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SEC Headlines 3/12/2014

headlines-wedSEC Football

1. Oklahoma assistant coach Cale Gundy tweets picture of Nick Saban: “Looks like someone came up short again.” Later removes and apologizes.

2. Vanderbilt hires Frank Maile to replace Vavae Tata as defensive line coach.  Spent last six years at Utah State.

3. Commodores opened spring practice on Tuesday with a quarterback battle between Johnny McCrary and Patton Robinette

4. Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo getting one-year contract extension. More money for defensive line coach Tracy Rocker.

5. Minor scuffle breaks out as LSU puts the pads on for the first time this spring.

6. Coach Butch Jones message to his team in pads for the first time.  ”Your win-loss record starts today.”

7. Florida will start spring practice with nine injured players including three starters. Expect to see quarterback Jeff Driskel in the shotgun formation.

8. Gators running back Matt Jones won’t participate in spring practice but on schedule to return before summer.

9. The message from Auburn: “We’re only going to get faster.” What do the Tigers look like at defensive tackle heading in to the 2014 season?

10. Missouri releases a depth chart that shows some shuffling along the offensive line.

11. Alabama will have to replace both its starting kicker and starting punter this fall.

12. Linebacking corps expected to be a strength at Tennessee in 2014.

13. Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury on coaching at Houston with Kevin Sumlin and thinking they were headed to UCLA but wound up at Texas A&M.  ”That was a tough day…”

14. Is Texas A&M’s expansion of Kyle Field a motivator for Texas?

SEC/NFL

15. First of two Alabama pro days today with 12 players expected to make an appearance.

SEC Basketball

16. All SEC basketball teams released.  Florida’s Billy Donovan earned SEC Coach of the Year honors while Florida senior Scottie Wilbekin selected the SEC Player of the Year.

17. SEC regular season basketball attendance averaged 10,380 fans – on pace to be lowest since 1984-1985. Should college basketball be a one-semester sport?

18. SEC Tournament gets underway tonight in Atlanta.  Can Auburn beat South Carolina for the third time this season?

19. Auburn players hear the chatter about coach Tony Barbee: “We hear it all the time but we can’t focus on that.”

20. South Carolina coach Frank Martin: “Postseason play is a completely different set of emotions than you have in the regular season.”

21. Mississippi State faces Vanderbilt in the nightcap.  MSU A.D. Scott Stricklin defends coach Rick Ray: “It’s my belief that the wins will come.”

22. Walk-on point guard Carter Josephs will make another start for Vanderbilt.

23. Texas A&M forward Jamal Jones doubtful for Missouri game on Thursday.  Had a 103 temperature on Monday.

24. Last year’s Ole Miss team won the SEC Tournament.  Coach Andy Kennedy: We hoped that was the standard by which we could continue to grow.”

25. One take on the tournament: “Other than Florida and Kentucky, isn’t everyone else a darkhorse?”

26. Would Florida be better off losing the tournament?

27. Arkansas coach Mike Anderson: “I think it’s going to be a wide-open tournament.”

28. Georgia reserve center  John Cannon is transferring – won’t be at the tournament

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Top Five Offensive Line Signees For 2014

RECAPThe SEC is known across the country for its physical style of play.

That’s made the tackle position a critical one in recruiting for SEC coaches. Players like Luke Joeckel, Cyrus Kouandjio and Greg Robinson have played key roles in teams’ SEC success in recent years.

Here are the top five offensive tackle signees in the SEC in the 2014 class

1. Cam Robinson – Alabama

Robinson might be the top overall prospect in the country considering he plays such an important position. He looked dominant at times at The Opening in Beaverton, Ore., last summer. Robinson (6-6, 325) enrolled early at Alabama and will have a chance to play immediately this fall. He should become the next great tackle for the Crimson Tide.

2. Brian Wallace – Arkansas

It was a huge get for Arkansas when it went to St. Louis and landed Wallace, who’s ranked the top prospect in the state of Missouri by Rivals. Arkansas is hopeful Wallace (6-6, 305) will be able to help right away, possibly at right tackle this fall. He has “nothing but upside in front of him,” Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said on signing day.

3. Avery Gennesy – Texas A&M 

Gennesy arrives at Texas A&M at a good time. The Aggies have to replace left tackle Jake Matthews, who’s expected to be selected early in the NFL draft. Gennesy (6-5, 310) should team up with Cedric Ogbuehi to form a nice tackle duo on Texas A&M’s offensive line.

4. Coleman Thomas – Tennessee

Thomas is learning the offensive tackle position at Tennessee after playing center in high school. The good news is Thomas (6-6, 311) enrolled early at Tennessee, which should help him be more comfortable by fall camp. The Vols have to replace all five starting offensive linemen. That will give Thomas a chance to see the field this fall.

5. Dominick Jackson – Alabama

Jackson was signed by Alabama coach Nick Saban to help the Crimson Tide immediately. Jackson (6-7, 304) has experience playing tackle and guard, which will give him a greater opportunity to help this fall. It also will give Saban options as he tries to settle on five starting offensive linemen.

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SEC Headlines 3/9/2014

headlines-sun3-150x150SEC Football

1. Who will fill C.J. Mosley’s “alpha-dog” role at Alabama? That’s a key question this spring.

2. Here’s a breakdown of Alabama’s linebackers.

3. Here’s a look at Auburn’s tight ends/H-backs this spring.

4. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema likes the “new flavor” of the Razorbacks’ secondary.

5. LSU’s quarterback derby is wide open at the start of spring practice.

6. There’s plenty of competition for the Tigers on offense and defense.

7. Tennessee cornerback Cam Sutton isn’t resting on his successful freshman season.

SEC/NFL

8. Auburn’s Dee Ford wants to prove he fits into any NFL defensive scheme.

9. Johnny Manziel looks like a boom-or-bust quarterback prospect, writes Michael Schottey.

SEC Basketball

10. Here’s a look at the full SEC tournament bracket with the schedule and TV times.

11. The future of Auburn coach Tony Barbee is in serious doubt as the Tigers enter the SEC tournament.

12. Tennessee appears to be peaking at just the right time. The Vols have won four straight games.

13. Tennessee forward Jeronne Maymon defended coach Cuonzo Martin, who’s received plenty of criticism this season.

Extra

14. Jerry Palm’s latest NCAA tournament projection has Arkansas and Tennessee among the “last four teams in” the tournament.

15. What a Senior Day for Creighton’s Doug McDermott, who scored 45 points in his final home game.

16. Freshman Jabari Parker scored a career-high 30 points for Duke in the Blue Devils’ 93-81 win over North Carolina.

17. Oregon upset No. 3 ranked Arizona on Saturday. The win greatly helps Oregon’s NCAA tournament resume.

18. Iowa State students flopped en masse when Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart was introduced.

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SEC Hoops Roundup: Florida Hits 18-0; UGA Wraps Up 3-Seed

gfx-hoops-round-up2Florida 84 – Kentucky 65. Video Highlights

1. Florida is the first SEC team to go 18-0 in the regular season. Billy Donovan: “For me as the coach it’s the greatest regular season I’ve ever been a part of.”

2. Florida said goodbye to a strong senior class. It’s a group that played as close to its potential as possible, Donovan said.

3. Kentucky had a brief run on Saturday when it showed what people thought it would be this year.

4. Kentucky hopes to find its “mojo” when it goes to the SEC tournament in Atlanta.

Ole Miss 65 – Vanderbilt 62. Video Highlights

5. Marshall Henderson after the game: “I want to thank everyone for everything.”

6. Andy Kennedy earned his 170th win as the head coach at Ole Miss.

7. Vanderbilt blew another second-half lead in its loss to Ole Miss.

Auburn 69 – Texas A&M 64. Video Highlights

8. It was a rare road win for Auburn, which only had one other road victory in the SEC before Saturday.

9. Texas A&M guard Alex Caruso: “We’re not winning enough games right now.”

Tennessee 72 – Missouri 45. Video Highlights

10. Is Tennessee an NCAA tournament team? Cuonzo Martin: “Yes, but you’ve got to keep going.”

11. Missouri guard Jordan Clarkson after the game: “They blew us out. There’s not much you could say, really.”

12. “Frustration” was the mood Missouri coach Frank Haith used to describe his team.

South Carolina 74 – Mississippi State 62.

13. South Carolina’s Brenton Williams scored a game-high 27 points to help lead the Gamecocks on the road.

14. Mississippi State coach Rick Ray after the game: “We’re not very good. I mean, it’s just as simple as that.”

Alabama 83 – Arkansas 58.

15. Alabama dominated from the very beginning. “We played hard for 40 minutes,” guard Trevor Releford said.

16. The big win on Senior Day felt like the start of something special for Alabama, writes Kevin Scarbinsky.

17. “Scoring was the issue” for Arkansas, coach Mike Anderson said.

Georgia 69 – LSU 61.

18. Georgia finished the regular season with its most SEC wins since 1990.

19. LSU forward Jarell Martin credited the physical play of Georgia for the Bulldogs’ win.

20. LSU hopes it can turn things around when it goes to the SEC tournament.

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SEC Hoops Roundup 3/8/2014

gfx-hoops-round-up2Kentucky at Florida

1. As the Gators go for perfection in conference play, this Florida senior class has racked up some amazing numbers.  Another major milestone awaits.

2. Kentucky coach John Calipari on the challenge facing his team: ”It’s not going to be easy. There is nothing that’s going to be easy about it.”

Vanderbilt at Ole Miss

3. Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings can’t understand  why some of his players are hesitant to shoot the ball.  ”There is a reluctance and you’re not sure why it exists.”

4. The “Marshall Henderson Show” is almost over.  Last home game for the Ole Miss senior guard.

Auburn at Texas A&M

5. At one point the SEC’s leading scorer, Auburn guard Chris Denson has scored just nine points in his last two games.

6. Status of senior guard Fabyon Harris uncertain today.  Coach Billy Kennedy: ”He’s limited in what he can do, so we are still unsure what he will be able to do.”

Missouri at Tennessee

7. Sitting on the bubble, a victory at Tennessee would be huge for Missouri’s NCAA Tournament chances.  Coach Frank Haith: “They’re an NCAA Tournament team, so if you beat them twice it definitely helps you.”

8. Tennessee is playing some its best basketball of the year.  But is this a “play-out” game for both these teams?

South Carolina at Mississippi State

9. Suspended South Carolina coach Frank Martin apologized Friday afternoon. “I understand that I represent this university and I have a duty to conduct myself in a certain way.”

10. Mississippi State senior Colin Borchert on what he’s learned from coach Rick Ray: “The biggest thing I’m going to take from is how you can succeed when you come from nothing.”

Arkansas at Alabama

11. Streaking Arkansas trying to win its fourth straight SEC road game.  Best Razorbacks road team in 20 years?

12. Last home game for Alabama guard Trevor Releford.  Coach Anthony Grant: ”He’s 6-foot on the outside but he’s like 6-8 on the inside.”

Georgia at LSU

13. A win for Georgia locks down third place in the SEC and a double-bye in the conference tournament.

14. LSU senior guard Andre Stringer is “the final vestige of the Tigers’ failed resurrection plan four years ago under former coach Trent Johnson.”

Extra

15. The Antlers at Missouri and other student groups get attention from ESPN’s Outside The Lines this weekend.

 

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SEC Headlines 3/7/2014

headlines-friSEC Football

1. Debate over number of conference games almost over.  Commissioner Mike Slive says decision for 2016 and beyond will come by the SEC spring meetings in May.

2. If a targeting penalty is overturned this fall, player will remain in game AND 15-yard penalty will no longer apply.

3. Nick Saban may deny it but Steve Spurrier still believes the 10-second delay rule originated with the Alabama coach: “He’s the guy that went out there and got them to put it on the table for discussion.”

4. Chris Low:  ”Saban will remain the lightning rod in this debate…”

5. Saban likes his group of early enrollees.“I’ve been really impressed with the eight freshmen that we have here.”

6. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin wouldn’t elaborate on Thursday’s dismissal of defensive back  Kameron Miles. ”There was a release today. That’s about it.”

7. There’s a change in style of quarterback at LSU: “the era of the statuesque purple and gold pocket passer looks like it has gone the way of single bar facemasks.”

8. Big focus for Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason - his footwork.

9. How is new Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt changing things?  Let us count the ways.

10. Kentucky makes it official - Craig Naivar is the new special teams coordinator and safeties coach

11. A low-key start as South Carolina begins spring practice.

12. He’s Deterrian – Not D.T. – Shackelford and he’ll begin his sixth season at Ole Miss this fall.

13. Three things to watch in spring practice at Tennessee.  Is this a 5-to-7 win team?

14. Coach Butch Jones: “They’re eager. They’re willing. They have no bad habits right now. They hang on everything you say.”

15. Six trends to watch in spring practice at Missouri.  Who will be the leaders of this Tigers team?

Stadiums and Alcohol

16. Ron Higgins on beer and ball games: “SEC athletic directors need to walk a straight line slowly and carefully when discussing selling at beer in stadiums.”

17. Kevin Scarbinsky: “I’m not sure the most passionate state in the nation needs any more of a buzz when it comes to college football.”

SEC/NFL

18. Johnny Manziel signs a multi-year deal with Nike - reportedly highest price paid for a rookie in this year’s class.

19. Clearing up some misinformation about the health of Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandjio.

SEC Basketball

20. Florida is a win away from SEC history – a perfect 18-0 conference.  Kentucky is the only thing standing in its way.

21. LSU was 17-0 in SEC play in 1981 when it lost to Kentucky at Rupp Arena.

22. Auburn A.D. Jay Jacobs demanded “significant improvement.” Has Tony Barbee delivered?

23. During the current Arkansas hot streak, reserve guard  Anthlon Bell has caught fire.

24. Like a lot of SEC teams, Missouri tends to win at home and lose on the road.  ”This team hasn’t given us any reason to expect any more or less.”

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Defensive End Jennings Chooses Alabama

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxDefensive end Anfernee Jennings from Dadeville (Ala.) High School committed to Alabama on Thursday.

Jennings received a scholarship offer from the Crimson Tide during a visit to Tuscaloosa last weekend. He only needed a few days to pull the trigger on his commitment.

“I just felt like it was time,” Jennings told AL.com. “(Alabama) is the place that suits me and where I fit in the best. Not only will they help me become a greater football player, but become the man I would love to be later on in life.

“I kept praying about it and will continue to.”

Jennings, whose offer list includes Arkansas, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Arizona State and Louisville, will continue to consider other schools. He said he plans to take all five official visits this fall, according to AL.com.

Alabama will continue to recruit Jennings to keep him from going elsewhere. He was a key target for the Crimson Tide after coaches were able to evaluate him in person, according to Andrew Bone of TideSports.com. He wrote in part:

“(Jennings) has the ability to do a lot of different things. He can play defensive end or linebacker. He has been coached well throughout his high school career.  He knows and understands the game.  He knows how to shoot his hands and fight off blocks.  He is an aggressive defender coming off the ball.”

Jennings is the eighth prospect to commit to Alabama’s 2015 class, which is ranked No. 2 in the nation behind Texas A&M in the Rivals Team Rankings.

 

Dean chooses Arkansas

Defensive end Daytrieon Dean committed to Arkansas last weekend.

Read the rest of this entry »

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SEC Spring Football Primer

As spring practice gets going across the SEC, what are the key story lines to watch? Sports Illustrated’s Ben Glicksman breaks down several that bear watching: the Alabama offense, Florida’s new offensive coordinator, and big shoes to fill at Auburn and Texas A&M.




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SEC Headlines 3/5/2014

headlines-wedSEC Football

1. Ole Miss All-SEC linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche suspended for season opener against Boise State.  Will also not participate in spring arrest after recent arrest. Bobby Hill no longer on the team.

2. Georgia will face a short-handed Clemson team in its opener.  Tigers suspend four players – including two returning starters. “That’s a nice change for the Bulldogs, who have been mocked before by certain SEC coaches for almost always having multiple players suspended early in the season.”

3. Tennessee wide receiver Alton “Pig” Howard taking a leave of absence from team. Coach Butch Jones says he’s ”dealing with some personal circumstances.”

4. Tennessee fifth-year senior defensive tackle Gregory Clark won’t be on Vols roster this fall - imoving on with his post-college career. Are  A.J. Johnson and Curt Maggitt one of the best linebacking duos in the conference?

5. Five players who won’t be returning to Missouri this fall.

6. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier on proposed 10-second rule: “I’ve heard they’ve hopefully tabled it, but I’m not sure.”

7. There are several ways to impact safety in college football that have nothing to do with tempo.

8. Five SEC quarterback battles to watch this spring.

9. The majority of Florida’s spring practices will be open to the public this year.

10. Auburn hires a high school coach as director of high school relations.

11. Matt Hayes gives us 68 reasons why college football is better than college basketball.

12. Who gets back on top first - Alabama football coach Nick Saban or Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari?  ”The smart money would be on Saban.”

SEC/NFL

13. Pro day today at Arkansas - 14 former Razorbacks participating.

14. List of players that participated in Texas A&M’s pro day this morning – Johnny Manziel will have a separate workout later this month.

15. At Auburn’s pro day on Tuesday, 17 players took part. Former player Demetruce McNeal explains the circumstances of his dismissal prior to the season.

16. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn: “Each year, we’ll have guys that go to the next level.”

SEC Basketball

17. As Florida goes for conference perfection Saturday, ticket prices reportedly skyrocketing.

18. Texas A&M at Missouri.  Aggies have won just one true road game all year - at Tennessee.

19. Can Missouri’s Keanau Post build of his breakout game against Mississippi State Saturday?  “It has been a lot more difficult than I thought.”

20. Mizzou’s Senior Night won’t feature a single player who’s spent his entire career with the Tigers.

21. Mississippi State at Georgia.  MSU hasn’t won a road game since last January - and it came at Georgia.

22. Georgia a game ahead of Tennessee and Arkansas in SEC standings - what happens if they end in a three-way tie?

23. Ole Miss at Arkansas. Bud Walton Arena tough place to play for most - but Andy Kennedy’s teams have won four straight there.

24. Tennessee at Auburn.  Expect a close game. None of the four teams to win at Auburn did so by more than eight points

25. Final home game for Georgia’s Donte’ Williams.

26. C.M. Newton on Trevor Lacey’s transfer from Alabama to North Carolina State: ”The Lacey kid leaving the Alabama program was a mistake on everybody’s part, in my opinion. The kid should have stayed right here.”

27. Our earlier roundup of Tuesday night SEC hoops action.

Extra

28. Dementia and 83-year old Dean Smith.

29. Jay Bilas on playing professionally in Italy: “At halftime I went in the locker room and three of my teammates were smoking cigarettes. It was different.”

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SEC Football Coaches “Structure” An Attack On Proposed Slowdown Rule

gfx-they-said-it4If you’ve noticed many of the up-tempo-inclined football coaches of the SEC saying many of the same things regarding a proposed rule change to slow down the game… there’s a reason.  Several of the league’s coaches have been working the media and members of the Football Rules Committee with a similar script.

On Tuesday, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze had this to say regarding a proposal to allow 10 seconds for defensive substitutions between plays:

 

“We’ve kind of structured a nationwide attack of how we’ll go about (getting our) voices heard before this is final.  From our conference, Coach (Kevin) Sumlin, Gus (Malzahn), myself and Coach (Butch) Jones ahve led the way the most and Coach (Steve) Spurrier.  We divided up names that we were going to call that we felt like had an interest in this.”

 

The battle over the rule — a battle that will be won by the no-huddle, up-tempo coaches, by the way — is being fought squarely in the Southeastern Conference.  While the aforementioned coaches are against the rule, Nick Saban and Bret Bielema have made it clear they’re in favor of it.  Saban because of injury risk and officials not being in the proper position to view hurry-up plays; Beilema for every reason under the sun, including “death.”  Literally.

Freeze added: “There’s a very important conference call tomorrow that the rules committee is maybe being instructed to reconvene and be sure their thoughts are all the same after the feedback has been received.  We’ll see if they continue after their meeting or whatever it is tomorrow; if they get together and decide this is going to move forward then we hope and pray that the prop committee see that there’s not adequate evidence under the umbrella of player safety to push that rule through in a non-rule change year.”

Air Force coach Troy Calhoun — the head of the committee — has already said publicly that he does not believe the proposed rule will be approved without “pretty resounding (evidence)” that “it is a safety concern.”  To date, no such evidence has been put forward.  Which is why we don’t think this thing should be of very much concern for fans of no-huddle, up-tempo teams.

Though fighting against a windmill at this point, Saban has finally began pushing the rather obvious point that we have shared in recent weekslogic dictates that playing more plays increases the risk of injury.

“The fastball guys (up-tempo coaches) say there’s no data out there, and I guess you have to use some logic,” Alabama’s coach told ESPN.  ”What’s the logic?  If you smoke one cigarette, do you have the same chances of getting cancer if you smoke 20?  I guess there’s not study that specifically says that.  But logically, we would say, ‘Yeah, there probably is.’”

But without evidence, there will be no rule change this year.

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