If you build it, they will issue a press release. Tennessee officially opened its $1.5 million Athletic Center for Field Safety yesterday with a game of catch. The Center is sort of a joint venture between AstroTurf and . . . deep breath, check notes . . . the UT Institute of Agriculture's East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center.
It's THE SINGLE LARGEST ATHLETIC FIELD RESEARCH EFFORT EVER UNDERTAKEN, and one plant sciences expert calls it the FIELD OF DREAMS and said that opening the sucker yesterday was ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING DAYS OF MY LIFE AS AN ACADEMICIAN, which tells you something about the life of an . . . academician, which, is that even a word? Well, okay then.
Seriously, though, it's a pretty cool project. It's 60 different fields, all constructed a bit differently with a variety of playing surfaces designed to test the safety and performance of the various components that make up our beloved football fields. Who knew there were 60 variations? No word on whether our linebackers have been assigned to the experimental Slip-and-Slide surface. Or the Intermittent Velcro Model. Oops. I said serious, didn't I? Well, I'm no academician, so Serious Faces have a short shelf life for me.
Speaking of Serious. Arian Foster won an ESPY last night for his 231-yard, 3-TD performance for the Houston Texans on opening day last year. Better put that philosophy store on hold for another season.
Speaking of philosophy. Dwight Miller is my new favorite player, in part because he likes "philosophy-type" thoughts. Also in part because he confessed to an obsession with laundry, which is his "favorite thing in the world to do." Also in part because he started playing basketball when he suddenly realized he was 6'8". And because of the awesome pump fake he gave in response to a question about what he considered his greatest strength on the basketball court:
I hate losing. I hate losing more than I love... breathing.
See what he did there? Pure awesomeness, plus philosophy-type thoughts to boot, all in a 6'8" frame. And he'll do your laundry for free.
Etceteras. Dooley says it's most def a Good Thing to have Janzen Jackson back on the team, but reminds us all that he's got some catching up to do. . . . The fall camp calendar is coming together, with August 1 being the report date, August 2 being the first day of practice, and August 7 being the first day in those fantastic popping pads.