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Dyer’s Status At Auburn Still In Question

There’s a vacuum when it comes to true news on the status of Auburn tailback Mike Dyer.  Last week, a pair of Arkansas State players welcomed him to Jonesboro via social media.  Then Gene Chizik announced that Dyer’s status on the Plains was unchanged suggesting that he was still not currently part of the team — due to indefinite suspension — but was not dismissed from the team, either.

There have been plenty of rumors since, but no hard facts. 

Kevin Scarbinsky of The Birmingham News believes Auburn’s decision to nix Dyer from its bowl media guide and some end o’ the year highlight videos give you a good clue that he may be done with the Tigers.

Chris Bahn of states that there’s been no new information out of the Arkansas State camp.

For now — after talking to several people around the Auburn program — it sounds to us at like more people expect Dyer to be elsewhere in 2012.  And that likely means with Gus Malzahn in Jonesboro.

But even those close to the situation are being tight-lipped.  So until Chizik announces a change, we really can’t do much more than speculate.  Even if everyone seems to be drawing the same conclusions.

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Arkansas’ Powell “Can’t Comment” On Relationship With Pelphrey

When a coach is in trouble, every little ripple can turn into a tidal wave.  And Marshawn Powell is splashing around in John Pelphrey’s pool.

During a lengthy interview with reporters, the Arkansas sophomore was asked if there was any truth to rumors that his relationship with his head coach is strained.  His answer:

“I really can’t comment on that too much.”  Asked to clarify, Powell said, “I can’t talk about it.”  Asked why he can’t talk about it he replied, “I choose not to, man.”

But by choosing not to comment (man), Powell has thrown another log on the fire burning beneath his coach’s seat.  Chris Bahn of writes that the Pelphrey-Powell divide “doesn’t make for a healthy locker room in a program that has been beset by player-player and player-coach chemistry issues since Pelphrey arrived.”

If Powell wanted to give his head coach one more issue to have to explain and dance around, mission accomplished.  And that’s exactly what Pelphrey needed this year — another distraction.

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Q&A: Razorback Basketball Preview with Chris Bahn

Content provided by Razorback Expats.

(AP Photo/Beth Hall)

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Beth Hall – AP

(AP Photo/Beth Hall)

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Believe it or not, the Razorback basketball season is here (well, almost here: the regular season begins tomorrow night when the Hogs take on Grambling State in Fayetteville). In light of the program’s 28-34 record the last two seasons and the football team’s rise under Bobby Petrino, it’s understandable that the basketball Hogs are flying somewhat under the radar these days. But with returning players Marshawn Powell and Rotnei Clarke and an intriguing group of new guards, we think these Razorbacks could show meaningful improvement.

But enough about what we think: To get the perspective of someone truly in the know, we harassed Chris Bahn, who covers the Razorbacks for ArkansasSports360. Many thanks to Chris for his time and insight.

Expats: The team is coming off back-to-back losing seasons but John Pelphrey and his staff have generated some much-needed positive headlines by putting together an impressive 2011 recruiting class. If our sundials and water clocks are correct, though, the Hogs have another season to play before that heralded group arrives. What’s the mood of this team as it begins a new year?

Bahn: “Hopeful” is the best word I can think of to describe the team’s mood entering 2010-11. I think that applies to the fans and players even though, in terms of raw talent, the Razorbacks lost three guys with pro ability (as long as we all agree pro doesn’t necessarily = NBA). Still, there’s a sense the pieces will fit better together and play nice with each other, which wasn’t always the case last year. Chemistry has been the buzzword from players and coaches. Hopefully that leads to better results. Just knowing no players have jokingly referenced sexual assault via Twitter seems like a nice start.

Expats: What do you think the strengths and weaknesses of this team will prove to be?

Bahn: Perimeter depth is undoubtedly better than we’ve seen in years. That should allow the team to throw a number of bodies at opponents and might give fans a taste of the “40 Minutes of Pel” they were promised in 2007 when John Pelphrey took over. Arkansas has some bigger bodies on the perimeter, which should help what’s been a woeful three-point defense at times.

Inside, it’s a totally different story. Delvon Johnson is the only true post player the team has, and he and Marvell Waithe are the “tallest” members of the team at 6-foot-9. Arkansas almost has no choice but to get up and down the floor and hope against things grinding into a halfcourt game where post play matters.

Expats: Should we be at all concerned about Marshawn Powell’s left foot?

Bahn: If there’s a concern relating to Powell’s summer foot injury I think it centers on his conditioning. Powell might need some time to regain his all-SEC form. Powell might play limited minutes early this year as he works himself back into game shape. I wouldn’t sweat it unless he suffers some sort of serious setback with the foot.

Expats: Which returning players do you think are poised to improve significantly from last year?

Bahn: Glenn Bryant was drawing rave reviews for his summer work in the weight room and open gym. He’s got unnatural athletic ability and when he figures out how to use it in the context of Pelphrey’s system, I think he can be really impactful.

Delvon Johnson has earned praise from teammates and John Pelphrey for making strides in the weight room. We’ll have to see how that carries over to the floor.

Expats: Which newcomer is set to make the biggest impact?

Bahn: If we’re being fairly liberal with the use of “newcomer” then I’ll got with a guy who was here last year, but didn’t play. Point guard Jeff Peterson (Iowa transfer) will have to get the ball to Arkansas’ scorers and push the tempo at the right times for the offense to be a success. Peterson has been described as more of a “true point guard” and leader than last year’s starter, Courtney Fortson. Teammates seem to view Peterson as a welcome change at the position.

Expats: Crystal ball time. What do you think the Hogs’ regular-season record will be (approximately), and do you foresee them snagging a bid to a postseason tournament?

Bahn: Making the NIT isn’t out of the question. Sexy? No. But proof of modest improvement, I suppose. With the West likely being down Arkansas has an opportunity to pick up some wins and the ‘name’ nonconference teams aren’t as difficult as we might think on first glance. Overall record? I’ll say the wins total more than 14, less than 20. Whatever the team lands on in between those numbers, I’ll claim. Deal?

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#22 Bulldogs Prepare for #13 Arkansas; Cam Newton Saga Continues

Mississippi State
Content provided by All Things Maroon – A MSU and SEC blog.

rmallet1As Saturday’s match up between #13 Arkansas and #22 MSU approaches, I figured we’d take a midweek look at what’s being talked about in the 2 opposing camps. MSU’s Dan Mullen spoke about a variety of topics, and we also have some quotes from Arkansas’ Off. Coordinator Garrick McGee, and Bulldogs’ Def. Coordinator Manny Diaz. We will also look at the Hogs’ top players thus far. Saw where the ticket count is down under 600, so it’s gonna be a packed house for Senior Night at Davis Wade Stadium.

_____Dan Mullen Speaks_____

On Practice: “I think our last two games are 6:00 games so when you get to this time of year it’s actually good to get out here and make sure we’re practicing around our gametime, so our guys get used to playing…For us just a regular Tuesday, get back in our game routine. It was first down/play action mix, full pads, good hitting. We did some tackling but we didn’t change a routine that’s been very successful for us. So it was get out here, get after them, get back into that mindset of what we need to do to win. We got in a great routine in that winning streak, had a bunch of other things happen to get us out of that routine,” Mullen said. “Now we’re trying to get back on focus.”

On Relf: “Chris saw the chances. We went back and looked, he was 8-of-16 with four drops, two open receivers that he missed. So there were a lot of opportunities there, and for the receivers, everybody. We had a chance to watch it and see; in our winning games we were making those plays. If you don’t make them you’re not going to, against great teams.”

On Zach Smith (Injured): “He’s adamant that he is playing, to me…You can joke with him but he doesn’t even think it’s funny to joke with him. It was like ‘how come I’m not listed #1 on the punt team today?’” I said it’s because you’re not practicing. He said but I’m playing, so list me as #1.”- Gotta respect Zach Smith’s heart.

_____Hogs’ Off. Coordinator Garrick McGee_____

“Our kids are playing at a really high level right now,” Coach McGee said. “When we are set behind the chains, they’ve found ways to make plays and convert third downs. I know Ryan (Mallett) hit Cobi (Hamilton) on an in-cut on third-and-10 last week and it seemed really simple when he did it. We’ve just got to continue to play well on first down. Third downs become simple.” On State’s Defense: “Their defense is really complex. They would call it a multiple defense, I bet. They play three down. They play four down. They have four defensive linemen in the game in a three-down structure, with one of their defensive linemen standing up and floating around. They have a really interesting scheme that’s going to be a challenge for us.”

  • During Arkansas’ 4 game win streak, they are averaging 46.5 ppg, and have converted 54% of the time on 3rd Downs during that stretch. SCARY.

_____Mann Diaz on Stopping the Hog Offense_____

“One of the things in the Alabama game is it ruined another red zone performance. We’re usually pretty hard to score on in the red zone, and when Alabama got in our red zone, they had a hard time scoring touchdowns on us. With a guy like Mallett, who is going to complete some passes, and they’re going to get some yards, if we will just understand, if we will tackle the catch, at a minimum if we’ll tackle the catch, sooner or later they’re going to wind up in our red zone, and the field gets constricted, and the offense is limited in terms of what they can do where you think you’ve got a chance.”-What Manny Diaz described, would be a nice alternative compared to Carl Torbush’s schemes last season. The Dawgs allowed Mallet to connect on long TD passes of 39, 58, and 64 yards. As much of a cushion as State has been playing in the past couple of weeks, Diaz should be able to take away the homerun ball, and present the Dawg D with opportunities to make plays against the underneath to mid-range passing game. This year’s Hog team will be even tougher than last year’s, thanks to the emergence of RB Kniles Davis. The Sophomore is approaching the 1,000 yard mark on the season.

Hog Playmakers in 2010

  • QB Ryan Mallet: 2,967 yds, 67%, 24 TDs, 8 INTs
  • RB Kniles Davis: 844 yds, 7.2ypc, 10 TDs
  • RB Broderick Green: 333 yds, 3.5 yds per carry, 3 TDs
  • WR Greg Childs: (out for yr) 659 yds, 14.3 yds per reception, 6 TDs
  • WR Joe Adams: 588 yds, 17.3 ypr, 4 TDs
  • WR Jarius Wright: 545 yds, 17 ypr, 3 TDs
  • TE DJ Williams: 491 yds, 11 ypr, 3 TDs
  • WR Cobi Hamilton: 391 yds, 15.6 ypr, 4 TDs
  • RB Ryan Wingo: 274 yds, 10 ypr, 4 TDs
  • Arkansas is 2nd in the SEC in Total Off. and Mallet is 15th nationally. Arkansas is 5th in Total Def. (More on stats tomorrow).

____Cam Newton Saga_____

Well guys, after an Auburn win, and 3 hours of Cam Newton worship from CBS’s Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson, all seemed somewhat ‘sunny’ again in Auburn, Alabama. The Friday before the UGA game, there were some reports that Cam Newton’s father, Cecil Newton, allegedly admitted to shopping his son to MSU. Reports say that Cam and Newton’s wife, were unaware of the bribe. Those reports seemed to have hushed, but the saga is heating up now more than ever. On Tuesday, the FBI interviewed former MSU QB John Bond, who was the first to provide information about the Newton case. Bond’s inside information, which sent shock waves through the College Football world, included Ken Rogers. Rogers, like Bond, is a former MSU player, and in all this has been identified as Newton’s representative or ‘handler’ during Newton’s recruitment and signing with Auburn. According to ESPN-Dallas radio, Rogers was interviewed by NCAA investigators on Tuesday, after he called out Cecil Newton last week, confirming that the father did in fact solicit monetary payments from MSU, in order to earn his son’s commitment. The NCAA investigative crew, also met with former MSU Football Operations Director Jody Wright. Wright is now a G.A. at Alabama. Hopefully we will find out something soon. ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, said that the FBI’s involvement will be to investigate the money trail, and to see if one exists.

Arkansas writer Chris Bahn, writes that Arkansas’ attendance numbers have dropped as their ranking has increased. Btw, the Hogs are done in Fayetteville for the season, as Little Rock awaits LSU next week. Redneck Mardi Gras!!! Ugh… Link

The SEC’s dirtiest player, Auburn’s Nick Fairley, will not be suspended or punished for his continual and violent LATE hits on opposing QBs. So, just how WORTHY was MSU’s Chris Hugh’s hit on the UAB player? Remember, the one that we never even saw a replay of, or know happened? Btw, is Fairley’s actions and the Cam Newton issue, just a few of the eye-opening aspects of Auburn’s lack of institutional control? Link

Anybody see Bama backup QB AJ McCarron get spanked by Saban? Link

Story on the Hogs’ DJ Williams. The kid has overcome a lot. Link

That’s all for today guys!

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Three Quick Links for You

Content provided by Razorback Expats.

Bobby Petrino demands that you read this post and click on every link.

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Brett Flashnick – AP

Bobby Petrino demands that you read this post and click on every link.

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Here’s a triple shot of quality Razorback links for you:

1. Chris Bahn breaks down where the Hogs rank in every major statistical category, both nationally and in the conference. Here’s a quiz to see if you’ve been paying attention this year: are we ranked higher in passing offense or kickoff returns?

2. Even though the national media is largely ignoring the Hogs, a BCS bowl really is within the realm of possibility should things break our way. The Hog Database takes a look at a subject I’m sure will be quite popular in the coming weeks. The bottom line: go Auburn!

3. One member of the national media who hasn’t forgotten about the Hogs is’s Chris Low. In this video, he has much praise for Willy Robinson and the rejuvenated Razorback defense.

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