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Hogs’ RB Davis Is Ready For The Fall

Arkansas running back and Heisman Trophy candidate Knile Davis is the exception to the rule.  He’s the college student who’s not looking forward to summer.  That’s because Davis — who missed the 2011 season with a serious ankle injury – is ready to play football again.  Now.

 

“I’m not an offseason person.  I’m ready for the season to come on.  Last time I played was Ohio State (in the January 2011 Sugar Bowl).  It’s been awhile – as you all know.  I’m just ready man.  I’m excited.  I’m excited with the guys I’m playing with.  The team I’m playing with…

Once you’ve reached a certain level and you get chopped off by injuries or something, you just miss being able to cut and miss being able to run.  So every day that you can’t do it makes you work harder and try to get back to it.  So every day I came in I was just trying to get my speed back and my cuts back as much as I could and it came.”

 

In the 2010 season, Davis rushed for 1,322 yards and 13 touchdowns on 204 carries.  His 6.5 yards-per-carry average was tops in the SEC.

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Writer: Spurrier Is Still The Top Gator Over Meyer… And He’s Right

Steve Spurrier won a Heisman Trophy as a player at Florida.  He then returned to his alma mater and made the Gator program one of the top five jobs in America.

But when Urban Meyer hoisted his second BCS crystal football in 2008, there were some who said the Gators newest coach had surpassed the older coach.

George Diaz of The Orlando Sentinel says a bit more time has proven that that was just not the case:


“Even now, as head coach at South Carolina, Spurrier channels the profile of the Perfect Gator: A blend of cockiness and charisma.  A man who embraces all the darts and arrows.  A man who loves to pile on, just because.  What’s not to love?

This is why Spurrier — years after leaving — will forever be king of Florida football, while Urban Meyer is a bit like the emperor with no clothes.

Sure the two national titles are fancy ornaments on his resume, but Meyer’s legacy will forever be tarnished by the rest of his “accomplishments.”  In simpler terms, he was nothing more than a hired mercenary who did his job, got sloppy, bored and disinterested, and helped dismantle a program he helped rebuild into a national power.”


Too strong?  Not in my view.  Spurrier tapped into the recruiting base of the Sunshine State like no other coach in Gator history.  His personality — as well as his play-calling — gained the UF program national recognition.

All that has come since — whether it was won by Meyer or will be won by Muschamp — can be traced back to the moment Spurrier took a good Florida program often bathed in scandal and made it a great football program with a clean record.

While Meyer won, he didn’t leave things in as good of order as he found it.  Tim Tebow — as we’ve written many times — was a once in a generation type of player who happened to pass through on his watch.  And scandals and arrests and drama and turmoil returned to Gainesville on Meyer’s watch as well.

Meyer has one more national title than Spurrier, but without Spurrier first laying the foundation, it’s doubtful Meyer would have accomplished nearly as much as he did in the roughneck SEC.

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Saban Opens Up, Talks About Miles, Shows Some Personality

Nick Saban isn’t known for being Mr. Personality.  And he doesn’t have the reputation for being the life of the party.  That okay, the guy’s a pretty good football coach, in case you haven’t noticed.

But yesterday he was in an upbeat mood and gave the Alabama a media a few more soundbites — and even a zinger — more than usual.  Below are a few of his more interesting quotes.


On sitting next to Les Miles at the Heisman Trophy ceremony: “We’ve done several other things together.  I have a lot of respect and admiration for what he’s done and who he is.  We talk on occasion about SEC issues and problems and college football in general. … I didn’t mind sitting by him.  I think it was good.  I showed him my phone and showed him how many calls I was getting from Louisiana people who were blowing my phone up.  He thought it was funny, I thought it was funny, and (then I) changed numbers on Monday.”


On the face that the media hadn’t noticed the absence of receivers Ronald Carswell and Michael Bowman: “You guys are slipping, because it’s been a long time that Carswell and Bowman have not been out there.  They’ve been suspended for a long time. … That just shows where you guys put all your time.  Somebody’s got to tweet it before you realize it, and you’re in practice every day.  I’m glad I’m not your editor or… we would be bah-humbugging you right now.”


Finally, Saban also addressed his decision to search for a new offensive coordinator after the BCS title game: “I don’t think you can recruit, get ready for a game, practice for a game and try to be interviewing people at the same time.  Something’s going to get sort of left out.  First of all, I’d like to see who’s interested and who’s available out there and kind of go from there, but our focus right now is the game.”

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New York Post Tabs Carolina #1

When you think about it, South Carolina isn’t as long a shot to win the BCS title as Auburn was at the beginning of last year’s campaign.  Still, knowing the Gamecocks’ history, it’s a little jarring to see USC — the USC of the East — tabbed as the top team in the country.

But The New York Post has done just that:


“With (Steve) Spurrier’s smooth Southern charm and dazzling resume as a college coach (he led Florida to the 1996 national championship) and player (he won the Heisman Trophy in 1966), landing some of the nation’s best talent, and his sixth sense for play calling, the Gamecocks are ready to make history.”


While The Post is picking the Gamecocks to win it all in January, Spurrier is quick to point out that his program still needs to do some growing.

“We never finished in the Top 10, never won a major bowl, never won the SEC,” the coach said.  “There’s still a whole bunch of firsts out there for us.”

“We’ll get a little pub right now, get our fans fired up over it.  Then we’ll see.  I think we’ve assembled hopefully one of our best teams ever.”

If nothing else, Spurrier has built the Gamecock program to the point where a national title isn’t completely outside the realm of possibility.  That’s quite a feat when you consider the long march through the desert that Carolina’s football history has been.

Now even folks as far off as New York City are paying attention to what’s going on in Columbia.

(As we noted earlier in our post regarding Mississippi State’s rise, hire the right coach and upward mobility is possible in the rough-and-tumble SEC.)

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UA’s Richardson Victim Of Hit-And-Run

Alabama starting tailback and Heisman Trophy candidate Trent Richardson was the victim in a hit-and-run car accident.  Details, however, are very sketchy.

According to WBRC-TV, the Tuscaloosa Police Department responded to a “leaving the scene of an accident/menacing call at 1:30 Thursday morning.”  A citation was issued for the driver who left the scene, but Richardson “declined prosecution on the menacing charge.”

The police department said the case is now closed and that no further details will be released.

A University of Alabama athletics department spokesperson has said that Richardson was not injured in the incident.

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Recruit Says Saban Told Him Ingram’s Going Pro

Nick Saban is recruiting running back Barry Sanders Jr. to Alabama.  Sanders Jr. told The Oklahoman newspaper yesterday that Bama’s coach is offering playing time as a lure.

“He just said, ‘We need running backs,’” Sanders Jr. said.  “How Trent (Richardson) would be a senior if I were to go (to Alabama).  He told me Ingram’s leaving, he’s making it public probably Friday.”

I’m not sure that this is shocking news to anyone.  Ingram won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore and then saw his numbers slightly decline this past season.  He missed two early games with an injury.

Saban has said that he wants his players to do a bit more research on the NFL’s labor situation before jumping into the draft early this year, but Ingram provides a good example of just how much labor concerns will impact juniors’ decisions — it wont.

Sanders Jr. is a junior — in school terms, too — and is a top running back in the class of 2012.

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SEC Headlines 12/12/2010 Part One

New Florida football coach Will Muschamp

1. He will be introduced at a press conference Tuesday night.

2. Mike Bianchi: Will Muschamp become the next Ron Zook or the next Billy Donovan?

3. Pat Dooley: “They hired a Gainesville guy who knows defense, has an Urban quality and will bring fire to the program.”

4. John Romano: “Muschamp is an intriguing hire. A potentially great hire. He’s just not a slam-dunk hire.”

5. Muschamp should give Florida a boost in recruiting.

6. Head coach-in-waiting strategy backfires on Longhorns.

7. Major Applewhite will reportedly join Muschamp as offensive coordinator.

8. Muschamp expected to target Kirby Smart as defensive coordinator.

9. Urban Meyer resigned “because of health reasons that make it too risky to continue coaching, a source told The Gainesville Sun on Saturday.”

Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton

10. Charles Goldberg: “It was not a night of drama. It was a coronation.”

11. Kevin Scarbinsky: Cam Newton beats the Moral Minority.

12. Stewart Mandel: Deserved but awkward.

13. Clay Travis: He won it but can he keep it?

14. Dan Wetzel: “No matter where you stand, the whole thing was a mess.”

15. Dan Wolken “If the Heisman Trophy is that important, we should let somebody else decide.”

16. Did Florida try to intentionally upstage Cam Newton?

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SEC Headlines 12/11/2010 Part One

1. Has Florida AD Jeremy Foley talked to Boise State football coach Chris Peterson about the Gators job?

2. What Foley is looking for.

3. Gene Frenette: “Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops skipping his media session after practice Friday night figures to ratchet up speculation about his interest in the Florida Gators job.”

4. With Urban Meyer’s resignation, the Florida-Penn State story line at the Outback Bowl is even better.

5. Mike Bianchi: “These coaches have plenty of opportunities — many more than most of us working stiffs do — to spend time with their families. If they don’t do it, it’s their own fault.”

6. “Meyer didn’t rule out coaching again someday, and many believe he will.”

7. On the day of the Heisman Trophy ceremony, the Cam Newton alleged laptop theft story reemerges.

8. One year after his Auburn visit, the spotlight shines on Cam Newon in the Big Apple.

9. Jason Whitlock: “Cam Newton is the perfect player to win the Heisman Trophy.”

10. Gus Malzahn is Vandy’s top choice.

11. Jon Solomon: “Gus Malzahn possesses multiple options.

12.  Sorry, Auburn students.  You will have class on the day of the BCS Championship Game.

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Late Night Dawg Bites: Random Thoughts Unrelated to Urban Meyer

Georgia
Content provided by Dawg Sports.

This is a busy time of year, personally and professionally as well as athletically, and that set of circumstances lends itself to random half-formed thoughts. Sometimes, this causes me to make dated references and mathematical errors in the midst of instantaneous reactions; other times, it leads me to share a collection of nuggets such as these:

  • It is no secret that I am no fan of the Heisman Trophy, but college football’s most overrated award occasionally lurches uncontrollably into the correct result by anointing the student-athlete who actually has a credible claim to being the most outstanding player in the sport that year. It appears this will be one of the years in which the Heisman Trophy actually goes to the person whose performance on the field merits the accolade. That being the case, why are we engaging in the pretense that there are four “finalists” for this award? LaMichael James, Andrew Luck, and Kellen Moore have front-row seats to see Cameron Newton win the award he deserves to win. The only drama will be whether he breaks O.J. Simpson’s record for biggest landslide victory in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Cam Newton is the most outstanding player in college football this year; his receipt, vel non, of this award will not make the foregoing statement any more or less true, but ESPN’s silly hyping of this sillier award is unseemly. Recognize the guy for his achievements, but cool it with the dog and pony show, all right, Worldwide Leader?
  • An inconsequential math error in the final BCS standings has caused a bit of an uproar, resulting in descriptions of the situation as “dumbfounding,” questions whether the computer polls could “be intentionally manipulated,” and this claim by the fellow who caught the mistake: “The BCS owes us an entire system that is open, accountable and verifiable.” Why is this so? The deliberations of the NCAA Tournament selection committee are not open, accountable, and verifiable; neither are the deliberations of trial juries, grand juries, or the U.S. Supreme Court. Plenty of widely accepted and implicitly trusted results come to us from systems that lack openness, accountability, and verifiability from start to finish; in fact, rare is the system that provides those features throughout the process. Many perfectly reasonable college football fans dislike the BCS; I am one of them, in fact. The notion that we are “owe[d]” a wholly open system, though, is ludicrous, and the claim that we are entitled to any such thing is utterly hypocritical coming from anyone who does not make similar claims about much more important matters, or even about other NCAA-sanctioned sports. It was a minor math error that affected absolutely nothing. Fix it, forget it, and focus on the actual matter at issue.
  • In games decided by seven or fewer points, Central Florida went 1-2 in 2010, whereas Georgia went 0-3. In games decided by ten or fewer points, Central Florida went 2-3, while Georgia went 1-3. In the last four Liberty Bowls, the SEC representative has beaten the Conference USA champion by eight or fewer points, as the margins have gotten closer year after year. Something’s got to give.
  • Finally, friend of the blog Josh D. Weiss sent me some of his photographs from Tuesday night’s Georgia-Georgia Tech basketball game, three of which are visible below and the rest of which may be seen here:

Go ‘Dawgs!


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Cecil Heading To NYC, But Heisman Winners Don’t Want Him There

I’m over the whole Cam Newton mess.  So personally, I don’t give a hoot if his father shows up for the Heisman Trophy presentation on Saturday.  But in this age of the 24-hour news cycle, folks have got to fill time with something.  Which is why “Will Cecil go to the Heisman” mania is sweeping the country.

Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com tweeted yesterday — do I need to tell you how much I hate Twitter? — the following:


“Cecil Newton was on the list of the people submitted by Auburn to travel up & get seats in the player’s section of Heisman ceremony.”


But according to 1987 Heisman winner Tim Brown: “I’ve talked to some past winners and they’d rather (Cecil Newton) not be (at the ceremony).  For (Cecil) to be there would be saying, ‘I’m bigger than my son.’”

That according to BamaOnline.com by way of SportsByBrooks.com.

I’m not sure how Cecil’s showing up would say, “I’m bigger than my son,” but I do understand why folks connected to the award might not want the elder Newton to attend.

However, this moment will be Cam’s moment.  If he wants his father to share in it with him, then that seems to be Cam’s business.

But hey… maybe Cam doesn’t even know that his father is planning to attend. 


(By the way, you can follow us on Twitter by clicking here.  Hey, we’re one of Maxim’s Top 100 Twitter Accounts Every Guy Should Follow, don’t ya know?)

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