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SEC Headlines 3/26/2014

headlines-wedSEC Football

1. A focus for Alabama’s offense this fall: get the ball to wide receiver Amari Cooper.

2. Auburn is motivated by talk of “flukish” wins over Alabama and Georgia, says Auburn OC Rhett Lashlee.

3. Auburn is rotating players as the Tigers get ready for their first spring scrimmage.

4. Auburn coaches like what they’ve seen from Derrick Moncrief in the secondary.

5. Florida coach Will Muschamp understands the high expectations and pressure following last season.

6. LSU is shuffling its linebackers as it arranges its defensive depth chart.

7. There’s a rivalry brewing in practice between offensive and defensive players on Mississippi State.

8. A redshirt year helped Ryan Buchanan as he prepares to be Ole Miss’ quarterback of the future.

9. Georgia coach Mark Richt is mulling punishment options for the four players who were arrested last week.

10. J.J. Green and Quayvon Hicks are adjusting to new positions at Georgia.

11. Tennessee coach Butch Jones wants to see more from his team now that spring break is over.

12. Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason discussed Tuesday’s practice.

SEC Basketball

13. LSU’s season is over as the Tigers fell to SMU 80-67 in the NIT on Tuesday night.

14. LSU forward Johnny O’Bryant will “take everything into consideration” regarding his professional plans.

15. Casey Prather is heading back to his home state as Florida continues its NCAA Tournament run.

16. Here are five things that will and won’t matter as Florida gets ready for UCLA in the Sweet 16.

17. Kentucky’s “light bulb went on” in the SEC Tournament, says ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg.

18. Kentucky’s chance of winning the NCAA Tournament has increased from 1.9 percent to 4 percent, according to Nate Silver.

19. Here are six reasons Tennessee is still alive in the NCAA Tournament.

SEC/NFL

20. Could Houston draft Jadeveon Clowney and AJ McCarron? It’s at least a possibility.

21. Johnny Manziel’s time with Jon Gruden’s QB Camp will air on ESPN on Thursday.

Extra

22. Navy running back Will McKamey died Tuesday while in a coma. He was 19.

23. Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston had to be restrained during a baseball fight between FSU and Florida.

24. South Florida has killed its deal with basketball coach Steve Masiello. There was reportedly a “background-check discrepancy.”

25. Ex-UConn coach Jim Calhoun says he has no interest in the Boston College job.

26. Are the Detroit Pistons planning to make a run a Michigan State coach Tom Izzo?

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SEC Headlines 3/25/2014

headlines-tueSEC Football

1. South Carolina offensive lineman Na’Ty Rodgers suspended from the team indefinitely.  Redshirt freshman arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and consumption of alcohol by a minor.

2. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier on quartback Dylan Thompson:  ”I think he’s by far our best player right now.”

3. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace on left tackle Laremy Tunsil: “He makes you feel so comfortable back there.”

4. Florida’s offensive line has a new sign. #ThanksGrammarPolice.

5. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin on the quarterback battle featuring Kenny Hill, Kyle Allen and Matt Joeckel: “It’s going really good. They’re all out there and they’re doing good.”

6. Even without Greg Robinson, Auburn’s offensive line should be very good. Tigers return four starters.

7. Former Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron will be a special guest at an upcoming Mississippi State coaches’ clinic.

8. Back from spring break, Tennessee returns to the practice field today.

SEC Basketball

9. Florida coach Billy Donovan’s contract extension will keep him in Gainesville through the 2018-2019 season. Average salary will be $3.7 million over the next six years.

10. Florida is 3-0 in the NCAA Tournament against UCLA - all games have come since 2006.

11. What if the NCAA Tournament was reseeded based on the first week’s performance?  Kentucky would move up dramatically.

12. Many heralded freshmen played poorly over the weekend - but not the ones at Kentucky.

13. Tennessee forward Jeronne Maymon: ”We’ve got one of the best teams in the nation [when] we just come out and play like it.”

14. Auburn freshman point guard Malcolm Canada made the mistake of missing a team meeting.  Coach Bruce Pearl:  ”He ran until he puked the first day he was back.” Pearl expects to add two more coaches to his staff soon.

15. Losing just one senior, Georgia coach Mark Fox looks forward to next season: “We have more guys back, and that should hopefully get us off to a better start.”

Extras

16. $21.3 million surplus for the University of Alabama athletic department.

17. Bobby Knight on what the NBA has done to the college game:  ”It’s as though they’ve raped college basketball in my opinion.” Not the first time he’s used a rape analogy.

18. Former Kentucky walk-on and current Manhattan coach Steve Masiello expected to replace Stan Heath at USF.

19. “The SEC is still a better conference; but the Pac-12 might now be the most interesting conference in the country.”

20. The late George Steinbrenner liked everything about the “Seinfeld” Steinbrenner – except the voice of Larry David.

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SEC Commitment Comparator – 3/25/14

blue_poker_chipsIt’s roughly 10 months until National Signing Day; do you know how your favorite football program stacks up?

Below is our much too early commitment comparator for the class of 2015.  Only, it really isn’t much too early.  As the recruiting process speeds up and prospects commit earlier and earlier, those schools that get out to an early jump on the competition typically gain momentum throughout the process.  Using social media, committed players often work as recruiting agents for their schools of choice, luring in friends and contacts from camps and all-star teams.

As always, we’ve used the star ratings provided by Rivals.com to put together our own quickie update.  For now, we’ll look only at quantity (total points) and quality (average points per commit).  For each star Rivals has assigned, we’ve awarded a point.  Where Rivals hasn’t provided a star grade (because they haven’t viewed tape of a prospect yet), we have awarded a lone point anyway because we’re softies.

So where does your team rank in comparison with its SEC foes?  Here’s your answer…

 

  School   Commits   5-stars   4-stars   3-stars   2-stars   1- & 0-stars   Total Points   Avg. Pts/Commit
  Texas A&M   9   0   8   1   0   0   35   3.88
  Alabama   8   0   7   1   0   0   31   3.88
  LSU   9   2   1   5   1   0   31   3.44
  Tennessee   9   0   4   4   1   0   30   3.33
  Miss. State   9   0   2   5   0   2   25   2.77
  S. Carolina   7   1   3   2   0   1   24   3.42
  Arkansas   7   0   4   2   0   1   23   3.28
  Georgia   5   0   4   0   0   1   17   3.40
  Ole Miss   4   0   1   3   0   0   13   3.25
  Auburn   5   0   1   2   0   2   12   2.40
  Florida   5   0   0   3   0   2   11   2.20
  Kentucky   2   0   0   2   0   0   6   3.00
  Vanderbilt   2   0   1   0   0   1   5   2.50
  Missouri   2   0   0   1   0   1   4   2.00

 

As a reminder, Alabama and Tennessee finished among the top four in the SEC in total points last signing day.  Alabama, LSU, Tennessee and Texas A&M also finished among the top five in the league in average points per commit.  The takeaway?  The top schools in the 2013/14 recruiting field are off to hot starts for 2014/15 as well.

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Alabama Shifting To A Hurry-Up Offense? Not Likely

gfx-they-said-it4One of the nation’s most vocal critics of the no-huddle, hurry-up offense trend that’s taken over college football has been Nick Saban.  His new offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin, hasn’t run that type of offense at Tennessee or Southern Cal, either.  Put two and two together and four would seem to point to a pro-style offense being run once again at Alabama this fall.

But that hasn’t stopped reporters from asking about the potential for a change.  Last week, Saban said he didn’t want to switch to a spread offense because his team may not have enough mobile quarterbacks who “can go in there and play at the same level” as a starter who might hurt.

Now, tight end Brian Vogler has shed a bit more light on the subject and he also makes it sound as though the roster would preclude a switch to a spread, hurry-up attack:

 

“It’s hard for me to say right now if that would work for us.  I think we’re a team that’s made to be maulers.  Guys are just going to be really physical with you, hit you from every aspect of the game and hit you in every direction.  I just don’t know if that’s really our style of being speedy and trying to be elusive around everybody and dodge people like other schools do.”

 

Since 2008, Alabama has gone 72-9 and won three national titles.  If it ain’t broke, right?  Now, Bama might not always be the yardage kings of the SEC, that’s true.  But they do put points on the board.  Aside from finishing fifth in the league in scoring offense in 2008, the Crimson Tide has ranked among the four highest-scoring squads in the SEC from 2009 right on through last season.

In other words, don’t expect to see a hurry-up style from the home team at Bryant-Denny Stadium this fall.

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Ex-Alabama QB McElroy Joins SEC Network Team

gfx-they-said-it4The roster of SEC Network personnel continues to grow as its August launch date draws closer and closer.  Former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy has given up on his NFL dreams after a three-year stint with the Jets and Bengals and signed on with ESPN as an analyst for its new start-up channel.

He is the sixth on-air personality to be named so far joining Brent Musburger (lead play-by-play man), Joe Tessitore (top studio host), Paul Finebaum (commentator who’s daily radio show will be simulcast on the channel), Jesse Palmer (lead color analyst) and Tim Tebow (analyst).

In the state of Alabama, there’s really only one question when it comes to McElroy and his new gig — How will he cover Auburn?

 

“I hope they know that when I go down there, I’ll be going with a very professional manner.  I’ll be going to cover the game and be unbiased and tell what I really think.  I think the world of every one of those schools and there’s not one school I like more than any other.  Of course, I went to the University of Alabama and I loved my time there, but at this point going forward, I’ll have an unbiased opinion and will enjoy covering the game in a neutral way.”

 

To date that’s two Florida alums and one from Alabama.  More ex-SEC players will likely be coming on board between now and the network’s launch date.  Think that will lead to any complaints or yelps about bias this fall?  Naaaaaah.

 

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SEC Headlines 3/20/2014

headlines-friSEC Football

1. Urban Meyer on Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin:  ”There has been a lot of publicity about Lane Kiffin and I having issues. There’s none. ”

2. Florida coach Will Muschamp on new offfensive coordinator Kurt Roper: “Just a really good teacher, very fundamental in his approach.”

3. What do Georgia players think of new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt? “I think he might be a little more meaner than Coach Grantham,”

4. Why is Georgia restricting media access to spring practice when other schools open up to media and fans alike?

5. 61-year old David Kotulski is Vanderbilt’s linebackers coach – and an expert in the 3-4 scheme.

6. Alabama center Ryan Kelly: “This is a big spring.”

7. Auburn offensive lineman Shane Callahan has gained 29 pounds – up to 304. Dead heat in the left tackle race between Patrick Miller and Shon Coleman.

8. Big focus for the Auburn offense - cutting down Nick Marshall’s fumbles in the pocket.

9. Texas A&M will have its first spring scrimmage on Saturday.  

10. Focus at LSU’s Saturday scrimmage will be third-and-long situations.

SEC/NCAA Tournament Basketball

11. Mike DeCourcy: “Those who wonder where these supposed “upsets” come from… it’s often because the 12 seeds have no business being 12 seeds.”

12. Why did Florida struggle to win Thursday?  Perhaps because Albany is not your average David.

13. SEC NIT schedule.  Georgia hosts Louisiana Tech Saturday, Southern Miss at Missouri Sunday, Arkansas and LSU play Monday.

SEC/NFL

14. In defense of Johnny Manziel: “He’s a tough, almost elastic dude, in fact the toughest guy I’ve covered…”

15. Could Jadeveon Clowney be reunited with safetey D.J. Swearinger in the NFL?

16. At Missouri’s pro day on Thursday, they came to watch defensive ends Kony Ealy and Michael Sam but a few others stood out.  Lineman Max Copeland has lost 50 pounds and wants to be a fullback.

17. Vanderbilt holding its pro day today.

Extras

18. NCAA recorded a nearly $61 million surplus for its 2013 fiscal year.

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SEC Headlines 3/20/2014

headlines-thursdaySEC Football

1. Report:  Texas A&M sophomore defensive lineman Isaiah Golden has withdrawn from school.

2. Want to own your own LSU locker?  It can be yours for $3,950.

3. LSU defense shuffling its linebacking corps.

4. LSU A. D. Joe Alleva on the current scheduling format: “The ADs will not change their votes. “The only hope for change is for the (SEC) presidents  to realize it’s not an equitable schedule.”

5. Goal for Florida this spring? “We gotta get better on offense.” Quarterback Jeff Driskel made his return Wednesday.

6. Alabama linebacker Trey DePriest on hurry-up offenses: “It’s just something that you have to prepare a little bit harder for. That’s really it.”

7. Alabama gets in the first spring practice in pads.  Coach Nick Saban: “Some of the guys have to mature a little more…”

8. How are Alabama players adjusting to new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin?  “He pays attention to everything — every little thing.”

9. Full pads and full contact for Arkansas today.

10. Ole Miss offensive lineman Aaron Morris continues his recovery from a torn ACL.  Expected to totally cleared by August.

11. Big things expected this fall for Mississippi State running back Josh Robinson.

SEC Basketball

12. Five reasons why Florida will win a national title – and five reasons they won’t.

13. Matt Hayes on the Florida program: “Embrace the beauty that is Billy Donovan, everyone.”

14. FiveThirtyEightSports says Florida has a 14% of winning it all, 2% chance for Kentucky, less than 1% for Tennesse.

15. Thursday and Friday NCAA Tournament TV schedule. Stuck at work?  You can watch online.

16. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery on Tennessee:  ”I was really impressed with those guys and the program that Cuonzo [Martin] has built there.”

17. Missouri will host Southern Miss in the second round of the NIT. Arkansas will travel to Cal. Bears beat the Razorbacks earlier this season.

18. Will new Auburn coach Bruce Pearl use the job as a springboard to another destination?  ”No way. No. Not happening,”

19. Auburn has received more than 500 ticket orders since Pearl was announced as the head coach

20. Pearl on Mike and Mike – “Still the craziest coach in the country.”

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SEC Headlines 3/19/2014

headlines-wedSEC Football

1. Why is former Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore lashing out at the Aggies athletic administration?

2. Spring practice gets underway today at Florida with a focus on the offense and new coordinator Kurt Roper.

3. Some players to watch and some questions to ask at Florida this spring.

4. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen appreciates having some depth at quarterback this spring. Bulldogs kicked off spring practice Tuesday.

5. Concern at LSU?  Tigers backfield lacks depth.

6. Those four Georgia players charged with  multiple counts of theft by deception on Monday were back on the practice field Tuesday but Mark Richt not ruling out any dismissals. Bulldogs potential national title contender in 2014?

7. Plenty of new faces and new roles along Missouri’s offensive line but center Evan Boehm will be the anchor in the middle. Is Tigers running back Russell Hansbrough one of the players poised for a breakout season?

8. Vanderbilt redshirt freshman C.J. Duncan is changing positions.

9. Germain Ifedi started every game at right guard for Texas A&M last fall.He could wind up playing tackle this fall.

10. Linebacker Trey DePriest will be a leader of the Alabama defense.

11. Auburn safety Trent Fisher, son of St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher, may no longer be on the team.

12. South Carolina sophomore Jamari Smith trying to get the jump on five freshmen cornerbacks who will join the program this summer. A couple of South Carolina linebackers undergo arthroscopic surgeries.

13. Arkansas had to replace three assistant coaches in the offseason - but none of the changes came on the offensive staff.

14. Tennessee football is on spring break this week but here’s an updated look at the depth charts.

Bruce Pearl to Auburn reaction

15. Auburn’s new basketball coach meets the media.  ”When I made the mistakes that I made at Tennessee, I let a lot of people down.” Pearl gets six-year deal worth $2.2 million annually.

16. Pearl turned 54 Tuesday.  “Happy belated birthday, Bruce Almighty. Or should that now be Bruce Au-mighty?”

17. Pearl believes the hiring had the blessing of SEC Commissioner Mike Slive: ”I’m sure I wouldn’t be getting this second chance unless it met with his approval.”

18. “He will be a catalyst for change in the league, to the delight of commissioner Mike Slive.”

19. Pearl met with Auburn A.D. Jay Jacobs at his Knoxville home Monday night - deal hashed out on the kitchen island.  One Tennessee reaction to Pearl’s hiring?  Relief.  

20. Kevin Scarbinsky: ‘A popular analogy already has started making the rounds...Pearl will be to (Anthony) Grant as Nick Saban was to Tommy Tuberville.

21. Paul Finebaum: (Alabama A.D. Bill Battle) “woke up today and found out his worst nightmare – at least from a basketball standpoint — has come true.”

22. Mike DeCourcy: “How many active coaches are better? Let’s just say they could all probably fit in one clown car.”

SEC Basketball

23. Tennessee meets Iowa tonight.  Vols are 0-2 in NCAA Tournament games in Dayton, Ohio.

24. The 13-year old son of Iowa coach Fran McCaffery will have surgery to remove a thyroid tumor just hours before tonight’s tipoff. Update: “Today’s surgery for my son Patrick went as planned.”

25. Georgia hosts Vermont tonight in the NIT.  Bulldogs going for their 20th win of the season.

26. LSU travels to San Francisco to meet the Dons tonight in NIT action.

27. Texas A&M plays Wyoming tonight in the CBI Tournament.  Coach Billy Kennedy:  ”Our guys have been good in practice, and it helps us more for next year more than anything, just playing another game, and practicing helps for the future.”

28. Freshman guard Shawn Smith still not with the Aggies.

29. With a win Tuesday night, Albany gets to play Florida in the first round.  Trivia question: Know their team nickname?

30. The President has Florida in his Final Four but picks Michigan State to win it all.

31. Florida Center Patric Young wants to become a minister after basketball.

Extra

32. Johnny Manziel and his “Fighting Ducks” Nike shoes. Merrill Hoge on Johnny Football: “He’s got bust written all over him.”

33. Here’s a look at the rings given to Florida State players and coaches for winning the BCS title.

34. Actor Vince Vaughn pays $6.5 million for Lane Kiffin’s California home.

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SEC Headlines 3/15/2014

headlines-saturdaySEC Football

1. Changes to alcohol policy for Georgia-Florida game “highly unlikely.”

2. Spring practice gets underway today at Alabama. Crimson Tide not just breaking in new players, but new coaches as well.

3. Big battle going on in the LSU camp at the right guard position. Coach Les Miles on his quarterback battle: “I think the quarterback position is a position of toughness.”

4. All four of Tennessee’s quarterbacks took reps in Friday’s first spring scrimmage.

5. With Tre Mason gone to the NFL, what are the running back options for Auburn this fall?

6. Missouri defensive end Shane Ray claims a 4.44 4o-yard dash this offseason.

7. SEC coaches divided on the idea of an early signing period for football.

SEC Basketball

8. As Auburn looks to replace Tony Barbee, Tigers will have a search committee of 1 – A.D. Jay Jacobs. 

9. If Auburn calls, Bruce Pearl will listen.

10. Alabama coach Anthony Grant will return.  Has the backing of A.D. Bill Battle.

11. Will Florida freshman Chris Walker return or enter the NBA draft?

12. Improvement will be expected in Rick Ray’s third year at Mississippi State.

13. Adjusting postseason expectations at Arkansas. The Razorbacks “big game hunt withered to small potatoes.”

14. Arkansas, Georgia (if it doesn’t win SEC Tournament), LSU and Missouri all look to be better fit for NIT than Ole Miss.

15. CBI bid possible for Texas A&M?

Extras

16. Did you know?  The Big 12 will be the smallest FBS conference in the country this fall when the Sun Belt expands to 11 football teams.

17. When it comes to earnings, Peyton Manning vs Tom Brady is not that close.

18. New York Times: “One major college basketball participant with no chance of advancing to the national tournament: Las Vegas…”

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SEC Headlines 3/14/2014

headlines-friSEC Football

1. The frenzy over Tennessee redshirt freshman quarterback Riley Ferguson. “He is Peyton Manning with quicker feet, Heath Shuler with more accuracy, Casey Clausen with a bigger arm.”

2. Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian on wide receiver and JUCO transfer Von Pearson: “Von’s very, very, very talented.”

3. High winds do some damage to Neyland Stadium’s Jumbotron.

4. Who will replace Cyrus Kouandjio at left tackle for Alabama?

5. Jonathon Mincy will be expected to provide leadership in the Auburn secondary this fall.

6. Texas A&M and UCLA will play a home-and-home series starting in 2016. LSU and Syracuse working on a deal.

7. Nine SEC staffs had some turnover this offseason.  Here’s a rundown of who’s in and who’s out.

SEC Basketball

8. Bruce Pearl’s top six programs in the SEC apparently don’t include Auburn.

0. Former Auburn coach Sonny Smith on the challenges the program faces: ”What makes the job somewhat difficult is the area that it’s located in.”

10. An argument to give Alabama coach Anthony Grant one more season.

11. LSU and Kentucky will meet for the third time this season. Tigers forward Johnny O’Bryant: “Oh, man, I can’t wait. Can’t wait.”

12. Would a signature victory over Florida be enough to push Missouri in to the NCAA Tournament?

13. Florida forward Casey Prather:  ”I feel like as long as we continue to stay on the path we’re going, then we’ll have no trouble.”

14. Atlanta-area starters a big part of Georgia’s success this season. Bulldogs beat Ole Miss by one point in their only regular season matchup.

15. Tennessee opens tournament play with South Carolina.  Coach Cuonzo Martin: ”I think the guys are loose.”

16. This breakdown of the NCAA Tournament says Arkansas’ loss yesterday has cost them a bid.

SEC/NFL

17. ESPN’s Mel Kiper projects three Texas A&M players going in the first ten picks of the NFL draft. Expects three Alabama players to go in first round.

SEC Media

18. Brent Musburger out – Chris Fowler in as play-by-play announcer for  ABC’s Saturday night college football broadcast.

Extra

19. Former chief executive of the Fiesta Bowl is headed to prison.

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