The future for The Conz
Our UT beat ace Downtown Patrick Brown - in England would he be Downton Patrick Brown? - provides an interesting look a the job security questions buzzing around Cuonzo "The Conz" Martin in today's TFP.
His story is here.
It is no secret that the 5-at-10 believes this Tennessee is worse than the sum of its parts. That's a big and loud criticism of coaching more often than not. This is one of those times.
We believe this should be the third best team in the SEC, and a sure-fire NCAA invitee. It is neither of those, and ultimately that falls at the clipboard of the coaching staff.
That said, Martin's view of the outside spin cycle is both appropriate and accurate. He can't control it and it does nothing but slow any progress the Vols can make. It is counterproductive at its core and to debate it or dwell on it makes it worse. (Side note: Counter-counter productive actually sounds like that is productive on a metaphysical level, not unlike your enemy's enemy is your ally. My head hurts.)
So Martin ignores the negative, which is to say he has ignored his team's point guard play since Christmas. Kidding, kidding. Mostly.
Martin and the Vols have three weeks to make their case that they are the team that beat Virginia and Xavier and can be a scary double-digit-seed. They have three weeks to remind folks that the roster has top-25 talent despite mid-60-esque struggles.
They have three weeks to finish strong and make a statement.
And if they don't, here's saying The Conz won't have to worry about the negative then either. There is no charge, positive, negative or otherwise, for jobless coaches.
The combine concludes today. Yes, we're a little sad about that.
Still, we got a lot of information to dissect. Let's go.
Jadeveon Clowney is a physical freak that leaves scouts and experts puzzled. The combine enhanced his reputation as the most gifted athlete in this class - 6-6, 266- 4.53 electrically clocked 40, 38-inch vertical jump - and somehow managed to add to the convoluted image he has after an indifferent junior season at South Carolina. He had not put a lot of prep work in on the bench press and he elected to skip the other running drills. Like most of the gifted among us, Clowney's talents come with trepidation.
Louis Nix is now our favorite player in this class. We talked about Nix - a likely late first-rounder - losing weight because scouts said he should and he wanted to feel "sexier." Good times. Now comes this video, where Nix falls not once, not twice, but five times during the standing broad jump. His good-natured reaction to the potential embarrassing moment is great. And scouts know a guy like that can't help off the field in the locker room, too.
It's official - no matter the rule changes or the equipment alterations or whatever measures the football czars take, the NFL is going to be a violent place. When you have guys like Clowney and linebackers Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr - two cats that measured 6-4 or better and between 245-255 pounds and ran low 4.6 times in the 40 - and defensive tackles such as Aaron Donald - 285 pounds with an unofficial 4.65 40 time and 35 reps of 225 pounds on the bench - it's never going to be safe. Those are big guys who get to places in a big hurry with bad intentions.
Baseball has taken steps to try to remove base runners running over catchers.
Call it the Buster Posey rule if you will, but it's also a one-year experiment that actually seems like an acceptable compromise in an era when those type of things seem as frequent as Rosie O'Donnell skipping a meal.
Runners can try to run over catchers when a) They have possession of the ball and are blocking the plate and b) if they come up the baseline to try to field a throw.
The first exception allows baseball to avoid the plays where guys are out by 9 feet and they meekly slide. It will look worse than it sounds. The second exception protects runners from getting caught up in jet wash as the play happens.
We like this compromise and understand it. Originally we were against this idea, but the unprotect catcher waiting for the throw who gets drilled is a needless risk, and this compromise address that situation first and foremost.
Ah compromise, why do you visit us so infrequently?
- Jerry Jones celebrated owning the Cowboys for 25 years. It's hard to think of someone making a better investment, considering Jones paid $140 million for the team in 1989. Yes, $140 million.
- McCallie basketball coach Dan Wadley stepped down Monday. Like our all-around ace Stephen Hargis tweeted out last night, we have been hearing for more than a week that if the McCallie job came open that former Mocs coach John Shulman would be their guy.
- Major props to Jim Foster's XX Mocs, who pulled out a double overtime win at Samford on Monday for their 20th consecutive win. Twenty in a row is a bunch. Period.
We have two today. First, we have NCAA bracket expert Joe Lunardi on Press Row today on ESPN 105.1 FM. The time is fluid, but we'll tweet out (@jgreesontfp) when we know for sure. You can also listen to the broadcast here at timefreepress.com.
What would you ask Lunardi, who specializes in the study of NCAA tournament selections?
The other question is a touch sad. Harold Ramis died Monday. He was 69.
Ramis was one of the funniest minds of our lifetime. Dude was an actor and a director and even produced some major motion pictures. But Ramis' talent was writing funny, something that is terribly difficult to do. The New York Times called him an "alchemist of comedy," and that seems just about perfect.
And dude was at all-time apex in his field for a six-year stretch that was Jordanesque. From 1978-84, Ramis wrote Animal House, Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes and Ghostbusters. He also found time to direct Vacation in 1983. That's Ruth in the latter-20s, Tiger in the early-2000s dominance.
We could go with several Rushmores here and Ramis would qualify - most dominant run comes to mind or a Rushmore of comedies (but that's borderline impossible) - but we'll go back to Ramis' main strength. What's your Rushmore of comedy writers? Go.