Tennessee can add history to Georgia record

Patrick Swanson / February 26,2022

Attention: Auburn is past tense. Tigers’ pregame floor dance atop “Tennessee” at Thompson-Boling Arena struck me as somewhere between dumb and disrespectful. It certainly didn’t intimidate the Volunteers.
That was Saturday. Georgia is now what matters, Tuesday evening in Athens.
The Bulldogs and coach Tom Crean are 1-15 against SEC foes, 6-23 overall. One more loss will seriously impact their discomfort. It would stick them with the worst winning percentage since 1956.
Descriptive quote: “Apathy is the albatross around this program’s neck.”
There was a touch of irony in Saturday’s Georgia loss to Florida. Phlandrous Fleming had 27 points, five rebounds, four assists and a steal for the Gators. Phlandrous grew up four miles from the Georgia campus.
Fleming was the 2017 Georgia 5A player of the year at Athens Cedar Shoals High but went virtually un-recruited. Previous Georgia coaches told him his offensive skills were not good enough for the Southeastern Conference. He went to Charleston Southern, enjoyed a 1,500-point career, won first-team all-Big South honors and was twice defensive player of the year.
Fleming grad-transferred to Florida. Sixty-six relatives and friends welcomed his homecoming.
A few days ago, I told you about the Spyre Sports Group and the $25 million it hopes to raise for Tennessee athletes’ name, image and likeness.
So soon we see how far behind are the Volunteers.
Kentucky basketball stars TyTy Washington and Shaedon Sharpe are driving free Porsches and are ready to launch a merchandise and apparel deal. Really big money is lining up to encourage Oscar Tshiebwe to delay his NBA debut and play another season for the Wildcats.
The big O may be the college player of the year. He is averaging 16.4 points and 15.2 rebounds. His mother has never even seen him play – but she will.
Tshiebwe left her and his family in the Democratic Republic of the Congo more than six years ago to chase a basketball dream. Some think he has caught it.
Name, image, likeness? Oscar says he is not interested in a cool car or new clothes. He just wants to help his mother. There is a movement underway to get her to the United States in time for the NCAA tournament.
“When I see my mom, I’ll probably cry like a baby. To be able to help my mom is one of the best things in my life. I’ve come from a long way away … and now God has opened the doors.”
Money and lawyers are helping.
Error. Turnover. Bad info.
More than once it has been reported that this should be Tennessee freshman guard Zakai Zeigler’s senior season in high school.
Not so. Zeigler was born Aug. 2, 2002, in Long Island, N.Y. He first played for Upper Room Christian. After graduating from Our Savior Lutheran School in the Bronx, he played as a post-grad in 2020-21 at Immaculate Conception High in Montclair, N.J. He averaged 20 points and 4.6 assists.
He is coming up on 20 years old. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if he improves with age.
NFL mock draft: six former Georgia players, four from Alabama in the top 50. Nobody from Tennessee is in the top 100, not even Cade Mays.
Some seem surprised that the Louisiana prep quarterback with the famous name, Arch Manning, is not visiting Tennessee as a prospective Volunteer. Why would he? Because of Uncle Peyton?
Arch is Cooper’s son, and he’d be a third-generation legacy at Ole Miss. Grandfather Archie is a forever hero among Rebel faithful. Uncle Eli was a pretty good QB for Ole Miss. Copper was a receiver until a spinal issue knocked him out of football. If he had been able to play, Peyton might have gone to Oxford.
David Cutcliff, Peyton’s primary recruiter and coach at Tennessee, Eli’s coach at Mississippi, might be a consultant for Arch and his parents.
Overqualified? Heritage High School in rural Blount County had some geographic help in hiring Joe Osovet as football coach.
The former Tennessee assistant was viewed as a national expert on the run-pass option as a junior college coach in New York. That was supposedly why Jeremy Pruitt gave him a raise to come help the Volunteers.
Back in 2014, Osovet had a 10-0 record at Nassau Community College. His team averaged 41.9 points per game. He was USA Today’s junior college coach of the year.
Osovet became director of player development at Tennessee in 2018. He was director of football programming (whatever that is) in 2019. He was promoted to tight ends coach before the 2020 season.
Joe was not linked to alleged NCAA recruiting violations but Josh Heupel chose not to retain him or any of Pruitt’s staff. Osovet needed a job. He had some choices.
Heritage High found out that Joe is a family man. He and his wife want to raise their children in East Tennessee. So, what if high school coaching pays less and is perceived as two steps down.
Super Bowl leftovers: Joe Burrow versus Matthew Stafford dusted off the old bar-bet question of how many times have quarterbacks from the Southeastern Conference faced each other in the NFL main event?
Burrow warmed up at LSU, Stafford at Georgia.
The answer is three other times – Ken Stabler (Alabama) versus Fran Tarkenton (Georgia) in 1977, Peyton versus Rex Grossman (Florida) in 2007 and Peyton against Cam Newton (Auburn) in 2016.
Marvin West welcomes reader comments or questions. His address is marvinwest75@gmail.com

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