SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, who may be known for effluence but not of the praise variety, is positively fawning over new Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley:
"It's been clear for a long time that Derek was going to be a very successful football coach," Slive said. "The fact that he was familiar with the SEC - it's in his DNA, so to speak - is, I think, helpful to him.
"So we were very pleased to see Mike Hamilton make that appointment. I was very pleased with the positive reception that he received from Tennessee and the fans. And obviously, like any new coach he has his work cut out for him. I think his appointment is good for Tennessee and good for the SEC."
But watch as Barney Jekyll morphs into Commissioner Snide when it comes to Lane Kiffin:
"I wish him well, I really do - as long as he's in California."
That qualifies as ZING for a man with white hair. More and more, though, I'm beginning to think that the whole one-year Lane Kiffin Era might just have been the absolute best thing that could have happened to Tennessee. There is absolutely no way in perdition that Phillip Fulmer would have been back in the fold after only one season if it hadn't have gone down like it did. Yet here he is, again singing Tennessee's praises and offering his assistance to Dooley while still being careful not to step on his tender young toes. If Tennessee can mash together in one season what it took Alabama ten years and the four-ring circus of Dubose/Franchione/Price/Shula to accomplish, well then here's to choking down that castor oil quickly and cleansing all the crud at once.
Nick's living right. Former Tennessee QB Nick Stephens has apparently become King Tarleton, III, as (1) his new team actually sounds like they're going to guarantee that he will play on Saturdays, (2) they "discovered" an extra year of eligibility on his transcript, and (3) they named the danged town after him:
Stephens told ESPN.com on Monday that he would be transferring to Division-II school Tarleton State in Stephenville, Texas, a 100-mile drive from his home in Flower Mound. And according to the would-be fifth-year senior for the Vols, a review of his transcripts has given Stephens an extra season of eligibility — giving him a chance for two with his new program.
Sweet move, Nick. Congrats, and best of luck.
GVX has a nice read on Chris Walker and Nick Reveiz and how they each turned to faith during particularly troubled times in their lives. I recently interviewed team chaplain Roger Woods, and he repeatedly mentioned both of these guys as being great kids and leaders of the team. So double good on them.
Don't fret too much about Tennessee's QB problems. With the exception of Alabama, the list of quarterbacks in the SEC in 2010 is less a Who's Who than Who's That? And why in the world would the Wall Street Journal abandon its fancy pants dot sketch portraits in favor of questionable conclusions about green college football quarterbacks?