5 at 10: Friday mailbag

5 at 10: Friday mailbag

February 3rd, 2012 by Jay Greeson in Sports

From the "Talk too much studios," let's go.

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UT football coach Derek Dooley talks to the media at Neyland Stadium.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

From CelticVol

Hey 5@10,

By the time you answer this, the hay will be in the barn, the chickens will be hatched, and all the tools will be put up. Yes I'm referring to this recruiting cycle. Who are your top 3 immediate impact performers for the Tennessee Vols and do you think the new assistant coaching hires were upgrades over the previous regime?

CelticVol

We'll break this down into two categories.

First the three immediate impact guys. Cordarrelle Patterson, Darrington Sentimore and LaDarrell McNeil will be in the rotation fro the start and all three could be starters by October, and that's a cautious statement only because McNeil is a true freshman safety. While he'll be learning a new system, there's a chance for a large number of the defensive newcomers to see the field next fall because everyone will be learning a new system under new DC Sal Sunseri. Plus, Sentimore is a true 3-4 end, something that is not exactly common in Knoxville right as the defense adjusts.

As for Patterson, well, since he's the lone five-star in UT's class, he was the easy and obvious choice. But that doesn't make it any less accurate. This is how big the addition of the junior college All-American is for UT - not only is Patterson ready to start in three-receiver sets, his potential combinations with Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers, help cover up the Vols' uncertainty at running back. UT may throw it 50 times a game next fall, and with the firm of Patterson, Hunter and Rogers on the perimeter, who could blame them.

As for the new coaches, well it was kind of a mixed bag, and we'll know more when they have had a full cycle to recruit. There were some successes. After moving to receivers from coaching QBs Darin Hinshaw did work after taking over for Charlie Baggett and had a large hand in signing arguably the best receiver class in UT history and that's saying something. We were surprised a bit that the addition of Jay Graham did not lead to a higher-profile addition among the running backs, but that would have been a big upset. (Not a "And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground. Amen." type of upset, but a big upset nonetheless.)

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley looks during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against the Alabama, Saturday, Oct, 22 2011 in Tuscaloosa Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

From Jomo11

Jay,

(UT coach Derek) Dooley talks about getting "high character" guys, yet signs Deion Bonner who has a police record for theft while on a recruiting visit at Georgia? Is it because Dooley is "reaching?"

Jomo,

It could definitely be a reach. Certainly the Vols need dynamic playmakers and Bonner certainly classifies as a big-time playmaker as a cornerback. And Dooley knows that 2012 will be a very important season.

It could be that Dooley spoke to this kid, this kid's coach (former Auburn defensive back Dell McGee) and those around the situation and feels like a mistake by a teenager was more a lapse of this kid's character that the defining moment of it.

It could be that the answer is somewhere in between. We know that there were moments in the young 5-at-10's life that we hope people were able to forgive and even forget. We hope those moments helped shape our character more than be the first example people use when remembering us.

Friend of the show Irish Fan said the SEC is a "Successpool" and while that made us laugh out loud, there are going to be SEC coaches - and in truth coaches everywhere - who take chances on talented kids that have some issues.

Who knows, Bonner could either be a three-year starter and a two-time captain or be dismissed in six weeks. But then again, that could be said about almost anyone.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban gestures to the fans as he leaves the field after defeating Georgia 41-30 in an NCAA college football game in Athens, Ga., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

From VFL

Saw where you had the Vols as a 'B minus' for their signing day. That seems a little low, but okay. Who do you think won signing day in the SEC, and what three freshmen will know this time next year and say, "man I wish they had signed with UT."

VFL,

Thanks for the e-mail and feel free to swing by any time.

We actually felt B-minus was pretty fair and maybe even a little on the high end. This class was flush in receivers, an obvious area of need, and provided an upgrade in talent at some defensive line spots. But the loss of the linebackers was crippling and we're still scratching our head over the fact that UT did not sign an offensive lineman. Yes, we know Derek Dooley said they signed 11 in the last two recruiting cycles, but we've always believed that you fill every position with at least one body in every signing class. (Of course to be fair, we've been in newspapers and not coaching so we know way more about covering stories than covering receivers and more about deadlines than defensive lines, so there.)

Alabama dominated signing day. Their class is money, and as we said Thursday on "The Show" with Chris Goforth on 1370 AM, the Tide had three big needs - safety, receiver, running back - and they addressed them with five-star players that are ready to play now. Florida was very good on signing day, and Will Muschamp was able to deliver a round of feel-good news to Gator Nation. Texas A&M did work - five-star running back and the best QB and WR in the state of Texas. We like Auburn's class, although the Tigers needs more linebackers, and we liked the quality in Georgia's class even if the quantity is a little low.

As for the five, we'll try to be a little more across the board (it would be easy to say Dorial Green-Beckham, the 18-star receiver who will be streaking through secondaries across the SEC for Missouri for the next three years, or Eddie Goldman or all the other five stars at the top of the rankings).

- Landon Collins: The five-star safety who picked Alabama over LSU is going to be one of two things. Either he's going to be a big-time Big-Timer or he's going to transfer to North Alabama in a year. There's no in between with this guy. And after watching this kid, we believe he'll be a contributor from Day 1 and a future top-five NFL draft pick (we love the draft; you know this). This guy looks like a bigger, stronger Eric Berry. And yes, that's about as a good a compliment we can pay a safety.

- Nick Dawson: This one hurt UT as much as the late defections of Peters and Santos. Dawson, a four-star linebacker who is the crown jewel of Louisville's class, is 6-3, 230 and ready to play now. And talented enough to play now.

- Barrett Gouger: The three-star longtime Vandy commit never showed much interest to any other program other than the Commodores. We watched Gouger several times last fall, and we were impressed every time. We believe he'll become a three-year starter, and, if he improves as much as he did between his junior and senior years at Baylor, he'll be an NFL lineman.

In this photo taken with a fisheye lens, football fans pose for photos in front of the Super Bowl XLVI logo on Monument Circle, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012 , in Indianapolis. The New England Patriots are scheduled to face the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

scole023

You still talk too much, and why was there no contest for the Super Bowl. I like to win stuff.

As for my other question, what do you think is the bigger mess right now - the Akron athletic department or the Indy Colts QB meetings?

Thanks, and try to keep it short.

scole023,

Thanks for the question, and for the kind of kind words.

First, you're correct, we dropped the ball on a Super Bowl contest. That's on us, and we don't know what to say other than the second annual Final Four contest is just around the corner.

As for your question, it has two answers. Short-term the case of Manning v. Colts, Irsay, et al., is going to be eye-popping for the next seven to 10 days.

OK, let's recap: Peyton Manning misses the year with a next injury. Colts go 2-14 and get the No. 1 pick and the chance to draft Andrew Luck, who will be Peyton Manning 2.0. The Colts will owe Peyton $28 million if he's still on the roster in early March. Everyone up to speed? Great.

Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay are scheduled to sit down next week and discuss the future. Everyone is pretty much in agreement that the odds seem long that Manning will be in Indy come spring. (Quick sider: If the Colts are worried about the $28 million, here's saying if they offered a pay-per-view of the meeting between Irsay and Manning, that they'd raise twice that total. Not since Michael sat down with Sollozzo and Capt. McCluskey has there been this much tension.)

As an opening salvo, Manning and Co. released a medical report saying that he has been cleared to play. Hey, we don't care if that report was filed by Dr. Nick from the the Simpsons ("Hi everybody"), Dr. J or by the guy that drew the cover art on Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood, this undercuts Irsay's original play of cutting Manning and telling fans that it was because of the uncertainty of his neck future.

That said, the long-term drama at Akron could be even better.

Quick recap: Akron hired former Auburn football coach and former North Alabama football coach Terry Bowden recently. Akron then hired disgraced former THE Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel for a specially created job in the administration titled "vice president of strategic development." (Side note: Tressel is going to collect $200K a year. Crazy, right? Hey, Akron, how about creating a "vice president for strategery and 5-at-10ing" and give us a shot? We'll do it for half of what you're paying Tressel.)

Tressel's new position will allow him to work with students, alumni and area organizations on a variety of issues. The options are limitless and pressing. Do Akron students know fair and equal trade value for merchandise and memorabilia on the open tattoo market? Well, Tressel does.

Tressel is not allowed to have direct contact with the athletic department, however, after his NCAA-issued five-year show-cause penalty for his violations at THE Ohio State. (Although, he did help advise Akron on picking Bowden, which somehow seems wrong, but so it goes.) Tressel said he has no intention of coaching again, even though he interviewed twice with Irsay about the Colts job opening.

Hey, wait, this whole thing is going to be a mess. Let's just call it a tie, and start thinking of our next contest. Deal? Deal.

This handout from Sports Illustrated shows the cover of the Dec. 12, 2005 issue, featuring Tom Brady, the 2005 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. The issue will hit newsstands on Dec. 7. (AP Photo/HO, Sports Illustrated)

From Weena

Super Bowl who you got? I need to know so I can bet on the other team.

Weena,

Wow, thanks guy. Granted we were something like 30 games over .500 against the spread in the college season (51-30-2) and we're only 8-7-1 in the NFL playoffs (that's games and over/unders). But still that's a little rough, right?

OK, here's what we got:

We know that the Giants have a better defense, pass rush, running game, receivers and special teams.

We know that the Giants beat the Patriots during the regular season.

We know that Rob Gronkowski, the Pats' record-setting tight end, has been walking around in a boot for most of the week.

We know these things because they have been the talking points of the longest two weeks in sports - the build-up to the Super Bowl.

And for those reasons, we'll take the Patriots, 31-21.

Here's why:

The Pats have Tom Brady. The Pats have Bill Belichick, who we're certain has been making his team watch ESPN hourly and see how much love the Giants have been getting from every talking head from the top of the IQ range (Jay Bilas) to the bottom (Stu Scott).

But most importantly, despite being a 3-point favorite, the Pats are an overwhelming underdog in the eyes of the betting public.

This is what we know about gambling - The house wins way more than it loses (the casinos in Vegas are really nice, and if you have been there more than once you almost certainly helped pay for them); the house wins way, Way, WAY more than it loses on Super Sunday (Vegas has made money on the straight-line game bet in 19 of the last 21 Super Bowls, meaning the team the public likes is 2-19 against the number the last 21 years); the Giants have been the play by more than 60-percent of the betting public so far, according to friend of the show RJ Bell of pregame.com.

To recap, we'll go with the best QB, the best coach and the gambling gods and call it a day. Who you got?