Big Orange Roundtable: Volume II

Another week another volume of the Big Orange Roundtable.  This week’s questions come from oskie, over at the Vol-blog-of-all-Vol-blogs, Third Saturday in Blogtober (well, except for those pesky Bama fans roaming around).  But nothing is perfect, and on that word of wisdom, we turn to the questions…

1. We will start with an easy one.  Last week, our beloved Rock was relocated across the street to make room for a new building on campus.  What are your thoughts on the Rock’s relocation?

Saying goodbye to Knoxville after four years was not an easy task, as I know I’ll never again experience anything quite like college.  The memories, adventures, and friends will be with me for a lifetime.  But what I realize is that my experience at UT will be a unique one, like so many other before me, because the university is in a constant state of change.  Nothing there ever stays the same (hell, even Ayers is finally getting a make-over).

The prime example of this is the fact that just a week after I left campus as a college graduate, one of the constants on that campus was, well, moved.  It wasn’t as bad as most of my peers thought, throwing around rumors that the Rock was going to be chucked, along with one of the most talked about traditions on the Tennessee campus.

However, those rumors were thrashed when we found out the Rock would be moving all of 275 feet, and would still stand at the same intersection it had called home for so many years.  And from its new home, it will eventually look out at a brand new, state-of-the-art student health center that the university desperately needs.  So now, when sick kids look out on the campus, they’ll see Tim Tebow‘s cell phone number, or that it’s Samantha’s 19th birthday, or that Bryce Brown + Tennessee = National Championship.  Oh, the joys of free speech and graffitti.

What’s better than that?

2.  (a) Wednesday is the beginning of SEC Media Days in Birmingham, which usually signifies that the season is just around the corner.  What would you prefer that Coach Lane Kiffin do this week: Speak up or shut up? (b)  If you could take back one thing that Coach Kiffin has done or said to this point, what would it be?

In today’s SEC, a head coach can’t afford to be soft spoken.  Passive loses recruits.  Meek goes .500.  Quiet can cost you your job.

No, in today’s SEC, it pays to be bold.  And if there’s one word that can describe Tennessee’s new head coach, it’s bold.

He’s said about as much as one can say in seven months, stepping on almost all the conference’s coaches’ toes in the process.  Where has all this gotten him?  In the wins column, no where.  But he’d be in the same spot if he’d kept his mouth shut.  Recruiting wise, however, Lane Kiffin‘s outspokeness and passion has earned him the respect of quite a few recruits, including this year’s No. 1 prospect, Bryce Brown.

So, do I want Kiffin to speak up or shut up this week at the SEC Media Days?  The answer should be obvious.

Speak up.

Would I want him to take back anything he’s said?  Yes.  His admission that he voted Tebow first team all SEC, and admires the current Florida QB.  Stupidest thing he’s said all year.

3.  The biggest news of last week on the football front was that seemingly our entire receiving corps is in the infirmary.   Austin Rogers is lost for the year, Denarius Moore is going to miss several games at a minimum, and Gerald Jones has an injured wing that may cause him to miss some games.  Although it seems like it is time to hit the panic button, is there a way out of this for the Vols?

Losing two of our wideouts in the same week wasn’t pretty, especially with arguably our best wideout, Gerald Jones, already struggling to recuperate from offseason surgery.  But with setback comes opportunity.  With injury comes the chance for other to step up.

And who better to step up than the talented freshman Coach Kiffin was able to sign in this last class.  Austin Rogers will give way to his younger brother Zach Rogers, who has shown abilities and talents his older brother lacked at that age.  Denarius Moore‘s injury paves the way for Nu’Keese Richardson to step into the fold, and prove that his speed more than makes up for his lack of size.    With the loss of two potential Tennessee starters comes the chance for two young men to prove themselves, and show that they belong at the college level.

Although I think Gerald Jones‘ injury is being over-played, and that he’ll be fine by the start of the season, his absence would lend itself to even more opportunities for Zach Rogers and Nu’Keese, as well as Bryce Brown and David Oku.  Without the security of a deep threat, maybe Jonathan Crompton will do like I said in last weeks BOR, focus on the short passes to the flat instead of trying to force throws.  If he does so, then maybe it’ll lead to a boost of confidence, and by the time Jones and Moore return, Crompton will be more than ready to toss ’em deep.

To me, it will all pay off in the end.  Increased touches by these two youngsters will pay dividends in maturing them faster and enabling them to have the chance to become top notch SEC wide receivers while at Tennessee.

4. Basketball recruit Josh Selby decommitted from the Vols over the weekend, and many suspect it is because he wants to play for a Nike school.  Tennessee is an Adidas school, and there is speculation that future sponsorship money with Nike may be at stake if Selby doesn’t go to a Nike school like Kentucky.  This obviously has ramifications in all sports, so what do you make of all this? (NOTE: The NFL is a Reebok league, which is owned by Adidas.)

The recent decommitment of Josh Selby was disturbing not only because of how talented he is as a player, but because of the speculation that he decommited because of pressure not from his family, friends or coaches, but from a company… from Nike.  Now, we probably won’t ever know for sure if this is true, but for the sake of argument, let’s say it is true.  This is something that cannot be allowed in college athletics, and I believe the NCAA should start taking a stand against these companies that are feeding kids bad information and corrupting the sport.  Now, I don’t believe the blame falls solely on Nike.  Numerous other companies, including Adidas are more than likely using the same tactics, but that doesn’t make it right.

A recent article states that Nike was adamantly pushing Memphis area basketball players away from coming to the Tennessee Elite Camp this summer and towards the Memphis Elite Camp.  This article takes a huge step forward on this issue, as it brings a very real and very inappropriate action into the spotlight.  These kids wanted to come to the Tennessee Elite Camp, but couldn’t because of pressure from Nike!  How in any way, shape, or form can something like this knowingly happen? Remember, these athletes are still in high school.  It doesn’t take much for a big Nike hotshot to come in and convince them to do what Nike wants.

For example, let’s say Nike tells Selby that he might not get a future deal if he goes to an Adidas school?  Well, just because he goes to a Nike school doesn’t mean he will sign a future Nike deal anyway.  Reference the case of former University of Memphis star Derrick Rose, who went to a Nike school and is now signed with Adidas.  Maybe Nike is telling Selby he doesn’t stand as good of a chance of getting into the NBA if he doesn’t go to a Nike school?  Is this fair?  Hardly, especially when the University of Kansas (an Adidas school) currently has eleven players in the NBA.

This whole argument boils down to the NCAA’s desire for a level playing field.  Well, over the past few years, we are seeing many high school athletes choose a school because of the shoe contract they have with a company.  Obviously, the NCAA cannot ban these companies from the sport because they are in-fact one of the main reasons college athletics function.  But, if this continues, something has to be done.

That wraps up Volume II of the Big Orange Roundtable.  Like last week, your comments are welcomed and desired.  The Roundtable is made up of Tennessee blogs, but wouldn’t be anything without Tennessee fans.

What’s your opinion?

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~ by drewbd on 07.23.2009.

One Response to “Big Orange Roundtable: Volume II”

  1. Hey nice post …. Keep up the great work

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