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SEC Headlines 7/25/12

1. Steve Spurrier took a jab at Ole Miss during his “Car Wash” tour at ESPN on Tuesday.

2. Spurrier sat down with ESPN’s Chris Fowler for a video interview.

3. This ESPNU podcast features several SEC coaches, including Spurrier, Mark Richt and Nick Saban.

4. Texas A&M has something to prove now that it’s in the SEC.

5. Arkansas has launched its “TD2012″  campaign for post-season awards this year.

6. Arkansas fans are ready: The Razorbacks’ home game against Alabama and LSU are sold out.

7. Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said yesterday UT has had contact with Penn State players.

8. Florida coach Will Muschamp preached caution with the recruitment of Penn State players.

9. Muschamp isn’t asking for patience but reminded everyone where Florida has been.

10. Can Penn State hold off a mass departure? Ivan Maisel asked coach Bill O’Brien.

11. Here are some highlights from Nick Saban’s “Car Wash” tour on Tuesday.

12. If a Penn State player wants to leave Alabama, Saban “could certainly entertain it.”

13. Auburn could be in the running for Penn State’s players, too.

14. Here’s a look at Auburn’s linebackers heading into fall camp.

15. Mississippi State could be hurting at point guard when the season rolls around.

16. Has the SEC basketball schedule changed for the upcoming season? It appears so.

17. The SEC has the top two coaches in the nation, according to this ranking.

18. Georgia’s running backs coach is again preparing young backs for the SEC.

19. Could Missouri battle Texas A&M for ESPN’s “College GameDay” on Sept. 8?

20. Eddie Crawford has never looked to be anywhere but Ole Miss.

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SEC Headlines 7/24/12

1. Georgia coach Mark Richt said the Bulldogs are interested in Penn State’s players.

2. Georgia AD Greg McGarity hopes lessons are learned from the Penn State story.

3. Some schools have already begun aggressively pursuing some of Penn State’s players.

4. One SEC school started its pursuit Monday morning, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.

5. If a school wants to land Penn State running back Silas Redd, it will likely have to battle Southern Cal.

6. Ole Miss tight end Jamal Mosley has been suspended after another arrest.

7. Here’s a sneak peek of Mississippi State’s new football uniforms.

8. Will Mississippi State pursue Penn State players? Here’s an early look.

9. Michigan – Alabama’s opening opponent – has suspended its starting running back.

10. Will Auburn see Clemson’s star wide receiver Sammy Watkins in the opener?

11. Here’s a podcast with SEC coaches Gene Chizik, Gary Pinkel and Kevin Sumlin.

12. Tennessee coach Derek Dooley knows why people speculate about his job.

13. LSU coach Les Miles is showing confidence in quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

14. South Carolina basketball forward Carlton Geathers will have right knee surgery.

15. Florida coach Will Muschamp will go through the “Car Wash” at ESPN on Tuesday.

16. Some Penn State players will decide to leave. Here are some possibilities.

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SEC Headlines 4/28/12

1. The NCAA chose not to add on to South Carolina’s self-imposed penalties.

2. Once highly-touted quarterback Phillip Sims has decided to transfer from Alabama.

3. Another Alabama defender, this time Courtney Upshaw, went quickly in the NFL draft on Friday.

4. Recruits were paying attention to Alabama’s success in the draft on Thursday night.

5. Here’s a look at the SEC defenders selected in the NFL’s first round.

6. Tony Barnhart of CBSSports.com believes Nick Saban’s team is helping provide hope to Tuscaloosa.

7. One writer believes former Gator Janoris Jenkins – taken by St. Louis - will be the next Pacman Jones.

8. Outside of Jankins, Florida saw its draft drought continue into the second day of the draft.

9. Here’s a preview for Texas A&M’s upcoming spring game at Kyle Field.

10. We’ll get a new look at Texas A&M’s defense on Saturday.

11. Mark Wiedmer of the Chattanooga News-Free Press shows us a nice side of Tennessee coach Derek Dooley.

12. Bill Belichick believes former Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette will be productive in New England.

13. Arkansas hasn’t had any receivers selected in the draft. That will change today.

14. Matt Hayes of Sporting News believes it’s time for college football to finally land a commissioner.

15. The LSU Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved an expansion of LSU’s Tiger Stadium.

16. SEC coaches can use the NFL draft as a three-day recruiting tool.

17. Former Georgia offensive lineman Cordy Glenn will help where needed in Buffalo.

Extra:

18. Here’s a look at the conference champion only idea for the future BCS.

19. Here’s another preview of Missouri’s offense as it enters the SEC.

20. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin will surely use Casey Heyward’s drafting in recruiting.

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UGA’s Richt Won’t Change How He Handles Discipline Issues

Kicking off the annual spring handshakes and fundraising “UGA Days” tour in Augusta last night, Mark Richt let it be known that he’s not going to change the way he disciplines his team… even though a number of players are facing suspensions for Georgia’s first few games:


“Did anybody here go through college?  Did anybody maybe do something stupid, and not have the whole world know?  I know I did…

I don’t know if any person ever went through life without messing up.  When a mistake is made, there needs to be a consequence, there needs to be a discipline, there needs to be a learning experience from it.  I’m not gonna change the way I discipline.  Some people may think it’s soft.  A lot of people think you might be losing control of your program because you have a lot of suspensions from the season.  But the reality is that’s how you keep control of your team, by disciplining your team.  If you notice, we’re not going to have any partiality between the kids that walk on or are starting.”



A shot at Florida after last week’s piece on admitted player of favorites, Urban Meyer?  Perhaps.

The coach continued:


“I don’t like disciplining a starter.  I don’t like disciplining a walk-on.  But when they get out of line you want the punishment to stick.  And the punishment that sticks the most is playing time.  That’s what I’ve learned over the years.  And then you’ve gotta educated them.  You’ve gotta have them understand why what they did is wrong, and how it hurts them.”


Richt went on to explain how several former Bulldog players have benefited from discipline and from second chances in the past.

Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph — who provides a full transcript of all the coach’s comments — correctly points out that many of the current suspensions faced by UGA players stem from the school’s strong drug policy and that there’s not much wiggle room for Richt on that front in the first place.

Fair enough, but that doesn’t change the fact that if I were a parent looking for a coach to a) treat my son like his own, b) get him ready for the pro game, and c) win a whole lotta games that my son and I could both enjoy… Richt would be pretty darn high on the list of guys I’d hope to have visiting the ol’ living room.

Things usually end poorly for coaches.  It’s rare that a guy stays at the same school for 20+ years and then walks away on his own terms with the majority of the fanbase begging him to stick around a while longer.  Sooner or later, things will probably end badly for Richt at Georgia, too.

But when the history of UGA football is someday written, here’s betting the Richt era will be one that’s looked back on with much fondness and pride.  Perhaps more fondness than some Georgia fans currently realize.

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Ex-Williams Assistant At UGA Talks Bounty-gate

Second-year Georgia inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti came to the Dawgs from the NFL.  For four of his 11 seasons in pro football he was an assistant under Gregg Williams — scorn of the sport, pariah, and the man behind Bounty-gate.

Players have come forward to say that Williams not only had a bounty system in place in New Orleans, but also at Washington… where he supervised Olivadotti.  (And is there any doubt Williams did the same thing at his previous coaching stops as well?)

Asked about the scandal yesterday, Olivadotti wanted no part of it.  The Macon Telegraph reports that he said the issue is “out of my pay grade” and that he was “not touching it.”  He also said, “I have an opinion on it, but I’m not gonna say anything about it.”

Pressed for more by the evil media horde — how dare they do their jobs? –  UGA’s assistant finally offered up the following:


“You never want to injure somebody.  You never want anybody to get carted off the field or any of that stuff.  That’s not what you want to do with that stuff.  You want to play the game the right way, there’s a physical aspect to it, that you want to knock people back there.  There should be some wide receivers hearing footsteps, and all that kind of stuff.  Well, there’s a way to do that and do it the right way, and do it withing the right rules.  There’s a right way to do it and a wrong way…

Knocking your head off is one thing, but going after specific stuff (like knees)… There’s a way to play and a way not to play.  And this game has been played for a long time and it’s going to be played a long time after us, and there’s a right way to play and a wrong way to play it, and you’re supposed to play it hard, it’s supposed to be physical, it’s supposed to be knock-back, you’re supposed to run into dudes as hard as you can, they’re supposed to run into you as hard as they can, and that’s physical enough.  That’s physical enough.”


So apparently there’s a right way and a wrong way to play.  Okay, got that part.  But the Williams’ bounty situation puts a stink on everyone connected to him.  The audio tapes released yesterday make it clear that Williams wasn’t just trying to get his guys to play tough, he was literally targeting opposing players’ body parts.

Is this the first and only time something like this has happened?  Of course not.  But it’s the first time something so over-the-top and graphic has been laid bare before a world where the media — and media consumers — are omnipresent.

Olivadotti danced around the topic as best he could.  You can bet he won’t be the only ex-Williams co-worker to have to answer questions about Bounty-gate.

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UGA’s Rambo Could Declare For Supplemental Draft After Brownie Binge; 28 Dawgs Gone Overall

News continues to trickle forth regarding the suspension of Georgia starting safety Bacarri Rambo.  First, news spread that he’d be benched for two-to-four games.  Then came word that it would be four games and it was due to a second drug issue.  Now we know what he did… and what he might do next.

Rambo’s high school coach Allen Ingram has told The Athens Banner-Herald that Rambo tested positive for marijuana after eating laced-brownies during a spring break trip to Panama City, Florida.  The coach says the player didn’t know that the brownies had weed in them.  (Yeah, because spring-breaking college kids often whip up a batch of non-pot-brownies before heading to the Sunshine State.  Too bad Rambo didn’t stick to the wholly innocent banana nut bread his friends had also baked for the trip.)

“Some kids had them that were staying with him and he said he got high,” Ingram said.  “He thought the things had marijuana in them.  He sat there a couple of hours and didn’t know what to do.  He said if he turned himself in he’d get a four-game suspension for a second offense.”

The coach also said that he believe Rambo is not a pothead, despite those two drug issues.  Ingram said the first issue — which led to a suspension from last year’s season-opener against Boise State — involved Rambo being stopped for speeding and then police finding a joint on one of his passengers.  “I’ve got kids that go to other schools that say he doesn’t smoke.”  No, but apparently he does eat pastries and ride with folks who smoke.

Whether the star safety knew he was noshing on weed brownies or not, Rambo is now considering a jump to the NFL via this summer’s supplemental draft.  Such a move would further devastate a UGA secondary that is becoming perilously thin.

Mark Richt refused to answer questions or “confirm anything” about the reported suspensions of Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree, who is believed to have also failed a drug test.  (Maybe second-hand brownies are to blame.)  Meanwhile, his program continues to hemorrhage players.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that at least 28 athletes who would still have eligibility at UGA will not be with the program for the start of the 2012 season due to suspensions, dismissals, and transfers.

Ouch.

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UGA’s Rambo Suspended Four Games For Second Drug Issue

Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo was suspended from the Bulldogs’ season-opener against Boise State last fall.  Now there’s new word on the suspension he’s been handed for this fall.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that Rambo will be given a four-game punishment “as a result of a second violation of the UGA athletics department’s official” drug policy.

His high school coach has confirmed the situation saying, “He’s real down about it.”

Down, huh?  Well, that’s usually what happens right after a high.

(Rimshot.)  I’ll be here all week!

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Report: Two More UGA Defenders Suspended

Here’s what we already knew: Starting cornerback Sanders Commings has been suspended for Georgia’s first two football games due to an offseason arrest.  Fellow starting corner Branden Smith has a marijuana possession charge hanging over his head that could also lead to a suspension.

Now reports say that two more Bulldogs — including another starter in the secondary — are facing multi-game suspensions.  All-American safety Bacarri Rambo and starting inside linebacker Alec Ogletree have been suspended “two to four games” for unspecified violations of team rules according to Dawgpost.com – the Scout site covering Georgia.

If you’re a Missouri fan, you have to be liking your chances of winning your SEC opener against Georgia more and more.  In addition to what might be three secondary starters out for the Dawgs, an additional pair of defensive backs were dismissed from the team in January.

To make up for the lack of depth in his secondary, Mark Richt has had to move his best receiver — Malcolm Mitchell — to corner this spring… much to the chagrin of offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.

UGA opens the season with a home game against Buffalo.  Missouri hosts Southeastern Louisiana in its opener.  Then on September 8th the Tigers welcome the Dawgs — what’s left of ‘em — to Faurot Field for MU’s first-ever SEC game.  Of course, Mizzou might have its own issues to worry about as quarterback James Franklin is out for the spring after undergoing shoulder surgery.  He’s expected back by fall.

Either way, Georgia at Missouri is for now shaping up as the Attrition Bowl.

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UGA’s Smith May Fight Weed Charge

Georgia will definitely be without suspended starting cornerback Sanders Commings when it opens SEC play at pass-happy Missouri this fall.  You can bet Mark Richt doesn’t want to be without both starting corners.

And maybe he won’t be.

Earlier this month, corner Branden Smith was arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.  But UGA has announced not official penalty for Smith yet.  Perhaps that’s because Smith has now hired a lawyer and a date for a bench trial in April has been set, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Smith’s lawyer said he and his client have not decided how to proceed as of yet.  “We haven’t made any decision about whether he’s going to plead or ind some alternative dispute resolution or what,” Hamp Baxley said.  “We’re at the very beginning of the process right now.”

Expect Georgia coaches and fans to be watching said “process” very closely.  Missouri’s coaches, too, for that matter.

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Ex-Dawg, Steeler Ward Drops By UGA Practice

Recently retired Super Bowl champion Hines Ward — formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers — dropped in on his alma mater’s spring practice this week with an eye on coaching.

Ward’s former teammate and current UGA offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said “he’s trying to see if that’s something he wants to go into.”  Ward is expected to spend “a couple of days” checking out practice, recruiting, and all the other things that go into college coaching.

Due to NCAA rules, Ward can’t do any actual coaching while he’s hanging around Mark Richt’s program this week.  He can only watch.  Someday that might change.

According to The Athens Banner-Herald, Ward told an Atlanta TV station earlier this year: “If (Richt) wants to hire me, hire me.  That would be my ultimate dream job to come back and coach at the University of Georgia.”

This week he’s taking his first steps in that direction.  Whether Richt would want to put a man on his staff who some Dawg fans would no doubt want to see succeed him is another matter.

The former “Dancing With the Stars” champ was also busted on a DUI charge last summer, but here’s guessing the folks in Athens would overlook that one if it meant landing Ward as a recruiter.

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