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SEC Headlines 2/1/2014

headlines-saturdaySEC Football

1. Quarterback Jacob Coker on his decision to transfer from Florida State to Alabama: “I didn’t really consider any other schools.”

2. Auburn A.D. Jay Jacobs knew former coach Gene Chizik’s fate was sealed during a blowout loss to Texas A&M in 2012: “I knew then there was no return there.”

3. Jordan-Hare Stadium and  Amazing Spiderman 2?

4. The full board of trustees at Kentucky give approval to a project to build new privately funded $45 million football training facility.

5. Two former Georgia Bulldogs with NFL experience want to join Mark Richt’s program.

6. “Georgia’s defensive staff, outside of Wilson, wasn’t exactly made up of world beaters on the recruiting trail.”

7. Arkansas confirms departure of wide receiver Melvinson Hartfield. Redshirted in 2013.

8. Which schools have signed the most four and five star prospects the last four years in the SEC?

9. Jon Solomon on some questions and answers regarding a college players union.

SEC Basketball

10. Add Missouri coach Frank Haith’s name to the list of coaches who’d like to get rid of one-and-done.

11. Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein and assistant coach Kenny Payne had an exchange at LSU this week.  John Calipari says he didn’t see it.

12. Georgia has missed Kenny Gaines the last two games - hoping the injured guard is back today.

Extra

13. Are the Colquitts the Mannings of punting?

14. Setting the lines for sporting events isn’t really a mystery. “It’s not rocket science. We’re not doing brain surgery here.”

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Auburn’s Malzahn Wins the Bear Bryant Coaching Award

gus-malzahn-aub-helmetGus Malzahn came within seconds of winning the BCS Championship Game.  But his team’s last-minute loss to Florida State hasn’t gotten in the way of him winning multiple Coach of the Year awards.  Already he’d picked up the Home Depot Coach of the Year Award, the Football Writers Association of America’s Eddie Robinson Award, and AP National Coach of the Year honors.  Last night he added to his tally.

In a move sure to make a few Bama fans sick, Malzahn was announced on Wednesday as the winner of last season’s Paul “Bear” Bryant College Coach of the Year Award.

“When you’re growing up, he’s the man,” Malzahn said of the tribute.  ”The fact that I’m from the state of Arkansas and he’s from Fordyce, Arkansas and one of my best friends is coaching high school there makes it even that much more special.”

The first-year Tiger coach admitted that he’s still stinging over his team’s loss to FSU in Pasadena.  ”We’re still hurting over the fact that we were close to winning the national championship and got beat.  But if you can remove yourself from that, it was a lot of fun, our players came a long way, they improved each week and we were 13 seconds away from being the national champion.”

The fact that his team improved each week — and improved from 3-9 under Gene Chizik in 2012 to 12-2 in 2013 — is the reason Malzahn will have a shelf full of trophies to someday look back upon and appreciate.   Coach of the Year honors typically go to guys who  win national championships.  But there’s no denying Malzahn did more heavy-lifting than any other coach in the country in 2013.

 

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Davis’ Game-Winning TD Ball From Iron Bowl Could Be Worth $100,000

chris-davis-return-in-iron-bowlFirst things first, Auburn University has tracked down the ball Chris Davis carried as he scored the game-winning touchdown in last Saturday’s Iron Bowl.  You can expect it to be displayed prominently somewhere on the AU campus moving forward.

But one sports memorabilia expert says that ball could fetch up to $100,000 if put on the market.  Brandon Steiner told Bloomberg.com that the game-winning pigskin is “one of the great balls from one of the great games.”

Technically, that ball would be worth whatever the biggest spender and/or craziest Auburn fan would be willing to spend on it.  There are probably some well-oiled Tiger backers who’d throw down more than 100K for the ball… if it were to be put up for auction… which it won’t be.

Once retrieved, the ball was presented to Auburn AD Jay Jacobs who’s gone from idiot (“He hired Gene Chizik.”) to genius (“He hired Gene Chizik!”) to idiot (“He hired Gene ‘Frickin’ Chizik.”) and back to genius again (“He hired Gus Malzahn!”) in a span of four years.

Ironically, since Alabama was kicking on the play, the ball in question was actually a Crimson Tide football.  But Alabama has no desire to get the ball back and it bears no Crimson Tide logos, unlike most school-supplied footballs of the age.  Again, expect it to be put on display somewhere on the Auburn campus.

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Report: Chizik To Host Radio Show On Sirius/XM

gene-chizik-leatherAccording to ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy former Auburn football coach Gene Chizik will host a radio show on Sirius/XM satellite radio.  Will that mean an entirely new show or will Chizik — like so many other coaches over the past couple of years — be paired once or twice a week with Jack Arute?  We’ll have to wait and see.

That said, Chizik — a man, oh, so painfully bland at SEC Media Days during his stay on the Plains — has done a very good job as a pre-game media analyst and as a signing day analyst on ESPN.

Unfortunately, on radio we won’t be able to see his leather jacket.

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Ex-Tiger Newton Likes What He Sees At Auburn Practice

gfx - they said itNFL quarterback and former Heisman Trophy-winner Cam Newton stopped by his old stomping grounds yesterday and took in a bit of Gus Malzahn’s practice.  He liked what he saw from his old coach as he spread out to work with the defense.  And he liked what he heard in terms of piped in noise and music:

 

“It’s always going to be tough for any coach whose heart has been around the offense for so long to have to spread things around.  I use the analogy of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  There’s so much peanut butter on just one side, now you’ve got to spread out to everybody else…

If anything, I wish they were doing things (as Malzahn is now) when I was here.  The music, I love the music.  Third-down situations, it provides an excellent simulation of the game.  It’s going to be very, very intriguing to see this whole process come to fruition.”

 

Malzahn, of course, was Auburn’s offensive coordinator under Gene Chizik when Newton won the Heisman and led Auburn to the 2010 national championship.

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Chizik Says Technology Has Changed Recruiting “Completely”

gfx - they said itActing as an ESPN analyst today, ex-Auburn coach Gene Chizik was asked about the importance of social media and technology in the current recruiting landscape:

 

“(It’s) Completely changed the complexion of recruiting.  No question in my mind.  You know, you can look at a young man’s Facebook and Twitter and never meet him and get probably a 70% accurate evaluation of who that guy is by looking at his Twitter and his Facebook. 

This is a day and age in recruiting where technology is king.  You have to be able to Facebook kids.  They love the tweets.  That’s what kids thrive on.  You have to be technologically savvy, which I’m not, but you have to be.”

 

Chizik might claim to be technologically-challenged, but no one can say he couldn’t recruit.  Still, his point is a good one.

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AU Fans A Little Happier With Malzahn Hire Than They Were With Chizik Hire

What a difference four years and one 2-10 season can make.

Last night, a number of Auburn supporters showed up at the local airport to greet new head coach and former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn.  Needless to say, they were happy with his return.

 

Gus Malzahn arrives at Auburn airport 12-4-12

 

Here was the response at the airport when AD Jay Jacobs touched down in Auburn after hiring Gene Chizik, Malzahn’s old boss, back in 2008.

 

All's Well In Auburn!

 

Now, what’s funny is that Chizik went on to win a BCS title and he and Jacobs were hailed as heroes and geniuses.  After the nosedive this past season things changed just a tad.

And now Malzahn gets to enter the Auburn kingdom like a long lost son returning home.

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Reports: AU To Name Malzahn As New Coach

Multiple reports from the Yellowhammer State say that Auburn’s next head coach will be… Gus Malzahn, the Tigers’ former offensive coordinator.  Malzahn just led Arkansas State to a 9-3 record and the Sun Belt Conference championship in his first year as a collegiate head coach.

While Malzahn’s name had been tied to the Auburn job from the moment Gene Chizik was nuked, there was a strange cloud of silence surrounding his actual interview with AD Jay Jacobs and his three-man search committee.  We heard from multiple AU sources that Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart had interviewed well.  We heard completely different takes on Bobby Petrino.

But we couldn’t get the two AU sources we spoke to — one last night, one this morning — to say much of anything about Malzahn’s sit-down.  While we had come to expect Auburn to make a clean break from the immediate Gene Chizik past, the silence surrounding Malzahn’s interview certainly raised our suspicions that he might just land the job.

Early on in the process, we suggested that he and Petrino would be the two most likely men to land the AU job.  Petrino because he was desperate, Malzahn because he knew the lay of the land on the Plains.  If NCAA snoops are truly sniffing around Auburn, Malzahn likely knows what the issues are and his return suggests he doesn’t believe they’ll be too serious.  An outsider might not be so trusting considering the fact that the NCAA hammer dropped harder than expected at Ohio State, Miami, North Carolina, and Penn State when their recent hires arrived on those campuses.

Malzahn’s spread offense at Auburn was ranked fourth in the conference in total offense in 2009 (versus SEC foes only), second in 2010, and then seventh in 2011.  Without him, Auburn finished dead-last in the SEC versus conference foes in total offense this past season.

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Auburn A.D. Jacobs To Have Say In Chizik Decision

There’s a little good news for Gene Chizik this afternoon.  Good news for Jay Jacobs, too.  And what will be viewed as bad news for Auburn fans demanding that heads roll on the Plains.

For the past few weeks a number of media members, bloggers and fans have called for not only the ouster of Auburn coach Gene Chizik, but also for the dismissal of Jacobs, the athletic director who hired him.  Some have even called for AU president Jay Gogue to be rubbished as well.

But last week, a report claimed that Gogue was actually planning to stand by Jacobs and that Chizik’s situation would be settled after the season.  Today, Al.com takes things a step further claiming that “people familiar with the decision-making process” believe Jacobs will be “a key player” in helping decide the fate of Chizik.

Jacobs and Chizik are close.  So if Gogue’s standing by Jacobs, it’s possible he’ll stand by Chizik, too… if Jacobs recommends he do so.  And it’s quite likely Jacobs will make just such a recommendation.

Chizik has recruited well and he’s just two years removed from a BCS championship.  It can be argued — whether you buy it or not is up to you — that Auburn’s season has been adversely impacted by the arrival of two new coordinators with two new systems.  Jacobs could make the case that Chizik deserves another year to see if these moves and his big recruiting hauls finally pay off in 2013.

And don’t forget, keep Chizik for another year would see his buyout drop from about $7.5 million on December 1st of this year to about $5 million next December 1st.  If AU’s brass is looking for reasons to patient with Chizik, there are at least about 2.5 million of them.

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SEC Headlines 11/11/2012

SEC Football

1. Former Kentucky basketball Joe Hall on Bobby Petrino: “He was not out chasing jobs and would not have left Louisville if he had not been approached about jobs.” And what about the Atlanta Falcons? “He was not going to walk out. But they changed the locks on the door so he could not get back to the locker room. There was a lot more to that story.”

2. “The key to having a long and successful coaching career is taking the right jobs at the right time and right now Kentucky’s got an athletic director you want to work together with.”

3. Tennessee had the ball and two timeouts in the final minute of regulation against Missouri Saturday.  Why didn’t they use them?

4. Derek Dooley: ”I just had confidence we could go beat ‘em in overtime.”

5. Auburn coach Gene Chizik talks to A.D. Jay Jacobs on a “daily basis” – not so university President Jay Gogue: ”I don’t typically have a lot of contact with Dr. Gogue until the end of the season, anyway.”

6. Columnist: Common sense tells me “Gene Chizik is done here.”

7. Jeff Schultz: “While Georgia is ascending, Alabama is sputtering (relatively speaking).”

8. Look ahead to next week - time running out on bowl hopes for Arkansas, Ole Miss and Tennessee.

9. Aggies produce a victory t-shirt

10. Matt Hayes on Johnny Manziel: “Where is the national championship race headed, and can a freshman really win the Heisman Trophy?”

11. Andy Staples on the significance of the A&M victory: “It probably ended the SEC’s BCS title streak at six seasons.

12. Manziel and South Carolina’s D.J. Swearinger Walter Camp National Players of the Week.

13. Jerry Palm bowl projections.

SEC/College News

14. Grade changing investigation at a Memphis high school remains open.

15. Does Tommy Tuberville deserve a suspension? Slaps a graduate assistant’s headset and cap off after a fourth-down penalty. Tuberville: “I was trying to get him off the field.”

SEC Basketball

16. Missouri 83 – SIU-Edwardsville 69.  Laurence Bowers leads the Tigers with 20 points.

17. Vanderbilt 80 – Nicholls State 65. Career-high 25 points for Kedren Johnson.

18. Frank Martin era at South Carolina gets underway today.

19. Florida gets a second chance at a season opener.

20. 1-0 Alabama hosts West Alabama today.

21. Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes may be 6’8″ and 255 pounds, but he’s quite adept at passing the ball.

Extra

22. Jon Gruden a possibility…in Philadelphia?

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