Archive for July, 2015

Alabama third in preseason Coaches Poll

Alabama is third is the 2015 preseason Coaches Poll behind National Champion Ohio State and TCU.

Ohio State was named overwhelming No.1 with 62 first-placed votes, with TCU and the Crimson Tide garnering one each. Baylor is fourth and Oregon rounds out the Top Five.

Of other SEC schools to be named to the Top 25, Auburn was No.7 and Georgia No.9. The SEC leads the way with three teams in the Top 10, with the Big 12, Pac-12 and Big Ten both having two.

LSU is 13th, Ole Miss is 15th, Arkansas is 20th, Missouri is 23rd and Tennessee is 25th.

Mississippi State and Texas A&M were voted just outside the Top 10 in 26th and 27th.

South Carolina was voted 36th, Florida 48th – the same as Georgia Southern, and Kentucky was 64th.

 

Ole Miss gets four-star CB commitment

Jaylon Jones, a four-star cornerback for the 2016 recruiting class, has committed to play for Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss.

Jones, from the storied high school Allen (Allen, TX), is rated as the country’s 18th-best corner, the 30th-best prospect out of Texas, and the country’s 230th-best player.

The player, who is 5-11, 182lb and can run a 4.40 40-yard dash, is a huge get for Ole Miss after he was recruited heavily by Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Auburn, Missouri, Ohio State, Texas and Notre Dame among others.

Jones visited an Ole Miss camp on July 18th and committed 10 days later.

 

 

Ole Miss lands three-star RB

Ole Miss has gained the commitment of three-star running back D’Vaughn Pennamon.

Pennamon, from Manvel High School in Manvel, TX, is 5 ft 11 and 199lbs. He also plays wide receiver.

The player was also heavily recruited by Texas A&M, Arkansas, and Tennessee, but also had offers from Georgia, Missouri, and Florida.

 

Hugh Freeze Press Conference: The best bits

Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze has got some good food recommendations, and some opinions about the confederate flag and suspended star Laremy Tunsil.

Here are his best SEC Media Day Quotes

ON LAREMY TUNSIL

“There’s very little to report. We obviously will cooperate fully with, whether it’s the NCAA process or the law enforcement process, we will cooperate fully with that. I’m very confident, like I said, in the way we do things and what we can control. I’m very confident in the person that Laremy Tunsil is too, and we look forward to that coming to a conclusion at whatever time is appropriate.”

ON AGENTS GETTING TO PLAYERS

“It is troublesome”

“I am a rookie….I’ve heard Coach Saban and Coach Miles and others say, guys, we’ve got an issue brewing with these kids and agents and things. So now I’m experiencing it, and it is very difficult to manage. You want your kids to be focused on the task at hand and the fact that you want them to understand that the only thing that can do anything for you right now is your resume that you’re going to put on the field. You hope that other professions that are trying to get to them would respect that, and some do. I don’t know that I have the exact answer, but it is a concern for sure that that can be a distraction for your kids. I know this. I don’t know if we can do anything more in educating them about the possible dangers and everything that could go on and where your focus needs to be right now and then come January after the Bowl game, you’ll have plenty of time to discuss exactly what is the right move for you at that time.”

ON DENSEL NKEMDICHE’S ANKLE

“He’s had a full recovery and was ready for Spring….so excited to have him back.”

ON THE MISSISSIPPI STATE/CONFEDERATE FLAG SITUATION

“I’m not a political figure, nor do I want to be. I’m sure our Governor and the legislation will hear from the people. But in the world to which I live in, if something that is creating ill will in any way towards someone, it’s difficult for me to support that. As far as comparing what the original meaning meant, I’m going to have to go study some and make sure I’m speaking out of knowledge as opposed to — I know the people that I grew up around, I did not see the — them using it in ill will toward anyone, but obviously, I was raised at a much later date. I do think that it’s been associated with people that have meant some harm and ill will.”

ON ROBERT NKEMDICHE AND RECRUITING

“I think everyone’s their own individual. Robert is a unique individual. One great thing, great quality about him is he’s a hard worker and loves to compete. So you don’t have to try to motivate him. He really never — yes, there’s a lot of noise around him that you wish wouldn’t be, but it never really stopped him from working toward his goals. He’s always, what can I do to be better? He needs to finish plays more. He’s phenomenal athletically and wins his one-on-ones. Yeah, you have to handle him a little bit differently, but a lot of it depends on the kid also. I’m not a fan of the way recruiting has gone right now and the social media, I think, kind of creates a false sense of really what’s real and what’s not to some young men. Sometimes that can affect them negatively.”

 

Mark Richt: I have no idea who the QB starter will be

Mark Richt, the Georgia coach, spoke at SEC Media Days. While we’d love to try and translate something deep and meaningful into what he said, we’re just going to take his quotes out and let you decipher them. But Richt’s a pretty blunt person….so…

ON CRITICISM AND LEARNING FROM BOBBY BOWDEN AT FLORIDA STATE

(SARCASTICALLY) “I didn’t know I got criticism”

“I think the big thing — I know when I first started coaching 32 years ago, whenever it was, with Coach Bowden and being in what we call hideaway and him talking about notes. A few things he talked about in the very beginning of those sessions, and one was criticism. He said, it’s just the nature of the beast in the profession. If you can’t take criticism, then you shouldn’t coach. I think anybody who’s in a leadership role is going to get critiqued. People are going to have opinions, even as a parent, if you say you’ve got to be in at 11:00 and everybody else gets to stay out until midnight, you might get criticized for that. You may hear grumbling and all that kind of thing. But the goal as a leader is to do what you think is in the best interest of the people that you’re in charge of, the people that you’re blessed to be in authority over, and focus on that. That’s what I do on a daily basis. I don’t worry about anything, whether it’s good or bad. People have said some good things over the years too.”

ON THE QB SITUATION

“I have no idea who the starter is going to be. We are going to have a tremendous competition, continue that competition for that position. It’s going to — I think it’s going to take a while. We have 29 practice opportunities before the first game, and we’re going to get a rotation where we can see the guys that we want to see compete and then make a decision on who should be the starter. But right now, I don’t know who that is. When we came out of spring, I think the guys made progress. I think the guys are able to function well in our system, but to say who’s the man to lead the job, to win the job right now, I don’t have that answer.”

ON QB CANDIDATE JACOB PARK LEAVING

“Things don’t always work out for a kid for a lot of different reasons. The main thing with him is I want to wish him the very best. He’s a great kid. He’s a very good competitor, very talented guy. I’m just hoping that he lands in a spot where he can really thrive and finish out his college career.”

ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

“Well, I think that one was pretty cut and dry, and I’m not the one who made the decision at all, but I certainly agree with that. That’s a good thing to have as a stipulation for our league. The bottom line is it’s hard to — just even as a coach and being in charge of 125 young men year after year after year, if a guy makes a mistake, there’s not a book you can open that says, if he does this, you do that. If he does that, you do this, and all of that type of thing. So there’s judgment in everything. Even though you might have something that’s the same offense, there may be different circumstances. Until you know all the circumstances, it’s hard to make a wise decision. We’re put in position to do the very best we can to make the best decision for the young man and for our programs and for our universities. Sometimes there are some things that are cut and dry, like a league policy or like a drug policy within the university system or within the athletic association, but there’s a lot of things that are left up to the discretion of a coach to decide or an AD or a president to decide. That’s where it can get challenging at times.”

ON NICK CHUBB (PERSONALITY-WISE)

“Nick is a very — he’s a pretty quiet, unassuming guy. He’s a very hard worker. He’s a great student. He’s a great teammate. He’s becoming a great leader for us. And he doesn’t really like the hype. You can go back to his recruiting. He was very low key. He decided he wanted to be at Georgia, did it quietly, didn’t have a big old press conference, and stuck to his decision, didn’t do a bunch of stuff to bring attention to himself. He doesn’t care about that. He cares about working hard, playing hard, and helping Georgia win.”

ON KEITH MARSHALL

“Keith is very healthy, in my view. He’s moving very well. He’s decided to cut his weight down to closer to where he was earlier in his career. You show up as a freshman, about 210 pounds, and then you just get in the weight room, and you eat. You get the nutrition and training table, and before you know it, you weigh 225, 230, and still look like dynamite. But I think he feels more comfortable carrying a little less weight to help his quickness and speed. He’s been a speed guy from the very beginning, so that will help him. But I think he’s in great shape, great spirits, and he’s been a guy that we’re going to count on. He’s been a guy we have counted on, and we expect to see a bunch from him.”

ON NEW OC BRIAN SCHOTTENHEIMER

“Coach Schottenheimer, being an NFL coordinator for, I think, nine years, the last nine years, and watching the style of play, he was very similar to what we do. So the common fan may not see a whole lot different as far as the sets and the types of plays that we run, but I think the players have taken to him well. He’s a very good teacher and communicator, and I think he’s got a great personality for the college game as far as being able to recruit and being able to relate to young people.”

ON SEC EAST VS SEC WEST

“When you get to the SEC Championship game, the East hasn’t got it done, and we’ve been a part of that. The bottom line is the best team from each side is going to be there. There’s going to be one game, and the winner is it. They’re the SEC champion, obviously. So the bottom line is, like for Georgia, hey, let’s find a way to get to Atlanta. Let’s get the job done when we get there and move on to the playoff. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what everybody’s trying to do. Things go in cycles, and at this moment, the West has certainly taken care of business on that day.”

 

 

SEC Media Days Must-Read: The best of Les Miles

Les Miles was awesome when he took the podium at SEC Media Days.

Here are some of the best bits.

ON …..? 

“It appears to me that some of the media have not shaved and have left their car running in the back parking lot, kind of ready to get off to fishing or wherever they’re supposed to be off to. Scooter has way too much sun to be inside. I can tell you that, I did not bring tennis shoes. That is a product of a sports information director who knows that I have an attachment to those shoes. I’m wearing regular shoes and regular socks.”

ON QUARTERBACKS

“I think Brandon Harris has gotten most of the summer work. I think he has really improved. I think I’m confident in both guys, and I think competition will end up making the call there who will start. But, again, I think we’re nothing but improved at the quarterback spot.”

“Every time that a quarterback steps under center, he is a game manager. The game manager has to handle the play called, has to get the ball to the right guy, has to make sure that this is not a — we’re not taking a chance to turn it over. We’re not just slinging it around the yard. We’re not just tossing it around the yard. ”

ON ED ORGERON 

“Ed Orgeron bleeds purple and gold. He’s a guy from the state. He signed initially with LSU and then left and went to another school and really has been trying to get back there since he left.”

ON HEISMAN TROPHIES

“I think at some point in time there might be a number of guys on our team that should be worthy of [The Heisman Trophy] conversation. Certainly, Leonard Fournette might well be worthy of what conversation. That’s not my focus. Certainly, I hope it’s not his focus because the whole piece is putting the team together and having him do his part. If he just does his part, he’ll be in the mix.”

ON SUSPENSIONS AND PRONOUNCING HIS PLAYERS’ NAMES 

“I don’t know at this point. Some guys are no longer with the team, and that would be Tra Valentine and Trey Lealaimataf, whose name I can’t pronounce. I’ve tried for a year, I swear. But those two guys are no longer with our team. But the other guys are going through a legal process, and that legal process will take time. When we get information, we’ll make a decision then. I’m very optimistic that a number of those guys will return, only because I know the information. Again, that’s not me. This is all about what’s going on in the legal process.”

ON WHETHER THE DEFENSE IS GOING TO BE BETTER UNDER KEVIN STEELE AFTER THE JOHN CHAVIS DEPARTURE TO TEXAS A&M

“I think better is speculative. I really don’t know. I can tell you that we’ve had some really talented teams in the last seven years or so and guys that have gone on to the NFL and played great. The idea that, if you look at the number of guys that we’ve had on our defense that were drafted — simply put, we had eight players drafted in the 2013 NFL draft, all coming from the first five rounds. It’s the only time in modern day history that an NFL — that one school had eight defensive players taken in the first five rounds. We’ve had 24 defensive players since 2010, which ties the most in the SEC during that span. We’ve had at least one defensive lineman taken in every NFL draft for the last 12 years. The five defensive players selected in the first round since NFL draft since 2010. So our talent pool has been pretty special. What I’m saying is that we would expect that that talent would continue and that we would have great defense, period.”

 

Stoops: I’m glad the first two years didn’t kill me

Mark Stoops, the Kentucky head coach, spoke at SEC Media Days.

Here are some of the best quotes.

ON THE EARLY YEARS

“Really glad the first two years trying to build this program didn’t kill me.”

AND NOW?

“And as we move forward, we’ve worked extremely hard to make Kentucky relevant in the SEC East. As we move into this third year, we really feel like we put ourselves in a position to do just that.”

ON EXPECTATIONS

“We embrace the expectations. I think most of our fan base knows where we had to come from. They expect to see a blue collar, hard working, fun football team out there. That’s what we intend to deliver. As I said earlier, I think confidence grows with the work that you put in and the players that you become. But our fan base is terrific.”

ON BASKETBALL FANS

“Basketball does nothing but help us. That atmosphere they set, Coach Cal, what he does to help me and help our program, the recruiting, just the environment of that arena. We may bring a prospect in for the first time and bring them to a game, and they see our fan base. Believe me, our fan base goes well beyond the basketball team. They support all of our programs, and they are very supportive of our football team. It’s our job to continue to build this program to put a quality team on the field and to compete at a high level, and that’s what we intend to do.”

ON STARTING 5-1 TO NOT MAKING A BOWL

“Win or lose, as we go in to address our team, whether it’s on Sunday or Monday, it’s about that week. But it does mount on you.”

ON RECRUITING OHIO

“The quality of football that is in Ohio, it makes sense. So southern Ohio is a no-brainer. As you move to central and northern Ohio, it just makes sense. That’s where I grew up. I still have quite a few contacts, and, again, I believe in the football there. It’s very tough. We all know and respect and know the talent that is in the SEC footprint and in the South. It’s also extremely difficult to recruit in these areas. We will do that. We’ll continue to do that and try to grab players from the South. We have a good mixture of that, but Ohio is very important to us for all those reasons.”

 

 

Bret Bielema: Scars are a beautiful thing

Here’s the best bits from Bret Bielema’s press conference at SEC Media Days.

ON CLOSE LOSSES

“We played Alabama and Mississippi State, both heart breakers at the end. Mississippi State was obviously ranked number one at the time, and we let it get away from us. All the credit in the world to Dan, his staff, and his players to make that happen. I am a big believer in life in this fact. Scars are a very beautiful thing. I have scars on my knee from an ACL surgery. I have scar on my ankle from ankle surgery. I have a scar on my left hand from hand surgery. My mom has scars from 24 years of breast cancer survival. My dad has scars from throat cancer and prostate cancer. Scars remind you of difficult places in your life that you’ve championed. We’ve championed those moments. We didn’t win them, but they’re not going to be a part of our history that’s lost forever. They’ll be things we carry with us forever, and I’ll remind our players how close we are. After those games, our players said, if we can do all this and lose by one or a score, why can’t we do all this and win and reap the rewards of winning? That may have been — everybody wants to point to Ole Miss and LSU, I think Mississippi State and Alabama may have been a defining moment of who we are and what we are. I think that can probably help us more so in the future. With that, as a head coach, anything that I can ever do at Arkansas, I mean it.”

ON FAMILY AND BEING EASILY REPLACABLE BEING NICE TO THE KIDS

“I think all the time, my dad raised us on a farm. My brother works in an environment. I went home during my break — he’s a welder. One of the things that jumped out to me, when you’re walking through his facility and he shows me his place of work, there’s only one man that can do the job that he can do. If he couldn’t do it, they’d hire two or three guys to replace my brother. If I’m the head coach and walk across the street to get hit by a car, they’re going to replace me tomorrow with one man.”

ON BEING NICE TO THE KIDS

There’s some people in this life, in this world, that the things you can do have an effect on so many different people on a daily basis, you have no idea the effect that it has. So the effect you have by writing an article, creating with a pen, the ability to touch a life, reward it or maybe call it out, I hope you keep in mind these players are 18- to 22- year-old young men that make a choice to play college football, but it doesn’t have to change the direction of their life. If they screw up and make a bad decision, I understand that. You can get after them as hard as anybody, but I’d always ask everybody give them the grace of God and a little blessing from your heart.”

ON NEW OFFENSIVE CO-ORDINATOR, DAN ENOS

“I like the rapport he has with our players. I love the way he simplified our offense. I love the way he’s brought in identity to what we have done in the past as well as some new things that he brought in. So there’s a lot of really good things going on. He’s just so humble. To be a head coach, I’ve always had that reservation, sometimes they don’t want to — he’s one of our hardest workers. ”

ON SOCIAL MEDIA

“We have a social media background screening that you’ve got to go through, and if you have a social media nickname or something on your Twitter account that makes me sick, I’m not going to recruit you. I’ve turned down players based on their Twitter handles. I’ve turned down players based on Twitter pictures. It’s just that’s how I choose to run our program.”

ON STUDENT ATHLETES RECEIVING COST OF COLLEGE

“But I’m going to also share with this room, you give a young man 18, 19, 20, 21 with a little bit of pocket change, with a lot of money to make bad decisions, things can go sideways in a New York minute. So you got a kid that’s never had $1,000 in his pocket, and all of a sudden he’s got $2,000, that’s dangerous. That leads to dumb decisions. I think we have to monitor that as coaches and be aware of that.”

ON NOT GOING ALONG WITH STEVE SPURRIER ON GIVING  A PORTION OF MONEY TO STUDENT-ATHLETES

“I’m happy that our players are getting rewarded. I’m happy that we didn’t as coaches have to do it. Coach Spurrier offered up $150,000 from each one of our contracts my first year, and I’m like, I’m sure you can sign that contract. I’ve got to go ask my wife. I can’t sign that thing. We hopefully have come about that in the right way and hopefully be paid all four.”

Pinkel: Missouri fans still want Border War

Gary Pinkel has said that fans still want the annual game against Kansas, which was stopped after the Tigers moved to the SEC.

The so-called ‘Border War’ might not be the fiercest in the country to college football neutrals, but to both fanbases, the game at Arrowhead highlighted the season. And the rivalry’s very close – Missouri leads the rivalry 57-54-9 (or 56-55-9, depending on who you talk to!). The Tigers have won five out of the last six.

“I don’t think there’s any question the fans want it back. It’s one of the longest rivalries in college football,” he said. “As you well know, when we moved it into Kansas City, Arrowhead Stadium, we’ve had some phenomenal games down there. Hopefully, sometime down the road we can get it in the beginning part of the season when both teams have good records, play in the early part of September, and get that thing going again. We’ve got to find a way — I think both fans would love it, and I think that maybe down the road that will happen.”

Pinkel – who has won the last two SEC East titles – said about that he doesn’t care how favored or unfavored his team is. “Honestly, I don’t know where we’ve been picked since I’ve been here. I don’t want to disturb anybody here, but honestly, anybody that knows me, I don’t ever read newspapers, ever. I don’t do that, about our football team. Chad Moller keeps me in tune of what’s happening out there, but I have no idea. If you picked us first or third or fourth or fifth, it would have no impact on me at all. Just being honest with you.” Sarcastically, when he was told that the media picked Mizzou to finish sixth last year and fourth in 2014 he said: “That upsets me.”

And although his Missouri team managed to win the SEC East, Pinkel said that his quarterback Maty Mauk needs “more consistency”.

And he said about defensive tackle Harold Brantley, who will miss 2015 because he was in a car wreck: “The good news is he’s going to be fine, most importantly. The good news is he can — all that being in a car wreck, he had a lot of injuries, they can all heal, and he can come back and accomplish all his goals, and we’ll get him back next year. But that also puts some — we have to make some adjustments there, understanding we’re losing a great player. Everybody’s got to do that. That could happen the third game of the season. It could happen to anybody in our league.”

Terry Beckner Jr – who was rated as the 13th player in the nation, the top player in Illinois and the country’s third-best defensive tackle by 24-7Sports and was offered by the likes of Auburn, Tennessee, Ohio State, Florida State, Florida, Oregon and Michigan State – has given Missouri high hopes. “he was one the top defensive lineman in the nation last year out of East St. Louis High School. One thing about him, he doesn’t get caught up in a lot of stuff. It’s kind of nice. The shining light is not really him. I think he’s a little bit shy that way. I just think we have to get him to focus on becoming a better player and keep his priorities right. I think you always try to do that. You try to help kids. Priorities and humility is hugely important for success, and those are things we try to instill in our players.”. Without mentioning names, we know who Pinkel was talking about when he was talking about ‘priorities’ – Dorial Green-Beckham.

Saban blames NFL for Sugar Bowl defeat

Nick Saban, the Alabama head coach, isn’t blaming players for their lack of preparedness going into the 2014 College Football Play-Off semi-final loss to Ohio State.

He’s not blaming himself. Or his coaching staff. Nope. He’s blaming the NFL.

“I just felt like, in our experience last year, our team chemistry from the SEC Championship game to the playoff game was affected by something,” he said. “I think that to have a December 15th deadline from when a junior can submit for a draft grade and then you get that assessment back sometime right before or right after Christmas, and then you have a playoff game coming up on January 1st or 2nd, and I think it’s my obligation as a coach to inform that young man when I get that information because it’s his information, it’s not my information, to make him aware of that. And we’re talking about a young person who has to deal with a lot now. We had six guys in this situation this past year and 11 the year before. So we’re trying to get ready for a game, and all of a sudden, a guy finds out he’s a first round draft pick or a guy that thought he was a first round draft pick finds out he’s not a first round draft pick, and we’re trying to get ready to play a playoff game. I think that it would be better not to submit that information to a player until he was finished competing in college.”

In other words: If it wasn’t for the NFL we wouldn’t have lost the game against Ohio State.

Now, Saban’s probably got a point. The NFL might want to look at extending its deadline past January 15th. But then again, here’s my argument: Isn’t it a head coach’s job to get players’ minds in the game, and use the fact that they are going to the NFL as something to be excited about? Isn’t it a head coach’s job – in the same way as he’s used the fact that Alabama sends people to the NFL like crazy as a recruiting tool – to make sure his team’s playing at 100%. Just my thought.

Speaking of players, he added that Jay Coker – who’s a favorite to start when the season opens against Wisconsin – had been “outstanding” and “made a tremendous amount of improvement.” He added: “I think that a better understanding, better knowledge of the system, better knowledge of what we expect, what’s expected of him in our offense are all things that have contributed to his confidence and his performance level.”

Saban also addressed Alabama’s recent slew of domestic violence arrests, especially the one concerning defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor, who had been booted from Georgia for – you guessed it – domestic violence. “I do not regret giving players opportunities,” he said. “This is an opportunity that we gave a player that didn’t work, but in fairness to the player, he didn’t really get the kind of due process before he was judged as maybe he — as any person should. But it is what it is. We’ve all moved on. He was in zero tolerance, and therefore, we’ve moved on. We do not condone that kind of behavior in our program.” He added that because of the fact that domestic violence was such an “emotional issue” that the NCAA should be “creating as many opportunities to try to solve this problem and use this as an opportunity to try to solve this problem with young people, male and female alike, because this is an issue across the board with any emotional relationship. And I would be very supportive if, as a league or as an institution, we did some of those types of things so that we could better manage this in the future.”

 

 

 

 

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