JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: Oct. 27, 2013

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Antonio Langham. … 

  • Former Tennessee football coach Johnny Majors was on familiar ground Tuesday as his roots were firmly planted in Middle Tennessee as the son of Shirley Majors, a legendary high school and later college football coach.

    Majors thought he was to be the featured speaker at the Fayetteville Rotary Club. The club's Dick Farrar set the whole thing in motion. Instead of giving a speech, Farrar had invited six of those who knew Majors to turn the program into a roast.

    Some of those from his boyhood days and later, included former Vanderbilt football player Jim Cunningham, who now lives in Winchester, Bob Simmons, who played under Ken Shipp at Central High in Fayetteville and later played at Vanderbilt, the Rev. Don Schultz, who played through high school with Majors. At the end of every telephone conversation, Majors completes the call by asking Schultz if he is still praying for him.

    In front of a standing room only luncheon crowd, his “friends'' threw some nice zingers at Majors, who was completely caught off guard by the event.

    Representing the media were retired TV sportscaster Hope Hines and yours truly.

    I re-created a skit George Plaster and I would do when we were on WWTN's Sports Night. George would pretend he was calling Majors at practice. I became the distinct voice of Majors, and would blow a whistle during the interview.

    This time I had to be Plaster and “Coach Majors.'' I asked Coach Majors to name the three rivers that came together at Three Rivers Stadium when he coached at Pittsburgh. I intentionally mispronounced the first two and then halted, trying to think of the third.

    “I got it,'' the fake Majors said excitedly. “It's the Caney Fork. Yep, yep, yep, the Caney Fork River, dad-gummed right.''

    It was a fun day and everyone seemed to enjoy what Farrar and retired Tennessean sports editor Larry Taft put together.

    So if a service club needs a future speaker, John Majors has one prepared he hasn't used.

  • Hope Hines brought some copies of his new book, “In Hines' Sight: The Ups, Downs and Rebounds of 40 years in Sports Broadcasting.''

    The book is published by Franklin Green Publishing and Hope assures me there are plenty of copies left. He has packed 40 years of TV broadcasting into 117 pages. Hope told me it was even dumbed down so sports writers could understand it.

    Later next year, Hines will be inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Well deserved.

  • Sad to see that former TSU coach and Athletics Director Sam Whitmon passed away last week. He was 86.

    Sam was one of the good guys, always had a smile on his face. Well, always except when he missed a putt on the golf course. After he retired you could often find him at Ted Rhodes GC.

    He was at TSU during the glory years of Tigers athletics, when they were winning national black college football championships, sending gold medal winning Olympics champions such as Ralph Boston, Wilma Rudolph and other famous Tigerbelles.

    “Whit'' was a biology professor, a coach and administrator. He played football from 1944-47 and was an All-American on TSU's first two National Black College's championships in 1946 and 1947.

    He won 300 games as the Tigers baseball coach, making him the school's all-time winningest coach in that sport. He left TSU to coach at Fisk, but later returned to his alma mater.

  • You think the Titans' offense has struggled? Take a look at Jacksonville. Sports Illustrated's Peter King threw this one out in his recent Monday Morning Quarterback column.

    In their first three home games, the Jaguars have yet to score a touchdown. Zero. Nada. In those games they have scored 2,3 and 6 points. They have lost by margins of 26, 34,18 points.

    Thanks goodness they are in London this week. Next week, they have a bye, which all NFL fansshould celebrate. Then they visit LP Field Nov. 10 to play the Titans.

    If the NFL decided to move a franchise, the Jaguars would be the obvious choice. Fans in Jacksonville would help them pack. But then you have to find a city that would take them. Not easy.

  • Former Ravens coach Brian Billick gives his NFL Power Rankings for Fox Sports website. This week he has the Titans No. 15.

    Billick sez: “This team flashes, but just can't seem to put it all together.'' No argument here.

    He saves the last spot for Tampa Bay, yes, putting the Bucs behind the Jaguars. Both are 0-7 and reeling.

    Billick has the Texans No. 19 and the Falcons No. 23. The Birds were a preseason pick to contend for a Super Bowl run. They just snapped a three-game losing streak, despite being limited to 18 yards rushing.

    Billick also took a jab at his old rival, Rams Coach Jeff Fisher.

    Tavon Austin is proof that you should never make a 5-8 wide receiver the first player selected at that position in the draft, no matter how explosive his college tape was,'' Billick said.

  • Best fan quote on LSU Coach Les Miles?

    “I bet Les Miles puts cans of soup on top of bags of chips when checking out of the grocery.''

  • Danica, oh, Danica. Ms. Patrick backed into turn 2 during her first practice session at Martinsville Speedway. She had run 35 laps and was 36th fastest with a lap of 95.540 mph in her now damaged Chevy.

    In the misery loves company, her boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr., wrecked his ride 20 minutes later. At the time, he was second fastest with a lap of 98.241.

  • Duck Commander Phil Robertson was interviewed by former Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw recently. It was Bradshaw who succeeded Robertson as Louisiana Tech's quarterback in the 1960s.

    Bradshaw profited when Robertson decided to walk away from football and head to the duck blinds. His last season, Tech was 1-9 and Robertson had 18 interceptions to go with only four TD passes.

    Bradshaw asked Robertson why he made that decision to leave in 1968, that Robertson had the quickest release he had ever seen.

    “You had something I did not have,'' Robertson said. “You had the desire to excel in the game of football. I had the passion for the mallard ducks.''

    It turned out well for both men. Robertson's Duck Dynasty show is the highest rated show on cable TV, making $40 million a year.

    “I remember you always wore blue jeans and a T-shirt,'' Bradshaw told Robertson. “Your shirt was always covered with duck feathers, blood from a squirrel or some other varmit.''

  • Bovada book in Las Vegas lists odds on its top five Heisman Trophy candidates. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is the leader, followed by four more quarterbacks.

    FSU's Jameis Winston has moved up to No. 2 while Bama QB AJ McCarron in third. Texas A&M's defending Heisman winner, Johnny Manziel is No. 4 with Baylor's Bryce Petty rounding out the top 5.

    Manziel was textbook perfect in the Aggies opening drive against Vanderbilt. He drove them 75 yards in 13 plays, making a TD pass to Derel Walker on first-and-goal from the 8 after going for it on fourth-and-one from the 11. The Aggies came into the game making a touchdown on 58 percent of times inside the red zone.

    It was 21-0 after one quarter. The final was 56-24, Texas A&M.

    Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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