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The Big Orange Roundtable - Week Two

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Week Two finds Oskie and our friends at Third Saturday in Blogtober (or 3SIB, as the cool kids say) with host duties this week...same rules apply, the host blog asks the questions on Monday, and the rest of us spend the rest of the week giving our answers.  You can check back at the 3SIB link all this week for updated answers from the Vol Blogosphere, plus a recap on Friday.

This week, we're talking The Rock, SEC Media Days, wide receivers and adding more fuel to the Nike/adidas fire...questions and answers after the jump.

1. We will start with an easy one.  Last week, our beloved Rock was relocated across the street to make room for a new building on campus.  What are your thoughts on the Rock’s relocation?

I'm more okay with this because they're "doing good for the community", with the new student health center and all.  If they'd moved it for any other reason, I might've been more upset.

What I want to know is if Crazy Band Guy is still around UT's campus.  When I was in school there, one of the band guys used to stay up all night before gameday just to make sure he was the last one to paint The Rock before sunrise on Saturday (usually with some form of "IT'S......GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMEEEEEEEE DAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY!" on there...does anybody else remember this guy?)

2(a).  Wednesday is the beginning of SEC Media Days in Birmingham, which usually signifies that the season is just around the corner.  What would you prefer that Coach Lane Kiffin do this week: Speak up or shut up?

He can't shut up.

Whether you agree with his "tactics" or not, wouldn't it be a negative for the program at this point if he went to Birmingham and just gave straight faced token answers?  He's created expectations for himself, along with a place in the national college football consciousness, and now those two things must be maintained.

He doesn't have to keep raising the bar on himself.  He doesn't have to stand before the media, try to smile and say "I don't know about you, but I didn't think Tim Tebow was first-team All-SEC material.  I voted for John Brantley."  He just has to keep being honest (or, you know, as honest as his understanding of the facts will allow him to be) and the media will love him for it.  Everyone with a press pass in Birmingham is going to try to bait him...except Joel.  He doesn't have to speak up.  He just has to speak.

2(b).  If you could take back one thing that Coach Kiffin has done or said to this point, what would it be?

I might've told Tajh Boyd that if he still wanted to come here, we would have a place for him.

This is a hindsight reaction like I'm sure all the responses will be, and at the time I really admired his honesty in telling a kid that fielded offers from schools like Ohio State that our system didn't fit his style.  And when we landed Janzen Jackson and Bryce Brown, we were all sure that we'd get whichever quarterback we wanted.

And so now that we can't get any of them (and maybe Scroggins will make this irrelevant on Wednesday, I'd love that)...Boyd sounds better every day.

Our staff knows infinitely more about recruiting than I do, and while they haven't earned our trust on the field yet, they have in living rooms and in high schools...so ultimately, I think we'll get it done with someone.  Will that someone do better than Boyd would've done?  We'll never know...but right now on the eve of Scroggins' announcement, I think we would've taken our chances.

3.  The biggest news of last week on the football front was that seemingly our entire receiving corps is in the infirmary.   Austin Rogers is lost for the year, Denarius Moore is going to miss several games at a minimum, and Gerald Jones has an injured wing that may cause him to miss some games.  Although it seems like it is time to hit the panic button, is there a way out of this for the Vols?

Best case scenario:  Gerald Jones misses no action and plays in a small cast for only a few weeks.  Nu'Keese Richardson is every bit of that "best player in America" stuff some of our coaches were throwing around.  Quintin Hancock looks like the surehanded guy from '07 and '09 spring practice, not the disappearing act from '08...which will then just become something else we can blame on Dave Clawson.

And I'm incapable of being level-headed about Brandon Warren - the guy's from my alma mater and I covered him for three years while he was there, I've always seen only good things in his future and that hasn't changed.  We also have two tight ends who can play.  So at best, we've still got 4 guys who can be positive factors at WR, and we're fine.

At worst, someone else gets hurt or no one else pans out.  At this point, I'm more worried about talent than depth, but that's only because there are now fewer options to choose from.  When the group included AR21 and Denarius Moore (plus Ahmad Paige), it was easier to believe that at least one of those guys was going to step up.  Now your talent pool is down to four:  guy in a cast, guy with zero catches last year, converted tight end guy, and a true freshman.

It may not attract many recruits, but I say we run the ball like it's 1909.  We have lots of potential.  If it's not going to be anything more, than the way out starts with Montario Hardesty and the offensive line.

4. Basketball recruit Josh Selby decommitted from the Vols over the weekend, and many suspect it is because he wants to play for a Nike school.  Tennessee is an Adidas school, and there is speculation that future sponsorship money with Nike may be at stake if Selby doesn’t go to a Nike school like Kentucky.  This obviously has ramifications in all sports, so what do you make of all this? (NOTE: The NFL is a Reebok league, which is owned by Adidas.)

When I was a kid, I played basketball in Converse...because that's what Larry Bird wore.  I get it.  If you're a kid today, you either want to be Kobe or LeBron.

Comparing Nike and Adidas schools made me feel as close to NASCAR as I'd ever want to, and any step in that direction creates a dangerous precedent.  I don't think one shoe or jersey is any better than the other, but when it becomes about brand instead of team, we've got a serious problem.

Is this potential "offer" from Nike ever going to be proved?  No.  They're free to imply what they want and Selby and others are free to interpret those implications however they want.  Tennessee has been one of the flagship universities for Adidas for a dozen years, and I'm completely against selling out to Nike. 

I think the only thing we can say for sure is that the more we find out about the recruiting process, the more disturbing it becomes.  It's business, and everyone is trying to get ahead.  I trust Pearl and the University of Tennessee to continue to take the high road.  I'm not upset with Kentucky or Calipari for continuing to recruit Selby when he was committed here...how do you think Scotty Hopson got here?

But I am upset with the way things are, and hope the university will fight for change, if these implications are true.  And while I understand being 17 and wanting to wear what your favorite player wears...I'm not going to understand it every single time that kid comes to Thompson-Boling Arena.