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Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Tennessee readers fire back

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

I'm hearing about it from Tennessee fans (and loudly) for leaving guard Anthony Parker off my preseason All-SEC first team on offense and for not having linebacker Rico McCoy on either of my first or second teams on defense.

A sampling:

"Come on Chris, being from Knoxville I thought you would not have made a mistake like putting Anthony Parker on the 2nd team when he was actually voted to the 1st team! But hey everyone makes mistakes......right?"

Well, no, it wasn't a mistake. Parker's a solid lineman and a big part of what I think will be one of the better offensive lines in the league this season. But I'm not convinced he's the best offensive lineman on Tennessee's team. Ramon Foster is vastly underrated, and Vlad Richard and Jacques McClendon are both physically better. They've just got to prove it on the field. The other thing hurting Parker is that the SEC is absolutely loaded with terrific offensive linemen this season. Michael Oher, Andre Smith and Ciron Black are all future first-round picks, and Jonathan Luigs is the finest center in the country. So, no, I didn't forget about Parker. I just know how deep the offensive line pool is this season in the SEC.

Another nice comment from a fan read:

"is this guy a ########? no Rico McCoy at linebacker? not even 2nd team? This guy obviously doesn't watch any college football whatsoever."

I do take in a few games from time to time, and I've seen McCoy play and practice extensively. He's a big play waiting to happen on defense, but has also been known to give up a few big plays. I agree that it's hard not to pick him among the top six linebackers in the league. But my question is this: Who are you going to leave off? Again, it's not a knock on McCoy as much as it is a testament to how deep this league really is -- particularly in the offensive and defensive lines and at linebacker.