JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: March 22, 2015

NCAA College Sports Generic

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Jamal Magloire…

TITANS FLIGHT: Would the last Titans front office employee remember to turn the lights off?

I knew there would be multiple moves made on the Titans football roster, but the number of changes made recently in the front office and administration is shocking.

The biggest shock when it was announced CEO/President Tommy Smith has resigned from his post after only 18 months.

I don’t believe Smith was ever comfortable in his position. When the Titans moved from Houston, the late Bud Adams sent his son-in-law Smith to head up the Nashville operation.

Smith preferred living in Houston, didn’t want to run the Titans and his stay here was brief.

I have written a number of times that the Titans sorely need a face of the franchise, one that wants to live in Nashville full time and has proven experience leading an NFL team.

That search is currently underway for that position and former Senior Executive Vice-President/General Counsel Steve Underwood will temporarily be in charge until a permanent replacement is found.

A number of other high level Titans employees have either resigned, or been replaced in recent weeks.

Leading that list was longtime former Executive Vice President Don MacLachlan, who resigned, but it is widely thought he was pushed.

This will be the most important front office hire in Titans history. They can’t afford to make a mistake on this one.


TWITTER DEE
: If you are Eastern Washington basketball coach Jim Hayford, you don’t want to awaken a sleeping giant in the NCAA Tournament.

Hayford must have been feeling his oats when he tweeted a “we’re gonna win’’ statement about his team’s game against Georgetown. Well, the Hoyas prevailed, 84-74 in the opening game.

Georgetown Coach John Thompson III had this to say in the Washington Post after the game: “So he guaranteed victory. Maybe it’s just me, but when I think of that, I think of Joe Willie Namath (Super Bowl III). I think of Muhammad Ali. I think of Larry Bird in the 3-point shooting contest.’’

One of Thompson’s players showed him the tweet.

“I kind of looked down there at him. He doesn’t fit the bill of guys who usually guarantee victory. That fired us up.’’


FOOTBALL STAR
: Kentucky’s 7-foot All-American center Willie Cauley-Stein is well known in college basketball. He is a certain high first round NBA draft choice, perhaps as high as the first pick.

But Cauley-Stein has another past. He was a standout football wide receiver for one season at Olathe Northwest High School in Kansas.

He collected 64 receptions for 1,265 yards and 15 touchdowns. That’s an average of 20 yards per catch. Not bad for a basketball player.

He is almost four inches taller than former Eagles wide receiver Harold Carmichael. At 6-8, he was the tallest receiver to ever play in the NFL.

“You just can’t imagine seeing a human being that size in pads, Olathe AD Jay Novacek told The Sporting News. “Even though Willie was relatively skinny in high school, with just how much more massive he looked in pads and a helmet. You go from a seven-foot person to 7-5. It looked like a wall.’’

When he was recruiting Cauley-Stein, UK basketball coach John Calipari took in one of his football games. That game, Cauley-Stein caught a 57-yard TD pass that helped get his team clinch a playoff spot.


LONG RIDE
: The road to the Final Four in Indianapolis can’t be any worse that what the Hampton Pirates experienced from when they landed at Louisville’s Standiford Field Airport to the arena for their first round game.

Due to rush hour traffic, it took the Pirates team 75 minutes for the 12-mile bus ride.

You think Nashville traffic is bad? But I bet we have more potholes than Louisville.


MTSU PIONEERS
: You could say former baseball coach and AD John Stanford and Nashville native Reese Smith Jr. built MTSU’s baseball program. You would be correct.

The men are to be honored by separate statues. They will be unveiled Tuesday at 5:15 p.m. at Reese Smith Jr. Field.

“Coach Stanford and Reese Smith have really helped build our program together and allowed us to be able to compete nationally,’’ said current AD Chris Massaro. “The look in front of our stadium with the two statues is a great centerpiece to our campus and really showcases our history.’’

After leaving the Air Force in the 1950s, Stanford became an all-OVC player and later left an even greater mark as the school’s athletics program.

Smith and his two sons that played baseball at MTSU threw their efforts into lighting and building the stadium that now exists. Reese Smith Jr. Field was officially dedicated on April 12, 1983.

Not only were they pioneers for MTSU, they were pillars of their cities they lived in.


SPOTTED AT ‘STONE
: Seen watching the SEC Tournament at Bridgestone Arena was former Titans executive Don MacLachlan and former Vice President of Player Personnel Lake Dawson.

With them was former Vanderbilt quarterback Walter Overton, who is in charge of LP Field operations.

Also seen in the media interview area was former Ole Miss basketball coach Bob Weltlich, who is currently on the NIT selection committee.

Weltlich was at Ole Miss six years where his team won the Rebels first SEC Tournament Championship. He coached a team that got the school’s first NCAA Tournament bid and first two NIT brands. He was SEC Coach of the Year in 1980.


YARD GOATS
: Former WKRN sportscaster Sara Walsh, now with ESPN, saw her alma mater North Florida Ospreys get in an NCAA Tournament play-in game.

Always thinking, Walsh wondered about the Hartford Yard Goats.

“The name alone would have them advancing to the Finals,’’ she tweeted.


GIVE US A BREAK
: Just how many times do we have to see Ashley Judd in the stands when Kentucky plays basketball?

It’s getting old. We know she went to Kentucky. We know she bleeds Big Blue. We know because the TV cameras won’t let us forget.


RULES CHANGES NEEDED
: The NCAA basketball rules committee, chaired by Belmont coach Rick Byrd, will have some items on their plate this off-season.

One that is the most likely to pass is paring the 35-second shot clock down to 30 seconds.

One they need to take a strong look at and clarify what is goal tending and basket interference.

It’s too late for Larry Brown’s SMU team, whose team’s ouster from the NCAA Tournament was hastened by a controversial goal-tending call.

The shot in question by UCLA guard Bryce Alford appeared to be short and wide with 13 seconds left. It didn’t hit the side of the rim because SMU senior Yanick Moreira caught it, but was called for goal-tending.

Officials reviewed it at length, coming to a conclusion the ball would have hit the rim. The rules state that any ball that hits the rim has a possibility of going in. The replays I saw, left an impression that even if no one had touched it, the best it would have done would have been to graze the goal, not on top, but on the side or underneath.

Fifty-eight percent of 484,457 fans on an ESPN poll said it was the wrong call.


APOLOGY
: I apologize for missing last Sunday’s Notes Column, but I had either food poisoning or a stomach virus at the SEC Tournament, spent time Sunday in an Emergency Room and was in no shape to ruminate.

Contact wkrn.com Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at joebiddle11@gmail.com.

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