Five at 10: Titans hire, hoops hoopla, and the UT roster in flux

Five at 10: Titans hire, hoops hoopla, and the UT roster in flux

February 8th, 2011 by Jay Greeson in Sports

Before we get going, a quick programming note. The 5-at-10 wants to hear from you. Feel free to submit your questions to jgreeson@timesfreepress.com and the 5-at-10 will answer them as best we can on Fridays for the foreseeable future. They can be anything - i.e "Who will the Titans draft? (With no sure-fire quarterback answers in this draft, I think Von Miller's stock is going to skyrocket in coming days) to "How did you get to be so funny?" (just lucky, we suppose) to "Hey big man, can I borrow a $1?" (I'll have to ask the Mrs. 5-at-10, but I'm pretty sure the answer is no). Look forward to hearing from you.

Here we go...

In this Aug. 15, 2009, photo, Tennessee Titans offensive line coach Mike Munchak talks to his players during an NFL preseason football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Titans hire a familiar face

New Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak passed his first news conference. He said the right things and embraced the challenge.

But please remember that's the easy part of rebuilding the franchise.

The future is murky for these Titans, who are limited offensively. They have a solid offensive line (the position Munchak coached before being promoted) a superstar running back (Chris Johnson is legit) and a potential star receiver (Kenny Britt) and that's about it.

The defense has been aged and injured to the point that any and all help would be welcomed. The 5-at-10 mentioned Von Miller as a potential draft target if for no other reason than the speed pass-rushing stud may be as close to a sure thing as there is.

Munchak, however, is about as far from a sure-thing as there is - remember he's never been a coordinator much less a head coach. And maybe that's not a bad thing for a franchise that's for all intent and purposes is starting over.

Maybe.

UT coach Derek Dooley talks to the press.

UT roster in flux

Janzen Jackson, the Vols uber-talented safety, is not enrolled in school this semester. Here's Derek Dooley's response to media outlets on the matter:

"Janzen continues to battle personal issues of which our program is always going to be very supportive of," Dooley said. "His withdrawal from school has nothing to do with disciplinary reasons on the football team and everything to do with a continuing battle of deep personal issues, of which we're very supportive of."

Jackson missed a huge part of bowl practice in December handling a personal issue that Dooley or Jackson or anyone with the program refused to discuss. Jackson could be back on the field in the fall by using an NCAA-granted waiver, but that remains to be seen.

What is known this morning is the Vols will speed into spring practice without their best defensive player and their most athletic player overall. Plus, UT announced that defensive back Ted Meline, linebacker Jerod Askew and offensive lineman Cody Pope were leaving the program.

Askew and Jackson were part of the much-ballyhooed 2009 recruiting class brought in by Lane Kiffin on short notice. Let's look at the players that were highly regarded (four stars or better according to Rivals.com) in that class:

Askew, 4 stars

Bryce Brown, 5 stars

*Eric Gordon, 4 stars

James Green, 4 stars

Jackson, 5 stars

Darren Myles, 4 stars

David Oku, 4 stars

Nu'Keese Richardson, 4 stars

*JerQuari Scholfield, 4 stars

*Marsalis Teague, 4 stars

*Marlon Walls, 4 stars

Note the (*) signifies players still on the Vols roster as of this morning. Wow. Thanks Lane, you're truly the gift that keeps on giving. Remember how when Kiffin left town he said he left the program in better shape than he found it. Kiffin simply put is a mirage; he always seemed better than he was and his lasting image will be the trails out of Knoxville left by Kiffin, his staff, a chunk of his recruits and even the NCAA overlords after they have investigated his troubled 13-months with UT.

Uggggghhhhh. Brace yourselves USC fans, the bottom will fall out at some point.

Breaking news: Cavaliers lose again

A moment of silence for the Cleveland Cavaliers fans - all three of them - who have suffered through arguably the toughest 10 months in sports.

Last spring, the Cavs had the best record in the NBA before melting down in the playoffs. Then came the summer when LeBron James broke up with them on national television. Flash forward to Monday, when the Cavs lost their 25th consecutive game.

There's not much left to say here, really.

Hoops, hoops and more hoopla - Vol. 3, Chapter 2

Here's what the 5-at-10 knows: Kansas smacked Missouri last night, beating the Tigers 103-86.

Here's what the 5-at-10 thinks: Kansas and Big 12 foe Texas are the two best teams in the country. Yes, Ohio State is unbeaten and may well get the overall No. 1 seed. That said, KU and Texas are the cream of this less than stellar crop. There is not a truly great college hoops team this season, and that means the tournament will be crazy.

Here's what the 5-at-10 will watch tonight: You know it's the Vols going to Kentucky (9 p.m., ESPN). Not to overstate this game, because in truth no opponent is really expected to go into Rupp Arena and win, but the Vols need to collect as many wins as possible. A win tonight likely secures the Vols, who are 15-8 this morning, a spot in the NCAA tournament - it's just that simple.

Flying high Lee

Lee University basketball star Larriques Cunningham has quite a name - it's pronounced La-Rick-us. And he's making quite a name for himself with his high-wire acts.

Friend of the show Jeff Salyer has passed along just a few of his exploits:

Take a minute and watch these (and as always if your boss asks what your doing tell them you have received permission from the 5-at-10. We're sure that will suffice):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fdd8PBKzJlE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-SJEQR6iH0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ER17e6k-jyQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOTCV3Pb_Ts

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPALJI1eHGE

That final clip was from last year and received more than 147,000 clicks after it was posted on CNNSI.com.

Cunningham, a senior who averages about 15 points per game for the 19-5 Flames, is listed at 6-foot-7 and is a former Georgia high school state high jump champion despite not participating in track until his senior season.

Lee sports guru George Starr mentioned that if pro ball doesn't work out, Cunningham could be a Globetrotter or join an exhibition group such as the Team Flight Brothers.

Holy buckets can that guy get off the floor.

Until tomorrow.