Game Time: Bad Boys, What'cha Gonna Do

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That noise you hear is Florida coach Urban Meyer laughing his ass off. In case you missed it, news broke this morning that three University of Tennessee Volunteer football players -- freshman defensive backs Janzen Jackson and Mike Edwards, as well as freshman running back Nu'Keese Richardson -- have been arrested for attempted armed robbery.

According to a Knoxville City Police report, the incident goes like this -- the reported victims were sitting in their car minding their own business outside a Pilot convenience store near campus. As they were getting ready to start guzzling their 64-ounce Mountain Dews and eating their Hostess sno-balls, two perpetrators wearing hooded sweatshirts demanded the victims "Give us everything you got!"

One of the robbers, possibly in tribute to Clark Griswold in the first Vacation movie, was brandishing what turned out to be an air pellet gun. Also, one of the thieves was (no joke) actually wearing Tennessee Volunteer gear; apparently, he didn't have time to put a sticker on his chest that said "HELLO, my name is NU'KEESE."

When the victims showed the two robbers that they had no money, a third hooded-sweatshirt (likely the mastermind behind this intricate, multi-layered scheme) came out of the woodwork and said "we've got to go." All three then got into a Prius which left the scene with a woman driving, and presumably sped away at 25 miles per hour very quietly and in an environmentally friendly fashion.

Police pulled over the Prius near campus and found the air pellet gun, a marijuana grinder, a bag of the hippie lettuce, and a box set of Bob Marley's Greatest Hits. (Ok, I made that last one up.)

Now, anyone who follows college football knows that the University of Tennessee football program has a rich history of criminal activity. As someone who embraces the time-honored traditions of college football, I was beyond excited to see the news today! I mean, college football is so much more interesting when traditional football powers are hitting their stride at whatever they are best known for. Outlined against a blue gray sky, the Four Horsemen (well, Three Horsemen and One Horsewoman -- Jackson, Edwards, Nu'Keese, and Marie) rode again....in a Prius.

It's funny because about twenty-four hours ago, Kiffin was on a conference call bragging about Tennessee's squeaky-clean arrest record since he had taken over the program. Obviously, Kiffin has never sat at a hot blackjack table before, because when things are good, the best way to coax a slew of 21's for the dealer is to tell everyone at the table how much you've won. "Man, I don't know about you guys, but I'm up like FOUR GRAND in the last thirty minutes!" By tempting fate, figuratively Kiffin doubled down against the dealer's six; unfortunately, the dealer (named Nu'Keese Janzen Edwards) just flipped over a face card and a five on his ass. Sucks to be you, Lane.

Unfortunately for Kiffin, getting out of his own way is a skill he has not mastered. On national Letter of Intent signing day last February, he entertained the orange-clad masses at a signing-day celebration with a story of Meyer allegedly using illegal recruiting practices to keep Richardson in the Florida fold. (Richardson had been a Florida commit all the way up until signing day when he flipped to the Vols.) Never mind that Kiffin was dead wrong in his allegations, but the irony now of Richardson being at the center of a controversy surrounding perceived illegalities is delicious.

Hey, Lane, I don't know if Urban Meyer's contact to Richardson was illegal, but do you know what is? Waving a gun at someone and asking for their money. It is, I checked! Generally, in this country, we are required to exchange goods or services if we ask someone for their money. Nu'Keese will learn this concept soon enough when it comes time to interview attorneys. He should know that attorneys tend not to sit outside convenience stores; they have big mansions where they spend most of their time. That's because they, too, will ask for "everything he's got."

The rumor mill had actually been churning out some non-arrest Richardson stories lately. Reportedly, the freshman running back had been unhappy with his playing time (which I'm going to go out on a limb and say was promised to him on Signing Day by the Kiffster), and was looking to leave the school. Kiffin diffused those rumors, and Richardson actually scored a touchdown this past weekend against Memphis.

Just a hunch, but if he still has plans on transferring, he may find leaving the state difficult in the near term. Robbing people will scuttle travel plans, that much I know.

Ironically, this news comes just as Tennessee is playing its best football of the season. Sitting at 5-4 with a decent bowl game a very real possibility, Kiffin had been proving doubters (a group in which I count myself) wrong and the team was getting better as the season wore on. It was precisely this type of improvement that Kiffin envisioned for his program when he gave Richardson and Jackson whatever sales pitch he gave them to get them to flip their commitments on Signing Day. (Jackson had been an LSU commit up until the last minute.) And in a classic case of "be careful what you wish for", it may be Richardson and Jackson (and Edwards) that give everyone hoping for a spectacular Kiffin train wreck their (well, ok...OUR) first glimmer of hope. Thanks fellas!!


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