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SEC Headlines 4/13/2014

headlines-sun3-150x150SEC Spring Games

1. Expect a very different Florida offense this fall. “The Gators will come at opponents quickly, and also in waves.”

2. Florida coach Will Muschamp on the progress of his offense:  ”I think you can attribute all that to [new coordinator] Kurt Roper and the offensive staff and the job they’ve done.

3. Josh Dobbs impressive at quarterback for Tennessee but coach Butch Jones in no hurry to name a starter. ”No timetable.”

4. But what about the other side of the ball? “It was a tough day for the defense.”

5. Mark Bradley on Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason’s performance: “He missed on some deep throws, but he hit on enough of them to kindle hope…(that he could) lead the Bulldogs to an SEC title as a first-year starter.”

6. Safety Tray Matthews missed the game with hamstring issues. Coach Mark Richt: “We probably need to re-evaluate what we’re doing with him…And he’s probably gotta take some ownership of it too.”

7. Dan Mullen on Mississippi State’s spring game: “We got to see, which is what I wanted, a lot of young players put in situations that maybe they haven’t been in before in this stadium. Lingering question is inconsistent kicking game.

8. Freshman running back Ralph Webb a star of Vanderbilt’s spring game.

9. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier called a touchdown pass to women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley “the best play” of the scrimmage (around the 1:50 mark).

SEC Football

10. Missouri running back Marcus Murphy on Dorial Green-Beckham’s dismissal.   ”I just hope it helps people to realize the things they can and can’t do and just how to carry themselves.

11. Coach Gary Pinkel: “It’s not a real fun day to be a head football coach.”

12. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema on A.J. Derby’s transition from quarterback to tight end. “I don’t think you could find a happier person on this earth right now than A.J. Derby. He’s loving it.”

13. At Alabama’s second scrimmage, quarterback Blake Sims continued to separate himself from the current competition ahead of Jacob Coker’s arrival.

14. Quarterbacks Drew Barker and Patrick Towles generate buzz at Kentucky’s scrimmage.

15 Auburn coach Gus Malzahn on next Saturday’s spring game“It’s going to be exactly like it was last spring game and we’re going to put the ball down and we’re going to get after it.”

16. Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason’s mural gets a makeover.

17. Paul Finebaum apologizes to Jadeveon Clowney for calling him the ”the biggest joke in college football” last season.

18. Former LSU player Tahj Jones participated in LSU’s Pro Day on Wednesday – he was  reportedly shot by former LSU player Brandon Winey on Friday night. Gunshot to the abdomen and in serious condition.

SEC Basketball

19. Glynn Cyprien  is no longer Billy Kennedy’s associate head coach at Texas A&M. “Sometimes it’s best for both parties to go their different ways.”

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SEC Headlines 4/9/2014

headlines-wedSEC Football

1. Tennessee coach Butch Jones on the team’s Sunday night opener against Utah State: “We’re very, very excited about that. It’s also a great opportunity to perform on the SEC Network.”

2. Tennessee quarterbacks Justin Worley and Riley Ferguson took first- and second-team reps, respectively, on Tuesday.

3. Georgia and Notre Dame reportedly working on a home-and-home series starting in 2018. A.D. Greg McGarity: “We talk with a lot of institutions about future scheduling and Notre Dame is one of them.”

4. Bulldogs turn to fans for playcalling help?

5. Judge says Auburn fan was guilty of disorderly conduct when he stormed the field following the Iron Bowl. His attorney asks why his behavior was any different than thousands of others.

6. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn’s message to his team: “The big thing is we needed to be more physical.”

7. Florida coach Will Muschamp on quarterback Jeff Driskel: “He’s throwing the ball very accurately.”

8. Over the weekend, Alabama coach Nick Saban mentioned three quarterbacks by name.  Yesterday, he left one of them out.

9. Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason on Aaron Murray: “I think one of the great things is he kind of just passed the torch,”

10. Injuries taking their toll on spring practice at Missouri.  Coach Gary Pinkel: “We had to cut our reps back a little bit…”

11. South Carolina All-SEC freshman kicker Elliot Fry is now on scholarship. ”It’s awesome, obviously. Love it.”

12. Mississippi State’s Justin Cox is moving back to safety.  “I can see the field. Free safety was my first love.”

13. Arkansas linebacker Otha Peters is changing numbers.  “Five, I felt like, was a curse,”

14. Ole Miss had its spring game early in order to get a full month with the strength and conditioning coordinator.

15. The long-time PA announcer at Neyland Stadium has died.  Bobby Denton had been battling cancer.

16. Steve Spurrier and the advantages of living close to Augusta, Georgia.

SEC/NFL

17. Big turnout expected today at LSU’s pro day. Seventeen players on display with all 32 NFL teams expected in attendance.

SEC Basketball

18. Tim Sullivan on John Calipari rumors: “Was Rex Chapman wrong? Too soon to say.”

19. Regardless of how many players Kentucky loses to the NBA draft, expectations will still be high in Lexington next season. Wildcats at 12-1 to win it all in 2015.  Arizona the favorite at 6-1.

20. Arkansas guard Dee Wagner is transferring.

21. Missouri assistant coach Mark Phelps leaving for a job on the Marquette staff.

Extra

22. UMass guard Derrick Gordon says he’s gay.

23. Are you ready for the AJ McCarron/Katherine Webb reality television show?  

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SEC Headlines 3/16/2014

headlines-sun3-150x150SEC Football

1. Arkansas opens spring practice today.  Coach Bret Bielema: “I can’t wait. I think our kids have been chomping at the bit.”

2. Georgia’s new defensive era under coordinator Jeremy Pruitt begins with spring practice starting Tuesday.

3. Tennessee coach Butch Jones on five-star running back recruit Jalen Hurd: ”I thought Jalen Hurd really started to run like we expect him to run.”

4. Missouri defensive end Shane Ray on the plan for him and teammate Markus Golden: ”We hope to have two All-Americans, two first-round draft picks. That’s the plan.”

5. Alabama coach Nick Saban on the Crimson Tide quarterback battle: “It’s going to be a long time in us developing those players…”

6. Alabama redshirt freshman wide receiver ArDarius Stewart experimenting as a safety. Backup center Chad Lindsay plans to transfer.

7. Special teams a focus for Auburn in spring practice as the Tigers have to replace both their kicker and punter.

SEC Basketball

8. Is Alabama coach Anthony Grant the first coach on the hot seat for the 2014-2015 season?

9. Cecil Hurt: “SEC basketball, unless you are at Florida and Kentucky, is a tough world, and it chews up coaches — even good coaches — pretty quickly.”

10. Key for next Auburn coach? “You have to have some Auburn in you or it’s not going to work.”

11. Florida coach Billy Donovan on the one-and-done rule: “College basketball coaches and programs are taking on all the risks.”

12. Kentucky guard James Young on today’s matchup with Florida: “We’re glad we got them. And we’re just going to fight and leave it all out on the court.”

13. Last time Kentucky lost three times to the same team in a season?  Tennessee in 1978-79.

14. Bracketology breakdown with three SEC teams in NCAA Tournament – Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee. Arkansas and Missouri among first five out.

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SEC Headlines 3/8/2014

headlines-saturdaySEC Football

1. Report: Dan Mullen and Mississippi State in contract talk extensions.

2. Texas coach Charlie Strong wants to renew the rivalry with Texas A&M.  ”When there’s been so much tradition there, you’d like to see it continue on.”

3. No Johnny Manziel but still plenty of options at quarterback for the Texas A&M.

4. John Theus is moving from right tackle to left tackle for Georgia.

5. Tennessee coach Butch Jones on competition at the quarterback spot:  ”That competition, that’s how you get better, that’s how you grow.”

6. Plenty of options at running back for Ole Miss.

7. Early signing period for college football?

SEC/NFL

8. Couple of NFL draft analysts now have Johnny Manziel going fourth overall to the Cleveland Browns.

SEC Basketball

9. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive: “One of the primary focuses that we have is changing the perception of our basketball over the next several years.”

10. Andy Staples on Florida: “These Gators won’t overwhelm anyone with their athleticism, but they might overwhelm a team with their defensive stubbornness.”

11. Auburn A.D. Jay Jacobs will sit down with coach Tony Barbee at the end of the season.  Is his job in jeopardy?

12. An argument to keep South Carolina coach Frank Martin suspended until he cleans up his “expletive act.”

13. If LSU beats Georgia today, Tigers will clinch the sixth seed in the SEC Tournament. And if Georgia loses and Tennesse wins, Vols claim third place in the SEC.

14. Missouri has received more points and rebounds from this freshmen class than any of the past four seasons.

15. Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy on the future of his program: “I’m really high on some of our young guys.”

16. Jerry Palm on bubble teams and potential bid stealers.

Extra

17. Paul Finebaum’s book on the SEC goes on sale in August.  Here’s a look at the cover.

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SEC Headlines 2/22/2014

headlines-saturday1. Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason discussing suspended assistant Vavae Tata:  “In terms of coaching football with the Vanderbilt Commodores this year, it’s not going to happen.”  Later clarified: “I’ll just stick by my statement that he’s suspended right now.”

2. Tennessee coach Butch Jones on the proposed 10-second rule in college football: “I think it’s the equivalent of telling a basketball team you can’t full-court press.”

3. Charges of resisting arrest dropped against Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson in exchange for community service and good behavior in the next 90 days.

4. Perhaps the biggest surprise of an Alabama poll on SEC quarterbacks?  The love for Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk.

5. Just ONE -an interesting question for college fans to ponder.

SEC/NFL

6. Gil Brandt on Johnny Manziel: “He might be 5-11 and 3/4 but he plays like he’s 10-foot tall.”

7. Mike Mayock on Manziel: “When he got frustrated with not being able to get out of the pocket quickly enough, his accuracy and decision-making would suffer.”

8. The St. Louis Rams found some bad resume tape on Auburn tackle Greg Robinson: “I told them you can look at my later film and I improved it.”

9. LSU’s Jeremy Hill sent a letter to every NFL team explaining his off-field incidents and attaching character references.

10. South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington on his final performance as a Gamecock:  ”That was the game that kind of sealed the deal, if I was going to stay or come back.”

11. Breaking down the measurements on the Tennessee players at the NFL Combine.

SEC Basketball

12. In football, 10 SEC coaches crack the top 25 highest-paid list.  In basketball, just five of them do.

13. MrSEC: Hold off on this firings…no one wants your school’s crappy job.

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SEC Headlines 2/6/2014

headlines-thuSEC Recruiting

1. “There’s no way for Auburn to spin this one… Losing Rashaan Evans to Alabama hurts.” Video of Auburn coaches reacting to the news.

2. Defensive tackle prospect Elisa Shaw suffered what’s believed to be a career-ending injury.  He’ll get a medical hardship scholarship from Alabama.

3. First time ever? “Less than one-third of the 2014 Alabama and Auburn football signing classes come from the state of Alabama.”

4. Stewart Mandel on Alabama: “For Saban, it’s certainly easier to entice kids to leave home when flashing four BCS championship rings.”

5. A focus at Auburn this year was on the defensive line.

6. Butch Jones on the Tennessee class: “I want to guard against all of the expectations that are going to come with this recruiting class.”

7. New Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason talks recruiting class and a little Tennessee smack.

8. One view of the LSU class: “The nation’s best prospect and perhaps the best high school player in Louisiana’s storied history will spend his college years in Baton Rouge. ”

9. Strong finish for the class at Georgia.

10. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel on recruiting rankings: “I bet we’ve been averaging being ranked somewhere in the 30s, but in the last seven years we’re eighth in the nation in winning.”

11. Key for Kentucky - winning in-state recruiting battles.

12. Big key to recruiting success at Texas A&M?  Defensive line coach Terry Price.

13. South Carolina recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier, Jr. ”Players know if they come to South Carolina, they can play at the highest level.”

14. ESPN’s Tom Luginbill: “Where I think South Carolina’s really done a nice job is readdressing defensive secondary areas as well as the defensive front seven.” Good enough for the SEC?

15. Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman on the Razorbacks class: “You know I can’t do a cartwheel. But in my mind I was doing them. And a back flip.”

16. View from Ole Miss: “There was no way this year could top the excitement of last year.”

17. Mississippi State went 1-for-2 in flipped commitments Wednesday.

18. Athlon Sports names 10 freshmen likely to make impact in 2014.  Six of the 10 are in the SEC.

19. Just how competitive is the recruiting process?  When Garrett Brumfield committed to LSU, his parents got a call from a Florida assistant coach within seven minutes.  

SEC Football

20. Georgia’s overhaul of its defensive coaching staff looks to be complete.  Mike Ekeler is coming over from Southern Cal to coach inside linebackers.

21. Randy Shannon is now the senior associate head coach at Arkansas.  Search continues for a defensive coordinator.

22. Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel expected to be ready for spring practice. Running back Matt Jones had another surgery this week.

Coaches Talk Recruiting Classes

23. Will Muschamp on the Florida class.

24. Kevin Sumlin on the Texas A&M class.

25. Derek Mason on the Vanderbilt class.

26. Gus Malzahn on the Auburn class.

27. Butch Jones on the Tennessee class

SEC Basketball

28. Chris Walker’s long road to Florida.  Abandoned by his biological parents, raised by his grandmother until she died when he was 12.

29. LSU point guard Anthony Hickey’s role has changed with this year’s team.

Extra

30. Welcome to Russia.  Surveillance video in the shower?

31. USA Today mock draft.  Johnny Manziel goes No. 1 overall to the Houston Texans.

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Butch Jones: A “No Drama” Signing Day

Tennessee coach Butch Jones meets the media to discuss National Signing Day 2014. (Note: Audio kicks in around the 1:20 mark)

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Tennessee Lands 4-Star DT Sawyers

PLAYER UPDATETennessee is the only school in the nation that will have to replace every starter along both its offensive and defensive lines next season.  Out of 125, the Vols are the only ones facing that huge challenge.

So receiving the faxed paperwork from 4-star defensive tackle Michael Sawyers out of Nashville is a big catch for Butch Jones’ monster class.

Vanderbilt fans have to be disappointed.  Not only did Sawyers decommit from the Dores once James Franklin left, but now he’ll be facing them every season decked out in bright orange.

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SEC Headlines 12/20/2013

headlines-fri1. The “what-if” game at Alabama.  Quarterback AJ McCarron’s No. 2 school was Oklahoma.

2. Nick Saban has suspended linebacker Xzavier Dickson and running back Alvin Kamara for the Sugar Bowl.

3. Alabama is bringing in two more JUCO transfers for the defensive line.  That’s been a common occurrence in the Saban era.

4. Florida has a new special teams coordinator. Coleman Hutzler replaces Jeff Choate - who’s joining Chris Peterson’s staff at Washington. Just four coaches remain from Will Muschamp’s original staff.

5. How does Florida’s offensive line look heading into 2014?

6. Recognition for Georgia’s Mike Bobo - named Offensive Coordinator of the Year.

7. Georgia A.D. Greg McGarity thinks the school will end up selling about 7,500 of its 15,000 ticket allotment for the Gator Bowl.

8. The “what-if” game of Georgia’s secondary includes Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall.

9. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn on his team: “I think if you look at our entire schedule, I would like to think we are battle-tested.”

10. Auburn t-shirt “censors” loss to LSU.

11. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema on threats his wife received after tweeting “#Karma” after Wisconsin lost to Arizona State:  ”The only thing I was concerned about her was just her safety. … People are today a little off. ”

12. Tennessee coach Butch Jones on recruiting efforts and expectations for 2014.  ”We cannot fix all of our deficiencies in a recruiting class. It takes time. ”

13. Running back Tom Smith, defensive back Tino Thomas and wide receiver Paul Harris leaving the Tennessee program.

14. Mississippi State defensive line coach David Turner on freshman Chris Jones: “He’s a freak. He can be as good as he wants to be.”

15. Ole Miss scout team doing cut-block drills to get the Rebels ready to face Georgia Tech’s triple-option attack.

16. Depth issues in the secondary at LSU have cornerback Jalen Mills ready to play safety.

17 There may be some title changes, but Kentucky coach Mark Stoops thinks his staff will stay intact. 

18. Missouri agrees to a home-and-home series with Purdue starting in 2017.

19. Mizzou wide receiver L’Damian Washington’s treatment for turf toe includes time in the cold tub, hot tub and five daily massages.

20. SEC Heisman sleeper candidates for 2014?  Here are five names to consider.

SEC Basketball

21. Florida coach Billy Donovan on expectations for freshman Chris Walker: “Chris is going to be a very, very good player. But he has not played competitive basketball since February.”

22. More Donovan: “Scottie Wilbekin is as good as there is a defender on the perimeter in the country.”

23. It’s Missouri vs. Illinois Saturday in St. Louis Saturday - an annual game with a raucous atmosphere.

24. David Climer on Bruce Pearl and Tennessee: “Forget about him. He’s not coming back. Get over it.” MrSEC: “Coach Cunzo Martin is in trouble.”

25. Kentucky point guard Andrew Harrison on the team’s less-than-stellar start.  “I think now we have a chip on our shoulder.”

26. Stephen Covey: “Begin with the end in mind.”  John Calipari: “You can change how you approach the end.”

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Tennessee AD Hart “Very Pleased With Where The Program Is Headed”

gfx - they said itThe record was the same.  Tennessee finished 5-7 in Butch Jones’ first year, same as Derek Dooley’s record in his final season in Knoxville.  But that’s just about where the comparisons end between the Vols’ new coach and their old one.

Just ask athletic director, Dave Hart, the man who made the switch from one to the other:

 

“I think Butch Jones has verified everything that we thought he would bring to the team.  He has galvanized all of our constituents.  He’s a tireless worker with unlimited energy, it seems.  I’m very pleased with where the program is headed…

We very much have the same goals, the same priorities.  That won’t be a snap-your-fingers and it’s done (fix).  But eventually there’s no question we’ll get to our destination…

I see (the players’) understanding of what it’s going to take to get the program back where we all want it.  And we will get it back to where we all want it.”

 

That will be easier said than done.  Phillip Fulmer went a decade without an SEC crown and suffered through two losing seasons in his last four as the talent level at UT dipped.  Lane Kiffin then tried to put out the fire with gasoline, annihilating the Volunteer roster by leaving after only one season.  A panicked hire of Dooley — a coach with a losing record at Louisiana Tech — and Jones took over a program lacking depth, talent and speed on its roster.  He also inherited a fanbase that ran out of patience long before his arrival.

But Tennessee got a “signature” win with the SEC’s biggest upset of the year over South Carolina.  The team’s academics improved as the school narrowly avoided APR-related sanctions.  Jones has won over ex-Vol lettermen who were practically banned from campus under Kiffin and Dooley.  And most importantly, he’s done a good enough job selling UT’s history and facilities to build the nation’s #2 ranked recruiting class.

Still, coaches are judged by wins and Volunteer fans aren’t likely to enjoy what will probably be another six- or seven-loss team next year.  If Jones can weather some unfair grumbling, his third team should begin to show improvement in 2015.  At that point, we’ll begin to see if Hart is right about the man he hired last December.

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