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How Not To Start A New Job: Vandy’s Tata Suspended For DUI Arrest

vavae tataOn the job for less than a month, Vanderbilt defensive line coach Vavae Tata has already been suspended by his new employer.  This after multiple DUI-related charges were made against the Commodore assistant Sunday.

According to a release by the school:


“Based upon information received Tuesday, Vanderbilt assistant coach Vavae Tata has been suspended indefinitely by Head Football Coach Derek Mason stemming from an incident that occurred Feb. 16 in Nashville.  Vanderbilt University will continue its investigation into the matter.”


The Tennessean newspaper reports that Tata’s car struck two parked vehicles prior to his arrest.  He then fled on foot to try and avoid police.  He was discovered several blocks away and admitted to crashing his vehicle.  He then did poorly on a field sobriety test, and was charged with DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, and property damage.

He is scheduled to appear in court on March 5th.

Tata came to Vanderbilt from Stanford along with Mason, the Dores’ new head coach.  The Tennessean has learned that Tata was convicted of a DUI in 2000 which was tied back to a serious incident in 1997.  Then a football player at UCLA, Tata was charged with felony DUI when he “caused a wreck in Torrance, injuring himself and UCLA teammates Billy Pieper and Brendon Ayanbadejo after his vehicle overturned several times.”

Tata joined the Vanderbilt staff on January 24th.  If he retains his job, this week’s arrest will most definitely be used against him and the Commodores on the recruiting trail.

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WOW Headlines – 8/26/13

Despite an ongoing NCAA investigation, it appears that Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel will play Saturday in his school’s season-openerIt is “highly possible” that LSU will suspend RB Jeremy Hill from its season-opener vs TCU due to an arrest this past offseason
Kentucky S Ashley Lowery will play in the Wildcats season-opener despite an offseason DUI
Tennessee QB Justin Worley as won the starting job for the Vols’ season-opener
Arkansas could have at least 20 players make their Razorback debut in this week’s season-opener
Virginia Tech is a 20-point underdog to Alabama this weekend… the biggest line against the Hokies since 1992

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WOW Headlines – 8/22/13

The SEC coaches’ preseason All-SEC team has been released and Georgia QB Aaron Murray is on the first team…
Texas A&M QB and defending Heisman-winner Johnny Manziel was listed on the All-SEC second team…
Alabama QB AJ McCarron was listed as the third-string quarterback
Vanderbilt has named QB Austyn Carta-Samuels as its starter
Ole Miss WR Korvic Neal will miss four weeks following knee surgery
Alabama CB Geno Smith has been suspended for one game following an arrest for DUI
Tennessee coach Butch Jones says he will name a starting quarterback early next week
Arkansas WR D’Arthur Cowan will mist six to eight weeks following foot surgery
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Wow Headlines 8/21/2013

SEC releases 2014 schedule…follows same 6-1–1 format with one permanent opponent and one rotating from the opposite division…
Texas A&M and LSU will meet Thanksgiving night in 2014
Kentucky-Louisville football game moving to season finale in 2014
Kentucky quarterbacks Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow are both expected to play against Western Kentucky…Patrick Towles may redshirt
Alabama sophomore cornerback Geno Smith suspended for one game for DUI arrest
South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington could miss the opener against North Carolina…battling hamstring injury
Gamecocks announce running back Mike Davis will get the start in the opener
Georgia now has seven defensive backs on the injured list
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One Alabama Defender Suspended, One Reinstated

revolving-door-cartoonA pair of Alabama defenders must have passed each other as they moved through the revolving door to Suspension Land.  Sophomore cornerback Geno Smith was handed a one-game suspension for his DUI arrest over the weekend.  Linebacker Trey DePriest was reinstated to the Tide football team after a one-week suspension.

As for Smith, Nick Saban says that in addition to being suspended from Bama’s opener against Virginia Tech, the Tide’s top nickelback will have to jump through other “in house” hoops to gain reinstatement.  The coach addressed the situation after yesterday’s practice:


“We’ve never had an issue with Geno.  He’s an excellent person.  He’s never been in trouble here before, never been in my office for anything, but I think this is something that everybody should learn from that when you make a bad choice, sometimes the consequences of that choice can really have a negative effect.

Some of these guys don’t have enough foresight to understand cause and effect, but Geno has been a really good person in the program and just made a choice, bad decision.  Made several of them, so now he’s got consequences for it.

I think if you think it’s appropriate and necessary that you take something away from somebody, something that’s important to somebody, ten that’s going to have a bigger impact in their behavior.  That’s what we thought was appropriate in this case and that’s why we did it.  We didn’t do it to hurt anybody.  We didn’t do it to satisfy anybody.  We did it in the best interest of the player.  Hopefully, this will be something that will help him make better decisions in the future.”


Saban will take a bit of heat for handing down a suspension for one game and one game only.  The Tide’s next foe after Virginia Tech?  Texas A&M at College Station.  Had Smith been playing at Georgia and gotten arrested with a DUI, he would have automatically gotten two games on the bench as part of school policy.  Good thing he’s at one of the other 13 SEC schools where coaches can hand out any amount of discipline they desire.  In Saban’s case, at least he handed down a one-game suspension and explained the thinking behind it.

Meanwhile, as noted above, Saban reinstated the starting junior linebacker, DePriest.  Saban also discussed that decision after yesterday’s practice:


“Trey did everything we asked him to do.  Took care of his business, did everything to a T.  He’s got to work his way back up the depth chart now by continuing to do the right things and having the right attitude.  Hopefully he’ll make better choices and decisions in the future.”


No reason — other than “violation of team rules” — was ever given in regards to DePriest.

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WOW Headlines – 8/19/13 research reveals that Alabama has been the least penalized team in the SEC over the past six years…
LSU, Florida and Georgia have been the most penalized teams between 2007 and 2012
Auburn QB Nick Marshall — a dual-threat, juco transfer — will not compare himself to Cam Newton
Alabama coach Nick Saban says he “handle it appropriately” when he receives more details on CB Geno Smith’s weekend arrest for DUI
Vanderbilt coach James Franklin says it’s time for Commodore fans to buy tickets and support his team
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Former Georgia Linebacker Alec Ogletree Charged With DUI

Police-LightsFormer Georgia lineback Alec Ogletree is considered a likely first round pick in the upcoming NFL draft. But  he’ll have to deal with questions regarding a recent DUI arrest at this week’s Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Ogletree’s agent, Pay Dye, Jr,, tells Pro Football Talk that Ogletree was cited for DUI last weekend in Arizona.  This comes after Ogletree served a four-game suspension to start the 2012 season at Georgia following a positive drug test. Ogletree also served a one-game suspension his freshman year after being arrested on a misdemeanor “theft-by-taking charge” involving a motor-scooter helmet valued at $35.

Ogletree led Georgia in tackles last year despite missing four games.  He’s projected as one of the top inside linebackers in the upcoming draft.

Last March, Georgia tight end Orson Charles was arrested for DUI and slipped to the fourth round of the NFL draft.  In 2011, Georgia linebacker Justin Houston reportedly tested positive for marijuana before the  NFL combine.  Projected as a possible first-round pick, he was taken in the third round by the Kansas City Chiefs.


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UGA Gets Commings, Vasser Back… But Richt’s On The Injured List

After serving two-game suspensions, Georgia cornerback Sanders Commings and linebacker Chase Vasser are returning to the Bulldog team.  Both players were arrested during the offseason and received their suspensions as a result.  Now they are — in the words of Vasser — “free.”

According to The Macon Telegraph, Commings will likely step right back into the starting lineup, but Vasser’s suspension “might have cost him a starting spot at outside linebacker.”  (The suspension status of starting inside linebacker Alec Ogletree and starting safety Bacarri Rambo is still unknown, but it’s been reported both players will likely sit for two more games.)

Vasser was arrested for a DUI.  Commings was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery, but his issues were later settled.  Richt still chose to suspend him for two games.  According to the coach:


“He needed to be disciplined for what he did.  It’s one thing to miss a game, and that hurts them. They don’t like it, but also part of the punishment is what you have to live with as a person because of all the attention that it gets.  You have to look your parents in the eye, you have to look your teammates and coaches in the eye, you have to go to class.  There is a lot of embarrassment to what happens when everything comes to light and is talked about over and over and over.

He certainly didn’t behave the way he should, and he’s paying his debt to society, he’s paying his debt to the program, in my opinion.  I’m glad he’s handled everything the way he’s handled it, and I think he’ll move forward and be a positive person and a positive teammate.”


Speaking of Richt, he’s on the DL with “an abrasion and slight contusion of the chin” which he received during a celebratory hug with Richard Samuel during last Saturday’s win over Missouri.  “I think my chin just rubbed back and forth on his shoulder pad and the meshing of his jersey and just wore a hole there.  But that was a lot of fun.”

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UK Hoops Assistant Strickland Arrested Again

Kentucky basketball assistant Rod Strickland needs to hire a chauffeur.  Maybe some Kentucky coal magnate/hoops booster could splurge for cab fare for the man.  For the third time since 2007 Strickland has been picked up on a driving-related charge.

In October of 2007, the long-time John Calipari assistant was charged with a DUI, reckless driving and driving on a suspended license in Tennessee.  He was arrested on DUI charges in September of 2010 in Kentucky, too.  Pleading guilty to that charge, Strickland’s license was suspended (and he was also moved from a bench coach to a role of “special assistant”).  Which leads us to…

This morning, when Strickland was arrested for driving on said suspended license near UK’s practice facility.  Apparently, alcohol played no role in this arrest.  Instead, he’s accused of having no registered plates and of failing to signal.

Whether this arrest will cost the 46-year-old ex-NBA’er his current job with the Wildcats remains to be seen.  If not, the it’s time for someone to hire the guy a driver.


UPDATE — The University of Kentucky has released a statement regarding Strickland’s arrest and in it the school makes it clear that Strickland did have a properly registered vehicle and did have a driver’s license:


“Rod Strickland was pulled over this morning in Lexington on a routine traffic stop on the way to the office.  According to police reports, he was pulled over for failure to signal and for driving with a suspended license.  According to Strickland, his vehicle was properly registered and he produced his driver’s license at the scene.  We are currently gathering information on whether his license was suspended due to a clerical error which led to his arrest.”


If he produced his driver’s license, it’s hard to imagine him being arrested for driving on a suspended license.  Unless a) there was a glitch in the police department’s computers/records when officers checked his record from their cruiser or b) Strickland thought his license had been restored when it hadn’t.

Either way, it sure seems like Strickland might just want to start taking the bus.

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Carolina Backup QB Arrested; “Here We Go Again”

South Carolina redshirt freshman quarterback Tanner McEvoy has been arrested, charged with speeding, and charged with driving after consuming while under the age of 21 (that’s a lesser charge than a DUI, by the way).  Per USC’s policy, McEvoy was automatically suspend as a result of his Sunday arrest in North Carolina.

This probably wouldn’t make major news outside of the SEC if McEvoy weren’t following in the footsteps of former Gamecock quarterback Stephen Garcia.  Because he is, McEvoy’s arrest has gotten a bit more pub than one might expect.  The “Garcia Curse” has already been mentioned by NBCSports’ college football site.

Personally, I think it seems a bit quick to jump to that conclusion.  One arrest and suspension does not equal five suspensions.  Same position, same team, but not the same person.

From a football perspective, McEvoy was expected to compete to be the #2 man behind Connor Shaw during fall camp.  Depending on the length of his suspension, the competition he’ll get from others, and Spurrier’s view of his decision-making, his chances of landing that gig might have just taken a hit.  Again, that depends in large part on how strongly Spurrier feels about the other signal-callers on his roster.

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