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Talking points: all quiet on the East Tennessee front edition

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Not a lot happening around these parts lately. The football team's done for the year, and the men's basketball program is in the middle of a 10-day gameless period. Still, things are busy behind the curtain.

  • Bruce Pearl is using the time off to get the collective attention of his players. Poo on that shiny new No. 8 ranking. Pearl is sounding like Eeyore on speed, saying that  "I guarantee you there are a lot more than 10 teams in the country that are better than us." The linked article goes on and on about the deficiencies of this team, and Pearl is throwing three of the starting spots open for competition. Bobby Maze and Josh Tabb are battling for the starting point guard spot, Wayne Chism and Brian Williams are vying for the starting center position, and Scotty Hopson and Cameron Tatum are competing to be the starting shooting guards. Not open for competition is Tyler Smith's spot, as he was just named SEC Player of the Week for his history-making triple double last week against UNC-Asheville.
  • Meanwhile, Lane Kiffin and staff are jetting about the country trying to lure young men to Rocky Top. Still getting a lot of attention is VHT and Tennessee de-commit Jarvis Giles, who said after Fulmer was fired that he'd re-commit to Tennessee if running backs coach Stan Drayton was retained. Drayton, who has in fact been retained, postponed his scheduled visit to Giles until yesterday so that he could see Giles after Steve Spurrier. Giles reportedly will announce his decision between Tennessee and South Carolina at noon today.
  • Helping to pay for all of those trips across the country is our very own former coach Fulmer, who's taken a temp position as special assistant to Tennessee President John Petersen. He'll be doing speaking engagements at donor events, I'm guessing.
  • And yeah, Eric Berry is the AP's SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Woo for Crunch Berry.
  • And finally, um, I don't like the sound of this: Tampa Bay and Monte Kiffin's defense destroyed by the Carolina Panthers? Good news, bad news, there.