Danny Parker

Franz Beard: Tennessee football program facing several issues

A few thoughts to jump start your Thursday morning...

A group of five women have filed a lawsuit claiming Tennessee has created a “hostile sexual environment” while violating Title IX regulations. The suit was filed in Federal Court in Nashville Tuesday and accused former football players A.J. Johnson, Michael Williams and Riyahd Jones, a current football player identified as “John Doe” and former basketball player Yemi Makajuoula of sexual assault. Another player identified as “John Doe II” is accused of rape in the lawsuit.

According to the Tennesseean, the plaintiffs claimed that “UT administration [Chancellor Jimmy Cheek]. Athletic department [Vice Chancellor and Athletic Director] Dave Hart and football coach [Butch Jones] were personally aware [as ‘appropriate persons’ under Title IX] and had actual notice of previous sexual assaults and rapes by football players, yet acted with deliberate indifference to the serious risks of sexual assaults and failed to take corrective actions.”

It must be noted that Johnson and Williams were accused of rape in 2015 and are awaiting trial.

A Title IX lawsuit is a serious problem since it could result in UT losing millions upon millions of dollars if the case goes to trial and UT is found guilty of the charges. Rather than go through a trial, risk further embarrassment and potentially millions of Title IX dollars if found guilty, Florida State recently settled for $950,000 a Title IX lawsuit that accused former Heisman Trophy QB Jameis Winston of sexual assault.

The Title IX allegations might be the tip of the iceberg of problems within the UT athletic department. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that Williams told police of a “hit” put out by teammate Geraldo Orta against wide receiver Drae Bowles, who is said to have taken one of the lawsuit’s victims to the hospital and supported her decision to report the incident to the authorities.

If proven that Hart and Jones were personally aware of sexual misconduct and acted with indifference, it could be a career killer for both. If they knew a player put out a hit on a teammate, they both need to be run out of town.   

Here is a copy of the lawsuit filed in Nashville.



These are the three guys at each SEC school who have the most pressure on them heading into spring practice.


Blake Barnett, QB (6-5, 205, RFR): Cooper Bateman was the backup to starter Jake Coker last year and David Cornwell has been in the system two years, but Barnett is the chosen one who will get the first shot.

Bo Scarbrough, RB (6-2, 240, SO): He gets the first shot at replacing Heisman winner Derrick Henry (2,219 yards, 28 TDs in 2015). As a freshman last year, Scarbrough carried 18 times for 104 yards.

Tim Williams, ILB (6-4, 230, SR): He gets the first shot to replace All-American Reggie Ragland. Williams was in on 19 tackles last year, 27 total for his career.


Austin Allen, QB (6-1, 210, JR): Allen completed one pass for 35 yards and a touchdown last year. He gets the first shot at replacing his brother Brandon, who threw for 3,440 yards and 30 TDs last year.

Rawleigh Williams III, RB (5-10, 205, SO): Before he got hurt, Williams ran for 254 yards last year. He replaces Alex Collins, who ran for 1,577 yards and 20 TDs last year, 3,803 yards and 36 TDs in his career.

Johnny Gibson, LT (6-4, 330, SO): The Hogs gave up only 14 sacks all last year and one of the reasons was LT Denver Kirkland, the guy Johnny Gibson has to replace.


Mike Horton, LT (6-4, 312, SO): Horton is expected to fill the shoes of Shon Coleman, who left early for the NFL.

Jason Smith, WR (6-1, 180, JR): Smith caught 13 balls for 203 yards and 2 TDs last year. He’s got to replace the production of Ricado Lewis (46-716, 3 TDs).

Roc Thomas, RB (5-10, 203, JR): With Peyton Barber and his 1,165 yards gone to the NFL, it’s time for Thomas (career 475 yards, 3 TDs) to stay healthy and carry the load.


Luke Del Rio, QB (6-1, 216, RJR): The reports from practice last year were that he was the best QB on the roster even when Will Grier had it going.

Alex Anzalone, LB (6-3, 244, SR): He’s battled through injuries his entire career. He needs to stay healthy and be the big, active guy in the middle to replace Antonio Morrison.

Dre Massey, WR (5-9, 184, JR): A necessity this spring is to find a playmaker who can take the heat off Antonio Callaway. Massey can go deep (21 catches, 548 yards, 6 TDs last year in juco) and he’s a jet sweep threat (452 rushing yards, 3 TDs rushing).


Terry Godwin, WR (5-11, 174, SO): Godwin (35-379, 2 TDs in 2015) becomes the go-to guy with Malcolm Mitchell departed. He needs to average somewhere around 14-15 yards per catch.

Roquan Smith, ILB (6-1, 217, SO): Smith (20 tackles in 2015) has to fill the shoes of departed Jake Ganus, who led the Bulldogs with 102 tackles.

Natrez Patrick, ILB (6-3, 248, RJR): Patrick is the prototypical linebacker for the Kirby Smart scheme. He has to replace the production of Jordan Jenkins (59 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks).


Drew Barker, QB (6-3, 225, RSO): Barker threw for 364 yards last year when he was Patrick Towles caddy. Towles has transferred out so Barker has to come up big to transform Kentucky’s sluggish offense.

Cole Mosier, LT (6-6, 335, RJR): Mosier has to fill the shoes of 3-year starter Jordan Swindle on Drew Barker’s blind side.

Jordan Jones, MLB (6-2, 220, SO): Jones had 10 tackles last year backing up Josh Forrest (93 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 2 interceptions).


K.J. Malone, LT (6-4, 300, JR): Malone has to fill the shoes of Jerald Hawkins, who started two years at left tackle.

Toby Weathersby, RT (6-5, 302, SO): Weathersby has to replace Vadal Alexander, who started three years on the O-line.

Tashawn Bower, DE (6-5, 250 SR): The Tigers need Bower to develop into an every down DE opposite Arden Key.


Damian Williams, QB (6-1, 228, RJR): Williams took a redshirt last year in anticipation of starting two years once Dak Prescott graduated.

Elgton Jenkins, LT (6-4, 304, RSO): Jenkins will be replacing 2-year starter Rufus Warren at left tackle.

Nick James, NT (6-5, 325, SR): James has been a very productive backup (43 tackles in three years) but now it’s his time to be the guy in the middle of the D-line.


Sam Bailey, C (6-4, 280, SO): Bailey’s job is to replace Evan Boehm, who started in the middle of the O-line for three straight years.

Joey Burkett, WLB (6-2, 215, JR): All Burkett has to do is replace the production of Kentrell Brothers, who was in on 152 tackles last year and 358 in his 4-year career.

John Gibson, CB (6-0, 190, SR): Gibson was in on 12 tackles and picked off a pass last year while backing up Kenya Dennis, who was Mizzou’s best cover corner last year. 


Damore’ea Stringfellow, WR (6-2, 220, RJR): Stringfellow had a productive year as a sophomore (36-503, 5 TDs), but now he becomes the go to guy replacing Laquon Treadwell (83-1,153, 11 TD; 202-2,393, 21 TDs career).

Greg Little, LT (6-5, 318, FR): From the day he arrived on campus, Laremy Tunsil was allowed to sink or swim at left tackle. O-line coach Matt Luke is going to use the same approach with stud freshman Greg Little.

Deontay Anderson, S (6-1, 202, FR): Anderson didn’t sign to sit on the bench. He will get the chance to step in and fill the shoes of Trae Elston from day one.


Kiel Pollard, WR (6-1, 225, FR): Pollard has the size and speed to replace Pharoh Cooper from day one.

David Williams, RB (6-1, 222, JR): We’ve heard all about his potential the last two years (555 rushing yards, 2 TDs). Now it’s time for Williams to carry the load running the football.

Jamarcus King, CB (6-2, 180, JR): He’s the big, physical corner the Gamecocks didn’t have last year. He was one of the top juco recruits in the country.


Chance Hall, LT (6-5, 317, SO): Hall backed up Kyler Kerbyson, the Vols best O-lineman last year. He gets first crack as the starter at LT this year.

Jauan Jennings, WR (6-3, 201, SO): A converted quarterback, Jennings had a decent freshman year (14-149 receiving). He will get the first crack at replacing Von Pearson (38-409, 3 TDs).

Evan Berry, FS (5-11, 207, JR): Berry is an All-American kick returner (38.3 per return, 3 TDs). Now he has to replace Brian Randolph at free safety.


J.J. Gustafson, C (6-5, 290, JR): Gustafson has to replace Mike Matthews, a 3-year starter who will be playing on Sundays in the fall.

James White, RB (6-0, 220, JR): White, who has 349 yards and 4 touchdowns the last two years has to replace Tra Carson, who ran for 1,165 yards last year and 2,265 yards and 20 TDs in his career.

Zaycoven Hendeson, DT (6-1, 297, JR): Henderson (28 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks in 2015) takes over as a starter and has to fill the shoes of Alonzo Williams, one of the more productive DTs in the SEC the last four years.


Khari Blasingame, ILB (6-1, 230, RSO): Blasingame (13 tackles last year) will have to replace the production of All-SEC Zach Cunningham (103 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks).

Jonathan Wynn, DE (6-4, 250, RJR): Wynn replaces speed rusher Caleb Zaubike (29 tackles, 3 sacks, 6 tackles for loss, 2 fumbles forced).

Delando Crooks, LG (6-5, 315, RJR): Crooks has to step in to fill the shoes of Vandy’s best O-lineman, Jake Bernstein.


Even people who like Jim Harbaugh think he’s a jerk who loves to antagonize people. When SEC commissioner Greg Sankey asked the NCAA to look into Harbaugh bringing Michigan to Florida during spring break to practice at IMG Academy, Harbaugh called Sankey and the SEC a bunch of whiners. Later Harbaugh tweeted, “Question of the day: Does anyone find whining to be attractive?”

Sankey responded to AL.com’s Brandon Marcello, “I’m not going to reduce what is an important conversation to some childhood use of Twitter. This is an important issue.”

Perhaps Harbaugh didn’t notice the SEC had an 8-2 record in bowl games and SEC champ Alabama won the national championship.  


T1. Kentucky (18-6, 8-3 SEC)
T1. South Carolina (21-3, 8-3 SEC

T1. LSU (15-9, 8-3 SEC)
T4. Texas A&M (18-6, 7-4 SEC)

T4. Florida (16-8, 7-4 SEC)
T6. Georgia (13-9, 6-5 SEC)

T6. Vanderbilt (15-10, 6-5 SEC)

T8. Ole Miss (15-9, 5-6 SEC)

T8. Alabama (14-9, 5-6 SEC)

T8. Arkansas (12-12, 5-6 SEC)
T8. Tennessee (12-12, 5-6 SEC)

T12. Mississippi State (10-13, 3-8 SEC)

T 12. Auburn (9-14, 3-8 SEC)

14. Missouri (1-10, 8-16 SEC)


Does being tall come with a price? Larry Bird seems to think so. Bird, who is 6-9 and has an enlarged heart, isn’t sure he will live to be 75. Speaking to Jackie MacMullan of ESPN the Magazine, Bird said, “I tell my wife all the time, ‘You don’t see many 7-footers walking around at the age of 75. She hates it when I say that. I know there are a few of us who live a long time, but most of us big guys don’t seem to last too long. I’m not lying awake at night thinking about it. If it goes, it goes.” Bird is 59 years old and very aware that heart problems have taken a lot of former tall NBA stars recently such as Moses Malone (age 60, 6-10); Daryl Dawkins (age 58; 6-11); and Anthony Mason (age 48; 6-7).

Kentucky power forward Alex Poythress will miss at least two weeks with a knee injury.

Former Gator assistant Matt McCall is 21-3 in his first year as a HBC at Chattanooga. The Mocs are 11-1 in conference play and hold a 2-game lead over second place East Tennessee State.

There is talk that the Atlanta Hawks are going to scrap the roster and start all over again. They’re trying to work out a deal that would send former Gator All-American Al Horford to the Boston Celtics.

After a few struggles early on, Billy Donovan has the Oklahoma City Thunder playing at a beastly level. The Thunder have won 13 of their last 15 games and sport the third best record in the NBA (39-14).


Which three Florida players need to step up their game starting day one of spring practice?


The Tedeschi Trucks Band released its new album “Let Me Get By” just a couple of weeks ago. The album includes three live cuts recorded at The Beacon Theater that are truly outstanding. The band will be performing in New Orleans at the Jazz and Heritage Festival on April 28 and at Sea Island, GA at the Southern Grown Festival on June 11. Today’s music is a 2014 performance at the Mountain Jam.


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