Mash up Part 1
I have very eclectic musical tastes. I like everything from Frank Sinatra to Kanye West. One thing I have been listening to a lot is mash-ups.
For those not familiar with this musical styling it is where a producer takes two dissimilar songs/genres and fuses them together.
For example: Danger Mouse's (of Gnarls Barkley) Grey Album combined The Beatles White Album and Jay-Z's Black Album. As I was listening to some of this stuff the other day I started thinking about how awesome it would be to mash-up football players and teams to create a super squad.
I went back a reviewed the history books to create an ALL TENNESSEEE MASH UP TEAM. I took units (Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Defensive Line, etc) off particular teams to form the mash up squad. It should be noted I am only 24 years old so these teams are more heavily weighted with modern players, so don't send me a hate e-mail telling me about some 5'7, 175-pound defensive tackle from the 1920s who had 300 sacks in one game against Sewanee.
Part I. The Offense
This one was pretty easy, I took the 1997 team. Not only do you have the greatest player in Tennessee history, Peyton Manning, at the quarterback spot but you also have the guy who led the Vols to their first modern day national championship, Tee Martin, backing him up. If you were doing a Tennessee football draft they could very well be the first two players off the board.
The cool thing about this selection for the mash up squad is that these two guys are a mash up in their own right - Peyton being the traditional drop back, pro-style quarterback and Tee being the freelance, make a play with his feet if he has to, quarterback.
This was another fairly easy choice - the 1999 team. Not only was this the greatest collection of running backs in Tennessee history, you could make a case it was the greatest in SEC history.
The 1999 team included Jamal Lewis, Travis Stephens, Travis Henry and Onterrio Smith. This collection of talent is absolutely outstanding. When you break it down you have three first team ALL SEC running backs AND a first team All Pac 10 running back. Travis Henry holds the career rushing record at Tennessee.
Jamal Lewis might be the greatest running back in Tennessee history, a top five pick and a 2000-yard rusher in the NFL. Onterrio Smith was a capable back in the NFL for several years and 1st team All Pac 10 after transferring to Oregon. Travis Stephens? All he did was garner 1st team All American Honors and was the runnerup (screwed) for the Doak Walker award.
Obviously when you are known as "Wide Receiver U" there have been a ton of great wideouts at your school. The key when making this selection was getting the most great receivers on one team.
That is why I chose the 1996 team, which featured Joey Kent, Peerless Price, Marcus Nash and Jermaine Copeland. Kent, Nash and Price go 1-2-3 in most Vol receiving categories. Copeland was a vital piece on the 1998 championship team and is 14th all-time in receiving yards.
*I think 10 years from now people will be talking about the wide receivers we are about to have. I think we are about to see some special things from some of these freshman and sophomores.
The 1990 team. This was by far the hardest unit to pick, in part because offensive lineman ability is hard to quantify. I went back and asked a few oldtimers, as well as looked at several things which I could measure, All SEC selections and the running game during that stretch.
The 1990 team had arguably the greatest offensive lineman in program history, Antone Davis. It also featured several guys who would be All SEC players either that year or down the line. Among these were Charles McRae, Tom Mylinski, Mike Stoll and Jeff Smith.
The years in which these guys played featured great running back after great running back -Chuck Webb, Aaron Hayden, James Stewart, Tony Thompson, Reggie Cobb and Charlie Garner to name a few of the guys that team would block for in their careers. In fact, offensive linemen who played on the 1990 team participated in four of the five best single games by running backs in Tennessee history.
Coming next week: Part II, The Defense