Three Stanford players projected in the first round and tight end Coby Fleener could be a fourth. Jim Harbaugh's a pretty good coach, huh? Harbaugh may be the Ace of Twitch.

5) Cordy Glenn, Georgia - He's strong and athletic, but any SEC fan out there, can you even tell us what number Glenn wore? Kind of forgettable, huh?

6) Bobby Massie, Ole Miss - Big-bodied tackle that has made some moves up draft boards lately.

7) Mike Adams, Ohio State - Another guy that passes the eye test in the combine but played rather quietly.

8) Peter Konz, Wisconsin

9) Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin

10) Zebrie Sanders, FSU

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Ivan Pudge Rodriguez

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

So long Pudge, see you in Cooperstown in five years

We asked part in jest/part in seriousness about Jamie Moyer's Hall of Fameness.

Well, now there are reports that Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez is going to retire next week. And there is no doubt about his invitation to Cooperstown.

In fact, Pudge is the best catcher ever. Twitch.

Pudge is one of a slew of the players from the most recent generation that you could make an argument were the best ever.

Here's an all-star team from the last 25 years, and several of these players deserve discussion as the best ever at their position (and we're not including the prominent steroid boys of Bonds, Sosa and A-Rod who would be shoe-ins on this team):

C - Pudge Rodriguez

1B - Albert Pujols

2B - Robbie Alomar

SS - Derek Jeter

3B - Chipper Jones

OF - Ken Griffey Jr.

OF - Tony Gwynn

OF - Ichiro

RHP - Greg Maddux

LHP - Randy Johnson

Closer - Marianon Rivera

Of that list, we'll take Pudge, Pujols (when it's all said and done), Alomar, Griffey and Rivera against anyone from history.

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Twitch and that

- Downtown Patrick Brown and his band of renown had a full day Wednesday. In addition to Summitt and football practice, he also shared with us UT's assistant football coaches' salaries http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/apr/19/contracts-for-ut-football-assistants-include/. Interesting stuff. UT is paying its nine assistants an average of a little more than $330,000 a year. That's nice cabbage if you have the twitch to make it last.

- Great stuff from the regulars yesterday. We were out of the office and could not participate, but we got caught up later in the evening. Mr. 962 is on his game and the answer to 9er, yes, Downtown is almost always downtown at the capital of Vols Land. And we agree with the general feeling that Moyer is not a Hall of Famer, but wow, it's closer than anyone could have imagined. We had a twitch and you guys scratched it.

- SMU is trying to hire Larry Brown. Yes that Larry Brown. Who knew he was still alive? Larry Brown? It's simply re-twitch-ulousness.

- Want to know what is twitch-less? Jair Jurrjens getting an offensive explosion in which every Braves starter - including Jurrjens - got at least one hit and scored at least one run and still not being able to go five innings to get the win. The Braves were so good at the plate that every one that came to the plate got at least one hit, and that includes two pinch-hitters. Still Jurrjens got the yank because he allowed seven hits and four walks in four innings. Heck Livan Hernandez has better numbers than Jurrjens right now and Livan is 203 years old. (Rounding up of course.)

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Today's question

In honor of Pat Summitt, we'll make this one as easy as possible: Who are the four faces on the Mount Rushmore of coaching?

We'd likely go Lombardi, Wooden, Auerbach and Summitt.

And as a bonus question, if there was a college coaches Mount Rushmore, who you got?

Would it be Wooden, Summitt, Bryant, Coach K maybe?

And, with the sad news of Dick Clark's death, here's a final bonus Mount Rushmore: Who are the four faces on the Mount Rushmore of TV hosts? Carson, Clark, Oprah, Sullivan?

Discuss.