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SEC Headlines 12/31/2011

1. Mississippi State 23 – Wake Forest 17. 180 yards and two long rushing TDs for Vick Ballard.

2. Dan Mullen enjoyed the win but not the four State turnovers.

3. Chris Relf ends his Bulldogs’ career with a victory.

4. Season-high six sacks for the MSU defense.

5. Cincinnati vs. Vanderbilt in the Liberty Bowl today.  Both teams are motivated.

6. Vandy players and Memphis natives DeAndre Jones and Chris Marve already have their college degrees.

7. Marve had never heard of coach James Franklin the first time they met.

8. Auburn vs. Virginia tonight in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

9. Virginia will face defensive coordinator Gene Chizik tonight.

10. Auburn pass rusher Corey Lemonier is a marked man.

11. Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones will return for his senior season.

12. The Tide’s Courtney Upshaw and William Vlachos want to play in the Senior Bowl.

13. Jon Solomon: “We’re spoiled in Alabama. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can better appreciate what has happened here for the past three years.”

14. LSU begins work on an Alabama game plan.

15. Les Miles: “We do what we do.  We’re not changing.”

16. What’s at stake for the LSU coach?  Only an extra $933,000.

17. Both Boise State and Oklahoma’s offensive coordinators mentioned in connection with the job at Florida.

18. Looks like Marshall secondary coach Mike Cassity is headed back to Kentucky.

19. Reasons to be optimistic in Gator Country. Here’s one - a top 10 defense.

20. The read-option offense one of the keys to success at South Carolina this year.

21. Gamecocks want to avoid the pain of a season-ending bowl loss.

22. Starting right guard Terrance Campbell probably won’t play Monday.

23. Senior center Ben Jones will be missed at Georgia next year. So will tackle Justin Anderson.

24. Nose tackle John Jenkins is coming back.

25. Who will start at tailback for the Bulldogs on Monday?  Still anyone’s guess.

26. The Tennessee/DeAnthony Arnett decision and a view from Michigan: “Dooley’s next moves will reveal where his heart is …  or if he even has one.”

27. Arkansas 77 – Texas Southern 49.  Razorbacks defense forces 25 turnovers.

28. Auburn 78 – Georgia Southern 75.  Tony Barbee: “We didn’t deserve to win this game.”

29. Dayton 62 – Ole Miss 50.  Playing without injured Murphy Holloway, Rebels drop third straight.

30. Georgia 58 – Delaware State 51. Mark Fox: “I’m not happy with the way we played.”

31. Louisville at Kentucky.  Expect a tough, physical game.

32. And never count out Rick Pitino.

33. Which coach needs the victory more?

34. Gary Parrish: “Rupp Arena will be bananas from early morning till the final buzzer.”

35. Utah State at Mississippi State.  Final non-conference game for the Bulldogs before playing Arkansas on January 7th.

36. Yale at Florida.  Gators look to bounce back after a tough loss at Rutgers.

37. Renaldo Woolridge has given the Tennessee program a spark.

Extra

38. Most-watched college football game of 2011? The Auburn-Oregon BCS National Championship game.

39. BCS changes Kirk Herbstreit would like to see.

40. All the bowl matchups, results and breakdown by conference.

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SEC Headlines – 12/21/11

1.  A number of Alabama footballers are weighing their NFL options.

2.  The Tide hoops team will try to regain its shooting touch against Oklahoma State tonight.

3.  Alabama, Auburn and LSU lead the SEC in football staff salaries.

4.  Tiger defensive back Jermaine Whitehead had to grow up fast this season.

5.  Arkansas had to overcome some cold shooting to off EKU last night.

6.  Les Miles is the AP’s Coach of the Year in college football.

7.  LSU expects another physical game with Alabama in the BCS title game.

8.  Mississippi State’s defense is ready for Wake Forest’s undersized offensive line.

9.  Dan Mullen won’t say if Chris Relf or a banged-up Tyler Russell will start at quarterback.

10.  Hugh Freeze says he did his best to keep assistant coach Gunter Brewer at Ole Miss, but he’s going to North Carolina anyway.

11.  But former UM player Grant Heard will join the Rebels’ staff as receivers coach.

12.  It sounds like Florida’s Brian White has a leg up on the vacant offensive coordinator gig.  (Here’s what we wrote on that topic yesterday.)

13.  Grad assistant Jeff Blasko is being promoted to quarterbacks coach at UF.

14.  The loss of strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti to Ohio State was a big, big blow to some Gators.

15.  Move over, Micheal Scott.  Georgia’s Mark Richt is the World’s Greatest Boss.

16.  UGA has more questions at the quarterback position than you might think.

17.  Samford’s Princeton-style offense was good practice for Kentucky last night.

18.  UK walk-on Sam Malone will have to have a fourth major knee surgery… a situation John Calipari calls “heartbreaking.”

19.  Ellis Johnson won’t be coaching South Carolina’s defense in the Capital One Bowl after all.  (We’re hearing increasing rumors of a bit of rift between Johnson and Steve Spurrier, by the way.)

20.  Spurrier says he has “several guys in mind” that might replace Johnson and current defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward is one of them.

21.  Kenny Miles will start at tailback for the Cocks rather than Brandon Wilds.

22.  Tennessee beat back the losing-streak virus last night against UNC-Asheville.

23.  The Vols finally toughed out a win.

24.  Vanderbilt’s perimeter defense will be tested by Lafayette’s long-range gunners.

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MSU Won’t Have A 3rd QB In Music City Bowl

When Mississippi State lines up against Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl, Tyler Russell and Chris Relf had better stay healthy.  That’s because third-string quarterback Dylan Favre has left the team.

Favre — a redshirt freshman and the nephew of NFL legend Brett Favre — left the MSU squad on Saturday with the intention of transferring to Pearl River Community College for a year.  After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

For State, Favre played sparingly in 2010.  He completed 13 of his 26 pass attempts or 119 yards and a touchdown.  He rushed 12 times for 8 yards and 2 TDs.

Mullen says of the emergency quarterback situation, “We’ll figure it out”  And Relf and Russell are reportedly happy that they’ll be getting additional practice reps.

The only other quarterback on scholarship in Starkville is Dak Prescott, but Mullen isn’t going to pull his redshirt in this month’s bowl game.  If Russell and Relf get hurt against Wake Forest, it’s likely a player from another position will take over in some sort of variation of the Wildcat.

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SEC Headlines – 8/30/11 Part Two

1.  Onterio McCalebb is listed ahead of Mike Dyer on Auburn’s Week One depth chart.

2.  The Tigers have 27 underclassmen listed in their two-deep.  Yeah, 27.

3.  Gene Chizik is talking up big, bad Utah State.

4.  Nick Saban doesn’t want his dueling quarterbacks to be looking over their shoulders on Saturday.

5.  Bama receiver Duron Carter declared “FINALLY! COMING TO A STADIUM NEAR U” on Twitter following his admittance to school.

6.  The head coach likes the attitude of his new Crimson Tide team.

7.  Arkansas won’t have to rely on as many freshman as it did in 2010.

8.  Overall, there weren’t many surprises on the Hogs’ depth chart.

9.  After a good preseason camp, new quarterback Tyler Wilson’s true test begins on Saturday.

10.  LSU will lean on experienced backups to replace injured O-lineman Josh Dworaczyk.

11.  Backup quarterback Jarrett Lee will once again be pulling the trigger for the Tigers.

12.  That’s a good thing, because this writer doesn’t believe now is the time for Jordan Jefferson to return.

13.  As bad as things have been in Baton Rouge in recent weeks, there are some bright spots.

14.  Ole Miss will be looking for a little better start than last year’s loss to FCS-level Jacksonville State.

15.  Houston Nutt wonders how much can the Rebels get out of defensive end Kentrell Lockett on Saturday.

16.  UM’s coach also believes his squad can improve on last year’s turnover margin.

17.  MSU quarterback Chris Relf appears primed for a breakout season.

18.  But Dan Mullen says his signal-caller has “still got a ways to go.”

19.  Just because D-coordinator Manny Diaz has gone to Texas, don’t expect the Dogs to change their blitz-happy ways.

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MSU OC Koenning Not Letting Relf Rest On Last Year’s Advances

If quarterback Chris Relf has any intentions of resting on the improvements he made to his game late last season, Mississippi State offensive coordinator Les Koenning has a message for him:


“I told Chris (earlier this month) that you’ve got 12 more games possibly in your career and that’s it at Mississippi State.  I’m going to tell you point blank — nobody gives a darn what you did last year.  That was last year.  if you’re living on last year, you’re probably not going to get better at all.  It’s left up to you.  We put you in the position you got here and you worked hard to get here and you have to take the next step.  You can’t walk in here and say, ‘My shoulder hurts, my knee hurts.’  So what if it hurts?  Football is a physical game.  You either go compete or say you’ve already arrived.  I’ve been pretty hard on him and I’m going to be hard on him again.  The beauty about the position is, if he doesn’t do the job, we’ve got two more behind him.  It’s a great issue to have.”


Yeesh.  And the part of Les Koenning will be played by R. Lee Ermey.




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SEC Headlines – 8/17/11 Part One

1.  A pair of juco transfers are making an impact at Alabama.

2.  The Tide’s defense wants to force more fumbles this fall.

3.  Here’s a UA practice report.

4.  Bama hoopster JaMychal Green scored 21 against Finland in the World University Games.

5.  Low of numbers this year, Gene Chizik has rewarded eight walk-ons with scholarships.

6.  Gus Malzahn wants to name a starting quarterback in the “near future.”

7.  Starting spots are also still open along Auburn’s offensive line.

8.  Folks in Fayetteville expect improved depth and strength on the D-line to help Arkansas this fall.

9.  Receiver Greg Childs isn’t quite all the way back from a knee injury that cut short his 2010 season.

10.  Bobby Petrino is using a new camera angle to evaluate his quarterbacks in practice.

11.  There’s no looking back for LSU offensive lineman Will Blackwell… after a horrible injury in last year’s season opener.

12.  But Blackwell and a few other Tiger O-linemen have missed practice time due to injuries in preseason camp.

13.  Receiver Rueben Randle needs to be a leader on The Bayou.

14.  Tyler Russell and Dylan Favre are battling to be Chris Relf’s backup in Starkville.

15.  Here’s an MSU practice report.

16.  Cornerback Senquez Golson turned down $1.4 million from the Boston Red Sox in order to play football at Ole Miss.  (Here’s hoping he stays healthy.)

17.  Quarterback candidate Randall Mackey got a shot to run with the first team in practice yesterday…

18.  But the QB race is still wide open in Oxford.

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Russell Doesn’t Want To Be Just “The Throwing QB” At MSU

Last season, Dan Mullen tried to develop a two-quarterback system at Mississippi State.  Chris Relf was considered the run-first guy.  Tyler Russell was the throw-first quarterback. 

Unfortunately for Russell, he feels his role became pretty obvious to opposing defenses:


“The defense knew I was going to throw the ball.  It kind of sucked for me, but I had to do what I had to do.”


When’s the last time you saw a player admit to the media and fans that his role “sucked?”

With Mullen suggesting that a two-quarterback system could return — which is poppycock considering how Relf developed at the end of last season — Russell has been working on the foot-driven part of his game.

“I know I’m faster,” he told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.  “Maybe not faster, but quicker,” he admitted.

We don’t expect Mullen to re-implement a true two-QB system unless Relf regresses quite a bit early in the season.  But even if that does come to pass, it’s hard to imagine opponents being too fearful of Russell the Runner.  It’s likely that he would still be viewed as “the passing quarterback” in Starkville.  And as Russell knows, it can “suck” when the other guy knows what you’re going to do before you do it.

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SEC Headlines – 4/21/11 Part Three

1.  Ryan Mallett missed meetings with the Carolina Panthers this month due to an illness, not a late night of partying.

2.  This writer believes Mallett — who some have compared to Eminem and Vanilla Ice — “seems to be a target” rather than a prospect as the NFL draft nears.

3.  Some Hog fans have put up a billboard thanking Bobby Petrino “FOR BRINGING WINNING & EXCITEMENT BACK TO RAZORBACK FOOTBALL.”

4.  Ole Miss has hired a company to produce a feasibility study that will help the school plan for a new basketball arena.

5.  The Rebels’ running backs figure to get a lot of work this fall.

6.  Mississippi State has launched the largest athletic fundraising campaign in the school’s history.

7.  Dan Mullen told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger that he “could absolutely say that Tyler Russell could be our starter.”  (We believe that’s a motivational ploy for Russell and projected starter Chris Relf.)

8.  Here are some of the players Mullen said stood out this spring.

9.  And here’s one writer’s guess as to what MSU’s defensive depth chart looks like post-spring.

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SEC Headlines – 4/15/11 Part Three

1.  Arkansas’ Ronnie Wingo is trying to earn more carries by becoming a more physical running back.

2.  Some national writers are now coming to the defense of Ryan Mallett. 

3.  This writer thinks LSU might want to hire a translator to help cut through Les Miles’ coachspeak.

4.  There’s no quarterback debate in Starkville as Chris Relf looked good all spring long.

5.  Mississippi State’s opener with Memphis has been set for Thursday, September 1st.

6.  Ticket demand “is huge” when it comes to whether or not State will expand Davis Wade Stadium.

7.  Injured linebacker DT Shackelford tearily accepted this year’s Chucky Mullins Courage Award at Ole Miss last night.

8.  Charles Sawyer is growing up at corner for the Rebels.

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SEC Headlines – 4/12/11 Part One

1.  Nick Saban is using “never again” signs around the Alabama football facility to keep memories of last year’s Iron Bowl collapse in players’ minds.

2.  Trent Richardson is ready to emerge from Mark Ingram’s shadow.

3.  Cornerback Jonathan “Young Buck” Rose — who enrolled early at Auburn — is still adjusting to the college game.

4.  Quarterbacks Clint Moseley and Barrett Trotter will be on “a bigger stage than we’ve been on all spring” during Saturday’s spring game.

5.  Bobby Petrino is putting a new spin on Arkansas’ decision not to play Arkansas State.

6.  Hog receiver Quina Funderburk says he’s still on the football team, but his high school coach says he’s hanging up his cleats.

7.  Trent Johnson says LSU needs a perimeter player… so it was a tough blow when a juco prospect chose Nebraska yesterday.

8.  Mississippi quarterback Randall Mackey continues to fight through his speech problem.

9.  Linebacker DT Shackleford injured his knee during practice yesterday… and now the Rebels are left to wait for MRI results.  (That would be a big, big loss for UM.)

10.  MSU’s backup quarterbacks are ready to push Chris Relf.

11.  Former Bulldog hoopster Ravern Johnson put on “as one-dimensional a performance as a player can have” at a pre-draft NBA camp last week.

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