Archive for February, 2014

Alabama running back arrested

Alabama running back Dee Hart was arrested in Tuscaloosa….although it seems as though he’s no longer a part of the Crimson Tide.

After news that Hart had been arrested for possession of marijuana and giving false information to the Tuscaloosa Police Department, Alabama released this statement: “Dee Hart has not been a part of the football team since the bowl game and has not participated in any of the off season program. Hopefully he will learn from this mistake and continue to work toward completing his degree, which he is on track to do by the summer.

He was also questioned for trying to use counterfeit money at a gas station, too.

This follows up to Tony Brown’s arrest on January 19th for failure to obey and resisting arrest.

BOTTOM LINE: Hart was a part-time player for the Crimson Tide in his freshman and sophomore seasons, but he’s no longer on the Alabama team because he’s either trouble or with Derrick Henry and TJ Yeldon on the team, he’s surplus to requirements.

The Saban Effect: NCAA looking into slowing down offenses

If a rule comes into place in the 2014 season which would allow teams to substitute within the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock (therefore reducing the speed at which an offense can operate), we should call it The Saban Rule.

Why? Looking ahead to seeing the days in which his man-mountain defenses would be completely exhausted by lighter, faster offenses (see the second half of the Auburn vs Alabama game for details), Coach Saban complained in September: “All you’re trying to do is get lined up [on defense],” he whined to ESPN.com in September, ESPN’s website reported today. “You can’t play specialty third-down stuff. You can’t hardly scheme anything. The most important thing is to get the call so the guys can get lined up, and it’s got to be a simple call. The offense kind of knows what you’re doing.”

Because if the rule comes into play, defenses who are more like the NFL (see Alabama for details) will once again take the higher ground, and offenses like Auburn will not have the advantage they did. Of course, defensive co-ordinators will say that it’s better for the players if they slow the game down, and it might be: And be of huge benefit to your defense, too.

Offenses who have most to lose from this change in the law is the higher-paced offense that love the  offense that moves at breakneck speed. Mike Leach and Rich Rodriguez,  head coaches of Washington State and Arizona respectively are furious with the NCAA’s move, and we should think Gus Malzahn, the head coach of Auburn, isn’t too happy either. As a conference, the Pac-12 has the most to lose. As a conference, the SEC probably has the most to gain, since most of their offenses don’t run at breakneck speed.

In a Twitter conversation with @SECblog, Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples was quick to point out that it wasn’t only Auburn who lost out or only the SEC who gained from a slow-down of offenses. “Auburn, TAMU, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mizzou all run high-tempo. Georgia does some, too“, he tweeted.

 

Arkansas’ new DC takes a bow

Robb Smith, Arkansas’ new DC, took the bow on Monday as he was introduced by head coach Bret Bielema.

Smith comes from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he was the NFL team’s linebackers’ coach in 2013.

Former DC Chris Ash has gone to Ohio State to be the Buckeyes’ DC – despite the Razorbacks going 3-9  in 2013 and lost every game from September 21st onwards.

“I’ve been able to watch Robb Smith grow in the profession, and I know he’ll bring in an attacking defensive philosophy that is built specifically to stop offenses in the SEC”, Bielema said in a release. “Robb has been promoted time and time again at every place he’s been. With his background, he captivates a room no matter where he is and players gravitate towards him. He’s demonstrated an understanding of what it takes to build a team into a championship program.”

Smith formerly worked at Rutgers for four years.

Vols starter arrested

Star Tennessee Vols linebacker AJ Johnson and defensive linesman Danny O’Brien were arrested on alcohol-related charges in Knoxville on Saturday night, it was reported.

The report says: “Johnson was charged with purchasing alcohol for a person underage and resisting arrest. O’Brien, a reserve nose tackle as a redshirt freshman last season, was charged with criminal impersonation, resisting arrest and underage consumption of alcohol.

The report was at former UT player Dontavis Sapp – who was also arrested.

We have very high standards and expectations within our football program at the University of Tennessee, and appropriate action will be taken,” Butch Jones, Tennessee’s head coach said.

BOTTOM LINE: Johnson was a star for the Vols last season, making over 100 tackles. He is staying in Knoxville for his senior year. Tennessee will miss him the first 1-3 games of the season.

 

Florida starter to transfer

This news isn’t exactly hot off the press, but Florida safety Cody Riggs is going to leave The Swamp when he graduates in the spring.

It is not known where the player is going to be transferring.

Florida coach Will Muschamp said: “Cody Riggs and his parents came to me and he’s going to finish up in May and transfer to another school to finish his last year of eligibility. He wanted a fresh start. And I appreciate his contributions to Florida.

Riggs is aiming to play more at cornerback than at safety to give himself more of a chance at a NFL career.

Last season Riggs, a junior, was about the only Florida starter not to be injured, starting all 13 games of Florida’s horrific season. He had 51 tackles and a sack.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Riggs will be missed for his leadership. But if he’s really unhappy at Florida, than there’s nothing Will Muschamp can do.

UGA Offensive Linesman in transfer turnaround

Georgia offensive linesman Mark Beard has had a change of heart and will remain in the program, according to multiple reports.

Apparently Beard had a change of mine and asked Georgia head coach Mark Richt to take him back. He’ll be part of the battle to be a starter for the Dawgs in 2014.

Bulldawg Illustrated quoted Georgia head coach Mark Richt as saying: “Sometimes making a decision and living it out are two different things.  As I’ve mentioned before the same thing happened to me.  As a player I told my coach I had decided to leave for what I thought were all the right reasons.  But after a few days, I realized it was a bad decision and asked to come back.  He took me back and I’m happy Mark will still be part of our program.

 

Georgia offensive tackle to transfer

Georgia offensive tackle Mark Beard is graduate and transfer from Athens, the school has announced.

The junior – who earned his sociology degree early- appeared in 14 games in 2012 after playing in Junior College.

Beard was considered to be a candidate to be a starter in 2014, but now he’s eligible to play somewhere else immediately in 2014, wrote Macon Telegraph reporter Seth Emerson on Twitter.

Clowney leads SEC Defensive NFL Combine invitees

Jadeveon Clowney leads the list of SEC defensive linesmen going to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, starting February 19th.

Here’s the list of defensive players:

Defensive linemen

Ego Ferguson (LSU), Dominique Easley (Florida), Kony Ealy (Mizzou), Ed Stinson (Alabama) and Dee Ford are the five SEC names that jump out at you.

Jadeveon Clowney (DE), South Carolina
Kony Ealy (DE), Missouri
Dominique Easley (DT), Florida
Ego Ferguson (DT), LSU
Dee Ford (DE), Auburn
Anthony Johnson (DT), LSU
DaQuan Jones (DT), Penn State
Daniel McCullers (DT), Tennessee
Jeoffrey Pagan (DE), Alabama
Kelcy Quarles (DT), South Carolina
Chris Smith (DE), Arkansas
Ed Stinson (DE), Alabama
Robert Thomas (DT), Arkansas

Linebackers

For the linebackers, CJ Mosley (Alabama) and Ronald Powell (Florida) both stand out, although Adrian Hubbard (Alabama) has had tongues wagging. 

Lamin Barrow (OLB), LSU
Adrian Hubbard (OLB), Alabama
C.J. Mosley (ILB), Alabama
Ronald Powell (OLB), Florida
Jordan Tripp (OLB), Montana
Avery Williamson (ILB), Kentucky

Defensive backs

Florida’s Loucheiz Purifoy tops the DB list, with Ha Ha Clinton-Diz at Alabama. EJ Gaines (Missouri) and Chris Davis (Auburn) would both be interesting later round picks – particuarly with Davis’ return skills. 

Deion Belue (CB), Alabama
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (FS), Alabama
Chris Davis (CB), Auburn
E.J. Gaines (CB), Missouri
Dre Hal (CB), Vanderbilt
Victor Hampton (CB), South Carolina
Kenny Ladler (FS), Vanderbilt
Craig Loston (SS), LSU
Loucheiz Purifoy (CB), Florida
Marcus Roberson (CB), Florida
Vinnie Sunseri (SS), Alabama
Jaylen Watkins (CB), Florida

Specialists

There’s no question that Steven Clark was the top punter in college football. It was crazy how good he was….especially in the National Championship Game and Iron Bowl. Clark could well be taken quite high…if a team’s really in need. 

Steven Clark (P), Auburn
Zach Hocker (K), Arkansas
Cody Mandell (P), Alabama

Manziel, McCarron lead list of offensive invites to NFL Combine

The quarterbacking foursome of the Four Ms lead SEC names invited to the NFL Combine.

Texas A&M’s Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, Alabama’s AJ McCarron, Georgia’s Aaron Murray and LSU’s Zach Mettenberger have all been invited to the Combine, which starts on February 19th. Connor Shaw at South Carolina has also been invited.

While Manziel, McCarron and Shaw will probably make the trip, it’s not certain if Murray and Mettenberger will have recovered enough from injuries they sustained at the end of the year to partake – which may drop their draft status, despite both players’ electric arms (Mettenberger’s particularly).

Auburn’s Tre Mason will be the one to watch from the running backs, while LSU has three running backs invited (Jeremy Hill, JC Copeland and Alfred Blue). LaDarius Perkins (Mississippi State) and Henry Josey (Missouri) were also given the nod. Stunningly, Jeff Scott of Ole Miss was not invited.

Of the wide receivers, Mike Evans, Johnny Manziel’s key receiver at Texas A&M was invited, as was LSU’s duo of Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry got their invites. Vanderbilt’s cornerstone Jordan Matthews, Donte Moncrief (Ole Miss), Marcus Lucas (Missouri) and Kevin Norwood (Alabama) were all invitees. Arthur Lynch (Georgia) and Trey Burton (Florida) were the only SEC invitees amongst the tight ends.

Of the offensive linesmen, almost every SEC school was represented. Here is the list in alphabetical order, but the list is highlighted by Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews, and Tennessee’s Antonio Richardson.

Justin Britt (OT), Missouri
Zach Fulton (G), Tennessee
Jon Halapio (G), Florida
Jonotthan Harrison (C), Florida
Gabe Jackson (G), Mississippi State
Ja’wuan James (OT), Tennessee
Wesley Johnson (OT), Vanderbilt
Cyrus Kouandjio (OT), Alabama
Jake Matthews (OT), Texas A&M
Antonio Richardson (OT), Tennessee
Greg Robinson (OT), Auburn
Anthony Steen (G), Alabama
James Stone (C), Tennessee
Travis Swanson (C), Arkansas
Trai Turner (G), LSU

 

Alabama leads NFL Combine invite list

National Signing Day was Wednesday. And now NFL Combine Invite List Day is Thursday.

OK, so we made up the ‘NFL Combine Invite List Day’, but today the NFL really did release breakdown of how many people had been invited to the Combine, which runs from February 19-25 in Indianapolis.

The SEC had 71 players invited, smashing the second-placed ACC with 48. The Pac-12 had 45, Big Ten 36, Big 12 had 25.

Every team in the SEC had at least one player invited. Eight SEC schools had at least eight.

Alabama had 12 players invited, LSU had 11, Florida had 8 and Missouri had 7.

Position-wise, SEC had 28 offensive and defensive linesmen invited to the combine, dwarfing B1G’s number of just 10 – including two defensive linesmen. And to think, this was a poor year defensively for the SEC. Tennessee’s five invites to the Combine includes four offensive linesmen – a little predictable considering the offensive line play was the least of the Volunteers’ problems in 2013.

 

 

 

 

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