JOE BIDDLE: Tennessee topples ‘Pack

JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: July 7, 2013 (Image 1)

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to LaMarcus Coker…

  • Tennessee got of on the right foot Friday night against N.C. State, putting a 35-21 whuppin' on the Wolfpack.

    The happiest person in the Georgia Dome was not UT Coach Derek Dooley. It was his mother, Barbara, who has heard all the doomsday predictions about her baby boy's future on the Hill.

    Dooley's team was much improved from a year ago. They showed they are lethal in the passing game with quarterback Tyler Bray's downfield bombs and two big-time receivers in Justin Hunter and junior college transfer Cordarrelle Patterson.

    A first quarter explosion in which the Vols put 16 points on the scoreboard in a mere 38 seconds, served notice that Dooley's team was prepared to play, intent on getting that Kentucky taste out of their mouths.

    Sal Sunseri's defense was in elevator form. It had its ups and downs, not unexpected with as many changes to the system in its first test-drive. There were too many ‘Pack receivers wide open downfield, but the Vols defense made up for that with a safety and four interceptions on the plus-side.

    It's going to be a wild ride for this team through the SEC schedule.

  • Ron who? Zooker what? Illinois didn't take long to erase the memories of former Florida and Illinois head coach Ron Zook.

    Illinois took all of 1:41 to score its first touchdown of the season. OK, so what if it was Western Michigan?

  • Just a thought. I wonder how much money college cheerleaders spend on tanning salons?

    Televised football games suggest the amount would pay off our national debt.

  • If you are under 40, the name probably won't register with you.

    But before Duke basketball was Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner, Johnny Dawkins, Shane Battier, J.J. Redick, Grant Hill, Jason Williams and, yes, even Coach K, there was Art Heyman.

    Heyman died last week in Florida. The New York native was 71.

    He played in 1961-63 for the Blue Devils and when he left, he was the school's career leader in scoring. He averaged double-doubles every season.

    Heyman was a bruising player who could shoot and handle like a guard. His senior year, Heyman was ACC and National Player of the Year, leading his team to the Final Four. He averaged 25.1 points and 10.9 rebounds.

    Heyman's is one of Duke's 13 retired jerseys.

  • Is this the end of the coaching road for Texas Tech basketball coach Billy Clyde Gillispie?

    In only his second year in Lubbock, players met with AD Kirby Hocutt concerning Gillispie's treatment of the team.

    There are accusations Gillispie repeatedly violates the NCAA 20-hour rule which prohibits coaches from going over 20 hours a week in practice time, games, mandatory weight lifting sessions, etc.

    Gillispie was fired at Kentucky after two years. He once ordered center Josh Harrellson to sit in a bathroom stall during halftime at a game against Vanderbilt at Memorial Gym. He later made Harrellson ride back to Lexington in Kentucky's equipment truck.

    According to, Gillispie was hospitalized Friday with what was believed to be high blood pressure.

  • Baseball scouts are always searching for five-tool prospects.

    How about Carolina Mudcats handyman Justin Toole? When his minor league manager asked him what position he played, Toole told him, “anywhere.''

    That turned out to be oh, so true in a recent game against the Salem Red Sox in which Toole played all nine positions.

    He caught the eighth inning, pitched in the ninth. Toole had pitched some in relief while at the University of Iowa. He got the first player to pop up, gave up solo homers to the next two batters, then struck out the next two players to preserve a 4-2 win.

    He had played five different positions during the season. I don't think Toole is considered a five-tool prospect. But when it comes to versatility, he has that covered.

  • Did you see a picture of a Philadelphia Phillies fan that painted her entire face red for a recent game?

    It was a vivid red, likely because she used her lipstick to get the job done.

    No word on how long it took her to get that removed.

  • My college football Player of the Year is Daniel Rodriguez, a walk-on wide receiver at Clemson.

    His heroics won't play out on the football field. Rodriguez has already made his mark on Afghanistan battlefields.

    Rodriguez' unit was overrun by 300 Taliban insurgents. Eight in his unit were killed. Rodriguez and 21 others were wounded.

    Awarded the Purple Heart for multiple wounds and a Bronze Star for valor, he left the Army, vowing to fulfill a promise he made to his buddy who was killed in the battle.

    Rodriguez wanted to play college football. He worked out religiously, putting a tape of the grueling exercise program on YouTube where it went viral and was spotted by Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney.

    Swinney invited Rodriguez to walk on and he accepted. He is currently going to school on the GI bill, but I don't doubt that Swinney will one day clear a spot on his roster to reward Rodriguez with a scholarship.

  • In its 42-41 squeaker against Syracuse, Northwestern appeared to be very porous in the secondary, especially the cornerbacks. They have three new starters in the secondary and it was easy pickings for Syracuse.

    That said, Vanderbilt QB Jordan Rodgers can't afford to make the mistakes he made against South Carolina.

    He put the Gamecocks on the scoreboard by attempting to complete a cross-field pass across his body. Risky. The floating pass was picked off and taken back the other way for a touchdown.

    If Vanderbilt gives the effort and intensity it did in the season opener, the Commodores should get their first win. If not, it's going to be a long season.

  • You've got to love the Rice band. As their football team opened against UCLA, the Owls band took a jab at the Bruins top rival, Southern Cal.”

    At halftime the band spelled out U$C with the dollar sign, pointing to the penalties imposed on Southern Cal by the NCAA.

    They had used the formation last year when Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC. You got it. It was $EC.

    The Rice band calls itself the MOB.  Marching Owl Band.

  • ESPN sideline reporter Jenn Brown interviewed an Army Lt. Colonel at the Syracuse-Northwestern game Saturday. The Syracuse team participated in summer workouts with the 10th Mountain Division, an elite Army unit with significant deployments to Afghanistan.

    Brown introduced him as a lieutenant colonel, but in the interview called him “Lieutenant.''

    Talk about a quick reduction in rank. Tough young lady.

  • When Hurricane Isaac whipped in to New Orleans, it produced a driving rain. Weather Channel inclement weather veteran Jim Cantore was reporting live, when the wind and rain drove him to one knee.

    Cantore faced the stinging rain by kneeling and covering his face, telling viewers: “Hope Tebow is proud of me.''

 Got a sports story tip? Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at 

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