5-at-10: Friday mailbag on comments, ESPN's best college football announcers, Hendon Hooker's draft stock

Tennessee Athletics photo by Andrew Ferguson / Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker, center, gets ready with his teammates before the Sept. 24 home win over Florida. The No. 6 Vols (5-0, 2-0 SEC) are back at Neyland Stadium for Saturday's 3:30 p.m. game against No. 3 Alabama (6-0, 3-0).

Morning gang, we’re coming to you live from St. Simon’s Island, where one of our regulars — Alejandro — is getting hitched this weekend.

Semi-disclosure, Alejandro and I are related. So there you go.

Thanks for all the kind words about the gambling thing on the horizon. We have high hopes.

Speaking of horizons, next Tuesday is this little platform’s 12th birthday. Crazy right?

Let’s handle our business.

Rushmore of Lane: Night Train Layne, Lovers Lane, Penny Lane, Stay in your lane. 

Rushmore of father-son basketball combos: Steph and Dell Curry, Tim and Tim Hardaway, Bill and Luke Walton, Joe and Kobe Bryant, and if Brony continues to improve the James duo will have a spot.

Rushmore of martial artist movie stars: Bruce Lee, Steven Seagal, Jackie Chan, Jean Claude Van Damm.

Rushmore of people most identified with motorcycles: Fonzie, Evel Knievel, Steve McQueen and Kelly Leak from “The Bad News Bears.”   

Paschall on the Vols. Hargis on preps. You know the rules. 

From SteelerFan

I had a dream the other night that my Pittsburgh Steelers finish the year 5-12, draft UT QB Hendon Hooker and hire Alex Golesh away from Rocky Top as their new OC. This raises the question: Would UT's brand of ultra-wide receiver splits and offensive tempo work in the NFL by keeping defensive sub packages off the field on passing downs? Or would NFL DCs quickly figure out some way to neutralize the scheme? It always amazes me how much no-huddle “tempo” seems to work for offenses in the league. The next logical step seems to be for some team to try an “all-tempo all-the-time” philosophy.

SteelerFan — 

Such a great question, and I wondered how you have adjusted to the post-Big Ben era.

The first topic here is how high has Hendon Hooker launched himself up draft boards. Had some folks take umbrage with my “race for Hendon Hooker” comment earlier this week and said there will be four, five or more QBs drafted before the UT specimen.

To that I would remind folks the rise Joe Burrow made in his 2019 Heisman march.

Also this: Would you take Will Levis over Hooker right now? Hooker or CJ Stroud? Discuss.

Tempo works very well until it doesn’t, and you have to be 100% committed to it, because going fast half the time is a recipe for disaster.

Next, I’m not sure Alex Golesh is doing anything more than repeating what actual OC and overlapping HC Josh Heupel.

One of the big hurdles for these high-profile, air-raid offenses on Saturdays and why they rarely translate to Sundays is match-ups. Even against someone as deep and talented as Alabama, UT consistently found a favorable match-up in the passing game.

The NFL rosters are more complete and evenly matched.

The other part of these tempo offenses is the extreme danger — both in frequency and in the run game — the put on the quarterback. And that’s a fact that is magnified in the league.

Great question. 

From Kevin

Greetings Jay,

Comments not working today, but I thought I would say that I feel vindicated after your observation that the Braves relievers ended up at No. 4 in MLB. Back in August, in reply to one of your questions, I stated that I felt like the Braves bullpen would be OK, and despite some blowback from a few other readers, it turned out to be true. Also, they were No. 1 in the month of September, which is, of course, when it matters the most. 

That being said, you are spot on with your observation that it did not feel that way. I guess the failures are magnified when it is your team. 

Go Vols and go Braves, next year.

Kevin — 

I thought about your point and for real, the Braves’ bullpen graded out way better than I expected.

That said, I do not think AA brings Kenley Jansen back.

His erratic showing the last month or so is one thing. His almost assured struggles with the new pitch count next year is another.

Enjoy the Vols’ run Kevin.

From John

Comments coming back or gone for good? Will change things a lot.

Looking forward to your new endeavor.

John — 

I do not know, but I have not heard any plans to kibosh the comments.

I concur, it would change a lot, and I hope they are coming back.

From JoeDon


Early voting has started in Hamilton County and it’s mid-term election time.

So, I’m wondering … if you could hold any political office (local, state or national), what would it be? And, what would be your first order of business on Day 1?

You’ve got my vote!

JoeDon — 

I would run for U.S. Senate.

First, look around that room. I would instantly be among the smartest folks there. And among the youngest.

My first order of business would be to do everything in my power to find a way for term limits.

Among all the issues we have, the fact that we have so many career officeholders rather than folks looking to serve their communities is among the biggest issues that could be quickly fixed.

From J-Mac

Hey Jay,

Watching the Tech and NFL game tonight. I am enjoying the college game call on TV much better than the NFL game. The game on Prime seems like they have muted the audience, and the ESPN game, you can hear the background. I really like Louis Riddick. He does a good job. 

The combo of Al Michels and Kirk Herbstret seems monotone to me. Michels is a great announcer, but he and Herbstreit just don't seem to go together. Herbstreit definitely prepares, but it just sounds like it is not working.

Just wondered your thoughts

J-Mac — 

I did not see any of the Thursday night NFL game.

I did watch a fair amount of the Tech-Virginia game, and I think it was because the announcers were that good.

Or the fact that I had more than a handshake wager on the outcome.

Because it certainly was not the quality of football in the ACC pillow fight between Tech and UVa. Man, after Tech’s QB left the game that set offensive football back a generation or three.

Louis Riddick is among the best individual talents in Bristol. And you know what? His play-by-play guy Matt Barrie was great too. 

That should be ESPN’s No. 1 college football tandem in my view.

They are a great tandem.

Have a great weekend friends.