JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: Feb. 22, 2015

Tennessee Titans Football Generic
(Graphic: WKRN)

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Jeff Rutledge. …

NFL Combine: The SEC and Tennessee Titans were well represented at last week’s NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

The Titans had team doctor Burton Elrod helping with the physicals. Joining him were Drs. Jeffrey Willers, Thomas Devan and Colin Crosby.

The SEC had 68 of its football players compete at the Combine.

You can come home: I hear former Cohn High and Major League pitcher Wayne Garland has moved back home. His parents are getting older and he wanted to be with them during this time.

Garland is remembered for being baseball’s first millionaire free agent when he signed a 10-year, $2.3 million contract as a free agent. He was coming off a 20-7 record in his fourth season with Baltimore. He pitched five losing seasons the Indians. He had rotator cuff surgery and his career was over.

He is part of the Sounds history. In a two-week period during the 1988 season, Garland was one of five managers the Sounds went through.

He was pitching coach for the team and became interim manager (3 games) after manager Jack Lind left with health problems. Next up was former Sounds manager George Scherger, who returned for one game. Jim Hoff stepped in for a few days until the job was given to Frank Lucchesi, who finished the season.

No charge for the Sounds history lesson.

A KING’S RANSOM: Former Brentwood Academy and Auburn offensive lineman King Dunlap just got paid.

The Chargers left tackle (6-7-330 pounds) signed a 4-year, $28 million contract. The seven-year vet started all 16 games last season. According to Pro Football Focus, Dunlap allowed only three sacks in 625 pass drops.

“King has been top notch the last few years for us at left tackle,’’ Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers said after Dunlap re-signed. “It is very well deserved for him personally and a huge signing for our team.’’

The 29-year-old King would have been a free agent March 10 before re-signing with the Chargers to protect Rivers.

CRAZY ‘CAT FAN: I have heard it all now. Kentucky fans have a reputation for their fervent support for their basketball team.

You can never question Heather McKnight’s loyalty to Big Blue.

McKnight is very pregnant at the moment and decided to have someone paint her stomach like a basketball. It looks like a real basketball, but this one comes with a blue UK painted on it. You can Google it to get the picture.

I have no idea what sex the baby will be, nor what its name will be. But I have a sneaking suspension if it is a boy, the name will be Cal. Shoot, even if it’s a girl, I bet she will name it Cal. Why not?

No, she’s not going to call it Tubby.

MOCK SCHMOCK: Raise your hand if you have a NFL mock draft of your own somewhere out in cyber space.

They are everywhere you look. Magazines, blogs, talk shows, blah, blah, blah. I believe Judge Judy has one.

See if you find fault with this one, as I did. has been around for some time. I’m bewildered by his Titans picks. Whoever Walter is has them staying put at No. 2 in the first round and taking QB Marcus Mariota. As much as a stickler for a pro pocket passing attack that Coach Ken Whisenhunt is, does anyone think he is going to take an read option, strictly shotgun formation quarterback like Mariota?

I love Mariota, but not in Whisenhunt’s offense. Yes he has all the other measureables you want. You may want him to marry your daughter, but to be a pocket quarterback? NO, NO. A THOUSAND TIMES NO!!!!!!

OK, let’s carry forward. Sir Walter has the Titans taking Josue Matias with the first round of the second round. Yes, that Josue Matias, the offensive guard from Florida State. Walty, let’s talk. The Titans have a horrible defense. And you are going to take your first two picks for a quarterback and a guard?

In the third round, Walter goes defense. The pick here is Hauoli Kikaha, a defensive end/outside linebacker from Washington. In the fourth round they stay on defense with Stanford safety Jordan Richards.

Clip and save, see how Walter fared.

SNEDS STRUGGLES: And how. Nashville Tour pro Brandt Snedeker, fresh off a win at the AT&T National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, must have left his A-game in Carmel.

Many golfers who win a meaningful tournament as Snedeker did, will pull out the following week, even if they have committed to playing.

Snedeker stayed true to his word and played at Riviera, a tight course that requires precision.

He made the cut by a stroke after two rounds, but the third round was a nightmare. His first nine holes were on Riviera’s back nine, where he shot a 41 Saturday. He shot 38 on his back nine to be tied for last place going into today’s final 18. While Snedeker made only one bogey in four rounds at Pebble Beach, his first nine  at Riviera started with a triple bogey 7 on No. 10. He added three bogeys and a lone birdie for the 41.

LOVING THE ORANGE: Tennessee football team is a preseason favorite in some minds to be the team to beat in the SEC East this season.

One website that named its quarterbacks on the rise included Vols QB Joshua Dobbs, who came on strong down the stretch. Other SEC quarterbacks on the list included Texas A&M’s Kyle Allen, who started the last five games for the Aggies last season. He had a four TD game against Auburn and a 294-yard passing game against West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl.

Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson made the list as a rising junior. So did UCLA freshman Josh Rosen, who is replacing Brett Hundley. Clemson’s Deshawn Watson is another one on the rise.

Mason Rudolph of Oklahoma State led his team over Oklahoma and the bowl win over Washington.

The top five rising teams include Tennessee, Arizona State, Notre Dame, Texas A&M (with new DC John Chavis and Oklahoma State.

ALMONTE SHOULD KNOW: Remember Danny Almonte? When his Bronx Little League team dominated the 2001 Little League World Series, he was the most dominant pitcher in the history of the event.

In three games, Almonte threw a perfect game, a no-hitter and a one-hit shutout. He struck out 62 of 72 batters faced.

No wonder. It was later learned Almonte was 14 years old, pitching against 11 and 12 year old kids. His father and the Bronx Little League director schemed to alter the paperwork on the pitcher.

Now Danny Almonte is 27 years old and publicly said the Chicago West US champion could be a victim of racism. None other than race-baiter Jesse Jackson is joining the choir.

The team had its title stripped when it was reported they had players who were not in the designated areas of Chicago.

“Race may be a factor,’’ Almonte said. “I don’t want to sound racist, but it’s always something against Latin and African-American teams.’’

Jackson called the situation “persecution.’’

SPRING PRACTICE: Wow, did Vanderbilt blow it when it started spring football practice in one of the worst weather weeks in the past 30 years in Nashville.

Fortunately they practiced in their indoor facility. But, c’mon, no football team in Tennessee should start spring practice in February. It’s bad enough around here in March.

Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Derek Mason announced new offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig will not only call the plays on game day, he will determine who the starting quarterback will be. Hopefully he can make his mind up before the season opener.

They have four quarterbacks in spring practice. That’s a familiar number. They are Patton Robinette, a redshirt junior, sophomore Wade Freebeck, sophomore Johnny McCrary and redshirt freshman Shawn Stankavage.

“I told Andy to assess it himself,’’ Mason said. “He’s been coaching as long as I have and understands what he wants. It’s important to let coaches do their jobs.’’

CLASSY TO THE END:  North Carolina and Duke arguably played the best game of this college basketball season, won in overtime by Duke.

Before the game, the two teams and coaches formed a circle at mid-court of Duke’s Cameron Indoor and bowed for a moment of silence in honor of Hall of Fame Coach Dean Smith, North Carolina’s icon who passed away Feb. 7.

In North Carolina’s first home game, Coach Roy Williams had his team run the Four Corners, a Smith developed a slowdown spread offense that some say hastened the shot clock.

Williams wanted his team to hold the ball for a minute or two in order for the crowd to notice it as a tribute to Smith. But a Tar Heel came open on a back door cut and laid the pass in for a bucket.

WHAT TIME IS IT?: Former Vanderbilt and South Carolina basketball coach Eddie Fogler, a longtime assistant coach to North Carolina’s Dean Smith, said on a local talk show he favors a shorter shot clock to speed the game up.

Belmont Coach Rick Byrd is the current chairman of the NCAA Basketball Rules Committee and the subject will likely come up this year. Byrd’s term runs out this September. It’s likely if they make a change, it will be to a 30-second clock.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at




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