JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: April 23, 2017

Nashville Predators center Colton Sissons (10) celebrates his goal against the Chicago Blackhawks with center Craig Smith (15) during the second period in Game 2 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series, Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Brandon Stewart . . .

QB BATTLE AT UT: Tennessee concluded spring practice without coming out with a No. 1 quarterback.

One thing for sure, it will be an inexperienced quarterback. Coach Butch Jones enjoys holding his cards to his chest and it may be the season opening game or later before he decides which quarterback will be the starter.

Even so, if that chosen starter doesn’t live up to expectations, Jones will make a change.

A green quarterback didn’t seem to hurt Alabama last season. Tide coach Nick Saban stuck with freshman Jalen Hurts last season and had the surrounding talent on offense to help Hurts mature.

No definite conclusion as to whom the Vols starter will be can’t be determined by the media that covers Tennessee. Jones keeps the media away from practice except for the start of practice when they do jumping jacks.

I understand the Russians are interested and have hacked into the Vols depth charts.

Junior Quinten Normady and redshirt freshman Jarrett Guantano are the top two, which will keep broadcasters and copy editors awake at night just spelling both names.

Normady has a strong, accurate arm while Guantano is more like the departed Joshua Dobbs in that Dobbs’ strength was running before he found his touch with the passing game as a senior.

Normady is not the runner Guantano is and Guantano doesn’t seen to be the passer that Normady is. It reminds me of the Peyton ManningBrandon Stewart situation. Peyton’s pride was pocket passing. Stewart could break the pocket when he didn’t see an open receiver and he was a powerful runner. He transferred to Texas A&M.

In the recent spring showcase, Normady went a perfect 10-for-10 in 11-on-11 scrimmage to close spring practice. He threw for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Guantano completed four of his five passes.


SMASHVILLE ON FIRE: The Predators have some welcomed time to rest and recover before they take on the St. Louis Blues in the first game of their best-of-seven series.

In cases where one team has had more off time than its opponent, it’s debated which one will benefit the most. You can say the more rested team would have the advantage, but on the other hand you could say the team that is coming off a first round series will be the hot team.

Older teams may enjoy the time off to recuperate, but younger teams keep fresher legs.

Nashville dominated the top-seed Blackhawks while St. Louis handled Minnesota in five games after an overtime final game.

Both teams are not located that far away. That should help the Predators, who have had more than their share of playoff series games on the West Coast in the past. They are trying to become the first Predators team to make it past the second round in the Stanley Cup.


TITANS DRAFT: The guessing game is on in earnest this week as the NFL Draft’s first round is Thursday night (7p.m.).

The Titans have two prime picks at No. 5 and No. 18. That is unless Titans GM “Trader Jon’’ Robinson has some tricks up his sleeve and don’t doubt that.

He showed last year nothing scares him.

This draft is fairly loaded across the board with the players the Titans have needs for. Wide receiver. Tight end. Pass rushers.


HURD ON THE MOVE: Former Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd has finally decided what his next move will be after leaving the Vols in mid-season last year.

The Beech High product had options and it seems he looked at all of them. He could have declared for the NFL Draft. He declined. Instead he will join Baylor, where he will sit out a year before regaining his eligibility.

OK, now that we know where the nomadic Hurd is, which position will he play. At Tennessee he was a first team running back. He didn’t think the Tennessee staff was utilizing his talents to their fullest. It was suggested that he would be best suited as a tight end. Now it seems he wants to be a wide receiver. At UT, he played 6-4, 240 pounds and I believe he will tip the scales even heavier.

He will likely be older than most NFL rookies when he leaves college.


DOC GREETS HIS TEAMS:  Retired Martin Luther King boys’ basketball coach Doc Shelton welcomed all his former players back for a dinner Saturday night.

It was well attended and many of the players came from out of state to be with their former coach and mentor.

Doc is now continuing to have an impact on people of all age’s as he is now a man of the Word. A preacher that is.


VANDY WOMEN WIN: Vanderbilt’s women’s tennis team won the SEC regular season title and the tournament title in one week.

They beat No 1 seed Florida, 4-3 in the SEC tournament finals. They took the Gators prior to that for the regular season title.

They go to the NCAA Tournament next month.

Joe Biddle is a Sports Columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at