Happy Labor Day, everybody. The normal Monday schedule is a bit funky today due to the holiday and the fact that we took my daughter and a friend to a Switchfoot concert yesterday in Lexington, Kentucky and didn't get back until 2:15 last night. It was a terrific concert, and the fact that the lead singer for opening act the Newsboys made reference to "The Bobcats . . . the Wildcats . . . whatever" was just icing on the cake.
Anyway, on to opening weekend's Post-Game Awards:
Worst Rust. The PPV announcers, who called Matt Simms "Phil" right out of the gate, called Derek Dooley "Vince" late in the game, consistently confused Tauren Poole with David Oku and vice versa from start to finish, and generally muffed much of the broadcast.
Worst Hand-Me-Downs. UT Martin's uniforms, which several people noted looked like they were bought in bulk at an Auburn, Alabama Good Will.
Worst Design. Whomever decided to locate that brick wall in the east corner of the south end zone five feet from the field of play. Denarius Moore nearly killed himself running into that thing on a fade route early in the game, and it's not like it hasn't happened before.
Best Attitude. Moore, who said post-game that "the Wall made a good play, and the TD didn't count."
Best hand signal. Dooley's wedge sign (fingers together in a "V"), which he flashed on an early punt coverage situation that nearly resulted in a blocked punt.
Worst actual result of a good call. Gerald Jones muffing the catch on Dooley's wedge signal and giving the ball back to UTM.
Best stat. The Tennessee defense shut out an opponent for the first time in seven years. The last shut out was against Vanderbilt in 2003.
Best blocking. The receivers, downfield on rushing plays. Moore made a six point block for David Oku, Jones made a six point block for Tauren Poole, and Justin Hunter made another for Poole.
Best eyebrow raiser. Did I hear the Pride of the the Southland playing Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline? Did it actually sound really cool?
Best hit. LaMarcus Thompson, who managed to drive a receiver with the ball running full speed in one direction back in the opposite direction several yards.
Worst fingers. Luke Stocker's, which touched three passes but failed to catch them (they were high and hot, though).
Worst hair. Tyler Bray's, which looked like a quick-mutating dirty mop. Perhaps he was trying to grow it out to cover that back tatt?
Worst meme. The "Dooley's a lawyer, so X" note, which announcers like to work in to every situation, whether it calls for it or not. As Rx Salt noted during the game thread, ""In a true Lawyer move, Dooley is wearing pants" doesn't really work.
Best impersonation of a pachinko ball. Moore, who bounced off at least three would-be tacklers on his 58-yard TD run in the third quarter.
Best do-over. Austin Johnson, who was barely deprived of a safety earlier in the game only to actually get one later.
Worst music. Whatever idiotic lullaby they played either on the Jumbo-Tron or over the PA system just before the fourth quarter. The maxim is "Carry the fight to our opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes," not "Carry the fight to our opponent and keep it there for 45 minutes and then everybody get your nappy carpet from the cubby!"
Oddest celebration. Teammates slow-punching Prentiss Wagger in the face after his pick-six. Seriously, somebody get the story on this.
Best opportunity to compare and contrast 2010 and 2009. With the offense at 1st and 10 at the 12 yard line and just over a minute (or so) to play, Dooley called for the victory formation. Do with that what you will.