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SEC Headlines 7/26/12

1. Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray won’t be charged in a beer bottle throwing incident.

2. Here’s a look at Alabama’s group of wide receivers and tight ends.

3. AL.com has a breakdown of Auburn’s defensive backs.

4. That list doesn’t include Jonathan Rose, who won’t return to Auburn for his sophomore season.

5. The Alabama game will be “crucial” for Arkansas, according to coach John L. Smith.

6. The chances for ex-Georgia DB Chris Sanders to return to the Bulldogs appear to be finished.

7. Georgia’s tight ends are young but talented as they prepare to replace Orson Charles.

8. The Gainesville Sun‘s Pat Dooley believes Florida’s season will come down to the quarterbacks.

9. Florida coach Will Muschamp is “hungry” after losing six games last year.

10. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is proud the Aggies have arrived in the SEC.

11. Sumlin has a lot of work to do as his offense prepares for a new system.

12. Mississippi State’s shooting guard was arrested for bringing a BB gun into the dorm.

13. LSU coach Les Miles is ready to get the season started and move on from 2011.

14. Brishen Matthews is the 16th most important player on the Ole Miss football team.

15. Marcus Lattimore and Aaron Murray overrated? This writer doesn’t think so.

16. Arkansas running back Knile Davis is ready to run again in the SEC.

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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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UM QB Wallace Makes News For Taking A Punch

Ole Miss quarterback candidate Bo Wallace can take a punch.  At least that’s what the photo at left and a since-removed YouTube video seemed to show yesterday afternoon.

Over the weekend, Wallace — a juco transfer who’s competing with Barry Brunetti for the Rebels’ signal-caller duties this spring — reportedly got into a dust-up with a few UM frat boys.  The video showed Wallace take a punch before being surrounded by a larger group of men.  Wallace never appeared on tape to have tossed any haymakers himself.

According to The Jackson Clarion-Ledger, that’s the story Wallace has told head coach Hugh Freeze and for that reason the quarterback will not face any kind of punishment from the team.

He will however have this photo of himself getting punched in the face kicked around the internet for a day or two.  For comparison’s sake, here’s a nice headshot of Wallace when he’s not locked in a fracas.

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UM’s Freeze Hot Over Tuesday Practice

Most SEC football coaches bite their tongues a bit when describing a disappointing practice.  That wasn’t the case with Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze yesterday after watching his offense struggle once again:


“Total step back offensively.  It seems like anytime we try to install something new, we get that.  We can’t get snaps correct, throws our timing off and that happened five or six times (Tuesday).  We didn’t play physical up front.  Quarterbacks didn’t throw well today.  Just not a good day.  We’re through installing.  I’m not installing another thing.  I told our coaches out on the field today, ‘We’re going to try to get good at something before spring is up.”


But other than that, how as the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

That’s a downright Spurrier-esque level of candor for an SEC football coach.  Fitting he was ripping his offense.

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Quarterback O’Brien Chooses Wisconsin

Former Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien has decided to transfer to Wisconsin.

O’Brien, who reportedly considered Ole Miss and Vanderbilt along with Penn State, made the decision after visiting Wisconsin during the weekend.

“The vibe I got at Wisconsin was special,” O’Brien told ESPN.com. “Being with the players on the team, the coaching staff, the city, the campus was great. It was everything I was looking for. It was the complete package: the style of offense, the coaches I connected with, the players I connected with, it’s a great area.”

As for the tampering charges filed by Maryland toward Vanderbilt and head coach James Franklin, that talk should die down now that O’Brien has decided not to play for his former offensive coordinator.

Vanderbilt forwarded its own findings to the SEC office earlier this month. Don’t be surprised if those findings are never forwarded to the public with O’Brien headed to the Big Ten.

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UM’s Kennedy Will Remain A Rebel For 2012-13

Andy Kennedy just met his new boss — Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork — last week.  There’s currently an open position at his alma mater with his name written all over it.

But the Rebels’ basketball coach is staying put.  Both Kennedy and UM chancellor Dan Jones said so yesterday.  Here’s the coach’s statement:


“Despite reports to the contrary, I have had no discussions with UAB regarding their head coaching position.  I’ve put many years of ‘sweat equity’ into Blazer Basketball, and Birmingham will always be a special place to me and my family, but I am right where I’m supposed to be.

The privilege of coaching at Ole Miss in the ultra-competitive SEC is something that I will never take for granted, and we will continue in our efforts to move this program forward.  There have been numerous milestones met over the last six seasons, and we have many more goals to reach.”


The takeaway?  Kennedy will be getting a contract extension that was already in the works when Bjork was hired.  We at MrSEC.com believe he deserves that as he’s led a program with league-worst hoops facilities to five 20-win seasons in six years at Oxford.

However, he’s also never reached an NCAA Tournament and he’s about to start working for a hotshot, young AD that he knows little about.  And new athletic directors often like to hire their own guys.

If Kennedy fails at Ole Miss or if Bjork gets froggy and someday nukes him, the coach could come to regret not re-starting his coaching clock at another school — even a school like UAB that would pay him considerably less than Mississippi.  Remember, Rick Stansbury had a chance to move to Clemson just a couple of years before he “retired” at Mississippi State.  Think he’d take that one back at this point?

Also, with much of a young team back next year, expectations of an NCAA berth will be on the rise at Ole Miss.  But if Kennedy is eventually ousted from the school, it’s likely that his soon-to-be extended contract will at least put some nice parting cash in his wallet.

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WKU Confirms Bjork To UM; But Will UM Have To Schedule WKU As A Result?

Western Kentucky has confirmed that Ross Bjork — the nation’s youngest athletic director — will be leaving the Hilltoppers after just two years to take over at Ole Miss.  The school’s statement includes this quote from Bjork:

“I have decided to accept the director of athletics position at the University of Mississippi and depart WKU.  While I was not seeking to leave WKU, the opportunity to oversee and manage the athletics department at a historic and prestigious university in the Southeastern Conference was one that we had to examine and ultimately accept.”

Interestingly, Bjork’s WKU contract contains a clause that could force Ole Miss to schedule the Hilltoppers in football and basketball.  And not just in Oxford.

In the past year, we’ve seen more and more small schools build “if you leave for another school you’ll have to schedule us” clauses into the contracts of ADs and even basketball coaches.  But what makes this deal unique is that it calls for Bjork to “use his best efforts at the hiring institution to schedule two-year home/home game series between the men’s and women’s basketball teams and one home/home series for the football team.”

“Best efforts” is awfully vague and it would seem that Bjork and Ole Miss would have some serious wiggle room thanks to that phrase.  Basketball probably wouldn’t likely be a problem anyway, but football might cause a hold-up.  No Southeastern Conference team is going to want to visit a lower rung FBS program like WKU (although Mississippi State did play at UAB this past season).  Whether it happens or not, it was a sharp idea by the folks at WKU.  Not only would they get national exposure, they’d get national exposure for their own campus, stadium and fans.

We’ll see if Bjork indeed makes his “best efforts” to line up the Rebels and Hilltoppers in football in Bowling Green anytime soon.

UPDATE — Ole Miss has now made the hiring of Bjork official on its end, too.

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Report: UM To Hire Bjork As AD (Not That Bjork)

The web is buzzing this morning with news about Bjork.  No, not the oddball Icelandic singer best known for wearing a swan dress.  The Western Kentucky athletic director who is reportedly being hired to replace the outgoing Pete Boone at Ole Miss.

RebelGrove.com — the Rivals site covering UM — reported last evening that Bjork had requested all WKU’s coaches return to Bowling Green yesterday so he could deliver the news of his departure first-hand. 

Bjork is the ultimate up-and-comer.  Hired in 2010 at the age of 37, he was the youngest AD in the nation when he joined the Hilltopper program.  He’s been on the job at WKU for just two years and eight days, but he’s made big news in basketball circles in that short time.

Last offseason, he chose to give head basketball coach Ken McDonald another year to revive his program.  Midway through this season — with WKU just 5-11 — Bjork reversed field and canned McDonald, a move which drew plenty of guff from basketball writers across the country.  His flip-flop was partly offset by the fact that assistant coach Ray Harper upset a series of teams to win the Sun Belt Tournament and gain entry into the NCAA Tournament field with a losing record.  Lesson: Bjork’s not afraid to make a controversial decision.  (Or he’s wishy-washy.  You decide.)

Prior to arriving at WKU, Bjork had worked — or wjorked — in two of the biggest athletic departments in the nation.  From 2005 to 2010 he worked at UCLA where he acted as chief fundraiser.  Before that, he oversaw the basketball program at Miami from 2003 to 2005.  He began his career at WKU in 1996 in a smaller capacity and then moved up to Missouri before joining Miami’s team.

An Emporia State and Western Illinois grad as well as a Kansas native, Bjork has no ties to the University of Mississippi aside from the fact that the committee that found him includes Archie Manning.  And that should be good enough for most Reb fans.

An official announcement from the school is expected today.

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