Smith to Pearl: You Had Me At Flare Screen


So it looks like its official… again.  Tyler Smith, the one-time UT signee (for Buzz Peterson) who failed to make standardized test scores, and then was denied his release by Bruce Almighty (after Buzz was sent packing), is apparently back in Knoxville attending classes and preparing to suit up.  In the meantime he was forced, due to not being released by Pearl, to play at Hargrave Military Academy, and then he signed and played for Iowa last season.


 This story has all the drama of a bad high school breakup: phone arguments, name-calling, blame-throwing, parent involvement, and finally the unavoidable guilty hook-up.  Let’s document some of the great comments framing this relationship to date.

More after the jump.

April 2004

Smith’s Dad:  “I don’t get obligated to no university.  I’m sick of hearing people say we’re obligated to a university.   I get obligated to a coach. That’s who is going to be taking care of my son for four years.”  

April 2005

Tyler Smith: ”I just felt more comfortable with the old staff. I knew them and knew what they were about. I told Coach Pearl if he released me that he could re-recruit me while I was at prep school and that I would give Tennessee a serious look.”

Smith’s Dad:  “My problem with Bruce Pearl is that he told us in our first meeting that he would release Tyler if we weren’t comfortable with everything.  Now he’s saying he’s not. What changed?  I can’t understand why they won’t release him. You’re still not going to get the player. It’s a no-win situation for them.” (NOTE: hmmm)

Smith’s Dad: “Mike Hamilton has set the program back two or three years by being stubborn.  He wouldn’t want his kid to go anywhere forcefully. But he wants mine to. Just because they’re athletes doesn’t mean they’re not kids.” 

June 2005

Pearl: “I feel like in some ways he was kind of caught in the whole system. This is the first player in my career that I have not released. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t have done it any differently because there were circumstances that I can’t talk about that just told me there was a different agenda there.”

 November 2005

Smith’s Dad: “The athletic department at the University of Tennessee has nobody to blame but its own coaches and personnel for the actions that turned Tyler away from wanting to participate in the program with the University of Tennessee.”

April 2007

Tyler Smith: “I know people are going to say I am leaving (Iowa) because of the coaching change and that is just not true.  I have been really impressed with the new staff and I think they will be successful here at Iowa.”

and, “Something will have to fall through with Tennessee for me to look at other schools. I have always liked it there. That is where I originally wanted to go. The situation with the coaching change just got out of hand. I wanted to go to a school where I was comfortable with everything and I just didn’t know coach Pearl.”

May 2007

Pearl: “I am really excited about Tyler Smith coming back to Tennessee.  Our program and Tyler’s situations have changed and it is clear to me that this has a chance to work out for Tyler and the University of Tennessee.”

He is now filing a hardship appeal, referencing his father’s health, in order to not sit out the mandatory year per transfer rules.

There’s no way this thing ends well.

[Knoxville News-Sentinel] and []

One Response to “Smith to Pearl: You Had Me At Flare Screen”

  1. eDayStat Says:

    Must be nice to get players from programs whose coaches leave…Wait a second.

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