Archive for July, 2015

LSU DT booted for academics

Redshit freshman defensive tackle Travonte Valentine has left LSU after failing academically, reports have said.

According to reports, Valentine sacrificed spring practice to focus on academics after redshirting his first year. He still didn’t manage it, and now he’s transferred to Arizona Community College.

He was suspended in April for not getting his grades straight. At the time, Miles told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “We’ve instructed him to go to this school, go to class, take care your business. If he does that and handles behavior then there will be a future for him here. Otherwise, we’re not certain.”

Now, we might be being cynical here, but this smells awfully like LSU booted Valentine because he couldn’t keep the GPA that LSU would want. Why else would a 6-3, 325lb player, formerly a blue-chip recruit (ranked by as the third-best defensive tackle in Florida and the ninth-best player in the state) leave a school that has such opportunity for him to start?



Butch Jones: No backflips over Tennessee’s recruiting success

There were no backflips after Tennessee’s fantastic 2015 recruiting year, head coach Butch Jones said, adding that 2014 was an overachievement from a team that didn’t bring back anyone on the offensive and defensive lines.

“Contrary to reports, there were no back flips, and there were no somersaults, but I think in the world of college football, you’re judged by wins and losses, but also you’re judged by does your team overachieve or under achieve. And I thought last year’s football team, team 118 overachieved.”

He added that overachievements have also been seen in the classroom, where he saw only 12 players manage an average of a 3.0 GPA to 52 (Now, let’s not talk about what classes they were taking!).

Tennessee- unlike a lot of SEC schools is settled at quarterback with Josh Dobbs, who threw for over 1,200 yards and 9 TDs in 2014. “Well, it makes it easier in terms of he’s proven himself. We understand what we’re getting with Josh, and we always talk about consistency and performance. And we know what we’re getting with Josh day in and day out, week in and week out.”

Nike also teamed up with Tennessee this year (as they did with Michigan), and there was some controversy about gray being one of the team’s colors. Jones said: “The exciting thing is with the smoky gray uniforms, they actually sent a crew up into the Smoky Mountains, and that’s where the color gray came from. When you look at our orange uniforms and our white uniforms, it respects the tradition of Tennessee, which that’s what we wanted to do.”

A lot of the SEC Media Day media staff have asked questions about cost of attendance at school, which means that players are going to be re-paid the full cost of attending a college. But Jones doesn’t seen it that way: “I know cost of attendance has been a big topic, and that’s a federal government formula. We do not dictate that. We don’t have any control of that, and I know there’s been numerous questions, how has that affected you in recruiting? And really at the end of the day, a young man, I believe, is going to pick a school because that’s where he wants to go to school. He wants to be a part of that institution. He likes the academics there, and he has a rapport and a great relationship with the coaches, and he wants to be a part of something special. So as coaches, we have no input, we have no say in any cost of attendance issues or formulas that they have.”

He also noted in the case of Alabama as a “constant” team to play on the schedule, that it was “now we just have to get back to making those games relevant again.” Tennessee has lost the last eight games in a row to the Crimson Tide. Things were already pretty spicy between the Neyland Stadium crowd and Lane Kiffin, who is now the offensive co-ordinator of the Crimson Tide. Alabama came away with a resounding 34-20 victory.




Dan Mullen: Dak Prescott was close to going pro

Dak Prescott was close to leaving Mississippi State and going pro, admitted head coach Dan Mullen.

“He applied, got all of his NFL paperwork,” Mullen said.  He added that it was with his counsel that Prescott decided to stay in school. “We did some research and study of looking at quarterbacks that were coming out, where he might fall…..If he had gone and maybe midround draft pick that’s going to sit the bench in the NFL, he’d have a chance to get zero game reps, and I think that experience in the long run will help his career of getting those live game reps. It might not be at the NFL speed or in that offense against those schemes, but he’s out there making decisions, getting the reads, getting the progressions, getting the ball out of his hands, and when you look at that opportunity and that experience to grow and develop this year to help set him up for his career. I know he and I talked — I know we’d both like to see him play for the next 15 years. So when you look at how this year is going to affect him in the big picture of football over the next 15 years, it’s a great experience for him to come back and get all those reps.”

He also made no bones about having the Confederate Flag taken down at the university. He said: “I don’t see it very often. We don’t have it on our campus up. I do know we’re the most diverse campus in the Southeastern Conference. I know the university embraces that diversity as a whole. I certainly embrace that diversity. We’re so diverse, they have a Yankee as the head football coach in the Southeastern Conference. I think it’s something that on a national level is getting an awful lot of attention right now, that people are really looking into how we can make things better in the state of Mississippi. And I hope as a university we’re out on the forefront trying to help make things better with the type of school that we have and the diversity we have in our school.”

Kevin Sumlin: Texas A&M losses to LSU led to Chavis hiring

Kevin Sumlin, the Texas A&M head coach, has admitted that thr straight losses to LSU led him to hiring new defensive co-ordinator John Chavis.

Firstly, the question: “Coach, you guys played LSU the last three seasons. They held you to under 20 points in all three games, all losses. Did you kind of take the mindset, if we can’t beat LSU and John Chavis, I’ll go hire him away?” Sumlin’s answer was brutal and to-the-point: “I didn’t kind of. That’s exactly what I did. There’s really nothing more to the answer than that. That’s true. We’ve studied the defense. We get it. We struggled. It’s a great fit for us and a great fit for him. He was ready for a new challenge. We were in the market, obviously, and here’s a guy who’s got a tremendous track record in the SEC and recently in the SEC West. So his knowledge of opponents, his knowledge of the league helps me as a head coach, but it also helps our team and brings confidence right away to a defense that really needed it. His style, we’ve studied it so much over the course of the last three years in the off-season to try to get better.”

Sumlin noted that Chavis’ arrival is certain to going to excitement in Tiger Stadium. “When I walk in the stadium, they don’t seem pretty happy about me walking in there in the first place. I don’t know if it can get any more spicier than it is now. It’s been a game that ten years ago was still a really, really big football game with Texas A&M and LSU. So there’s always subplots. There’s story lines. You know, you got guys we’re recruiting, the same guys. I get a big hug from Jamal Adams right before the game, and then he goes out and just tries to knock our guys out. So we’ve got guys on both sides of the field. We’re recruiting Louisiana. They’re recruiting Texas. We’ve got all kinds of story lines involved, but certainly people want to make it what it is. Everybody’s always going to look for some reason to ratchet it up a bit, you know. Just like when Nick left LSU and went to Alabama, you never know. People are going to do what they’re going to do.”

He added that the current lawsuit that Chavis is embroiled in with LSU and Texas A&M “hasn’t been a distraction” to him.

He was also quick to defend Texas A&M’s choice of playing two games at neutral site venues instead of just the one. “If I had my way, we’d play all 12 games at home, but they’re not going to let that happen. For us in a recruiting standpoint, it’s been very, very helpful…..This year we’re going to play, open at NRG, which is just a fabulous facility in Houston that’s hosted the Super Bowl, and we play in Arlington every year. So you’re going to play in the best stadiums there are. Not only in the state of Texas, but probably in the country. And then we go on the road, it’s passion and great fans across the SEC. So I think I know that, as we recruit and we talk about bigtime venues and putting guys on a stage that it really, really shows who they are and how they play and gives them the exposure that they want these types of games and these types of venues. I see the better players in the country wanting to be a part of that.”



Spurrier with the zingers!

I could sit here and give you a long news article about Steve Spurrier and what he said about South Carolina football – “We’ve got a good team at South Carolina ready to go this year. We had a little bit of a struggle in the middle of last season” – but that’s not why we look out for what the Head Ball Coach says at SEC Media Days. It’s the zingers.

So here’s a collection of them:


“A lot of familiar faces out there after a lot of years coming to this event. I figured a bunch of you guys would have retired by now.”

“We believe we have a fighting chance to do that. I know the critics are out there, and that’s why they’re called critics. They criticize every chance they get….”

“Pharoh Cooper. We call him the South Carolina Pharoh, not the American Pharaoh, South Carolina Pharoh.”


“I said, well, I forgot to get fired, and I’m not going to cheat. That’s about the way you lose your job. You get fired for losing or you cheat, and then they get somebody else. So I’ve not done any of those to any extent big time, I guess.”

“Nobody gives us a chance this year, which is good. Stranger things have happened.”

“Somebody told me the other day I’m the youngest coach in the SEC that’s won four straight Bowl games. Did you know that? Youngest coach to have done that right now. You all knew that, didn’t you? Okay. Just a little something.”


“I breezed right through age 60, breezed right through 65, and I’m going to try my best to breeze right on through 70. I can still remember just about everything. So mentally, I think I’m the same as I was. We got two people running for president, I think Hillary and Donald Trump are both 69, I believe. Coach K at Duke, he’s still doing pretty good at, I think 69 also. So the age really doesn’t mean a lot. The number on your years is not what’s important. It’s whether you can function physically, emotionally, mentally, get your team ready to play. That’s what’s important.”

“That retirement thing, I don’t think I’d be very good at it. I can go to the beach and stay four or five days, and, hey, let’s get on out of here. We’ve been here long enough.”


“There’s nothing in the rule book that says you have to have one.”

“We don’t have a starter going into preseason practice…..second part of the question, what is it?”


“I’ve always had a rule as a coach that, if you ever hit a girl, you’re finished. We’ve lost two at South Carolina. Fortunately, they were not star players. If it they were star players, it would have gone all over the country. So we quietly got them to transfer or leave or what have you. So our players know, if they ever hit a girl, they’re not going to play at South Carolina. And we enforce that rule. Other than that, we’ve probably hadour share of little things here and there, but nothing too bad. Most of our problems have not been starters or star players. So it doesn’t hit the player too much.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE: He’s keeps on mentioning starters and star players: Is he having a dig at Georgia and Florida State? Probably.)


“I applaud our Governor for setting the initiative to remove the flag, and obviously it was received very well by just about everyone in our state and around the country. Obviously, all of us in college sports, we know the importance of equality, race relations, everybody getting along. So certainly, I think all the coaches all over — I know all over South Carolina was happy and glad to see the flag come down.”


“We’ve got some coaches in our league may go to the NFL someday. There’s no guarantee they’re going to be at this school the way some of those NFL teams can offer $15 million, $20 million a year to a coach. If one of them offered Coach Saban, it would make that $7.2 million look paltry to him probably, and they easily could. Those guys have a lot of money up there, as we all know. There’s no guarantee.”


“[Sports handicapper] Danny Sheridan. Danny’s not here, is he? I wish he did the odds on every coach being there four years from now, set the odds on it. I don’t know if you’d bet on that, but it would be something fun to bet on, wouldn’t it? Who would be here four years from now? I don’t know. Just something to think about. What I’m trying to say is you don’t know what’s going to happen down the road.”



“I was watching Dustin Johnson interviewed on the Golf Channel the other day, and they said, Dustin, after you three-putted at Chambers Bay, you didn’t come to the trophy presentation. Why weren’t you there? Gee, the guy just three-putted from 12 feet. He just said, I needed to get away. But he’s back, and he feels good. I think he’s got a wonderful chance to win it. After we sort of blew a game, or you can say Tennessee beat us, but we couldn’t hold on to a 14-point lead with a little over four minutes, yeah, I felt like getting away a minute. I was quickly at the press conference and left.”


“Golf game’s not near what it used to be. Haven’t played quite as much this year for some reason.”




Bama poised as Texas A&M 5-star de-commits

Texas A&M 5-star commit and No.2 prospect in the nation Greg Little has decommitted.

The 6.5, 305lb giant offensive linesman from Allen High School in Allen, TX is ranked as the top player in Texas, top offensive tackle and No.2 player overall. He is said to have great feet for his size. now has Alabama as a favorite for Little’s commitment.

Texas A&M originally beat Alabama, Oklahoma and Ole Miss to Little’s commitment on June 20th, 2014. Ohio State is also thought to be a contender after putting in an offer.

Little has been recruited by a ton of schools apart from A&M, Alabama and Ole Miss, including LSU, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Tennessee among others.

On July 10th he was given the OL MVP at ‘The Opening’  – three days after he said he was planning an official visit to Alabama.

Derek Mason: 2014 Was On Me

Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason isn’t shying away from responsibility for Vanderbilt’s awful 2014 season.

“We weren’t a very competitive football team in 2014, and that’s on me. I take full responsibility for that,” he said at the SEC Media Days in Florida today.

“We struggled to find identity,” he said. “What we’ve tried to do in the last eight months is try to right the wrong.”

When asked about pressure, he said: “It’s college football. I’ve been coaching 22 years. So my understanding is that every year I coach on a one-year mentality. That’s a mindset. That’s what you do. You understand exactly what this game is and what you have to do, and it’s about production. We’re going to be a better football team. What that is, I can’t predict wins. But I do know, in terms of being competitive, doing the right things, and creating men that will thrive here in the SEC, I can do that. So I’m not going to be about predictions.”

Vanderbilt went 3-9 overall and 0-8 in the SEC last, but Mason pointed to the fact that the team played 33 freshmen last year. Mason said: “I believe that this football team has had a chance to mature. In that maturity, what you find is experience and the ability to step forward and get ready for a new season or move towards a new season.” He added: “Well, 2014’s got nothing to do with 2015, first of all. I think this football team is a different football team than we had a year ago.”




Jonathan Bullard: Mr Florida Honest

We’d like to give a lot of respect to Florida Gators senior Jonathan Bullard.

Firstly, the defensive end wasn’t particularly polite about this offense at SEC Media Days: “They are still striving to be good.”

He also said that he wanted to stay on at Florida because there was no real reason to go: “My family isn’t in a very bad situation where I had to go get money right away, so they were really just on my side and I feel what’s best for me is to come back here.”

….And get a better draft position: ” I hope I can show that and get drafted to where I want to be” (In other words stats said that he wouldn’t be more than a second/third round players)

And on losing, and how that created great fractions between the offensive and defensive sides of the ball: “I mean it’s tough, it’s always tough losing at anything. Us being football players, we’re naturally just so competitive at everything we do and when you lose, it ain’t easy. Sometimes when we lose, somebody will say something out of character, but you have to realize on the offensive side of the ball that they’re out there practicing just as hard as we are. So we just have to encourage them and let them get their confidence up also. ”


Florida turnaround not going to happen ‘overnight’ – McElwain

The turnaround of the Florida Gators isn’t going to happen overnight, new coach Jim McElwain has said.

McElwain, who came from Colorado State after head coach Will Muschamp was ousted from Gainseville after an awful 2014 (led by an horrific offense), said at the SEC Media Days: “I think part of the experience of being in this conference is realizing it doesn’t happen just overnight,” he said.

He was full of praise of standout corner Vernon Hargreaves, who could well be a Top 5 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft: “I love the way this guy comes to work every day. The way he practices, the way he thrives in competition, and not only that, the way he takes care of himself in the classroom and other things that go along with being successful in life…..I’ll tell you, here’s the best thing, he’s fun to watch practice. The guy loves it. That’s what I think separates some of the guys at times is the ones that really, truly go out there and compete every day to perfect their craft. He’s one of those guys. He’s a lot of fun to be around, and he’s great to watch on tape.”

But the problems for Florida won’t be on defense. They’ll be on offense, where the Gators ranked 72nd in the nation last year – a big reason for Will Muschamp being given the elbow by AD Jeremy Foley. Upon arrival, McElwain has upped the quarterback competition, with Will Grier, Treon Harris and redshirt junior Skyler Mornhinweg all battling it out. Despite some rumors that Grier will get the nod, McElwain said: “I think it’s one of those things that’s kind of exciting for both guys. Really what it comes down to is when we get there in August is which one of those guys affect the play of the other people around them to help them be successful. There’s a lot of talented guys out there that can throw it and do all that, but for some reason don’t click with the guys around them. And how they help those guys play better, that’s something we’re looking for. I know those guys have done a good job of getting the guys together, doing the off-season workouts. To see which one of them kind of stood up, maybe did some other things. What I mean by that, just a little extra work in the weight room, maybe a little pulling the guys aside here or there and communicating with those O-linemen that are going to be their bread and butter as far as being successful.”

And he added probably the most obvious thing you’ll hear all this week: “So I think the biggest thing is who’s going to move the football team up and down the field is really what it’s about.”

Hiring-wise, he said that he was in close contact with his former boss at Alabama – where he won two National Championships as an offensive co-ordiantor – Nick Saban. He said: “He’s been a guy that’s always been there. As soon as I took the job, and a couple times a year, three, four times, in some cases five, just being able to call, have as a resource, he’s there to help along the way. And obviously, taking this job, he’s been a guy that has answered a lot of questions, maybe gave me some things to look for and look out for as we kind of roll through. In fact, something like this, right? But having that relationship is something I’ll cherish forever, and to have a guy that you can pick up the phone and get an answer that has that much experience.”



Auburn to get All-SEC blocker back

Auburn is to get All-SEC offensive linesman Alex Kozan back for the start of the 2015 season, Gus Malzahn said at SEC Media Days.

Kozan missed the whole of last year after herniating a disk in his back, but has returned for non-contact drills and was cleared to return for the start of the season although still isn’t in full shape.

“He’s a tough guy coming back,” Malzahn said.

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