I'm here with Tyler Bray and Da'Rick Rogers, who I want to thank for joining me again. Tyler and Da'Rick could have been anywhere in the world this morning, but they're here with me...and I appreciate that. We're also glad to be joined today by a first-time guest, senior tailback Tauren Poole.
Our guests today are going to walk us through the fine points of a crucial play from Saturday's contest against the visiting Cincinnati Bearcats. Now we all loved Da'Rick's helmet-less touchdown catch -- and ESPN loved it enough to put it on their top ten plays list -- but I think that the touchdown with the game tied at 14 all with13 minutes to go in the second quarter proved to be a critical turning point in the game that really shifted momentum in favor of the Vols. So let's dive right in and give it the full-on breakdown.
Tauren: ...just like Mariah Carey. Let's do this breakdown.
Da'Rick: it was first and ten, but not first and goal. We were at the 11 yard line, as I recall. We were lined up in our base 2 D.B. Cooper package with Hunter split out right, Tyler under center, and Tauren six yards behind him. Zach (Rogers) and I were lined up out left with Zach on the outside and me at the left hash, which was roughly equidistant between Zach and Left Tackle Dallas Thomas....
Bray [interrupting]: the most important part about this play -- sorry, Da'Rick, did I interrupt? -- was that it finally shut their damn linebacker up. Every offensive play up this point, that guy was talking some nonsense about a Cincinnati chili dog. He was talking about giving these chili dogs to everybody and their freaking mother...or cousin...or sister. Is Cincinnati famous for chili dogs or something?
Tauren: yeah, that guy was ridiculous. He wouldn't shut up. [turns to address Tyler in a slightly hushed voice] holler at me after this interview and I'll give you a little context on the whole chili dog thing. [Tyler nods head].
Tyler: I think Da'Rick pretty well covered the formation. That play itself was like a quasi play-action. Tauren takes off running to the right, and the right side of the line run-blocks -- which draws the defenders to that side of the field -- as I athletically glide over to meet Tauren and fake the handoff to him....
Da'Rick: I basically just run to the back of the endzone right after the snap. Not straight ahead, mind you, but at roughly a 15 degree angle to the left. So instead of running a mere 20 yards to my spot (I consider it prudent to leave one yard between my feet and the back line), I am actually running roughly 20.71 yards, which constitutes an additional forward stride. Stated differently, my starting point at the line of scrimmage is best conceptualized as the origin in a two-dimensional axis. The straight ahead route extends out to the unit circle and my actual route is therefore the hypotenuse of the triangle formed with the back line as the third side.
Tauren: oh man, Da'Rick LOVES riding that hypotenuse. He'll ride it All. Night. Long.
Tyler: I was told there would be no math.
Da'Rick: yes, Tauren, generally speaking, slow-playing the receiver to his hypotenuse side is my favorite strategy for getting separation from an obtuse defensive back. But on this particular play, my mental calculations and subsequent precise execution according to said calculated parameters turned out to be, well, a touch superfluous. From the film you'll note that Zach didn't immediately come off the line of scrimmage when the ball was snapped. He paused deliberately, and waited until I was five yards deep into my route before he started into his slant route...
Tyler: and then the super duper smart guy who had Da'Rick actually leaves Da'Rick -- who was running vertical...well, near vertical, as we now know -- to guard a guard a guy who was already covered and running a skinny little slant. And on top of all that, the safety on the left side also bit on the play. I nearly pulled an Andy Samberg in-the-club maneuver, if you know what I mean. Just kidding. No what I actually did was found the chili dog linebacker and tossed a little verbal zinger in his direction. I then chuckled a little bit, strongly considered several different possibilities -- of the more vulgar variety -- for a second verbal zinger, but then ultimately decided against it. Then I threw the pass.
Tyler: And it was Da'Rick's for six. Damn, I'm a poet and I didn't even know it.
Tauren: [leaning forward to whisper something to me] guarantee he's been waiting weeks to say that line. Weeks.
Da'Rick: I have to say it seemed as if I was standing there in the back of the endzone for nearly a fortnight.
Tauren: so, what'd you say to chili dog guy?
Tyler: I asked him, rhetorically, if he was a fan of microcosms. And then I said: well I am, and this game is just about to start spiraling away from you and out of your control. And then I hit Da'Rick, and I always throw spirals, so that was a given. Pretty deep, huh?
Tauren: yeah, Tyler. Super deep.
Tyler: No doubt. Deep is what I do. I go deep.
Tauren: dude, I was being sarcastic. There is something appreciably less than a snowball's chance in hell that you actually uttered those words in the middle of the play.
Da'Rick: good point. Tyler, I've never actually heard you use the word microcosm correctly. You always seems to confuse microcosm and paradigm, which I've never quite understood. The definitions of the two words being clearly divergent in the sense that....
Tauren: [very deliberately interrupting Da'Rick; likely to avoid a lengthy dissertation on word origin] are you still trying to get in with that British movie star that goes the ivy league school? Hey man, scrap the fancy speak. It's very un-Tyler. Don't worry, though. I got mad connects. I know people who know people. The wheels are in motion.
And that's going to be all for today's segment. But we'll be back next week with more hard-hitting behind-the-scenes analysis. Thanks again to my three guests today. They were terrific.