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Carolina’s Spurrier Thinks Vandy Must’ve Relaxed Its Academic Standards

gfx - they said itSo how has Vanderbilt become competitive in the SEC?  How have the Commodores found their way into two straight bowl games?  How did James Franklin lead Vandy to its first nine-win season since the Earth cooled?

South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier thinks the school might’ve eased up a tad on its entry requirements for football players:

 

“The biggest difference is their athletes.  They’re not slow guys anymore.  They’re fast, and they’re in excellent shape.  You don’t see many overweight guys playing for Vanderbilt.  Even their offensive linemen are not quite as heavy as they used to be, but their defensive players are really in tip-top shape.  They’re fast and lean, and they can really run…

I don’t know all the academic requirements they have there at Vanderbilt, but if you’re going to play in the SEC you’ve got to recruit very closely to the standards everybody else has.  I would think they’ve relaxed them a little bit, but I don’t know exactly…

They want to play football, and they want to be competitive, and to do that you almost have to have the requirements pretty close to the other schools.  Pretty close.”

 

Spurrier isn’t the first person to make that suggestion.  He is, however, the first coach to make that suggestion in the days leading up to his team’s game against Vandy.

South Carolina is favored in Saturday’s contest and rightly so.  There’s simply more talent in Columbia than in Nashville this year.  But the Commodores have proven themselves to be quite pesky when facing the Gamecocks over the past six seasons.

And now Franklin can motivate his team by telling them, “Spurrier thinks you’re dumb,” which is exactly how a coach would spin Spurrier’s comments to motivate his own team.

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SEC Headlines 9/10/2013

headlines-tueSEC Football

1. Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M won in Tuscaloosa last year. Will Alabama be able to stop Manziel this time?

2. Alabama’s offensive line has a chip on its shoulder after a hearing so much about its disappointing start against Virginia Tech.

3. Andrew Gribble takes a look at the Alabama-Texas A&M matchup when Alabama is throwing the football.

4. Texas A&M will have several defenders back from suspension this week. They’ll make an “immediate impact,” according to safety Toney Hurd Jr.

5. Georgia Coach Mark Richt saw improvement from his offensive line from Week 1 to Week 2.

6. Georgia freshman cornerback Brendan Langley said he hopes his bad performance last week will be a good learning lesson.

7. Here are five players on Mississippi State that Auburn will be watching this week.

8. Auburn’s defense needs to improve its containment of opposing quarterbacks, according to coach Ellis Johnson.

9. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen says Auburn has “three big-time running backs” and “dynamic” wide receivers.

10. The Arkansas defense continues to be a work in progress, says defensive coordinator Chris Ash.

11. LSU coach Les Miles wants to see improvement from the Tigers’ running game.

12. Video: Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze previews the Texas game. Another video: Several Ole Miss players do as well.

13. Redshirt senior Kyle Koehne is an important part of Florida’s offense because he can play every position on the offensive line.

14. Here are the top 20 things that have made the modern rivalry between Kentucky and Louisville fun.

15. Jadeveon Clowney has become frustrated with the way opposing offenses keep running away from him.

16. Tennessee players know all about the excitement surrounding Oregon’s football program.

17. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin called a report that he encouraged a player to delete a video involved in the rape “baseless.”

18. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel shouldn’t be on the hot seat, writes Brian Burwell.

19. Pinkel said quarterback James Franklin is “making a lot of good decisions, a lot of good throws.”

Practice/Injury Reports

20. Quarterback Tyler Russell, running back LaDarius Perkins and two defensive backs are expected to return this week for Mississippi State.

21. Arkansas hopes to have several key defenders back at practice this week.

22. LSU safety Craig Loston is expected to play Saturday against Kent State. He’s recovering from a lower leg injury.

23. Tennessee expects to have defensive Jacques Smith back against Oregon. Linebacker Curt Maggitt and DE Corey Vereen are questionable.

SEC Basketball

24. Kentucky fans nearly filled up Rupp Arena to watch former Wildcats play in an Alumni game.

Extra

25.  Ole Miss cornerback Charles Sawyer was charged with a DUI after running a stop sign.  “He made a mistake and there will be consequences,” says his coach.

26. Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller is “day-to-day” as he recovers from a strained MCL in his left knee.

27. Southern California coach Lane Kiffin named Cody Kessler the team’s starting quarterback.

28. Alabama is the only SEC team in the top five of ESPN’s power rankings. Three other SEC teams are inside the top 10.

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Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin: “We Started Slow…Finished Slow”

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin addresses the media following the Commodores 38-3 victory over Austin Peay Saturday.

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Emotional James Franklin Addresses Vanderbilt Locker Room After Ole Miss Loss

Following Vanderbilt’s 39-35 season-opening loss to Ole Miss, coach James Franklin delivers a message to his team in the locker room.

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Vandy’s Franklin Says Thursday Night Opener Not A Concern

logoFor the second year in a row, Vanderbilt will kick off its football season with a Thursday night home game against an SEC foe.  According to Commodore coach James Franklin, last year’s midweek initiation should help his squad when Ole Miss visits the Music City tomorrow:

 

“South Carolina came in last year having played in a bunch of Thursday night games, and our guys hadn’t.  It’s no different than your second time in a bowl game.  The more times that you can go out there and have some recall and have some experience helps. 

Basically 75% of our roster has played on a Thursday night, ESPN, nationally televised game, and I think that will help us.  Plus, we’re at home.”

 

Playing on Thursday night isn’t bad for a school that’s still trying to become a household name on the recruiting trail, either.

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MU’s Franklin On 2012 Injuries: “I Let It Affect Me Mentally More Than Physically”

Missouri v KansasMissouri’s 2012 debut season in the SEC was in large part scuttled by a number of visits from the injury bug.  The offensive line suffered a full-on infestation.

Mizzou’s quarterback — James Franklin — was also bitten a time or two.  He admits now that all of the bumps, bruises, sprains and strains go to his head:

 

“There was always something to deal with.  But the biggest think was I let it affect me mentally more than physically.  Yes, it hurt.  I was prevented from doing some things physically.  But for the most part it was more a mental thing for me.  I’d worry if there was going to be pain on this throw, pain on that throw.  I wasn’t as strong mentally as I am now.  I really let it affect my game and how I played.”

 

This admission likely won’t sit well with some Tiger fans who already believed Franklin to be too soft.  Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel did his quarterback’s reputation no favors last year when he revealed post-Arizona State game that Franklin turned down a painkiller shot.

According to Pinkel at the time: “It was just too painful for him, and he didn’t want to play.  He said, ‘It hurts too much.  I can’t play.’”

Now out from under the bus where Pinkel tossed him, Franklin is healthy again and hoping to regain his 2011 form.  His 296.4 yards-per-game of total offense in ’11 would have placed him fourth on the SEC’s list in 2012.

For Missouri’s sake — and for the sake of seeing another good athlete on SEC fields this fall — here’s hoping Franklin’s body and mind hold up to a new season of wear and tear.

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SEC Headlines 8/19/2013

headlines-monSEC Football

1. Auburn starting quarterback Nick Marshall won’t compare himself to Cam Newton. The comparisons will be there anyway.

2. Sophomore Jonathan Wallace will serve as Marshall’s backup. The Tigers hope freshman Jeremy Johnson can redshirt.

3. Alabama coach Nick Saban said he will “handle it appropriately” once he has all the information regarding CB Geno Smith’s DUI arrest.

4. Here’s a position-by-position look at Alabama’s offense.

5. Arkansas is trying to build depth while it also deals with injuries during fall camp.

6. LSU’s experience and talent at linebacker should make LSU fans feel better about the defense.

7. Meanwhile, LSU’s young linebackers are waiting to see how they’ll be used.

8. Parrish Alford takes a look at Ole Miss’ depth chart, which has become more settled during camp.

9. Mississippi State will take a break today for the start of fall classes. Practice will resume on Tuesday.

10. Bruce Feldman has a report on Johnny Manziel’s on-field development as Texas A&M awaits word on his eligibility.

11. Florida defensive ends Jonathan Bullard and Dante Fowler Jr. are hoping to make a strong tandem for the Gators.

12. Georgia cornerback Damian Swann discusses the Bulldogs’ preparation for their opener against Clemson.

13. Here’s what to watch in the next two weeks as Georgia gets ready for Clemson.

14. Kentucky freshman wide receiver Alex Montgomery “just makes plays,” according to one of his teammates.

15. This is a really nice story on Kentucky linebacker Kory Brown overcoming adversity to play in the SEC.

16. South Carolina running back Shon Carson is healthy and hoping to play a role in the Gamecocks’ backfield.

17. Tennessee’s coaching staff is trying to limit “eye violations” by the team’s linebackers.

18. Tennessee has the SEC’s top offensive line, according to Athlon Sports. Here’s a look at the top 25 units in the nation.

19. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin says it’s time for fans to buy tickets and show up to support the team.

20. The Commodores could go anywhere from 6-6 to 8-4 this season, according these predictions.

21. Missouri quarterback James Franklin says he’s “keeping a better mindset” about winning the starting job.

22. There’s plenty of talent at quarterback in the SEC. Edward Aschoff takes a look.

Extra

23. Former Marine Steven Rhodes is trying to play football at MTSU this season. The NCAA is still reviewing his case.

24. Pat Forde takes a look at the nation’s most intriguing non-quarterbacks.

25. Matt Hinton examines the boom-or-bust possibility of starting a true freshman quarterback.

26. It took four pitches for Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster to hit Alex Rodriguez. Yankees manager Joe Girardi wasn’t happy about it.

 

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SEC Headlines 8/3/2013

headlines-saturdaySEC Football

1. Five SEC quarterbacks make the Manning Award watch list.  Johnny Manziel could become the first-ever repeat winner. AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray, Connor Shaw and Bo Wallace also make the list.

2. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel’s message to quarterback James Franklin after being named captain: “This has nothing to do with you keeping your job, OK? There’s no bonus because you’re a captain.”

3. There’s a buzz around South Carolina football. Day 1 crowd bigger than last year. Tempers flare and punches thrown the first night.

4. Steve Spurrier on trash talk: “As long as it doesn’t get out of hand I don’t have too much trouble with it. The problem is when you have a loud mouth guy that doesn’t play worth a crap.”

5. Florida coach Will Muschamp on running back Matt Jones viral infection: ”We’re in a little bit of uncharted waters here…”

6. Don’t expect Florida’s placekicker to be named anytime soon.

7. Nothing escapes the attention of Vanderbilt coach James Franklin – not even a loose doorknob.

8. As LSU opens camp today, the Tigers are thin at running back with the suspension of Jeremy Hill.

9. Wide receiver Ja-Mes Logan on what’s realistic at Ole Miss this year. “Win 11 games.”

10. Five starters at Ole Miss, including quarterback Bo Wallace, limited in practice by injuries. Wallace limited to 50 throws.

11. It’s been 10 months since Georgia wide receiver Michael Bennett underwent reconstructive knee surgery.  ”It feels exactly like I used to be, if not better.”

12. Sign of the times.  Georgia distributes its playbook to team members- on iPads.

13. How’s the running back battle shaping up at Tennessee? “Honestly, it’s wide open.”

14. Tennessee coach Butch Jones on the team’s two freshmen quarterbacks.  They “looked like freshmen.”

15. Of the four quarterbacks competing for a starting job at Auburn, Nick Marshall may have the strongest arm.  Gus Malzahn: “He has very good arm strength, there’s no doubt.”

16. Minor injury sidelines Auburn safety Demetruce McNeal.

17. A suspension and a health issue led to some last-minute tinkering on the Alabama roster.

18. How do Alabama’s freshmen look? “This is the No. 1 signing class in the nation in 2013, and it shows.”

19. Preston Smith and Denico Autry are the two standouts on the Mississippi State defensive line.

20. Practice begins Monday at Kentucky with a big focus on the quarterback position.

21. Linebackers will be in focus at Arkansas as the Razorbacks open camp Monday.

22. Who can replace the impact of Damontre Moore at Texas A&M?

NCAA News

23. Time for an early signing period in college football?

24. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott wants to change college basketball’s one-and-done rule.

25. How much has the Jerry Sandusky scandal cost Penn State? The tab is nearing $48 million.

26. Dick Kazmaier dies at the age of 82.  He won the Heisman Trophy at Princeton in 1951 – last Ivy League player to do so. (Tennessee’s Hank Lauricella finished second and Kentucky’s Babe Parilli finished third in the Heisman voting that year.)

SEC Basketball

27. Alabama and Auburn among the teams heading overseas in August.

Extra

28. Is Tim Tebow asking Tom  Brady too many questions?

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Franklin Having To Build Traditions At Vandy

gfx - they said itVanderbilt head coach James Franklin has been doing it all since arriving in Nashville two years ago.  And yes, we mean all.

Commodore recruiting has soared to new heights.  Vandy won nine games last year for the first time since the Earth cooled.  The Dores have been to back-to-back bowl games.  But as Frankling said last week, he’s also having to worry about creating traditions:

 

“We’re trying to build a program, we’re trying to build a fan base and we’re trying to build traditions.  At a lot of other schools in the SEC the head coach doesn’t have to focus on that because those things have been going on at those institutions for 80 years.”

 

While that may sound like extra work, there’s actually a positive flipside to the start-from-scratch situation.  Franklin doesn’t have to worry about doing things as a legendary predecessor might have done them.  And how many coaches get to build a program completely as they see fit?

If Franklin continues to have success at Vanderbilt, one might actually begin to wonder why he would ever leave.  The man can literally be the “father” of a major college football program in the SEC.  (Sorry, old timers, but Dan McGugin’s last championship at Vandy came in 1923.)

Anchor Down, anyone?

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Franklin Won’t Talk About Rape Case At VU

VANDERBILT MEDIA DAYSNot so unexpectedly, James Franklin said that he could not comment on the dismissal of four Vanderbilt football players because their legal issues are ongoing.  As a world-class salesman, he quickly whisked that question aside and started talking about all of the great things his players have done this summer.

He was then asked if a coach has to recruit kids of a questionable character to succeed at the highest level.  His response:

 

“I can’t speak for other places, but not at Vanderbilt.  It’s never been that way in past, it’s not that way presently, and it will never be in the future.  That’s not what we’re about.”

 

Franklin might rub a lot of rival fans the wrong way — he does — and he might also slip and make a dumb comment from time to time — Nicky Satan, his assistants have to have pretty wives, etc — but in a setting like SEC Media Days, Franklin stars.  The man exudes confidence.  He’s also an excellent speaker.  It’s not hard to understand why this man has been such a success on the recruiting trail.

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