Archive for April, 2013

LSU suspends RB Hill

Jeremy Hill isn’t doing himself any favors if he wants to be the SEC’s best running back come the end of the 2013-4 season.

The running back was arrested for simple battery after allegedly hitting someone on the side of the head outside a Baton Rouge hostelry on Saturday night, numerous reports have said.

Hill was suspended indefinitely by coach Les Miles, the coach announced on Monday.

Miles said in a statement that he would “let this incident play out through the legal system before making any additional comments”, ESPN reported.

Hill finished with 755 yards and 12 TDs on 142 carries in an incredible rookie season for the Tigers – and looks like one of the most promising offensive stars to come out of Baton Rouge in years.

Now, he’s got to pray that he’ll SEE 2013, let alone play in it.

Alabama’s Derrick Henry fractures leg in practice

The University of Alabama has confirmed that freshman running  back Derrick Henry – who was expected to take the load behind T.J. Yeldon in the 2013 season – has fractured his leg in practice, and it out for the remainder of spring practice.

We would be pretty surprised if he came back for the first game of the fall, too.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said this: “Derrick Henry suffered a fractured fibula in Saturday’s scrimmage and had successful surgery this morning with Dr. Lyle Cain,” he said. “With the support of our medical staff and the hard work and dedication Derrick has shown since he arrived, we are confident that he will make a full recovery for the start of camp this fall.” 

Alvin Kamara, Tyren Jones and Altee Tenpenny could see some more work now Henry is injured, and if Henry fails to rehabilitate, one of three could see increased time behind Yeldon at the start of the season.

 

 

Athlon Sports: Saban the best in 2013 coaching class

Nick Saban got more recognition for his great coaching ability (although we doubt he’ll care!) from Athlon Sports, who said he was the best coach in the 2013 class of 125 college football coaches.

It espoused: “Saban is without question the best coach in college football. He started his career as a head coach in 1990 with Toledo, then spent the next four seasons as the defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns. In 1995, Saban was hired as Michigan State’s head coach and guided the Spartans to a 34-24-1 record under his watch. Saban left East Lansing for Baton Rouge and LSU in 2000 and led the Tigers to a 48-16 record in five years, including a national championship in 2003. Saban had a two-year stint with the Dolphins but jumped at the opportunity to lead Alabama in 2007. After a 7-6 record in his first season, Saban is 61-7 in his last five years with the Crimson Tide, which includes three national championships. At 61 years old, Saban is still at the top of his game and should have Alabama in the mix for a SEC and national title every year he is on the sidelines.”

Also on the list was:

Steve Spurrier (South Carolina) – 5th

Mark Richt (Georgia) – 11th

Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M) – 16th

James Franklin (Vanderbilt) – 17th

Dan Mullen (Mississippi State) – 23rd 

Les Miles (LSU ) – 24th

Bret Bielema (Wisconsin) – 25th

Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss) – 30th

Will Muschamp (Florida) – 36th

Butch Jones (Tennessee) – 41st

Gary Pinkel (Missouri) – 42nd

Gus Malzahn (Auburn) – 53rd

Mark Stoops (Kentucky) – 71st 

Tyrann Mathieu: I failed over 10 drugs tests at LSU

Tyrann Mathieu doesn’t seem to be able to get away from his drug issues of the past – especially during NFL coaching interviews.

He told USA Today in an interview that he’s visiting 10 teams in total, and on one of his visits, he was asked by an assistant how many drugs tests he failed.

He answered: “I quit counting at 10. I really don’t know.

And now, the LSU program is getting its finger pointed at. According to USA Today, the assistant was annoyed at the LSU program. He said: “If he flunked 10 tests before they suspended him, it shows that he got no kind of help“.

Mathieu – nicknamed ‘The Honey Badger’ – after an incredible 2011-2 season in which he proved to be the gamechanger in many-a-game, was booted out of the LSU in the off-season of 2012, after failing yet another test for marijuana. He moved with Patrick Peterson’s family to Florida, where they have taken care of him, and he’s reportedly been sober since October.

Let’s hope it continues.

BOTTOM LINE: TEN FAILED DRUG TESTS? And they didn’t ban him until they got too much? We know that Tyrann Mathieu was a gamechanger for the LSU program, but still….

 

Florida D-Line Coach Bryant Young Resigns

Florida defensive line coach Bryant Young has resigned, according to multiple news sources.

According to Yahoo Sports, Young told the Gators at a team meeting on Wednesday that he was leaving to spend more time with his family.

”After heavy consideration and giving over two decades to the game of football, I have made a personal decision to resign from my position at the University of Florida in order to pursue more time with my family,” he said in a statement. ”I am humbled by and grateful for the opportunity I have had to positively influence the hardworking student-athletes and young men whom I will surely miss.

”However, I have come to the realization that it is time to invest more in my family during this fleeting season in life.”

”We are very thankful for Coach Young’s contributions to the program and I respect his decision,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. ”This is strictly a personal decision and has nothing to do with NCAA compliance, but just an opportunity to evaluate his future path.”

BOTTOM LINE: Although Bryant  Young won’t miss the money – he’s made plenty of it from his time in the NFL – we do have a question: Why would there be any compliance questions? Young wasn’t talked about as having any possible misdemeanours – in fact the only person who HAS had accusations levelled at him was Muschamp himself – which he has denied. The Gators are going to really, really miss Young – this was a coach who developed future NFL first round talent in Shariff Floyd and Dominique Easley.

Chizik denies allegations

Gene Chizik, the former Auburn coach, has denied allegations from blogger Selena Roberts that he manipulated players grades, ignored drug tests and paid players.

He said in a statement: “During my tenure at Auburn, the NCAA conducted a multi-year investigation into the Auburn football program that they called “fair and thorough.” The NCAA focused intently on widespread accusations about Auburn players being paid and other alleged recruiting violations. The NCAA conducted 80 interviews. In October 2011, the NCAA rejected “rampant public speculation online and in the media.” Unfortunately, the recent story published by Selena Roberts is more of the same. It once again portrays Auburn University, current and former coaches, professors, fans, supporters and community officials in a false light.

Unfortunately, Ms. Roberts’ story is long on accusation and inference, but short on facts and logic. It is noteworthy that the story comes just days before a player mentioned most prominently in the article is set to go to trial for felony armed robbery. The statements are very generalized accusations devoid of substance. During my time as Auburn’s head coach, I never authorized, instructed or directed anyone to change any player’s grade or provide any type of illegal payment to any student-athlete. Likewise, I am not aware of any alleged grade change or illegal payment by any member of my coaching staff, support staff or anyone else.

As for logic, the notion that the conduct inferred by Ms. Roberts was occurring under the NCAA’s nose, at the very same time the NCAA is conducting its thorough investigation, lacks merit. Further, the notion that there was ever an attempt to sabotage any Auburn student-athlete’s attempt to play professional football is outrageous. Auburn’s success in transitioning student-athletes to the NFL benefits both the student-athlete and the Auburn program.

I remain part of the Auburn family and take these attacks on myself, the University and community seriously. During my time at Auburn, the administrators, professors and academic staff were of the highest integrity. Additionally, the inference that there was academic support staff that worked together with professors to change grades is absurd. As an Auburn resident, I take great pride in the quality and integrity of our police department. They enforce the law equally and fairly and my dealings with police Chief Tommy Dawson and his staff have been nothing short of excellent. He has handled many high profile cases with the upmost integrity and professionalism. To imply anything otherwise is simply wrong.

If there is a sad truth here, it is that there are no repercussions for bloggers who blast out widespread, venomous allegations and inferences in such an irresponsible manner. To make bold and outrageous conclusions on such thin support is a travesty.

During my tenure as Auburn’s head coach, we kept the well-being of our student- athletes at the forefront of every decision. We ran our program with the highest level of integrity and accountability. Period. I make absolutely no apologies for that. I stand firm in my statements, my support of Auburn University, its student- athletes (present and former), faculty, staff and community officials. As I stated during the NCAA investigation, I am comforted knowing that the truth always prevails.

 

Report: Auburn paid players, changed grades under Chizik rule

If you’re an Auburn fan and think that things couldn’t get worse than they were after a winless SEC season and the firing of your head coach – plus a sea of off-season troubles, then think again.

Selena Roberts, a reporter who has written for Sports Illustrated, brought out a report today that stunned not only this writer, will stun a lot of SEC fans.

In the report – which is essentially an interview with former safety Mike McNeil – Auburn changed grades, paid players to host recruits, saw more than 40 players test positive for “recreational drugs” after their National Championship win in 2011, and offered money to players to keep playing at the school.

Here are some stunning revelations from the report, and we’ll let them speak for themselves:

1) Player payments: “Receiver Darvin Adams, a star player with NFL dreams and a family to support, wrestled with whether to turn pro after the championship season. He discussed his plans with teammates and told them how much pressure he was under by Auburn coaches to stay. McNeil and Blanc say Auburn coaches offered Adams several thousand dollars to stay for his senior year. “It was sugar-coated in a way,” says Adams, who confirmed he was offered financial incentives, but declined to detail the exact amount. “It was like, we’ll do this and that for you. But I’d rather do things the right way. I am happy I didn’t say yes to that stuff. That’s what I’d tell kids.” Adams turned pro but went undrafted, a result, one NFL scout says, was due to negative reports on him from Auburn coaches. Adams plays for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League and refuses to be bitter. “I play the cards I’m dealt,” he says. Other players tell stories of in-season cash payments to players. “Coaches would say, ‘Don’t tell anyone where you got it from,’’’ says Blanc. McNeil recalls having a difficult day at practice in 2007 and then-defensive coordinator, Will Muschamp, calling him into his office. “I had no clue what it was about because I’d never directly asked him for anything,” says McNeil. “He slid about $400 over to me. He went into a drawer and gave me money and said, ‘Is this enough? Is this good?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m good.’” Muschamp, now the head football coach at the University of Florida, denied the payment through a spokesperson.

McNeil says he was also paid $500 to be Dre’ Kirkpatrick’s tour guide. It didn’t work so well – Kirkpatrick went to play – and star – for hated rival Alabama.

2) Drug use: A trailer home on Wire Road was a hotspot for drug activity, players say. “From everything I know, drugs flowed freely from there, says [former Auburn player Mike] Blanc. “It wasn’t a secret that, if someone wanted something, they could get it there.”  The report added: “As players recall, more than 40 players tested positive for recreational drugs after the national championship.

3) Grade tampering: Players’ grades were changed to ensure players did not miss games – especially the National Championship Game against Oregon – which would turn out to be one of the best games of the season. Here’s what the report says: “Three players say that before the BCS Championship game the team was told that as many as nine of their teammates would not be able to play in the title game because they were academically ineligible……Before the season, McNeil says he was given an F for attendance in a computer science class. “I had B work but I missed too many classes; and I went to the instructor and said, ‘I really need this grade,’” says McNeil. “He said that he was sorry but he wouldn’t change it. I went to the person over him. She was in a position of power and backed up the instructor. I then told my counselor with the athletic department.” Within days, McNeil says, the grade was changed from an F to a C and he did not miss a game.

What worries this blog is that this sort of thing doesn’t just happen at the University of Auburn. We’ve heard stories from contacts all over the SEC of players getting beneficial treatment (such is the nature of being gods of campus). Our question: What is the NCAA – and in particular the Mike Slive and SEC – going to do about this sort of issue? It’s not good for Auburn, it’s not good for the NCAA, and it’s certainly not good for the reputation of the Southeastern Conference.

Blanc was quick to deny the story. He told Mike Svzetitz, sports editor of the Opelika-Auburn News: “None of that stuff that she said I said is true. None of it is true.”

Bates also denied the story to Weigh In Sports’ Brian Tarvin.

Auburn has not commented on the story.

You can read the whole of Roberts’ report here.

 

 

 

Texas A&M legend Pardee passes away

There was more sad news for the SEC after news emerged that Texas A&M legend Jack Pardee had passed away aged 76.

According to ESPN, Pardee was one of Bear Bryant’s Junction Boys when Bryant was a coach in Aggieland.

Pardee played linebacker for the Aggies for three years and was then drafted in 1957. In the three years Pardee played under Bryant, the Aggies went 7-2-1, 9-0-1, and 8-3.

Pardee then played in the NFL for 15 years – during which he had a bout of melanoma.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996, after a successful coaching stint at Houston in 1989 that saw Andre Ware get a Heisman Award – he was the first black quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy.

Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin – who also coached at Houston – tweeted this statement: “Thoughts and prayers for the Pardee family. A great Coach and even better man. He will be missed, but his legacy of innovation will live on.”

Thoughts and prayers for the Pardee family. A great Coach and even better man. He will be missed, but his legacy of innovation will live on.

God Speed, Mr Pardee.

Jack Pardee Tribute