If college football coaches could manipulate calendars, there would be no summer. Spring football would end, and preseason camp would open without so much as a coffee break in between.
Off-season weekends would vanish as well. Free time: What good is it?
Tennessee safety Darren Myles probably has a different answer for that today than he did before the early hours of Sunday morning when he was jailed and charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Nice kickoff to the off-season conditioning program, huh?
Against the backdrop of UT football's criminal history, you might contend this isn't a big deal. No one got robbed or mugged. No one had a pellet gun or toy gun aimed in his direction. Even if Myles resisted arrest, you could write it off as alcohol-impaired decision-making and conclude this wasn't much more than a stupid college-student trick.
Unless new coach Derek Dooley chooses to send a message with his first disciplinary act, you might assume Myles won't pay for his transgression with missed playing time. First-time offense and misdemeanor: It's hardly worth commentary - if not for the timing.
About 10 hours before Myles' arrest, I stood in the back of the UT football locker room as Dooley addressed his team at the end of spring practice. He seemed to hit all the right buttons in a brief speech that in some respects was a thank-you from the new coaching staff to the team.
The coach applauded his players' work ethic and encouraged them to keep it up until they reconvene this August for preseason camp. He sounded genuinely sad that the team would have to be divided for the post-game dinner. The winning team got steaks; the losers ate hotdogs.
Oh, one more thing: Make good decisions, guys, the coach said in so many words. And don't do anything to embarrass yourself, the program or the school.
I don't know how Dooley could have made it any clearer unless he had said, "Don't get drunk and disorderly. But if you do and subsequently encounter a police officer, be compliant."
In Myles' case, Dooley's speech didn't stick for half a day.
It could have been a lot worse. Imagine how angry and frustrated Georgia coach Mark Richt was when he kicked quarterback Zach Mettenberger off the team six weeks after the player was arrested outside a bar in the South Georgia town of Remerton.
Mettenberger has been impressive this spring, and some say was the favorite to win the starting quarterback job. What was he thinking?
He wasn't thinking about his team. Neither was Myles.
These are tough times for the Vols. After all the coaching changes and player attrition over the last two years, their talent and depth have taken a hit. There's no margin for error, even if the error falls short of a felony.
Myles is a key component in a revamped but promising secondary. He had a good spring and a good spring game. Then, his post-game performance was capped in handcuffs.
Dooley has stressed the importance of discipline and details throughout the spring. He did so again after the game, noting how the outcome was decided on mistakes in the final minutes.
But better to make those mistakes in the heat of battle than under the influence.
John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.