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SEC Headlines – 2/9/11 Part One

1.  This writer says Alabama’s basketball transformation from November to February has been amazing.

2.  Tony Mitchell is one reason for the turnaround.

3.  One service has named Bama assistant Sal Sunseri as the national recruiter of the year.

4.  Auburn assistant Jeff Grimes is going to have to rebuild the Tigers’ offensive line.

5.  Both Auburn and Alabama were among the SEC’s winners on signing day (with Florida and Mississippi State ranking as “losers.”)

6.  Arkansas will look to snap a two-game losing streak in Starkville tonight.

7.  John Pelphrey has tried to educate his players about the dangers of social media.

8.  LSU will have its health when it clashes with Ole Miss in Oxford tonight.

9.  Injuries and inexperience have been big stumbling blocks for the Tigers so far this season.

10.  Ole Miss will need Reggie Buckner to avoid foul trouble tonight.

11.  The Rebels are looking to extend their two-game SEC win streak.

12.  Mississippi State will be playing for tournament seeding when they host Arkansas.

13.  Top priority: Contain Rotnei Clarke.

14.  MSU is having a little fun with the Egg Bowl Trophy… most assuredly to Ole Miss’ fans’ chagrin.

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Lineman Drops Texas For Auburn

Auburn continued its recruiting success on Friday by picking up a commitment from Christian Westerman.

The offensive lineman from Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton High School had been committed to Texas since May. Auburn benefited from offensive line coach Jeff Grimes deciding to stay with the Tigers instead of accepting the same position with Texas.

Auburn’s recruiting has taken a notable step up this month. The Tigers have received five commitments since Jan. 5. Auburn has 19 commitments for the class of 2011.

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Grimes To Stay At Auburn After Texas Interview

Auburn offensive line coach Jeff Grimes will be staying on The Plains and not heading to Texas.  Grimes interviewed with Mack Brown last week, but decided to stay at AU.  Gene Chizik says he expects to have the same coaching staff in 2011 that the led in 2010.

According to — the Rivals site that covers Texas — the Longhorns search is still ongoing.  If that’s the case, then Grimes truly pulled his name out of the running.  That or he and Brown really didn’t hit it off.  Usually when coach walks away from a school after an interview it’s because someone else is about to land the job.

For Auburn, this is a coup.  The Tigers — at least for now — look like they’ll hang on to all of their coaches.  Stock in Grimes and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn is currently at its zenith.  And 2011 figures to be a step back for the Tigers who lose Cam Newton, four O-lineman and many members of their BCS champion defense.  In other words, the time to move is now. 

But no one’s moving. 

That tells us Auburn is making life pretty good for these guys.  It also tells us that they completely believe in Chizik’s plans for the future.

It might tell us one other thing — that folks on The Plains aren’t expecting the NCAA to ever come up with any evidence of wrongdoing.  No rats are jumping ship.  As far as AU’s coaches are concerned, it looks like they believe all the rumors about Newton bombshells yet to detonate are just that — rumors.

Either way, it’s great news for Auburn.  Losing players is bad enough.  Losing coaches would have made matters worse.

Sidenote — once again tosses out the name of Arkansas’ offensive line coach Chris Klenakis in association with the Texas job.  Georgia’s Stacy Searels of Georgia is also mentioned as a possibility in Austin.

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