Archive for July, 2012

SEC Media Days: Muschamp refuses to name Florida starter

The starting quarterback for the Florida Gators hasn’t been decided yet, according to coach Will Muschamp at the SEC Media Days.

He said in his press conference on Wednesday (Quotes from RedandBlack): “Offensively we obviously have a quarterback battle going on with Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel….Two guys that are very even in their competition….They’re even going into fall camp….They’ll get equal reps I would like to name a starter before the season, but I’m not going to put a timetable on that.  If we need to play both of them, that’s what we’re going to do.  We’re going to do what we need to do to win football games. Both guys have a similar skill set. So it’s not like there’s one offense we run with one and one with another, and there’s a possibility you could see both in the game at the same time.  But they’re both guys that can contribute to our football team.  Jeff and Jacoby have handled the competition very well.  It’s been good for our football team. Their competition has made our football team better.  I’m pleased with how that has worked.”

He added that he doesn’t feel under pressure to succeed at The Swamp in the second year of his tenure. “The pressure is what you put on yourself, and I put an awful lot on myself whether it’s year one or year 10,” he said. He added: “As far as from a job standpoint, I feel like I’m much more prepared just from the day-to-day operation of the things that come across your desk as a head coach.  No different from year one as a coordinator to year two. Mack Brown said something to me when I was at Texas, had the opportunity to be the next head coach at Texas.  I said, What makes you think I’m ready for this job? He said, You’re not.  I’ve been a head coach at North Carolina for ten years and Appalachian State for one year and Tulane for four years, and I wasn’t ready for this job at Texas. Every job is different. Every job has its own set of circumstances, its own positives, its own negatives. That always made a lot of sense when he said that.  You have to work yourself into the job when you get there.”

He added that he thought the play-off system was “fine”, as long as college football’s powers that be kept the bowl system going. “Really, the bowl system is a great reward for the student-athlete.  It’s a great reward for the coach and his wife to go someplace for three, four days, stay in a nice hotel, have nice meals.  A lot of our young people, they don’t get to do stuff like that.  As long as they keep the bowl system within it, I think it’s fine. I think you have to go through it to figure out what you really like and don’t like.” He added: “Moving the games back to a reasonable time, not drifting all the way into January I think is really good. I’m fine with it.  I didn’t have a whole lot of opposition to our previous system.  Was it perfect?  No.  I was on both sides of that.  At LSU we got into the game one time, fortunate enough to beat Oklahoma in ’03, and in ’08 at Texas we didn’t get in the game and we thought it wasn’t just. It is what it is.  There are going to be arguments regardless in however they select the four teams.  I’m fine with it.”

 

SEC Meetings: What to Expect From Media Days 2-3

A few months after the SEC Meetings in Florida, we’re getting a play-off in college football – and it’s all to the SEC’s advantage, because if that group is going to sit and talk about ALL schedules – not just non-conference schedules – then it’s going to be SEC all the way.

So anyway, here’s what we expect the coaches to talk about at the SEC Media Days from now on in (sorry about missing Mssrs Pinkel, Spurrier, Franklin and Sumlin, but we’ve been away (but you will be caught up on what they said).

We expect:

  • Nick Saban to talk about Alabama’s recruiting, re-tooling after another National Championship, and of course – as happens every year – oversigning. And how Auburn’s trees are recovering after being poisoned by Harvey Updyke.
  • Hugh Freeze on how he’s going to help making the going-to-the-game experience more fun that simply partying on The Grove, and expect him to mention Jesus once or twice. As well as Michael Oher.
  • Dan Mullen on what Mississippi State is going to do to challenge for the SEC West and life after Vick Ballard.
  • Gene Chizik on what in the heck happened with Michael Dyer, and how Auburn’s recovering from the shootings which killed two former Auburn players. Oh, and maybe how the Auburn trees are.
  • Joker Phillips on how Kentucky’s going to replace Anthony Davis and the rest of Big Blue and all other manner of questions pertaining to Kentucky basketball. Oh, and nothing really about football.
  • John L. Smith on whether he’ll be riding motorbikes into work, or talking to workers at Arkansas. And if he’s got any change to the offensive gameplan post-Petrino.

We also read the SEC’s note to James Franklin before he took the podium on Day 1. It read: JAMES FRANKLIN WILL NOT MENTION HOW HE RECRUITS AT VANDERBILT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES (after last time), but of course, he’s welcome to mention how the Commodores are going to progress this year, and Vandy’s excellent start to recruiting.

Feeling the loss: Key players out on each SEC team

Big-time players have gone from SEC schools around the country. The SEC Football Blog outlines which players are going to be missed the most….

SEC West

Alabama

Let’s get this straight first and foremost, the loss of most of their defense isn’t going to make life as easy for the Crimson Tide in 2012 and it was in 2011, but the big loss is running back, Heisman contender and bulldozer Trent Richardson, who destroyed the opposition week in, week out. Sure, Ed Lacy’s going to be good – but we’re going to give him a year to be Trent-good, if that’s at all possible.

Arkansas 

First of all, let us say that the biggest loss isn’t going to be on the field at all – it’s going to be with coach Bobby Petrino, who’s an offensive mastermind. If he’d managed to keep his growling motor in his pants, then Arkansas could be a divisional contender this year. But on the field, wide receiver Joe Adams, who burnt a lot of Ds last year with his pace – and great hands – is going to be longed-for by Tyler Wilson….however much he’s got Knile Davis back.

Auburn 

Running back Michael Dyer was about the only exciting thing to talk about in the Auburn offence last year, but through every fault of his own (and if you browse the news articles, you’ll see why), he’s gone from the Tigers and transferred to Arkansas State, where he’ll start in 2014 (maybe). The kid broke Bo Jackson’s freshman running record in 2010, and ran for over 1,000 in 2011. The loss will be massive for the Tigers, who struggled to get anything together of note in 2012.

LSU 

Here’s who the Tigers AREN’T going to miss: Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson, who were pretty ordinary in their time in purple, white and gold. But the Tigers defense was exceptional last year (yes, Alabama fans, until the National Championship Game). Although the blow of losing him has been softened by the exceptional play of Tyrann Mathieu and Eric Reid, Morris Claiborne was a real playmaker this year – and 2012 will give quarterbacks some (slight) relief.

Ole Miss

This is going to sound stupid, but the Rebels return 12 players from the abysmal team of 2011, so they can only hope that the reverse happens in 2012 (in other words, some players actually appear). Mean? Sorry, Dixie.

Mississippi State 

Running back Vick Ballard took a lot of the offensive load for the Bulldogs last season, and the New York Giants thought he was so good that they gobbled him up. Now that the home run threat’s gone for the Cowbell-ringers, could things be a little harder for the maroon and white?

Texas A&M

We hate to say this (bearing in mind how much we’ve slaughtered the Miami Dolphins for drafting him), but the Aggies are really going to miss Ryan Tannehill. Despite his knack of throwing the INT, Tannehill was in a Heisman conversation once in a while this season, because of his great arm and his movement out of the pocket.

 

SEC East

 

Florida 

Even the most hardened Gator fan can’t deny that running back Jeff Demps’ decision to leave Gainseville for an athletics career (he didn’t make the Olympic team, which now looks a little stupid) is going to leave a huge hole in Will Muschamp’s offense and special teams game. If you wanted speed, Demps had it in buckets, destroying opponents as a running back AND a punt/kick-off returner.

Georgia

Tight end Orson Charles is going to the NFL, and for good reason – he was excellent throughout his career for the Dawgs. His productivity increased each year for the Bulldogs as Mark Richt used him as a received weapon more and more, and the fact that Aaron Murray didn’t leave with his leg broken this season means he was a good blocker, too!

Kentucky

Kentucky might have been quite an ordinary team, but safety Winston Guy was an extraordinary player for the Wildcats (he’s now playing for Pete Carroll in Seattle), playing all four years where he amassed nearly 300 tackles, of which about 150 of them were solo ones. He also had 5 INTs. Will the Wildcats be able to survive without him (and departed linebacker Danny Trevathan)? We don’t think so. And this ISN’T something you can pin on Joker Phillips.

  Missouri

While Jerrell Jackson and Wes Kemp may make some points for themselves and potential missing links for the Tigers, we’re going to go with linebacker Luke Lambert, who was fantastic (when he played) for Gary Pinkel’s defense. As Mizzou are going to find out in September, they will need a good tackler against the SEC!

South Carolina

Yes, we know that wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey’s going to be missed for the offense, but cornerback Stephon Gilmore is going to be a big, big loss for the Gamecocks secondary – even though defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will be doing his best to stop any throws going anywhere by eating QBs alive! In his last two years as a Gamecock, he had seven INTs, 125 tackles and 9 PassDefs. He will be missed in Columbia more than you can imagine.

Tennessee

Running back Tauren Poole was ‘Mr Reliable’ for the Vols, putting up a 1,000 yard season in 2010 (when Tennessee’s offensive line was good) and a 700-yard season in 2011 (when Tennessee’s offensive line was young). Although offense-wise Tyler Bray will be able to pick up some of the slack with his arm (and Justin Hunter’s hands), and the offensive line will be better, Poole’s as a part of the running game is something they would have loved to have seen back in Knoxville. Instead, Carolina Panthers fans can enjoy him!

Vanderbilt

Everyone’s talking about the Commodores to be a pretty good team in 2012 (and certainly in 2013 with James Franklin’s excellent recruiting), but they are going to have to go without Tim Fugger, the excellent linebacker who was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts. He was seventh in the SEC in tackles for loss, ninth in the SEC in sacks, and in his career, third in the SEC in forced fumbles.

 

Mississippi State gets NCAA bonus

There was good news for the Mississippi State Bulldogs this week when the NCAA allowed tight end Marcus Green a sixth year of eligibility.

This mean that Green will play for the Bulldogs in 2012 – after hip and knee injuries in 2008 and 2010 respectively wrecked two of his seasons.

Marcus Green told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal:  “It’s beautiful… It’s an honor…It really shows you how it’s a privilege and an honor to be part of something special. When you get out in the real world, it ain’t nothing like it. To come back and get another shot at winning another ring, and another shot at maybe potentially heading to the next level, everything’s worked out. The main thing is just coming back and looking forward to being with the team. This team has got so much character to it, so I’m just excited to be a part of that.

In his career, Green has only had 580 yards receiving and four touchdowns – with his biggest season his one in 2009, where he had 306 yards receiving.

BOTTOM LINE: This adds depth and experience to Dan Mullen’s team – and you can expect Green to get a solid amount of starting time as Brandon Hill’s going to be the only recognised tight end Mullen has on a team that’s losing Vick Ballard, Chris Relf, and some big-time value at offensive line.

Vegas releases SEC win totals

Not that anyone gambles on the game of College Football, but if they did, they might be interested to know that one of Las Vegas’ bigger sportsbooks has released its estimates for this year’s college football season.

We’re not going to go into wild detail for all the schools, but here are the SEC estimates. And no, we don’t know why Georgia hasn’t been mentioned, although we can only presume it’s because of the different disciplinary issues – one of them notably with Baccari Rambo.

LSU  – 10.5

Alabama – 10.5

Arkansas – 8.5

South Carolina – 8.5

Florida – 7.5

Mississippi State – 7.5

Tennessee – 7.5

Missouri – 7.5

Auburn -7.5

Texas A&M – 7.5

Vanderbilt – 5.5

Kentucky – 4.5

Mississippi – 3.5

EXCLUSIVE: Could another UGA star de-commit after shock transfer decision?

Four-star Georgia recruit Brandon Kublanow has told The SEC Football Blog that he’s now uncertain as to whether he will be a Bulldog in 2013 after Mark Richt announced that linebacker / defensive end Brandon Burrows was to transfer.

Marietta, Ga.-based Kublanow – who is ranked as one of Rivals top 150 players in the nation – and the second-best centre in Georgia tweeted after the news that Burrows was leaving: “Disappointed Brandon is leaving the team, really wanted to play with him, he’s like a bro”.

When asked by The SEC Football Blog if this was going to his own decision to go to UGA, he replied: “idk”, which is known to mean ‘I Don’t Know’.

And it’s not as though Kublanow was short on offers before he opted for Georgia in late May, with a long list of suitors – including LSU, Florida, South Carolina and Vanderbilt in the SEC, and USC, Nebraska, Florida State and Clemson asking for his decision.

BOTTOM LINE: UGA doesn’t need any more high-profile de-commits – especially after big-time running back Derrick Henry decided he would play his football at Alabama instead of Athens.

South Carolina QB rips Under Armour

South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw has hammered the Gamecocks kit supplier Under Armour in a Twitter comment today that’s bound to cause ripples around the SEC.

Shaw said on Thursday night: “3rd time the sole of my Under Armour shoes have completely busted. And we wonder why so many people have “freak” foot injuries on the team.

Under Armour is currently involved in a kit deal with South Carolina, that will eventually pay the university $1.2m in its final year in 2016.

Shaw has since taken down his comment. He added on another tweet: “It was just a matter of time“. We can only wonder – are we talking about the foot injuries or the time it took for someone at USC to demand he take his tweet down?

BOTTOM LINE: If there IS an issue with Under Armour cleats, USC NEEDS to speak to the manufacturers, because they can’t afford to have a string of injuries on a team that will challenge for a SEC East title this year.

UGA linebacker to transfer

UGA linebacker Brandon Burrows has been granted an unconditional transfer, the University of Georgia has said.

Mark Richt, Georgia’s coach said: “Brandon is an outstanding person, student-athlete and has a wonderful family. We’ve enjoyed having him as part of our program and will provide whatever assistance we can in his transition. I am completely understanding of his decision and wish him nothing but the best.

Burrows’ statement said: “I came out of high school playing the defensive end position in a 4-3 defense which is what I truly love. The coaching change here led to a 3-4 defense. I have worked with that transition but decided that I want to get back to playing defensive end. I think another program may give me the best opportunity to succeed at that. I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity Coach Richt has given me at UGA and for the fact that he gave me an unconditional release. I know I’ll be hard-pressed to find a group of coaches and players that will develop into the leaders and friends that I have known here in Athens.

Burrows had not played for Georgia in anger, after redshirting in his first season and being forced to miss his sophomore season after shoulder surgery.

Burrows came out of his high school in Marietta, Ga. as one of Rivals’ top 30 defensive ends in the country and in his junior year in high schools he had 10 sacks.

BOTTOM LINE: Mark Richt would obviously have liked to keep Burrows for depth reasons, but Burrows wanted a starting job, and possibly hopes to get it in 2012 – despite not playing a moment in anger since his junior year of high school. In his past he’d been recruited by Alabama, Florida, Clemson, NC State and Oklahoma (amongst others) – could one of them come in again to give the kid a fresh start? Georgia fans will hope it won’t be the Tide or Gators!

Scheduling: Saban turns down Wisconsin series offer

Nick Saban has turned down The University of Wisconsin’s offer of a home-and-home series, the Wisconsin State Journal has reported.

According to the report, ESPN had tried to push for having Alabama play Wisconsin at a Neutral Site, but Wisconsin AD – and  former legendary Badgers head coach – Barry Alvarez  said current coach Brett Bielma “countered with an offer to play a home-and-home series with the Crimson Tide — no specific years were discussed — but that Alabama coach Nick Saban declined.

CBSSports noted in an article that Saban is much happier with his Alabama team playing games at neutral sites rather than home-and-homes, and noted that Alabama haven’t played two BCS conference opponents in any one year.

Having said that, the report noted that Alabama HAS played Penn State (twice), Virginia Tech, Clemson and Florida State in the last five years (they have a 4-1 record). Here is a look back (and forward) at some of Alabama’s schedules.

BOTTOM LINE: While we’re looking forward to seeing Alabama play Michigan in 2012, Virginia Tech in 2013, and West Virginia in 2014, we wish Nick Saban would play more home-and-home games, because we still fervently believe that the best teams should be able to play in the harshest environments, instead of souped-up, big-for-TV regular season ‘bowl’ games that are games at Cowboys Stadium or the Georgia Dome. In other words, we’ll give the Crimson Tide less credit for winning a neutral site game than AT the Big House or AT Hokie Stadium or IN Morgantown (plus, the gameday atmosphere’s much better for home-and-homes, too!).

Dyer will not play for Arkansas State in 2012

Former Auburn running back Michael Dyer’s on-the-field reunion with Arkansas State coach Gus Malzahn will have to wait a year, the Associated Press has reported.

The NCAA decided not to allow Dyer – who transferred from Auburn to Arkansas State in the off-season – to play for the Red Wolves in 2012.

Arkansas State had asked the NCAA to allow Dyer to waive its one-year sanction on transfers, but the NCAA denied their application.

Although Dyer had a brilliant on-the-field career with Auburn, where he rushed through Bo Jackson’s freshman rushing record in 2010, won a National Championship, and kept an otherwise fairly inept offense afloat in 2011 with 1,200 yards rushing, his off-the-field career was somewhat acrimonious.

In early April Dyer testified to an Auburn court that a gun belonging to him had been used in a robbery by four of his former team-mates. He also admitted to using synthetic marijuana – or ‘spice’ in the trial. Former team-mate Antonio Goodwin was convicted of the robbery, and three others are still awaiting trial. Dyer was not charged with any wrongdoing.

 

 

 

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