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Like Miles, Franklin And Mullen Takes Shots At De-Commits; All Need To Grow Up

Earlier today, we gave you our take on Les Miles’ decision to publicly badmouth former LSU commitment Gunner Kiel.  In summary: Millionaire adults shouldn’t insult teenagers publicly.

Well, it seems that Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and MSU’s Dan Mullen have some growing up to do, too.  (There may be more across the SEC, but those are the three cases we’ve come across so far.)

In the cutthroat world of recruiting, coaches rise and fall on the commitments and de-commitments of teenage boys.  Naturally, when a coach loses a player, he’s going to be a) ticked and b) hurt.  But as adults representing major universities, they need to show a bit more maturity than the kids doing the flip-flopping.

Especially when coaches have no problem talking recruits into flipping and flopping to their programs.

On Wednesday, Miles questioned the heart and leadership capabilities of quarterback prospect and Notre Dame signee Gunner Kiel.  In contrast, he talked up the “style” of Jeremy Liggins, a Mississippi quarterback who inked a last-minute deal with the Tigers.

Liggins had been a top target of Mullen’s Mississippi State program.  So when he lost out on Liggins, he offered a scholarship to quarterback Nick Schuessler instead.  And here’s what he had to say about that move:

“It was actually funny.  During that whole weekend (leading up to signing day) we were sitting there with Nick, I kind of came to the conclusion Nick was the better quarterback.  Then it kind of became real heavy that he was the much better quarterback.”

Funny how that works.  You study two players for months and target one.  That one decides to go elsewhere and suddenly it’s obvious that he really wasn’t that good after all.  The other guy was “much better.”

How childish and small of Mullen to make a crack like that about a teenager who’s was trying to make the biggest decision of his young life.

But the immaturity and pettiness didn’t stop there.  In Nashville, James Franklin told a group of Vanderbilt backers that players who de-committed from his program were “not men of honor” and “not men of integrity,” according to Jeff Lockridge of The Tennessean via Twitter.

Hmmm.  Could that have been a shot at last minute flip-flopper Josh Dawson, who decided his skills as a defensive end would be better honed at his homestate school of Georgia?  (It should be noted, Dawson called Vandy’s coaches with the news on the night prior to signing day.  Even VU assistant Sean Spencer said “he was a man” about it.)

What’s ironic is that Franklin’s signing class includes a quarterback named Patton Robinette who walked out of orientation at North Carolina to drive to Nashville and join Franklin’s squad at the last possible instant.

I don’t recall Franklin closing his door to Robinette, do you?  I suppose a player isn’t a man of honor or integrity when he’s leaving you for someone else.  If he’s leaving someone else for you, well, that’s a sign of high character.

I get that coaches like players who sign with them and dislike many kids who sign elsewhere.  I understand that coaches need to spin “lesser” signees to the fanbase when they lose a higher-ranked prospect.  I also understand that coaches like to be applauded and there’s no easier way for a coach to gain applause than by acting angry and wronged in front of his fanbase.  Talk about rallying the troops.

But the fact remains, these coaches are dealing with teenagers.  Regardless of how they might feel post-signing day or what they might say behind the closed doors of the football complex, they need to show enough maturity to not insult and belittle young men who are being pulled in a thousand directions by grown men promising them everything from playing time, to jobs, to an education.

Miles questioned a teen’s heart and talent.  Mullen dissed a teen’s abilities.  Franklin questioned at least one teenager’s honor and integrity.

I wonder if there’s anyone at any of those coaches’ institutions who will question the scorned, schoolgirl behavior of their highest-paid employees?

You’re older than the players, guys.  You’re supposed to be more mature.  Act like it.

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SEC Headlines – 1/18/12

Very quick on the headlines today.  All in one blast…

1.  Florida isn’t turning the ball over as much in recent games.

2.  Georgia’s Donte’ Williams is still adapting to playing bigger guys as Mark Fox’s starting center.

3.  John Kasay is retiring from UGA’s strength staff.

4.  Kentucky took it to Arkansas from start to finish last night in Lexington.

5.  South Carolina is off to an 0-3 SEC start, but this writer says there’s no reason to panic.

6.  Four Tennessee hoopsters will be making a homecoming when the Vols visit Georgia tonight.

7.  Anthony Grant believes Alabama’s tempo is “too slow.”

8.  Linebackers coach Lance Thompson’s return to Bama?  It’s the prodigal son going home.

9.  They’re talking about the 2012 football schedule in Arkansas.  (Link Fixed)

10.  LSU’s Justin Hamilton took over in overtime against Auburn last night.

11.  Les Miles understands Gunner Kiel’s decision to stay close to home in Indiana.

12.  Ole Miss freshman Jarvis Summers will have to defend Dee Bost tonight if the Rebs are to snap a five-game losing streak to MSU.

13.  Bost sounds ready for the challenge.

14.  The point guards will be important, but the big men inside will set the tone in Oxford.

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Miles Shoots Down Rumored Brouhaha At LSU

You can add another name to the list of LSU folks denying that a pre-BCS title game fuss led to an uninspired performance in the biggest game of the year.  The new name?  Les Miles, who was asked if there was any truth to the rumor of player dissension:

“Not at all.  We took the field just like we always have.  There’s never been any issue prior to a game.  There has never been a player-coach interaction before or after a game that was negative.”

Most of the rumors and messageboard posts claim that part of the team wanted Jarrett Lee at quarterback and part wanted Jordan Jefferson.  Miles never did go to Lee during the game, but his explanation at a presser yesterday was the same one he delivered after the contest last Monday night.

“I do think about the ability to change quarterbacks,” Miles said.  “That was a question that I had.  I brought it to my staff. … I can tell you that Jarrett Lee did come to mind, we do have confidence in Jarrett.”

But, LSU crossed the 50 or the first time all night early in the fourth quarter.  Down 15-0, Miles felt Jefferson still gave his team the best chance to come back.

“Jordan Jefferson had put us in that position (at Bama’s 32 thanks to an 18-yard quarterback scramble), and the way the pass rush was going in that game we just felt like we needed a mobile quarterback to make a play like that and then understand that if you finish just one drive and score seven, it’s a completely different game.  We just felt like we needed that guy who might be able to get loose with his feet.”

Since the title game, LSU has lost out on star quarterback prospect Gunner Kiel and seen three underclassmen declare for the NFL draft.  What was bright and cheery on the Bayou last Sunday has turned dark and dreary in the minds of many over the last 10 days.

But Miles isn’t stressing.  “We return a team that in my mind will have just as much talent and be just as capable as any that we’ve had… The fundamental of this program is to win championships and this team is a championship team.  We won the West.  We won the conference and certainly in our view the conference is the best in the country.  We spent 11 weeks as the number one team int he country and repelled all comers.  We played eight nationally ranked teams, beat the national champs in the regular season and played in the last game where only two teams get to play.  I cannot bemoan this team’s success, and by any measure this is a great year.”

True enough.  But what about the quarterback spot next year?

“We’ll throw the football more,” said Miles.  “I think there will be a fun approach, a different view of our quarterback position now, and I think it will allow us to throw the football more effectively and to approach a gameplan that can feature some receivers and some balls being thrown down the field maybe a little bit more efficiently.”

Perhaps there would be a lot less griping in the LSU camp today if Miles and company had just tried that approach a time or two against Alabama in New Orleans.

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SEC Recruiting Headlines – 12/29/11

1. Defensive back Jordan Diggs will reduce his list of schools from five to three on Monday.

2. Here’s a look at some of the top juniors in the state of Georgia.

3. Steve Kragthorpe deserves credit for helping LSU land top quarterback Gunner Kiel.

4. Running back Mike Davis has scheduled his final three official visits.

5. Tennessee wide receiver commit Alton “Pig” Howard has been added to the roster for the Under Armour All-American Game.

6. Several prospects are expected to announce their decisions at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix.

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Report: Gunner Kiel To Announce Decision

Highly-touted quarterback Gunner Kiel will announce his college decision today, according to a report from Steve Wiltfong of

Kiel, who’s considered the nation’s No. 1 pro-style quarterback by 247Sports, is considering LSU, Vanderbilt and Notre Dame.

Recent speculation has led Kiel to LSU, but the Columbus, Ind., native has been linked to all three schools.

A time hasn’t been announced for Kiel’s decision. Stay connected to MrSEC for the latest with Kiel’s decision.

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SEC Recruiting Headlines – 12/23/11

Here are several headlines before you head into the holiday weekend.

1. Running back Imani Cross has “no hard feelings” toward Tennessee and other notes from Michael Carvell of the AJC.

2. Here’s a full list of the SEC’s early signees from the junior college ranks.

3. Linebacker Kent Turene won’t play at Georgia because of academic shortcomings.

4. Here are five of Georgia’s top recruiting targets for 2012.

5. Auburn coach Gene Chizik says the Tigers are “in a great place” with their 2012 recruiting class.

6. Kentucky coach Joker Phillips updates recruiting for the Wildcats.

7. Here’s a recruiting mailbag from the Gainesville Sun.

8. South Carolina has offered a scholarship to junior running back Marquez Grayson.

9. Are you looking for tons of updates on Arkansas’ recruiting? This should do it.

10. Top quarterback Gunner Kiel is still considering LSU, Vanderbilt and Notre Dame.

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Friday Afternoon One-Liners

Here are a few headlines to take you into the weekend.

-Junior college offensive lineman Darone Bailey has committed to Kentucky.

-Could quarterback Gunner Kiel be the next Matt Barkley?

-Keil will be one of 24 quarterbacks on hand at the Elite 11 quarterback camp.

-When will Kentucky receive its first basketball commitment for 2012?

-Football is a family activity for Georgia WR commit CJ Curry.

-This Memphis defensive end prospect is hoping to receive an offer from Arkansas.

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