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SEC Headlines – 11/9/11 Part One

1.  Alabama will face another pair of rotating quarterbacks when they visit Mississippi State on Saturday.

2.  This writer says the chances for a Bama-LSU rematch are slim.

3.  Auburn quarterback Clint Moseley is refreshed and ready for a return to action.

4.  Defensive tackle Gabe Wright is stepping up just in time to face his former high school teammate, Isaiah Crowell of Georgia.

5.  Bobby Petrino wants his team to improve in short-yardage situations.

6.  Marshawn Powell poured in 26 in a Razorback basketball exhibition win last night.

7.  LSU’s quarterbacks are off limits to the media as Les Miles decides who to start on Saturday.  (Both will continue to play.)

8.  Eric Reid’s key interception against Alabama has thrust him into the national spotlight.

9.  Dan Mullen scoffed at Nick Saban’s comment that MSU’s two-quarterbacks system will be tough to prepare for.

10.  State’s offensive line will face a stiff challenge trying to open run lanes against Bama’s D-line.

11.  Ole Miss players and coaches are trying to get back to work with Louisiana Tech coming for a visit on Saturday (in what could be an audition for Tech coach Sonny Dykes.)

12.  The Rebel players are backing Houston Nutt.

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Richt Says Tailback Suspensions Weren’t Delayed

Asked today on the SEC teleconference about talk that Georgia might have delayed the suspensions of three tailbacks until after last week’s all-important Florida game, Mark Richt made it clear that that was not the case:

“People who make comments who don’t know probably shouldn’t, quite frankly, because they don’t know.  I’d be able to prove 100% that they’re wrong, but I’m not going to spend the time doing that.  The bottom line is we have rules and we follow them to the T.  We’ve got the utmost integrity in how we go about our business.  That’s how we’ve tried to build this program since the day I got here and we’re not going to change for any reason.”

Isaiah Crowell, Ken Malcome and Carlton Thomas will all miss Saturday’s game with New Mexico State after reportedly failing a drug test last week.

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Top Running Back Defends Georgia’s Richt

The questions about Mark Richt’s job security at Georgia are resurfacing following the Bulldogs’ 35-21 loss to Boise State on Saturday night.

Everyone from Richt to his players to recruits across the nation are hearing them.

That includes the nation’s top all-purpose tailback, Keith Marshall. The Raleigh, N.C., native responded to the criticism of Richt on Saturday night.

“People need to stop hating on Coach Richt !!!” Marshall wrote on twitter.

Georgia has been recruiting Marshall heavily and he’s shown strong interest in return.

But many have wondered if Georgia has a legitimate shot with talented freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell already on campus. Marshall hasn’t seemed concerned.

“I do not want to be the only guy,” he told “I would love to play with another back because I do no want to take a beating. Especially in the SEC, if you want to have a long pro career, you want to split the carries with someone else. I saw Isaiah Crowell from last year and he is very good. I would like to play with a guy like that.”

That might end up happening. But if Georgia loses to South Carolina on Saturday, Marshall will again hear whispers that it will have to be with another person coaching the Bulldogs.

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SEC Headlines – 8/30/11 Part One

1.  Will Muschamp says there’s still a lot of work to do at Florida this week.

2.  The Gators look to start two true freshmen in the secondary for the first time in school history.

3.  Howard Schnellenberger knows that his Florida Atlantic Owls aren’t likely to get a hoot out of playing in The Swamp.  (Hoot?  Owls?  Get it?)
4.  If Georgia tailback Richard Samuel is healthy on Saturday, he’ll split carries with Isaiah Crowell.

5.  Mark Richt won’t say if safety Bacarri Rambo is suspended for the opener or not.

6.  Boise State’s Chris Petersen says he’s put a blowout loss at Georgia in ’05 out of his mind.

7.  A dozen freshman are likely to contribute for Kentucky this season.

8.  There’s not as much hype for a UK-WKU opener as their is a UK-Louisville opener.  Big shock.

9.  UK has stupidly banned its own student newspaper from today’s basketball interview sessions because a college reporter did his job.

10.  Stephen Garcia and Connor Shaw are listed as co-starters on South Carolina’s depth chart.

11.  Akeem Auguste has reinjured his foot… meaning CC Whitlock will start at corner for USC against East Carolina.

12.  Gamecock freshmen are getting a crash course in SEC football.

13.  Tennesssee — including return specialist Devrin Young — is getting healthy at the right time.

14.  UT will have two true freshmen flanking a senior in its linebacking corps this fall.

15.  Vol players are excited that the season is finally upon them.

16.  Vanderbilt quarterback Larry Smith seems to have more confidence this season.

17.  James Franklin has decided not to call plays on offense… for now.

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UGA’s Crowell And Samuel Could Be Out Til Next Week

If you’re Mark Richt, the last thing you needed were injuries at the tailback position.  After a wave of departures this offseason, the Bulldogs’ coach found himself with a tailback-turned-linebacker-turned-tailback and a true freshman as his 1-2 options heading into the fall.  Now both are on the shelf for a few more days.

First-team tailback Richard Samuel has already missed two practices with a left quad injury.  “I don’t know how long he’ll be, but he definitely isn’t ready yet,” Richt told The Macon Telegraph.  “My guess is it’ll be early next week before we even start thinking about it.”

Isaiah Crowell — the all-everything freshman who some are expecting to be this year’s version of Marcus Lattimore — is still limited with a groin injury.

“He still can’t really move quick enough to be safe and be competitive,” Richt said.  “I mean he gave it a go today, but it’s not ready yet.  He thought he was ready and he wasn’t.  He’s farther along than I’d say Richard right now.”

Richt said he expects both players to be back for the opener against Boise State.  But in Crowell’s case especially, any missed practice time — true learning time — has to be a concern.

No one is worried about the rookie’s ability to run the football.  And so far, he’s gotten good grades for picking up the offense.  But if he’s going to be a complete player right from the get-go, Crowell will also have to master blitz pick-ups and quarterback protections.  The more reps he misses in practice, the more likely it is that Samuel will get the bulk of the work against the Broncos in the Georgia Dome.

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Crowell Picking Up The Offense At UGA

There aren’t many true freshmen in the country who are under as much pressure as Georgia tailback Isaiah Crowell.  Gone are many of the veterans expected to play in front of him.  Gone are some key offensive linemen who could’ve helped block for him.  Yet he’s expected to step right in and become this season’s Marcus Lattimore of Mike Dyer.

Sounds rough, but according to running backs coach Bryan McClendon, so far… so good:

“Not only in this league, but in the NFL or whatever, you’ve got guys that if you can’t trust them out there you’re not gonna put them out there. … That hasn’t been an issue with Isaiah so far.  And this is Day Four of installation, and he hasn’t missed much assignment-wise, and that’s obviously a pleasure to see.”

Before Crowell can do the things that Dawg fans are hoping for this fall, he has to know what it is he’s supposed to be doing.  The fact that he’s picking up the offense quickly should bring some sighs of relief from Rossville to Valdosta.

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SEC Headlines – 7/26/11 Part One

1.  For John Brantley and Deonte Thompson, it’s their last chance to shine in Gainesville.

2.  The Gators say they are going to use low expectations to their advantage.

3.  Mark Richt says he’s not being as patient with his players’ off-field issues this year.

4.  Aaron Murray says he and some teammates plan to push freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell.

5.  South Carolina is in the middle of several major construction projects.

6.  But AD Eric Hyman — a possible target of Tennessee’s ongoing AD search — might not be around to see the projects completed.

7.  This writer says Mike Slive’s proposal for change was just a start.

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Richt Wary Of Injuries On The O-Line

When it comes to concerns on the Georgia football team, the Dawgs’ offensive line is — appropriately enough — front and center.  Mark Richt said before his mission trip to Honduras that things might get “interesting” if “a couple of guys get hurt” up front. 

While it wasn’t an injury, Brent Benedict announced this week that he will be transferring from Athens.  That leaves UGA with three veterans — center Ben Jones and tackles Cordy Glenn and Justin Anderson — and several question marks.  At least Richt likes his vets:

“You’re not going to get a whole lot better than those three.  The guards are a little young, a little inexperienced, but I think they’ve got enough of a talent base.  We have enough guys who have enough experience to play in our league, and play well, but you’re right there’s not an awful lot of depth right now.  Hopefully we can create some through the freshmen coming in and the other guys getting a little bit more healthy.”

With AJ Green’s departure and Isaiah Crowell’s arrival, the Bulldogs are expected to focus a bit more on the ground game this season.  If UGA is to have success, then Jones, Glenn and Anderson had better stay healthy.

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SEC Headlines 6/12/2011

1. The Vols meet the NCAA – the focus is on Bruce Pearl and Lane Kiffin.

2. Pearl on Tennessee’s day before the NCAA infractions committee: “I think they’ve got a very accurate view of the case. Now we’ll wait for their decisions.”

3. John Adams: “As the NCAA plods along, the damages accumulate in its wake.” Fans react. Description of the day – awkward.

4. Houston Nutt and Dan Mullen on adapting to the new signing rules.

5. Isaiah Crowell on the expectations of being Georgia’s next football superstar and getting advice from Hershel Walker.

6. Setting the record straight on Auburn fans reaction to the death of Bear Bryant.

7. Kevin Scarbinsky: (A)  majority would say that the best coach in college football does indeed live in the state of Alabama. He just lives a lot closer to the Mississippi bor­der than he does to the Georgia state line.

8. Will the Iron Bowl armistice last?

9. A lot of questions get raised when you start talking about paying athletes.

10. Ron Higgins: “The bottom line is this issue can no longer be dismissed with a laugh and the wave of a hand. It eventually needs to happen in some shape or form.”

11. The super six of college football coaches.

12. Kentucky signee Marquis Teague is going to have an impact. That’s not unusual for a John Calipari point guard.

13. A look at other Kentucky signees – Kyle Wiltjer, Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist and the projected roster next season.

14. Top five basketball recruiting classes over the last five years.

15. Top UK targets for 2012.

16. The NCAA and Kentucky don’t agree on Calipari’s career victories.

17. The answer: As much as Dick Vitale, Joe Paterno, Eric Clapton and Johnny Knoxville. The question?  How well known is Tim Tebow?

18. The Japanese apparently can’t get enough of SEC football.


19. One reporter, six sporting events, 24 hours.

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Crowell Arrives At Georgia

Already being compared to South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore and Auburn’s Mike Dyer, true freshman running back Isaiah Crowell will face some high expectations at Georgia this fall.  Unfortunately, Crowell won’t have the type of veteran offensive line in front of him that Lattimore and Dyer enjoyed last season.

But first things first, the five-star tailback arrived on campus in Athens yesterday.  He begins summer school this month and has already qualified academically.

There will be a lot of eyes on a lot of SEC freshman this fall, but Crowell ranks with Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney at the top of the “must watch” list.

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