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Missouri’s Pinkel Stuck In Coaching Hell Thanks To WR Green-Beckham

Gary PinkelDorial Green-Beckham won’t be charged in connection with a Sunday morning break-in at the apartment of three women.

So much for the good news.

The talented Missouri wideout has been as big a problem off the field as he has been a star on it during his brief tenure in Columbia.  Tall, rangy and fast on the gridiron.  Mercurial, troublesome and a lightning rod for trouble in everyday life.

Green-Beckham is currently suspended indefinitely from the Mizzou team.  It’s the third time he’s been suspended.  The first two came after a pair of drug-related arrests in 2012 and then in January.  This one, while no charges are going to be filed, is more troubling.

The women involved in this week’s break-in have decided not to press charges.  One of the women claimed she was “afraid of being harassed and having her property damaged just because she was the victim.”  Victim of what, you say?  The incident report says Green-Beckham forced his way into an apartment, shoved a female causing her to “fall down at least four stairs.  A text from his girlfriend after the fact suggested she had also been grabbed and dragged by the neck.

The female who was shoved had a bruised and swollen wrist when police arrived.

The girlfriend refused to help police, claiming that she hadn’t seen or heard anything.  But her text messages to another victim — begging her not to press charges — were entered into evidence.  One said:

 

“I agree that something should be done — whether that’s paying for what he did with money or a different way … Now he’s hurting my friends not just me.  I really am so sorry you’re in this position and I never meant for this to happen.”

 

The girlfriend told her friend that filing charges would ruin Green-Beckham’s career and “football is really all he has going for him.”

Green-Beckham is already on his third chance.  Physical violence — towards women, no less — is a step up in criminal behavior, whether the women were too scared to press charges or not.  Considering the bad press the Missouri football program received in January with relation to an alleged sexual assault on an MU swimmer, there’s little reason to allow Green-Beckham to continue to represent the University in its highest-profile sport.

Ah, but that “little reason” to keep him around is his physical ability.  Green-Beckham figures to be a big part of the Tigers’ push for another East Division title and bowl game this fall.  Which leaves Gary Pinkel — the man Green-Beckham keeps ignoring — in one hell of a fix.

Green-Beckham was one of the top players in the country when he signed with Pinkel’s program.  Fans love his on-field talents.  If he’s still on the team this fall you can bet he’ll be cheered on adoringly by 60,000+ screaming Tiger fans.  This is college football after all.

And while some might support a decision by Pinkel to rid his squad of a player who is clearly a troubled young man, let Mizzou lose a game or two this fall and the head coach would receive zero credit for doing what’s right.  That’s not how the game works.  There are no free passes, even when they’re deserved.

But what’s right is to boot Green-Beckham.  He’s had numerous chances to clean himself up.  Instead, he continues to hurt himself, the University of Missouri’s reputation, Pinkel’s program and — most importantly — at least two women this past Sunday morning.  One of them decided not to press charges because she “was afraid of the media and community backlash.”  Pinkel needs to say “to hell with the community backlash” and do what’s right by the school.  If Green-Beckham were a walk-on he’d have never been given chances two and three.  There would certainly be no discussion about him possibly receiving a fourth chance.

But because he gave his star receiver a third chance, Pinkel now sits in Coaching Hell.  Damned if he does boot one of his best players; damned if he doesn’t boot a player who appears to be a Class A thug.

Update: DGB dismissed from the team.

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Done Deal: Franklin To Start At QB When Mizzou Visits Ole Miss

james-franklin-mu-new-uniAs expected, Missouri’s starting quarterback slot will be filled by senior James Franklin when the Tigers roll into Oxford, Mississippi this weekend.  Back from an injury to his throwing shoulder, Franklin will reclaim his starting gig from backup Maty Mauk (who handled things pretty well in Franklin’s absence).

The Tigers are 9-1 on the season, ranked in the top 10, 5-1 in the SEC, and on path to reach the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.  Mizzou’s only loss came in overtime to South Carolina as Mauk served as fill-in.  Gary Pinkel said last week that Mauk will still be used in some capacity on Saturday.

Franklin said yesterday that he doesn’t believe the final games of the 2013 season will define his career: 

 

“I pretty much feel like my legacy’s already been determined.  I’m not really concerned about how these last few games are gonna go.”

 

Regardless of what he means by that, you can bet many Tiger fans won’t like reading it.  And we can assure him that Missouri’s finish will indeed impact his legacy.  Players and coaches — unfairly — are only as good as their last game these days.  That’s no longer just a saying, it’s a fact.  And if the Tigers stumble down the stretch, Franklin — and Pinkel for playing him — will take some heat.

To capture the East Division title, the Tigers need to win on the road at Ole Miss and then beat Texas A&M and quarterback Johnny Manziel.  That’s a stiff challenge.  So stiff that no one should say MU chocked if they don’t win them.  (If they’d beaten those two early in the season and then lost to a Kentucky or Tennessee that would have been a choke job.)  Mizzou simply got no late-season break from the SEC schedule-makers.

But tough schedule or no, Tiger fans will be ready to celebrate or jeer Franklin depending on the outcomes of the next two Saturdays.

 

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Richt: Georgia, Florida “Still Trying To Win The East”

PhotographerAs we explained this morning, the SEC East race has opened up a bit thanks to South Carolina’s upset of Missouri on Saturday.  The Tigers still lead and the Gamecocks are in the next best shape, but Georgia and Florida aren’t out of the picture just yet.

Georgia coach Mark Richt — who’ll attempt to win a third straight game over Florida this weekend — has said as much:

 

“We still have a chance to win the East and I’m sure that’s what (Georgia and Florida) are still fighting desperately for.  We know there’s no margin for error.  We can be perfect from here on out and still not get there, but there’s still a lot more of our season to be played.

Until it’s impossible, then we’ll think about another goal, but right now we’re focused on still trying to win the East.”

 

Georgia won in Jacksonville 24-20 in 2011.  They won last year’s meeting 17-9.  During the offseason, Will Muschamp made headlines by telling a booster club that UGA’s win streak would be short-lived.  (What’s he supposed to tell a booster club?)  And now the two schools meet in what amounts to an East Division elimination game.

That would not have been the case if Missouri could have held on for 13 more minutes in regulation or for one fourth-and-goal play in overtime.

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SEC East Race A Muddled Mess After Carolina Nips Mizzou; Tiger Fans Make Fools Of Themselves

confused-man-old-funnyIt all could have been so nice and neat.  If Missouri had been able to hold on against South Carolina, the Tigers would have been the clear-cut, odd-on, catbird-seat leaders in the SEC’s East Division.

Instead, we’ve got a mess.  And Missouri has got egg on its face.

With the game looking to be out of reach, ill and injured quarterback Connor Shaw entered the game like the gridiron version of Roy Hobbs.  He wasn’t in tip-top medical condition, but he seemed destined to get the job done for Carolina.  His first scoring drive cut seven points into a 17-0 Missouri lead with 12:13 to play.

Next, Missouri’s offense fizzled out at Carolina’s 28 and Andrew Baggett missed a lengthy 46-yard field goal attempt.  The ball went back to USC.

Down 17-7, Shaw drove the Gamecocks to the Missouri two-yard-line.  Mizzou’s D finally stiffened and held USC to a 20-yard field goal.  17-10 Missouri with 5:03 to play.

With a chance to run down the clock, the Tiger offense sputtered to a three-and-out and gave the ball right back to Shaw with 3:08 to play.  Carolina never even faced a third down on their 63-yard game-tying drive.

From there you know the rest.  Missouri had yet another chance to finish USC off in the first overtime, but Bruce Ellington got free in the end zone and Shaw hit him with a game-extending TD pass on fourth-and-goal from the 15.  Fourth-and-goal from the 15.

Down three in the second OT, Baggett missed a chip shot field goal to tie which led many Missouri fans to make complete and utter asses of themselves by piling on their kicker, as though he was the only culprit in a game that saw the Tigers blow a 17-0 lead with less than 13 minutes to play.  Baggett was eviscerated on Twitter which you can see for yourself right here (warning: stiff language).

For those Mizzou fans wanting credit for the few Tiger fans who actually sent Baggett pep-talk tweets after the game, sorry, we give no bonus points for behaving rationally.  Hooray for those who weren’t saps, but the childish, unfair, disgraceful tweets left by your brethren are the reason Missouri football is being discussed nationally today.

Of course, Mizzou fans didn’t show a lot of class (or football intelligence) in booing their team’s decision not to let a freshman quarterback try to lead a drive from his own 25 with 42 seconds to play in regulation.  An interception there would have only led to a Carolina opportunity and more boos.

One wonders how much the booing of an undefeated team and the nastiness on Twitter will resonate with Tiger recruits.  I would hope MU fans are better than what they showed on Saturday and Sunday.

In the big picture, Missouri’s pain is all gain for South Carolina, Georgia and even Florida.  All are now back in the East race.  Here’s a breakdown of what each school has left on the schedule:

 

  Missouri (3-1)   S. Carolina (4-2)   Georgia (3-2)   Florida (3-2)
  Tennessee   Miss. State   Florida (Jacksonville)   Georgia (Jacksonville)
  at Kentucky   Florida   at Auburn   Vanderbilt
  at Ole Miss   Kentucky   at S. Carolina
  Texas A&M

 

Now lets run through a few scenarios.

If Missouri drops one more game — and those last two games look pretty tough — Carolina can claim the East Division by beating Mississippi State and Florida at home.  USC would hold the head-to-head tie-breaker by virtue of Saturday’s comeback, Steve Spurrier’s decision to insert Shaw, and the Shaw-Ellington fourth-and-goal TD pass (which would certainly go down in Gamecock history should Carolina win the East).

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How Much Rope Will Muschamp Be Given At Florida?

will-muschamp-staringHe took over for one of the most highly-regarded coaches in college football.  He had to please a fanbase that’s used to winning SEC and national championships.

End the end, Ron Zook couldn’t get the job done in Gainesville.

What?  Did you think we were describing Will Muschamp’s situation?

Of course, we were.  Zook and Muschamp both faced the same challenges.  Both were also longtime assistant coaches with no track record as a top dog.  Florida AD Jeremy Foley took a risk in hiring both me.  He was quick to jettison Zook.  How much rope he gives to Muschamp is now a fair question in the Sunshine State.

From 2002 to 2004, Zook was given just three years to try and mimic Steve Spurrier’s successes.  Before coaching his first game, a website called FireRonZook.com was up and running on the internet (which was a really cheap shot by a nitwit, if you ask me).  Many Gator fans didn’t want Zook in the first place and Foley was quick to correct his mistake.

Zook’s achievements at UF:  8-5, 8-5 and 7-4.  He was 23-14 overall and 16-8 in the SEC never reaching Atlanta (though he did tie for the East Division title in 2003).

Muschamp’s situation is similar, but not an exact copy.  He is in his third season as Gator coach.  His records to date: 7-6, 11-2, 4-3.  Last year’s 11-win campaign — though it didn’t excite UF fans enough to travel to the Sugar Bowl — stands out as a reason for hope.  Unlike Zook, he does have one year of big wins under his belt.  But his overall record is 22-11 which is in the ballpark with Zook’s (a 66.6% winning clip for Muschamp compared to Zook’s 62.1%).  He’s also never reached Atlanta (tying for the East title last season) and it doesn’t appear he’ll do so this year either, barring massive surprises.

So what does Florida’s AD have to say about Muschamp’s reign?  “He’s not going anywhere, and I’m not going anywhere.”

Fair enough.  For now.

But a team that has been decimated by injuries continues to regress.  The Gator offense and defense were kicked around by a very good Missouri team on Saturday.  Gator fans aren’t used to seeing their team get blasted by anyone, much less an SEC newcomer that many Southerners continue to underestimate.

As of now, there’s no reason to believe that Florida will turn itself around down the stretch.  A beat-up team will face Georgia in its next game (another squad reeling due to injuries), then Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Florida State, now the #2 team in the BCS standings.  There’s a lay-up game with Georgia Southern before the FSU contest.

Let’s say Muschamp goes 3-2 down the stretch.  That’s a 7-5 record.  Very Zook-like.

Oh, and keep in mind that Muschamp now makes just under $3 million per season.

Foley says his coach is standing on terra firma.  He should be.  Last year’s 11-win season and this year’s injuries should buy him another year.  But fans are seldom patient.  Many no longer head to the Swamp on fall Saturdays.  If more fans begin to steer clear of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, it could force Foley’s hand.  And if that happens, Foley — believed by many to be a top-five AD nationally — will have swung and missed on two of his last three Gator football hires.

At Florida, nothing is more important than football.  Which means both Muschamp and Foley had better be hoping for a miraculous turnaround.  Anybody know someone who can heal the injured?

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Richt: Georgia Won’t Be Holding Back Against Carolina

gfx - they said itAfter a three-point loss in the house of then-8th-ranked Clemson, Mark Richt says his Georgia team is ready for battle.  And they’ll get a battle on Saturday when South Carolina visits.  Richt is aware — as all Bulldogs fans are — that Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks have gotten the best of UGA in recent years:

 

“South Carolina is a very good football team, obviously.  The last couple of years they have won 11 ballgames and they’ve beaten us three years in a row.  We have a great challenge ahead of us… It’s a big game for both teams and will set the tone for the future.  We don’t have a game next week, so there’s not a whole lot we should be holding back.”

 

No, there isn’t.  While UGA has bounced back from losses to USC to capture the East Division crown the past two seasons, no one in red and black wants to have to dig their way out of a hole yet again.

Also, a win over Carolina would likely boost Georgia right back into the BCS championship race.

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UGA’s Richt Says Players Need To Be Prepared For Dawgs’ Tough Early Slate

gfx - they said itGeorgia’s Mark Richt knows that it won’t be long before the 2013 football season kicks off.  For Georgia, that means a first-month slate that includes games against Clemson (on the road), South Carolina and LSU is just around the corner.  Richt hopes his players will act accordingly this summer:

 

“I hope they would have the same commitment every year.  But they are human and they’re going to be hearing about it and thinking about it all year and they know that we can’t wait ’til midseason to be in midseason form.  We’ve got to be there Game One.  So that means you’ve got to be prepared.”

 

Or not.

Hey, we get what Richt is saying but it was just two years ago — facing a hot seat type of year — that Richt opened up against Boise State and South Carolina.  A pair of losses later and many Dawg fans were howling for the head coach’s job.

By December, Georgia had righted its ship, rolled off 10 wins in a row and secured an East Division championship.

So, yeah, it’s important to be ready early, but the game’s at the end of the schedule count just as much as the games at the start of it.

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AU’s Malzahn: “We’re Moving Forward”

gfx - they said itAfter a shockingly disappointing 3-9 season in 2012, Auburn canned BCS title-winning coach Gene Chizik and brought back his old offensive coordinator, Gus Malzahn, to run the show.  Malzahn’s message to his players is clear — forget about last season:

 

“All I can tell you is we’re moving forward… I told the players: ‘I don’t care what you’ve done in the past.  I don’t care what happened last year.  We’re starting over.’ 

I promise you this: We’re going to get back to playing good, hard-nosed Auburn football… Our guys are excited.  They’re looking forward to spring practice, they’re looking forward to next year, and that really makes me feel good.”

 

If the Tigers show any improvement at all they should have four built-in non-conference wins.  AU will play Arkansas State (Malzahn’s last school), Western Carolina, Florida Atlantic, and they open the season at home against Washington State.  Expect the showdown between Malzahn’s offense and Mike Leach’s offense to get plenty of August pub.

Inside the league, AU will face the rough-and-tumble West Division schedule with permanent cross-over rival Georgia and rotating East Division team Tennessee.  With that slate, Malzahn will likely turn the Tigers in the right direction and get them back into a bowl game.  But unless he’s got another Cam Newton tucked away on the Tigers’ roster, his team probably won’t be getting all the way back in first year.

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UGA Board Approves A 400K Raise For Richt

Mark RichtGeorgia coach Mark Richt will see his yearly compensation jump from $2.81 million to $3.2 millon thanks to a vote last night by the Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors.  It is Richt’s first raise in nearly five years.

Since finding himself on the hot seat following the 2010 season, Richt has led the Bulldogs to back-to-back East Division titles and compiled a 22-6 record overall.

Outgoing president Michael Adams said: “It was time for us to do something in a preemptive way without him or anybody representing him to have to come to us.  Just a statement of our support for and respect for him.”

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OC Yost Steps Down At Mizzou, Could UT’s Chaney Be In Play?

After Missouri’s mizz-erable 2012 campaign ended, head coach Gary Pinkel said there would be no changes to his coaching staff.  Fast forward a few days and that’s now changing.

Embattled offensive coordinator David Yost announced today that he’ll be stepping down after nearly two decades of coaching with Pinkel (the last 12 years in Columbia):

 

“There are a lot of factors that played into the process of coming to my decision.  I feel like I’ve had a great run here and that it’s just the right time to turn it over to someone else.  On one hand, it’s a really hard decision to make, but on the other hand, I feel good that it’s the right decision at the right time for me.”

 

With injuries to quarterback James Franklin and just about every offensive lineman on the Tiger team, Mizzou finished the SEC 11th in total offense and scoring offense.

So who might replace Yost?  A look higher up the SEC stats chart will show that Tennessee finished 2nd in the league in total offense and fourth in scoring.  With Derek Dooley out in Knoxville, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney — a Missouri native who joined Tennessee’s staff from the St. Louis Rams in 2009 — is available.

Chaney had great success as Purdue’s offensive coordinator and helped turn Drew Brees and Kyle Orton into household names before heading to the NFL and then back to the college ranks.  For Missouri, a Chaney hire would also bring someone into the fold who’s had success in the East Division and who has already established some recruiting ties in the areas the Tigers hope to target.

In the end, two plus two might equal five, but the math on a Chaney/Mizzou marriage seems to add up.

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