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Talking Points: bad news leads, Coker still enigmatic edition

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Close, very close, yet not quite ready to initiate the plan. Being hopelessly behind will almost certainly cause a reevaluation this weekend, but for now . . .

  • Welcome to all of the new readers who happened upon the site as a result of Rocky Top Talk being intermingled with the likes of ESPN as one of the top Google News search results for "LaMarcus Coker." For much of yesterday, we were above USA Today and several other prominent newspapers, so , you know, woo. Except that it was bad news. Now we have a better understanding of why all you hear is bad news when you turn on . . . well, anything. Bad news leads.
  • Speaking of . . . more mystery on Coker. John Adams asked David Cutcliffe, he of the attention to detail and no-nonsense approach to earrings and shirt-tucks, about coach Fulmer's approach to disciplining (funny, I wrote that "discipling" the first time) Coker, half-expecting an answer at least hinting that the punishment was too lenient. Cutcliffe's response? "I don't feel that way right now at all. I know some things about [Coker] that maybe a lot of people don't know, that are his private business." Hmm. Those double-secret "things" must somehow mitigate his behavior, but what could they be?
  • But on to better stuff. Maybe. The Vols moved indoors to escape the heat yesterday. What do you think, was that a prudent, precautionary measure to keep players safe, or might the team need practice under such conditions? I know that after I got in my car at 3:00 yesterday after it had been baking in the 98 degree sunlight all day, I practically kissed the carpet when I finally arrived (five minutes later) at my air-conditioned office. But then again, I'm not playing Florida in the Swamp on September 15.
  • Currently eyeing Coker's indefinitely vacated seat on the bus is RTT No. 5 Lennon Creer. This might be a good time to go back and re-read the profile we did on Creer a few weeks ago. The guy is special.
  • David Cutcliffe is having mixed emotions about the youth of this year's squad: "I looked out there, and [Ainge in Orange] is out there with a freshman back, and we had three freshmen receivers in the game and even a redshirt freshman at tight end," Cutcliffe said. "That's five guys he's never played with before in a game. I didn't know whether to grin or cry, but I did grin."
  • One of the top priorities of the 2007 season is to improve run defense. Last year we were 8th in the SEC and 72nd in the nation in that particular category. That's about six and 62 away from Tennessee football, folks. Good news, then, that J.T. Mapu has returned to form and Walter Fisher's shoulder injury is history. Will we be better? We shall see.