5-at-10: Tennessee spring football and the Braves

5-at-10: Tennessee spring football and the Braves

April 17th, 2013 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Hey gang, remember Friday's mailbag and feel free to offer any ideas for the NFL draft contest. We love the draft; you know this.

Tennessee spring football

We spoke with TFP football ace Downtown Patrick Brown on the radio show Tuesday. We discussed the Vols quarterback situation. He wrote more on that all-important topic in today's TFP here.

Tennessee quarterbacks Justin Worley, Nathan Peterman and Joe Stocstill, from left, take part in warmups before one of the team's scrimmages this spring at Neyland Stadium.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

The competition between Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman will be one of the primary focus points of Saturday's Orange-and-White game. There is no way to overstate the importance of quarterback play, especially in the SEC. There's also little way to overstate the importance of taking a significant forward for each of the two primary QB candidates, especially Peterman.

If neither Worley nor Peterman take control of the race, then the competition likely still will be open when highly touted freshmen Riley Ferguson and Josh Dobbs get to campus this summer.

If that's the case, then your likely opening-game starter is Worley, primarily based on actual game experience. But with the true freshmen in the mix, Peterman could likely serve as the back-up this fall as one or both of those hotshot newcomers and then could very well get lost in the shuffle between a potential experienced senior (Worley) and two gunslingers (Ferguson and Dobbs).

Here's what new UT coach Butch Jones told Downtown Patrick Brown: "It's being able to turn momentum and make a big play, extend plays [and] just overall command presence," Jones said after Saturday's scrimmage. "I see it, but I still need to see it more on a consistent basis. It has to become innate, it has to be habitual, it has to be engrained in them and it comes with reps, it comes with confidence and it comes with putting the time in.

"That's why again this week is going to be critical, and the spring game's going to be critical when we actually get bodies in the stands to see how they perform."

If Vegas set a line on the UT quarterback race, we'd see it as:

Worley - 2-to-1

Peterman - 7-to-2

Dobbs - 15-to-1

Ferguson - 15-to-1

(And since wagering is for entertainment purposes only, we'd be really tempted to put a little side entertainment on Dobbs.)

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Break up the Braves

Atlanta Braves pitcher Tim Hudson delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on Saturday, April 13, 2013, in Washington.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

The Braves have won 10 in a row after a stirring comeback that included three solo homers in the eighth inning for a 6-3 win over Kansas City.

Atlanta is 12-1. There are stil holes - this team will likely lead the free world in Ks - and you can make an argument that the Braves have had the easiest schedule in baseball so far, whipping the Cubs, Marlins and now the Royals during the streak.

But, and you know we like this Braves team, there are three hidden strengths that were highlighted Tuesday night:

• The Braves played poorly and won. They made three errors. They looked sluggish at times, and they still were able to flip a switch and win.

• We talk about the power up and down the line-up, and it's evident. With that comes strikeouts, and that can be scary, especially come playoff time. But as a tangent to that power comes the ability to change a game and make the most of a pitcher's mistake. Ask Royals closer Kelvin Herrera, who had not allowed a homer in a year but allowe three on high-90s fastballs up in the zone to Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Dan Uggla.

• Several folks have mentioned to the Braves' soft schedule to start. And aside from the impressive three-game sweep, the Cubs, Marlins and Royals do stink. That said, how many times in recent years have we bemoaned the Braves' inability to thump the bad teams, especially the perpetual-thorn-in-the-side Marlins? If you were like the 5-at-10 and complained about how the Braves in years past seemed to play down to certain levels of competition, then we have to praise them for stepping on the next of the weaklings.

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Draft prep work

We love the draft. You know this.

We're going to spend at least one segment from now through next Thursday discussing something about the draft.

Today's topic:

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray looks for a receiver.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Mike Glennon vs. Tyler Bray

We asked our radio co-host David Paschall if he would take Mike Glennon or Tyler Bray. He paused and said Glennon, taking the guy with a big arm and less talent and less off-the-field drama, over Bray, the guy with a bigger arm and more talent and a ton of off-the-field drama. (Side note: We would have loved, Loved, LOVED to have seen how Butch would have handled Bray if Bray had returned for his senior year. It would have either been a) Bray dismissed from the team; b) Bray, outside contender for the Heisman and there's little room in betwee.)

We see Paschall's pick and get it. If you think neither Glennon or Bray is going to be much more than a clipboard-holding, ball-cap-wearing back-up, then you take the kid with less drama. That is certainly Glennon.

But we have maintained since early in his career that, despite all the swirling issues, Tyler Bray has a big-time NFL arm, a rifle that few can match in regard to power and precision.

Will that arm talent be enough to overcoming the other stuff? That's the big question.

But if we were an NFL GM and needed a quarterback of the future and were in the back half of draft and Glennon and Bray were on the board, we'd pick Bray.

Any draft questions? As for the draft contest, we're thinking the first overall pick; the Titans' first pick; the Falcons first pick and.... we need a couple of other categories. Thoughts?

Discuss.

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This and that

- Tip of the cap to the Yankees for playing "Sweet Caroline" - the Red Sox's traditional song - as a tribute to the tragedies in Boston

- On the radio we had some interesting discussion about the future of UTC athletics. Thanks for those that participated in that dialouge. Here's UTC ace Johnny Frierson's breakdown of and three questions with UTC AD candidate No. 2, Mike Buddie. We're planning on discussing the UTC athletic department candidates with Johnny Frierson on Thursday's radio show sometime between 1-3 p.m. on ESPN 105.1 FM.

- The final spot in the NBA playoffs will be decided tonight. If the Lakers beat Houston, the Lakers are in. If they lose and Utah beats Memphis, then the Jazz are in. Even as an eight seed, the NBA playoffs seem more playoff-y with the Lakers involved, no? That said, we're pretty sure the over-play on ESPN about the Lakers' "being the most dangerous No. 8 seed EVER" is going to be so omnipresent, we're already tired of it. Say it with us, "Let's go Utah" (clap-clap.. clap-clap-clap). Side note here: In the above paragraph we typed "Lackers" twice instead of Lakers. Something seemed fitting about that, no?

- Nate Montana, the former Notre Dame signee who transfered to West Virginia Wesleyan, was invited to participate in San Francisco's pro day combine. Nate Montana is the son of Joe Montana (and is not related to either Joe Mantegna or Nathan Arizona). And, yes, we believe that any of Bill Gates' kids would also get invited to Microsoft computer camp, too. So there's that.

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Today's question

Pat Summerall died Tuesday. He was 82.

We believe he was one of the all-timers in regard to broadcasting.

What's your Rushmore of all-time TV play-by-play guys. It can be in any sport, but it has to be play-by-play guys and it needs to be TV (if we included radio, it would be a lot of the beloved Southern guys like Ward, Munson, Ledford, et al).

We'll go Vin Scully, Summerall, Keith Jackson and we're kind of torn for No. 4. Could be Brent Musberger even though we think Musberger should have called it a career about three years ago, but his career resume is an all-timer. Could be Jim Nantz, who gets to be the voice of major sporting events like the Super Bowl, the Final Four and the Masters.

Thoughts?