Nashville Sports with Joe Dubin

What to expect next 
season from Nashville’s favorite teams.

Joe Dubin has been a fixture in Nashville sports media for the better part of two decades. And as a Nashville native, he’s been dialed-in to the Middle Tennessee sports scene for his entire life.

Prior to graduating from Middle Tennessee State, Dubin played football at Samford University. He has won numerous awards for his journalistic endeavors and currently is a sports anchor and reporter at WSMV-TV.

Recently he sat down with Brentwood Lifestyle to offer his views of the local sports landscape.

BL

The Titans made big news before the draft by trading away the number one pick, and big news after the draft by coming away with 10 new players. How did they do?

JD

I love this draft.  Jon Robinson, the Titans general manager, has been telling me for months, “we have to protect the franchise,” that being one Marcus Mariota and with Jack Conklin being the first pick, they certainly did that.  The pick I really love though is Derrick Henry, the running back out of Alabama.  I couldn’t care less that he won the Heisman trophy; he is a football player.  Tough, mean, gritty and will get you four yards when you need three.  I think Jon Robinson should get a solid A for his first draft.

BL

What do you think of the Predators’ first round Stanley Cup playoff series win and what tone does it set for next season?

JD

I only really root for one pro team and that is the Nashville Predators. Something about going to the hockey games, the environment, the setting that I absolutely love. My kids love going to the games and that makes it even more fun. This team is set for a while with a good mix of vets and young guys and eventually, they will go all the way. Might not win the Stanley Cup but will get to a final in the next five years.

BL

What do you look for from Vanderbilt football in Year III for Derek Mason and how big of an impact will Bryce Drew make in his first year as the Commodores new basketball coach?

JD

I am a huge Derek Mason fan at Vanderbilt.  He is such a 180 from what we saw with James Franklin and it took Vandy fans awhile to get over that, whether they want to admit or not.  Mason is a hard-nosed football player who just happens to be the head coach.  If they can get any type of offense going in 2016, this team might surprise a few people.  But, that offense has to be loads better than they were last year.

I think Bryce Drew was a slam-dunk for Vandy and yes, pun intended.  He is an outstanding coach and look at his track record; he has won ever since he became a head coach.  The program had become stale and Drew was brought in to bring excitement to the fan base and win games, and he is already doing one of those.

BL

In Knoxville, it’s Year IV for Butch Jones. Things are improving, expectations are high, but are they realistic?

JD

I like what Butch Jones has done going into year four. Derek Dooley left that program with zero talent, as evidenced by the last two NFL drafts, where the Vols have had no players drafted for the second year in a row, for the first time in school history. But, the Vols have to beat Florida this year or else. If they don’t, they will have a long way to go to make it to the SEC championship game and the heat will be on Jones.  This football team is built to win it all, yes, I think even the SEC so we shall see.  I have to be careful though, because my best friend is a coach on the team so I want them to win, more for his sake, than any other reason.

BL

MTSU often gets overlooked but after the kind of season they had in football and basketball, how much of a force have the Blue Raiders become?

JD

Full disclosure on this, I am a MTSU graduate so I hold their athletic programs dear to my heart. You would be hard pressed to find four better people than Rick Stockstill, Kermit Davis, Rick Insell & Jim McGuire. In football, Stockstill is winning games, going to bowls and sending players to the NFL. Kermit Davis’ squad just pulled off the greatest upset in NCAA tournament history and has a loaded team returning and Rick Insell, is one of the best X’s and O’s coaches in the game of basketball.  They are all very underrated and I am not sure the MTSU fan base knows how great these guys are and I hope they don’t take them for granted.

BL

What are some lesser-known sports, athletes or activities that you are passionate about, or you think people should know more about?

JD

I am a big local sports guy. I care more about the kid at Brentwood Academy who is going to play football at Tennessee then what is going on in a lot of pro sports, that don’t involve our teams.  I love a story like Ron Crawford at Brentwood high, coming back and bringing pride back to the program.  I love seeing the boys and girls from our area that are standouts in sports, get to the next level and succeed.  This is an amazing time to be living in the Middle Tennessee area and I thank the Lord that I have a front seat to all of it.