UGA safety transferring to Louisville

Josh Harvey-Clemons, the former Georgia safety, is to transfer to Louisville, it has been reported.

Harvey-Clemons, who was booted from Athens in February after breaking a number of team rules (which earned him an impressive tally of suspensions), was keen to stay with former Georgia defensive co-ordinator Todd Grantham, who left for Louisville and new coach Bobby Petrino in the off-season.

Harvey-Clemons amassed 66 tackles, three fumble recoveries and an interceptions for the Dawgs last season, despite being suspended for two games.

 

Sometimes, it wasn’t that good: Bottom 10 SEC Moments

Don’t worry friends, we’ll get to our ‘Top SEC Moments’ this week, so you can remember fondly the great season that we’ve had a conference (unless you’re Auburn, Tennessee or Kentucky, who combined for 1 conference win between them).

But to go up, sometimes you have to start from the bottom. Here are our Bottom 10 SEC Moments (both off and on the field)….

Our song? Oh: Fun’s ‘Some Nights’….

10) The Fall of Auburn

There was nothing nice to say about Auburn football in 2012. They won no games in their conference. They came close at home to LSU, but that was about it. Otherwise, they completely and utterly stunk. Kiehl Frazier justified his ranking as the SEC’s worst quarterback, and the fans simply stopped coming along. It was tragic. Gene Chizik ran the table in the SEC in 2010-1, and then was run out of the SEC in 2012. Welcome back, Gus Malzahn.

9) Et thou, Kentucky?

We put Kentucky just above Auburn in our celebration of SEC awfulness because they should have beaten Georgia and outplayed South Carolina for a half. Otherwise, they were terrible and Joker Phillips quite rightly lost his jobs. Welcome, Mark Stoops.

8) Arkansas awfulnesss

Once ranked in the Top Ten, the Arkansas Razorbacks were meant to make a run for the SEC West title, and  possible (just possibly) a BCS spot. Knile Davis was back. Tyler Wilson was the quarterback. Cobi Hamilton was the wide receiver. This offense was going to be a lot of fun under Bobby Petrino. Unfortunately for Hog Nation, this wasn’t the only thing under Bobby Petrino. In August, Petrino was involved in a motorcycle crash….and then lied about the student assistant who he was having an affair with. He was fired, and replaced by John L. Smith. Smith provided a lot of fun for the TV cameras, but not a lot of fun on the field. Sorry John, but we can’t smile about the Razorbacks season. Maybe Bret Bielema will be doing better.

7) Zach Mettenberger

If there’s been a bigger let-down quarterback that Zach Mettenberger in the SEC, then please let us know. This tall, strong-armed quarterback was meant to bring LSU to the promised land this year, but in the first half of this year, was absolutely awful. There wasn’t another QB who could overthrow his wide receivers quite like this LSU Tiger did. At Death Valley, we hear that they nearly put warning signs on the sidelines and end-zones when LSU was driving, just in case someone was hurt by the errant throw. Funnily enough, he came good against Alabama and has been pretty good ever since, but he was still a let-down.

6) Mississippi State’s fall from grace

Mississippi State was unbeaten going into Alabama, and everyone thought: “Maybe Dan Mullen’s team won’t be overrated this year”. They were. After a 7-0 start, the Cowbellers lost four out of their last five, including getting blown out by a born-again Ole Miss. But it wasn’t just that. MSU were terrible in the losing run. My only question: How in God’s name did they get their No.11 ranking in the first place? By playing nobody??

5) The let-down that was Dorial Green-Beckham

Dorial Green-Beckham came in at Missouri as the No.1 player in the country. He was athletically brilliant – a no miss, wide receiver. He ended up with 395 yards receiving and 5 TDs, and only 28 receptions. He didn’t have one game of over 7 receptions. Criminally underused? Oh, and he was suspended for the Vanderbilt game for – you guessed it – smoking weed near the school’s stadium. Anyway, we should get a big future out of him next year (early prediction), but this year, Gary Pinkel could have used him more and helped Missouri get a bowl game. Maybe.

4) No unbeatens

On one hand, this shows the strength of the SEC, but on the other hand, it shows that no-one was good enough to run the table this year. No team was particularly amazing in the conference, but we’re pleased to see that the conference’s track record has meant Alabama in the SEC Championship. Oh, and thanks to Stanford and Baylor, too!

3) Rocky Top, Tennessee

Everything was rocky about Tennessee this year. After beating NC State at the start of the year, people started thinking: “Maybe Tennessee could be a dark horse for the SEC title this year”. They weren’t. Truth be told, this wasn’t the worst Tennessee side in recent years that Derek Dooley has coached. They came close in a lot of games, losing two by three points, one by seven points, and they led Florida. Having said that, Tyler Bray continually made bad decisions despite having an excellent offensive line, his wide receivers dropped the ball waaaay to much, and the defense quite simply gave up at the end of the year (see Blowout at Vanderbilt for details). Derek Dooley, who was hated in Neyland by many going into the season, was summarily fired. Oh, and there was the small butt-chugging incident, too, which meant one of the most hilarious denials in the history of hilarious denials. Welcome, Butch Jones…don’t bring any boxed wine.

2)  Tyrann Mathieu Honey Badgers himself

12 months ago, we were cursing ourselves because Tyrann Mathieu didn’t get the Heisman Trophy. 12 months ago, we were replaying highlight reels of Tyrann Mathieu, using the words: “Game changer”, “NFL prospect”, “Incredible”, and asking ourselves questions like: “How on earth does he do that?” Now, we’re asking the question: “How could such an incredibly athletic, game-changing NFL prospect get himself in such trouble over and over again? How on earth does he do that?” Tyrann Mathieu destroyed his own legacy at LSU. And worst of all, he destroyed himself. Here’s to hoping we see you play again, Tyrann Mathieu. But here’s to praying you don’t end up in a very bad way.

 

1) Marcus Lattimore’s saddening exit

Lattimore’s career should not have ended like this. No athlete’s career should have ended like this, but least of all Lattimore, who was looking to rebound after a horrific injury in 2011 took him out. The image that still haunts us is the shocked look of Lattimore’s family, and the prayers of both the South Carolina and Tennessee players. God….

 

SEC Presason preview: Can Hugh Freeze turn around Ole Miss?

In the days of Eli Manning it might have been a truism to talk about the Rebels and say: “Ole Miss by damn!”, but last season, there was only one ‘damn’ to describe this team: Damn awful.

But can they improve and at least break their SEC losing streak – and give hope to Rebels fans who haven’t had a decent team since 2009?

LAST SEASON

Ole Miss went 2-10 last year under Houston Nutt, who was summarily given his marching orders a month before the season ended – a move that sparked some outrage. And it was no bad thing. The Rebels didn’t lose many close heartbreakers – they were generally laughers (bar BYU (loss by 1) and Arkansas, by five). In fact, the biggest highlight of Ole Miss’ season was being part of an opposition running back’s Heisman reel (Trent Richardson). That, and losing by 20 to Louisiana Tech.

And in the losing streak, they took their losing streak in the SEC to 15. But they can still throw a party, as friends of this blog who hit up the Georgia game happily maintain.

NFL-wise, offensive lineman Bobby Massie was drafted.

So who’s going to be the new quarterback?

As fans of the University of Texas will tell you, quarterbacks sharing position doesn’t really work, but Coach Freeze seriously wants to give playing time to both his QBs – Barry Brunnetti (who went 19-35 for 144 yards last season) or Bo Wallace, who played for Freeze at Arkansas State, where St Hugh ruled the roost before he was asked to coach in Oxford, where had success as a high school coach.

Coach Freeze better start choosing quickly, or it’ll be a long hard season.

And what weapons will the new QB have to rely on?

Now that four starters have left, Wallace/Brunnetti is not going to get a whole of lot of support at offensive line, so he’d better be quick on his heels. Brunnetti ran for 100 yards last year, which was quite tidy for a QB.

Anyway, running backs Jeff Scott, Nicholas Parker, and Devin Thomas are going to provide some threat from the backfield, while the Rebs are really deep at wide receiver/tight end, bringing back almost anyone who had a receiving yard last year – including Donte Moncrief (454 yds),and Ja-Mes Logan (274). Randall Mackey also comes over from QB to play RB AND WR (so he’ll be busy then!!) which should be more fun. But the loss of  Nickolas Brassell (336) to academic ineligibility is going to be a huge loss to Freeze’s men. Brassell will transfer.

Whoever is at quarterback, there’s a big question: Can the offensive line deal with the speed of their SEC counterparts? Sadly, we think not.

And on the other side of the ball?

Defensively, linebacker Mike Marry and free safety Charles Sawyer return, which is good bearing in mind they had over 150 tackles between them. Cornerback Wesley Pendleton has been getting some rave reviews this Spring, too.

But they’ll need to be helped by Des Channing Ward and C.J. Johnson, who –as remarked by Lindy’s – should benefit from the new blitz-happy schemes of new co-defensive co-ordinator Dave Wommack.

But this was a defense that gave up nearly 420 yards per game this year. Will it be able to improve so much that Ole Miss can actually win a SEC game?

The 2012 schedule

September 1 CENTRAL ARKANSAS

September 8 UTEP

September 15 TEXAS

September 22 at Tulane

September 29 at Alabama

October 6 TEXAS A&M

October 13 AUBURN

October 27 at Arkansas

November 3 at Georgia

November 10 VANDERBILT

November 17 at LSU

November 24 MISSISSIPPI STATE

THE BOTTOM LINE: There is no getting past the fact that the Rebels have one of the toughest schedules in the land. They play Texas, Texas A&M, Auburn, Vandy and Mississippi State at home, but by gosh their away schedule is difficult. Anyone else want to go on the road to Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and LSU? The only saving grace of Freeze’s first season in charge in Oxford is that the team should start the season well and be 3-1 before they play Alabama. Thereafter, it’s hard to see where a win’s going to come from. Sorry, Hugh. We predict a 3-9 season….and still no SEC victory.


SEC Prediction: Will Arkansas ‘Hog’ The SEC West?

Between Bobby Petrino and Houston Nutt, the Arkansas Razorbacks have put together winning seasons for seven years out of the last 10, including a pretty wonderful 11-2 run in 2011.

This year, many people are expecting nothing to change except the fact that Bobby Petrino’s out (penalized for his philandering ways), and beloved John L. Smith’s in with a 10-month contract. If Arkansas is half as a good as Smith is as a soundbite, they might make a run for the title!

In fact, the AP and USA Today like the Hogs so much that they have a Top 10 ranking to start the 2012 season. But can they be better than that, or will the John L. Smith roadshow fall by the wayside?

LAST SEASON

The Razorbacks were great last year. Tyler Wilson took over where Ryan Mallett left off, spraying the ball in all directions on an offense that continually torched the opposition for an average of nearly 37 points per game. Of course, the LSU and Alabama losses – as well as an injury to Knile Davis – hurt a run for a SEC West title – but it didn’t hurt a run to the Cotton Bowl, where they stomped Kansas State 29-16 in a battle of the unequals.

Then, in the off-season, Bobby Petrino had a motorbike crash and afterwards it emerged that he’d been cheating on his wife with Jessica Dorrell, an Arkansas member of staff, and he was kicked out of a job. He has since bowed his head and begged for forgiveness publically – we’ll see if anything comes of that in 2013. The SEC Football Blog has already made a point that Petrino should return in 2012, but right now, it’s the John L. Smith show, although Smith did hire Bobby Petrino’s brother, Paul, as offensive co-ordinator. The Hogs have realised that they might not like their ex-coach, but they sure as hell love his offensive mind.

NFL-wise, Joe Adams, Jarius Wright, Greg Childs, Jake Bequette were all drafted, and don’t be surprised if each of them has an impact this or next season in the big leagues.

SO WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN OFFENSIVELY?

We’ll go as far as saying that Paul Petrino’s offense – and he knows his brother’s system inside-out – will be rich on both pass (QB Wilson, who threw for over 3,600 yards and 24 TDs in an incredible year comes back, as do WRs Cobi Hamilton and Marquel Wade and TE Chris Gragg) and run – Knile Davis is back after injury. Be afraid, defenses. We feel that by December, we’ll be using another two words to talk about Wilson: Heisman Candidate. Yep, he’s that good.

BUT IS KNILE DAVIS GOING TO BE OK?

Knile Davis suffered a broken ankle in August that wiped out his 2011 year, but he’s back and bigger, faster and angrier than ever. This guy could well be the next Darren McFadden or Felix Jones in Fayetteville, and we anticipate he’ll rack up the receiving yards, too, which gives Wilson another pair of hands. And if Davis is slow to start the season, Dennis Johnson and Ronnie Wingo put together over 1,000 yards rushing between them. In short, the Hogs are going to be OK in the backfield.

SPEAKING OF BACK, HOW’S THE DEFENSE LOOKING? 

The loss of defensive end Jake Bequette to the NFL – he had 10 sacks last year – is going to hurt Arkansas. No two ways about it. Also, top tackler Jerry Franklin, who had 101 tackles last year, has gone, too, meaning that there are going to be a few holes in Paul Haynes’ ‘D’. A Spring injury to Alonzo Highsmith – who contributed 12 ½ tackles for loss last year – won’t have helped Haynes’ humour much, although Highsmith will probably be back by the opener against the mighty Jacksonville State.

AND AT DEFENSIVE BACK?

Free safety Tremain Thomas, who had 91 tackles of his own last year, is gone, as is Elton Ford. Haynes will be hoping that Darius Winston and Tevin Mitchel can pick up the slack that’s going to be left – and look out for Ross Rasner, a linebacker who can play at free safety too. This could be interesting…. Or distastrous.

THE 2012 SCHEDULE

September 1 JACKSONVILLE STATE

September 8 LOUISIANA-MONROE

September 15 ALABAMA

September 22 RUTGERS

September 29 at Texas A&M

October 6 at Auburn

October 13 KENTUCKY

October 27 OLE MISS

November 3 TULSA

November 10 at South Carolina

November 17 at Mississippi State

November 24 LSU

BOTTOM LINE: Arkansas has a decent start to the season, with its first four games at home – including a monster one against Alabama, which gives the Razorbacks to a) Get some revenge for 2011 and b) Show the pollsters that they are a viable National Championship Option. Realistically, we think that they will go all the way to November 10th with just one loss (to Alabama), before a monster clash at South Carolina starts off a nasty final three games of the schedule, with a road trip to Mississippi State and a home game against LSU providing all the fun of the fair. Realistically, we think Arkansas ends the season with a 9-3 record, with Alabama, LSU and South Carolina providing the losses on an otherwise strong deal.

Spring Meetings: SEC coaches vote in $300-per-game stipend

The SEC coaches might have just done something that could change the course of college football.

This tweet came from Scott Hood at Gamecock Central:

In case you missed it, Steve Spurrier told me last night the SEC coaches unanimously approved giving FB players $300 per game for expenses.

This isn’t just big news. This is massive news. This could mean that players are at least paid for playing – taking back some of the money that schools, clothing companies and other parties (yes, even college football blogs!) so happily take from them year in, year out.

Hood played this down slightly, saying it probably wouldn’t get through the Athletic Directors and Presidents:

Scott Hood ‏@ScottHood63The key question, though, is whether the ADs and presidents will approve it. Most people I’ve talked with this a.m. say no.

However, it’s been noted that this gesture from the coaches might just be that – a gesture, because it’s only the NCAA that can make that sort of decision.

Macon Telegraph reporter told SEC Football Blog’s Alex Haddon: “It’s just a PR gesture. NCAA would never approve one league paying players and others not.”

WHAT THIS MEANS: For now, this means nothing. But what it could really mean is EVERYTHING. Finally, someone’s taking a stand. The coaches in the most powerful conference in football want this to happen, it means that the stone is starting to roll. If the coaches and media can be keep up pressure on their ADs and presidents, something might make it happen and players get a deserved stipend. Let’s face it – it should have happened years ago….

What will recent arrests mean to both Arkansas and Tennessee?

Another week, another bunch of arrests in the world of college football.

TENNESSEE: This week, the Tennessee Vols  tight end Cameron Clear was arrested on a felony theft charge involving a laptop, according to the Atlanta Journal-Consititution, and the Tennessee Vols has dismissed him from the team.

The sophomore tight end has one reception and four receiving yards in his Volunteers career.

WHAT THIS MEANS: The biggest pain in the neck with Clear’s arrest is that it hits embattled Vols coach badly on the depth chart. Clear was meant to be No.2 on the chart, and now he’s not there anymore. Now, it’s going to be up to Brendan Downs to do the job alongside senior Mychal Rivera to do blocking for Tyler Bray, who’s looking like the Vols’ starting QB for 2012. For the 2013 season – if he plays well, doesn’t get injured and decides not to go pro – Downs is a shoo-in for the starting job. 

ARKANSAS: Back in April, backup linebacker Tyler Gilbert was arrested following a residential burglary charge (not a great move when your program’s already under a huge amount of scrutiny following the Bobby Petrino affair). He’s been charged, suspended by his team, and we suspect he’ll be booted off if everything goes wrong.

WHAT THIS MEANS: After seeing Arkansas’ defense last year – and knowing who the Razorbacks play in the SEC West – they need as many linebackers and defensive ends as they can must – particularly when the likes of Alabama’s Eddie Lacy is going to run deep in their heart. Although we don’t think this could be a particularly damaging loss for the program, the worry for Arkansas will be if there is a string of injuries to the team. Then they’ll be seething.