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SEC Headlines 1/27/2014

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1. It’s finally official: quarterback Jacob Coker will transfer from Florida State to Alabama.

2. Coker has a “good plan in place” to get ready for the quarterback competition at Alabama.

3. LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron shot down reports that he will join the Cleveland Browns.

4. Pat Dooley has winners and losers following college football’s silly season for coaches.

5. Georgia is waiting on the NCAA to clear up questions on non-coaching staff members working at football programs.

6. Missouri’s system president plans to ask for an independent review of the football program’s handling of an alleged sexual assault in 2010.

SEC Basketball

7. Mississippi State coach Rick Ray apologized to Marshall Henderson for yelling at Henderson on Saturday. Ray: “I was totally at fault.”

8. Ole Miss suffered a “major blow” by losing guard Martavious Newby to a broken hand injury.

9. There are several SEC teams behind Florida and Kentucky with similar resumes. They aren’t overly impressive.

10. Florida is up to No. 4 in the CBS Sports top 25 (and one). Kentucky is the only other SEC team on the list.

11. Guard Michael Frazier II is providing plenty of versatility for Florida.

12. Tennessee’s basketball team is going to struggle when guard Jordan McRae is unable to score.

13. “Year 3 is a crossroads” for Vols coach Cuonzo Martin, writes David Climer.

Extra

14. Seniors have stolen from the spotlight from the highly-touted freshmen this college basketball season.

15. No. 1 Arizona beat Utah 65-56 on Sunday. The Wildcats improved their record to 20-0 on the season.

16. North Carolina’s hoops team beat Clemson on Sunday. The Tar Heels are 57-0 at home against Clemson.

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Bama’s Saban Has Plenty Of Praise For LSU’s Mettenberger

Zach-Mettenberger-PicturesZach Mettenberger’s hot start under new LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was one of the big stories of the SEC’s first few weeks.  The senior QB has cooled a bit of late, but don’t tell that to Nick Saban, whose Alabama team will host LSU and Mettenberger next weekend:

 

“I think he’s played really, really well this year so far.  They’ve got a very, very talented offense.  Balance.  They can run it, throw it.  They’ve got big-play guys.

He’s the guy that makes it all happen based on how he executes what they do.  He’s probably playing as well as any quarterback in our league…

They’ve got really good skill players outside.  Zach does a really good job of executing their offense.  He’s got a good arm.  He’s a good thrower.  He’s a very accurate passer, and he throws the ball to the right place.”

 

Saban went on to say that the Bayou Bengals will provide “a tremendous challenge” to his Crimson Tide.

As for Mettenberger, six of his interceptions on the year have come in the last four weeks.  Through LSU’s first six games, he had completed 68.1% of his passes for an average of 289.6 yards per contest.  Against Florida, Ole Miss and Furman the last three weeks, Mettenberger has completed 59.4% of his passes and his yards-per-game average has dropped to 251.3.

A September to October comparison also shows that LSU’s starting quarterback had a passer rating of 187.75 in the season’s first month, but a rating of 163.78 in the month ending today.

Are these drop-offs huge?  No.  But they do bear watching.  Especially with Mettenberger going up against one of the nation’s best defenses up next.

 

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Pass Happy? LSU Will Still Lean On Its Power Run Game Against TCU

lsu-running-gameMuch of the talk in Baton Rouge this offseason has centered on quarterback Zach Mettenberger, new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, and a new commitment to the passing game.  That’s all well and good, but Les Miles is still the head coach, not Mike Leach.

When LSU faces TCU’s 4-2-5 defensive scheme on Saturday, expect the Tigers to try to crank up their traditional power run game early and often.  “Coach Miles emphasized in the meeting we’ve got to be able to run and pass the football,” tailback Alfred Blue told The Baton Rouge Advocate.  “In the past we’ve been pretty good at running the football here, and he’s trying to get that passing game going more.”

“We’ve just got to keep running physical and get those tough yards if they stack the box,” Blue continued.  “It’s those three or four yards, and eventually they’ll back off once we start throwing the football.  Once they do that, who knows?”

“There’s a lot of outside zone and outside toss plays that we can do to get out on that edge.  If they want us to stack that middle and allow us to get that edge, so be it.  I’d rather the edge anyway.”

Coaches rarely change their DNA.  And Miles is a man wired to run first, pass second.  Below are LSU’s run-versus-pass numbers for the last five seasons:

 

2012 — 527 rushes, 356 passes

2011 — 591 rushes, 279 passes

2010 — 538 rushes, 301 passes

2009 — 435 rushes, 336 passes

2008 — 495 rushes, 391 passes

 

Cameron and Mettenberger may toss the ball around the yard a bit more this season, but as running back Kenny Hilliard said this week: “That’s what we do here.  We pound the ball.”

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SEC Headlines 8/16/2013

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1. A question at LSU.  Will Les Miles grant offensive coordinator Cam Cameron the same autonomy he does defensive coordinator John Chavis?  ”Miles has been guilty of meddling in the past.”

2. Could true freshman Ethan Pocic earn the starting center job at LSU?

3. Lineman Austin Long has lost his academic eligibility at Georgia.

4. What is South Carolina trying to do with quarterbacks Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson? “If we tell you guys (the media), we might as well tell the whole world.”

5. Your reaction to Tennessee’s new uniforms may come down to how old you are. Depending on how the Vols play, Butch Jones will be viewed as a “clueless maverick” or a “creative genius.”

6. Texas A&M University System chancellor John Sharp is defending Johnny Manziel: “I don’t believe the stories I hear from ticket brokers and people like that.” ESPN analyst Desmond Howard: ”They didn’t do this with Terrelle Pryor or A.J. Green.”

7. Florida defensive end Dante Fowler on 6-8, 363 pound offensive lineman Trenton Brown: “I never want Trenton to fall on me. If he does, I’m pretty sure my body will be imprinted in the grass.”

8. Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash on defensive tackle Darius Philon: “He’s actually been one of the more surprise players here in training camp…”

9. The formidable challenge facing Gus Malzhan always comes back to a certain in-state rival: “If possible, Alabama’s stronger now than it was when Malzahn took the Auburn job eight months ago.”

10. Nick Saban on junior offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio: “I don’t think I’ve seen anybody more dedicated or determined, work harder.”

11. Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee on Kiehl Frazier’s transition to safety: ”He’s a phenomenal athlete. I think being a quarterback will help him pick things up pretty quick.”

12. Expect Vanderbilt to expand the offensive playbook this fall.

13. Lacking depth at the position, Ole Miss tries to creative in its approach to tight ends.

14. Missouri senior receiver  L’Damian Washington has gone from 160 to 200 pounds in the last four years.  ”I think a lot of that credit goes to (strength) coach (Pat) Ivey, putting on 40 pounds (on me) and getting (me) faster. That’s remarkable.” Bruised his heel this morning.

15. Senior Raymond Sanders the likely starter at running back for Kentucky.

Practice Notes

16. Tennessee coach Butch Jones says junior cornerback  Riyahd Jones may be out a while with a calf injury. “It could be a couple of months.”

17. Alabama freshman running back Alvin Kamara had his knee scoped Thursday – expected back in a couple of weeks.

18. Trio of freshmen steal the show at Thursday night’s Mississippi State scrimmage.

19. More than a thousand fans turn out to watch Florida practice Thursday night. Gators freshman defensive back Vernon Hargreaves has a sprained shoulder.

20. Florida coach Will Muschamp on today’s scrimmage: ”This is going to be moving day for a lot of guys.”

21. Georgia starting free safety Tray Matthews returns to practice – limited by shoulder and hamstring injuries. Freshman outside linebacker Leonard Floyd drawing attention from coaches.

22. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin still hasn’t determined second phase of punishment for projected defensive starters Deshazor Everett and Floyd Raven Sr.  Three quarterbacks battling to back up Johnny Manziel.

23. Gus Malzahn was asked if Auburn defensive lineman Dee Ford’s knee injury will cause him to miss the season-opener: ”I would definitely hope not.”

24. There’s a battle for one spot along South Carolina’s defensive line.

25. Battle for defensive tackle spot at Vanderbilt. “It’s a heated battle, and I love it.”

SEC/College News

26. SEC BeachFest this weekend in Gulf Shores.

27. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson says college players like Johnny Manziel should get paid. ”The universities are making a lot of money off of student-athletes in general. So, yeah, he should be able to make money.”

28. Louisville A.D. Tom Jurich on keeping coach Charlie Strong: ”I was prepared to match anyone. Probably the only people I can’t compete with are the NFL.”

Extras

29. It took him 41 hours and 33 minutes.  A man runs 163 miles without sleeping to honor Boston Marathon victims.

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SEC Headlines 7/14/2013

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1. Florida with the easiest SEC schedule since 1992?  Study also finds Vanderbilt has faced the hardest schedule.

2. Given the reports out about Johnny Manziel, here’s an interesting headline this weekend: Sumlin, not Manziel, will determine BCS title opportunity for Texas A&M.

3. Auburn signee Earnest Robinson headed to a JUCO after failing to qualify academically.

4. Gary Danielson on LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger: “He coasts sometimes…He needs to learn to go 100 percent of the time.”

5. As many as five former JUCO players could start for Tennessee this year.

6. Just how important is Arkansas for Auburn coach Gus Malzahan? “If he can’t outdo Bret Bielema, how’s he going to deal with Nick Saban?”

7. For the third straight year, more than 1,000 media credentials have been issued for SEC Media Days.

8. What will Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen say at SEC Media Days? “Smart money is on him saying something that will cause a stir.”

9. What kind of questions does Missouri wide receiver L’Damian Washington expect at this week’s media event? ”Just questions about Mizzou competing in the SEC, which is something I feel like we’re going to get a lot.”

10. Kentucky coach Mark Stoops on his Youngstown, Ohio upbringing: “This is where we learned to watch film. It brings you back to your roots.”

11. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger is the most important piece back for LSU.  ”With new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and an experienced receiving corps, Mettenberger will face elevated expectations in 2013.”

12. There’s a buzz building around Georgia freshman safety Tray Matthews.

13. Quarterbacks AJ McCarron and Johnny Manziel were roommates at the Manning Passing Academy.

14. Freshman Hunter Henry on being a part of Bret Bielema’s first class at Arkansas: “It’s a big honor.”

15. Who will backup quarterback Brandon Allen at Arkansas?

16. South Carolina with the best defensive line in the SEC and Texas A&M with the worst?

17. There’s more to the South Carolina defense than just Jadeveon Clowney.

18. When it comes to preseason award watch lists, Alabama players have twice as many mentions as any other SEC team.

SEC/College News

19. Columnist: “Expect the (college football playoff) committee to be on the low side of the 14 to 20 members that has been speculated.”

20. What the SEC is doing to try to prevent and treat head injuries.

21. “There are 650 student-athletes at Georgia...there are some that are open about their sexual orientation within their team.”

SEC Basketball

22. Police report on Marshall Henderson’s May 4th arrest released.

23. Former Bruce Pearl assistants at Tennessee are learning about life post-NCAA penalties. “Second chances don’t come easy. ”

24. Former Missouri basketball player Negus Webster-Chan already causing a stir at Hawaii.

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SEC Headlines 4/20/2013

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1. LSU running back Alfred Blue apologizes for “sissy” comments regarding gay players.  ”I apologize if anyone was hurt by my comments and also to everyone that I may have let down.”

2. LSU fans will get their first chance to Cam Cameron’s offense at today’s spring game.

3. A big day at Auburn. Today’s festivities, which include the final rolling of Toomer’s Oaks, will have an estimated economic up to $3 million.

4. Auburn quarterbacks Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace will alternate with the first and second-team offenses today.

5. Heading into Alabama’s spring game today, quarterback AJ McCarron is better than ever.  Nick Saban: ”His arm is even stronger than it was before…”

6. Dennis Dodd: “If Bama makes it four out of five and three year in a row, McCarron will have earned four national championship rings, four for BCS bowls and three SEC title rings.”

7. Expect a lot of focus today at Alabama to be on the offensive and defensive lines.

8. Tennessee coach Butch Jones on the importance of today’s spring game. “This is basically a dress rehearsal for Austin Peay…”

9. Tennessee officially opens its new indoor training facility.  A.D. Dave Hart: “This is a historic moment in the program’s history.”

10. Arkansas is hoping for 50,000 fans at today’s spring game.

11. At Missouri’s spring game, coaches are looking to linebacker Andrew Wilson and cornerback E.J. Gaines to become more vocal leaders.

12. Do Mississippi State defensive tackles Quay Evans and Nick James have the potential to be future first-round NFL draft picks?

13. ESPN’s Todd McShay on Georgia’s 2012 season:  “I don’t think you can lose sight of how close this team was.”

14. Steve Spurrier; “We open in August against that other Carolina, I call it Dabo’s Carolina.”

15. What we learned this spring about Florida wide receivers and tight ends.

SEC/NFL Draft

16. Potentially record-setting draft for the Florida Gators?

17. Former Texas A&M running back Christine Michael -  ”the second-most talented back in the class…”?

SEC Basketball

18. Auburn freshman guard Jordan Price is transferring.

19. Kentucky 2014 commitment Karl Towns will be rooming with the nation’s No. 1 prospect, Andrew Wiggins, at the Nike Hoops Summit.

20. Earlier start to Midnight Madness?

SEC/College News

21. Outgoing North Carolina chancellor says it’s time to be realistic about university presidents and big-time college sports.

22. LSU, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas A&M are among the schools opposed to multiyear scholarships.

23. Former Georgia A.D. Damon Evans now works for IMG College.

24. Name change in the B1G.  Goodbye “Legends” and “Leaders” – hello East and West.

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Wow Headlines 4/18/2013

Running back Marlin Lane can return to Tennessee but coach Butch Jones says “criteria” needs to be met to be reinstated
About 28,00 tickets sold for Auburn’s spring game Saturday
Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s three-year, $3.4 million deal with LSU officially approved by the school
Renovations underway at University of Missouri’s Faurot Field
Big 12 commissioner on expansion: “We don’t want to, but if somebody else moves, we’re ready”
Kentucky assistant basketball coach Rod Strickland reportedly taking job at DePaul, his alma mater
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SEC Headlines 4/18/2018

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1. Running back Marlin Lane can return to Tennessee but coach Butch Jones says “criteria” needs to be met to be reinstated.

2. Tennessee’s record for spring game attendance is almost 74,000.  If the Vols don’t break it on Saturday, safety Byron Moore says he’s leaving Twitter forever. The Tennessee “drone” in action.

3. Why is ESPN so eager to discredit Auburn when Oregon is the one that’s admitted to “major infractions”?

4. Gus Malzahn on defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson: ”His standards are very high. Just for the basic foundations, techniques, he’s as good as it gets.”

5. About 28,000 tickets sold for Auburn’s spring game on Saturday.

6. When Ole Miss takes the field for the opener against Vanderbilt, what will the depth chart look like? 

7. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s three-year, $3.4 million deal with LSU officially approved by the school’s System Board of Supervisor. How Larry Bird helped shape Cameron’s philosophy.

8. Student body invited to attend LSU’s practice this afternoon.

9. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel says his team needs vocal leadership: “So if you don’t want to lead (vocally), it doesn’t matter if you don’t want to lead vocally – guess what, we need you to lead, and this is how you do it.”

10. Renovations underway at Mizzou’s Faurot Field.

11. Progress report on Florida’s quarterbacks – Jeff Driskel the star, Tyler Murphy the surprise.

12. Florida coach Will Muschamp on Ronald Powell, recovering from two ACL injuries.  “I saw a guy who handled hardship much better than I would have.”

13. Don’t expect Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley to do much hitting in Saturday’s spring game – still recovering from surgical procedure on his right shoulder. Injuries in the linebacking corps giving Tana Patrick an opportunity.

SEC/NFL Draft

14. Former South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore’s bid to recover from a devastating knee injury.  ”This is going to be a great story. I promise you that.”

15. Former Tennessee wide Cordarrelle Patterson on ESPN’s Sport Science program.

16. Former Texas A&M and current Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller is looking forward to Luke Joeckel possibly being taken No.. 1 overall by  the Kansas City Chiefs.  Why?  “Because then I would get to whip his ass twice a year.”

SEC Basketball

17. Missouri guard Negus Webster-Chan is transferring to Hawaii while the Tigers pick up 6 feet 11 JUCU center Keanau Post

18. Arkansas grants Hunter Mickelson’s scholarship release request – sophomore foward will transfer at the end of the semester. Why he left.

19. Familiar name coming to South Carolina – Reggie Theus, Jr, son of the former NBA player –  signs with the Gamecocks.

20. Kentucky assistant coach Rod Strickland is reportedly headed back to his alma mater, DePaul.

Extras

21. Video footage of the great Jackie Robinson - as a college football player.

22. Was Michael Jordan the victim of food poisoning during the 1997 NBA Finals?

23. Never to early to start making excuses.  The least wedding-friendly Saturdays this fall.

24. For the first time ever, the ACC will hold a championship event in the state of Pennsylvania.

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WOW Headlines – 4/15/13

The SEC and ESPN will announce the creation of a new “SEC Network” on Tuesday in Atlanta
The new SEC-only channel is expected to launch in August of 2014
Alabama RB Jalston Fowler is still not back to 100% following a torn ACL
Alabama’s football team — as BCS champs — will visit the White House Monday for the third time in four years
Les Miles says the LSU offense has improved this spring under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron
Kentucky QB Jalen Whitlow made a push for the starter’s job during the Wildcats’ spring game this past weekend
Kentucky C Nerlens Noel has announced that he will jump to the NBA after just one season in Lexington
Georgia G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has announced that he will jump to the NBA after just two seasons in Athens
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WOW Headlines – 4/11/13

Florida defensive line coach Bryant Young surprisingly resigned on Wednesday to spend more time with his family
Vanderbilt coach James Franklin got into a testy exchange on a Nashville radio show on Wednesday…
The host tried to get Franklin to clarify a tweet in which the coach suggested that players who do not sign with Vanderbilt are “want 2 settle in life.”
10 SEC players will attend the NFL draft in New York later this month
Alabama coach Nick Saban says NFL coaches are visiting his program in order to learn how to defend the read-option offense
Ole Miss TE Christian Morgan will have to undergo knee surgery but he is expected back by August
LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is trying to increase the tempo of the Tigers’ offense
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