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UT Has Competition For Top A.D.s; Shuler Not A Candidate

When news first broke a month ago that Heath Shuler was a candidate for Tennessee’s open athletic director gig, we made it clear that we weren’t buying what was being sold.  In fact, a source close to UT’s search told us that the former Heisman runner-up was in no way a realistic candidate at all.

Now a spokesperson for the North Carolina congressman is making that even more clear:

“Heath Shuler is running for re-election in 2012.  He is not going to be the next athletic director at the University of Tennessee.  He has not sought it.  He has not interviewed for it.  If offered, he will not accept it.  He will not be the next AD at UT.  He is running for re-election.”

That’s what the Shuler team told yesterday. 

While Shuler ramps up his campaign in one part of the state, over in Chapel Hill UNC officials are looking for a new athletic director.  One day after dismissing Butch Davis as head coach, AD Dick Baddour announced that he is stepping down from his post.

Tennessee officials haven’t had an easy time finding a replacement for Mike Hamilton, and now a similar job is coming open.  Both schools are in NCAA hot water, though the investigation into Tennessee is complete.  The Vols are simply waiting on penalties to be handed down.

UT is trying to rebuild in football and in basketball while Carolina’s new AD will only have to oversee the reconstruction of the Tar Heels’ football program.  UNC basketball — you might have heard — is a juggernaut, national program.

It will be interesting to see which school nabs the AD with the better reputation.  UT has been looking for a while, so if UNC somehow trumps the Vols with a big name hire — assuming UT doesn’t make one, too — Big Orange fans will have another reason to bemoan their school’s administration.

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SEC Headlines – 7/1/11 Part Three



Theismann Says Newton’s Not A First-Round Pick

Everyone’s entitled to their opinion.  And former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann is entitled to his.  Even though we think he’s daffy to publicize it:

“To be honest with you, and I’ve never said this any place else, I don’t think Cam Newton’s a first round pick,” Theismann said to WTEM-AM in Washington, DC.

Huh?  What?  Why?

“You’re talking about a kid that started one year of football,” the former Redskins great said.  “He’s rushed the ball a lot more than he’s thrown it.  He hasn’t thrown the football a lot.  And when he did throw at the combine, he was not impressive. … I think the interview that he did with Jon Gruden (on ESPN) showed another side of him that wasn’t impressive. … I like all these (quarterbacks) as kids, but I’m talking about purely as football players, I think wherever you go, you’re stretching.”

Hmmm.  Well, okay.  He does make some valid points there.  But Newton is most assuredly first-round worthy. 

In hindsight, we might someday include Newton in a list of SEC quarterback busts like JaMarcus Russell, Tim Couch or Heath Shuler, but like all of those players, Newton obviously has the athletic ability to be considered a first-round pick — if not the first pick overall.

It’s Theismann’s opinion and he’s welcome to it.  But it’s hard to look at Newton’s vast upside and believe 32 times would be wise to risk passing on him.

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