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SEC Headlines 4/19/2013

headlines-friSEC Football

1. What to expect at LSU’s spring game tomorrow?  Here are five things to look for. Three projected starters will be held out with injuries.

2. What to expect at tomorrow’s Tennessee spring game? Defensive coordinator John Jancek: “We’ll be pretty vanilla.”

3. With Marlin Lane’s absence, Vols thin at running back.

4. In the quarterback battle at Arkansas, has Brandon Allen done enough to separate himself from Brandon Mitchell?

5. Here are 10 questions facing Missouri heading into tomorrow’s spring game.

6. With Alabama’s spring game tomorrow, a position-by-position breakdown of the offense and one for defense/special teams

7. Here’s the position breakdown at Auburn- the offense and defense/special teams.

8. Final rolling of Toomer’s Oaks tomorrow.

9. How things stack up among Florida tailbacks and fullbacks.

10. Mississippi State JUCU transfer wide receiver Jeremy Chapelle is starting to look comfortable.

11. Georgia coach Mark Richt expects plenty of competition for starting spots this fall: You’ve got some guys legitimately fighting for jobs.”

12. Some SEC fans could be celebrating New Year’s Eve in Memphis.  Liberty Bowl scheduled for December 31.

13. From Johnny Manziel to Kiehl Frazier, Athlon ranks the SEC quarterbacks.

14. From Nick Saban to Mark Stoops, Matt Hayes at The Sporting News ranks the SEC coaches.

15. Could 12 SEC players go in the first round of the NFL draft? Tyrann Mathieu gets a magazine cover.

SEC Basketball

16. Kentucky coach John Calipari on his eight-man class coming to Lexington: “The thing I like most about this group is its competitive spirit and its will to win.”

17. Breaking down the best class in the country.

18. Former Ole Miss guard Jamal Jones is headed to Texas A&M.

Extras

19, “Good thing Will Muschamp got the head-coaching job at Florida a couple of years ago. He might have grown old waiting for Mack Brown to retire at Texas.”

20. Study: Graduation-rate gap between college baseball players and all male students greater than gap with football players.

21. Trashed hotel room at the NFL combine linked to Clemson and Rutgers players.

22. How many college athletes benefit from multiyear scholarships?  Not many.

 

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Wallace To Become AU’s Third Starting QB This Season

Auburn is just an overtime win over Louisiana-Monroe from being 0-8 on the season.  Original starting quarterback Kiehl Frazier is dealing with a bum shoulder, though he’ll be listed as the Tigers backup on Saturday.  The Tigers’ second starting quarterback of the season — Clint Moseley — is questionable with an ankle injury sustained last week.

So why not go to freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace as AU’s third starting signal-caller of the season?  And that’s just what Gene Chizik says he’s going to do Saturday against New Mexico State:

 

“I think a lot of it is really just going back and reviewing how he played Saturday.  I think that was big.  It was the first time that he got an opportunity to do more than the initial role that we had planned for him in some of the Wildcat stuff with a couple of throws off of that.  We threw him in.  And, again, he’s in every meeting, he’s at every practice, and he works them.  When you watch him execute in a game with more than his role in a game as we put him in there, we just felt like he did well. I think that merited a chance to give him a starting nod.

I hate to use the word surprised, because that makes you think that I think he couldn’t do it.  I thought he was extremely poised under pressure.  I thought he made some throw under pressure that were really, really good. I thought that just handling some of the calls out there that he’s definitely had reps at, but not near enough reps that a starter would, I thought it was really impressive.”

 

Wallace was completed six passes in nine attempts for 122 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s 63-21 loss to Texas A&M.  He also rushed 13 times for 71 yards, but it should be noted that the Aggies were using quite a few backups as the game wore on.

Still, what’s Chizik got to lose at this point?  His job’s probably already beyond saving.

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QB Moseley To Start For AU Versus Vandy

Auburn’s Gene Chizik has decided to once again start Clint Moseley at quarterback this weekend at Vanderbilt.  Last night the coach said on his weekly radio show:

 

“It’s one of those situations where at the beginning of the week you’ve really got to give them a good look just in terms of number of reps and who’s improving,  And again, Kiehl (Frazier) has kind of a little bit of a nagging injury that he’s just going to have to push some work through. That’s the bottom line.”

 

So just as Moseley’s nagging injury in the preseason gave the starter’s job to Frazier coming out of the gate, now it’s Frazier’s own injury that making Moseley the default starter.  Neither quarterback has looked great in the playing time they have had.

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AU To Start Moseley At QB Versus Ole Miss

After a 1-4 start and continued struggles at the quarterback position, Auburn is making a change.  Gene Chizik announced this afternoon that Clint Moseley will start tomorrow’s game at Ole Miss, not Kiehl Frazier.

Moseley — who many feel lost out on the starter’s job due to a sore shoulder in preseason camp — saw his first action of the year last week against Arkansas.  Unfortunately, he continued a trend started by Frazier and tossed two interceptions in a half of work.  Auburn’s new Scot Loeffler-led offense has struggled with turnovers since the season’s beginning.

Now Moseley will get the first shot at staying pick-free tomorrow in Oxford.

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Hogs’ Smith Makes News With Another Statement, This Time About Auburn’s QB

Arkansas’ John L. Smith needs to start taking lessons from Steve Spurrier.  Just stop answering questions from the media.

Ahead of the Razorbacks’ game at Auburn on Saturday, Arkansas’ interim coach was asked about Tiger quarterback Kiehl Frazier and his many struggles this season.  He responded as follows:

 

“He’s like all younger guys in the league.  If you play too darn early, it may not be a good thing.  But as you continue to play, the great thing about being young and playing early is you’re going to get better all the time.”

 

As I see it, there’s nothing wrong with that statement.  It wasn’t an indictment of Frazier or of the Auburn coaching staff.  But some are taking it that way.  We’ve heard from more than one AU fan this morning who’s sent this story too us, upset that either a) Smith would question Gene Chizik or b) Chizik would play Frazier before he was ready.

In reality, whether AU officials say it’s the case or not, most believe Clint Moseley would have probably been the Tigers’ starter had it not been for a sore shoulder.  He’s yet to see action this year despite Frazier’s woes which gives further credence to the injury theory.

And if a bum shoulder on Moseley is what forced Frazier into action a little bit ahead of schedule, then there’s not a thing wrong with Smith’s assessment of the situation on the Plains.

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SEC Headlines – 8/24/12

SEC East Football

1.  Dan Quinn wants his first Florida defense to be aggressive.  (What coaches say otherwise?)

2.  Samuel L. Jackson spoke to Georgia’s football team yesterday.  Here’s more on how Jackson is “cooler than life.”  (No word on whether the actor struck down upon them with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempted to poison and destroy his brothers.)

3.  Here’s a Q&A with UGA linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti.

4.  Joker Phillips says starting quarterback Maxwell Smith is “a little more vocal because he knows it’s his.”

5.  Steve Spurrier says that quarterback Connor Shaw could “hardly move” due to a stiff back yesterday… but he’s hopeful it’s not a serious problem.

6.  Has Carolina answered the the biggest issues it faced entering fall camp?

7.  Tennessee is looking for alternatives for suspended receiver Da’Rick Rogers.

8.  Could Rogers’ disappearance be addition by subtraction for the Vols?

9.  Vanderbilt’s kickers hope experience will help them in 2012.

10.  Top signee Dorial Green-Beckham had a great scrimmage, but Missouri suffered another injury to its offensive line.

 

SEC West Football

11.  Kiehl Frazier didn’t win the Auburn quarterback derby by default.

12.  Alabama expects more from receiver Christion Jones.

13.  Good news: Bama AD Mal Moore has been released from the hospital after an irregular heartbeat incident yesterday.  (Best wishes to Moore and his family.)

14.  Rehabbed running back Knile Davis is expected to finally get some contact in Arkansas’ scrimmage today.

15.  As many as 13 freshmen could play for the Hogs this year.

16.  Defensive tackle Bennie Logan will wear the all-important #18 jersey for LSU this season.

17.  Honey Badger Alert: Tyrann Mathieu is expected to enroll as a student at LSU and pay his own way.

18.  Former Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster is Mississippi State’s new receivers coach… which should be good news on the recruiting front.

19.  Ole Miss may build a special package to get freshman pass-rusher Channing Ward on the field.

20.  Hugh Freeze is in no rush to name a starting quarterback in Oxford.

21.  Kevin Sumlin says youth will be served at Texas A&M.

22.  As for the speed of Sumlin’s offense, “We can’t do anything until the center get to the ball.”

 

SEC/College News

23.  This writer takes a look at the “new look” Southeastern Conference.

24.  In the SEC, even the backups are studs…

25.  And the quarterbacks are pretty good…

26.  And so are the guys chasing them.

27.  Which basketball coaches would other basketball coaches hire?  Billy Donovan and John Calipari make the list.

28.  Big 12 commish Bob Bowlsby says 10 is the right number for his league:  “In the ACC and SEC there are some institutions that have 100-year histories of playing each other that aren’t going to be playing each other every year.”  More here.  (We’re still waiting to hear from all those Texas folks who ripped us for calling baloney on the Clemson/FSU “done deal” rumors this summer.)

 

SEC Basketball

29.  Kentucky is showing interest in an ex-Xavier player booted for a “serious violation” of XU’s code of student conduct.

30.  Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin thinks his team “became really close” after their recent trip to Italy.

31.  He also says “Jarnell Stokes and Yemi Makanjoula are more explosive.”

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SEC Media Days Roundup: Day Two

1. The LSU buzz at media days?  The player who wasn’t there.

2. Zach Mettenberger’s road to LSU: “I definitely took the path less traveled,” and on what went wrong at Georgia.

3. Les Miles on Mettenberger: ”Maybe he (Mettenberger) could have taken some snaps in that national championship game should he have not gotten hurt earlier in that bowl practice.”

4. The loss that still can’t be explained.

5. The ever-quotable Miles and some of his interesting answers.

6. Is Florida coach Will Muschamp the Anti-Urban?

7. Muschamp: ”We are a year older and I’m pleased where that is headed.”

8. A key to the Gators season? A quick start.

9. Matt Hayes on Florida: “There was a time when they owned this place.”

10. How will Auburn’s 2012 season be defined? “(B)y to what extent it closes the gap on the blowout losses.”

11. Kevin Scarbinsky: “Does Auburn have an image prob­lem or a character problem?”

12. Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier is impressing teammates and coaches in summer workouts. High expectations for the sophomore.

13. Arkansas players and coaches are still in contact with Bobby Petrino. His influence is still everywhere in the program.

14. “More indication came Wednesday that Arkansas’ season-ending rivalry with LSU will be a thing of the past sooner rather than later.”

15. Knile Davis: ”I do feel like I’m the best running back in the SEC.”

16. Tyler Wilson enters his senior as a confident quarterback of the Razorbacks.

17. A confident Dan Mullen has high expectations for his Mississippi State Bulldogs.

18. Why the SEC opener against Auburn is not just another game.

19. Is Johnthan Banks a better player than Tyrann Mathieu?

20. Kentucky’s 333 pound silent giant. Right guard Larry Warford and center Matt Smith take questions from the media.

21. Even at a football event, Kentucky coach Joker Phillips can’t escape UK basketball frenzy.

 

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AU QB Candidate Pike Arrested For Public Intoxication

It’s college.  He’s a freshman.  You live and you learn.

But for Auburn quarterback candidate Zeke Pike, you have to wonder how much an early Sunday morning arrest for public intoxication will impact his chances of landing the Tigers’ starting quarterback gig this fall.  The 19-year-old was hit with the misdemeanor charge after being taken into custody on South College Street in Auburn shortly after midnight yesterday morning.

New offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler said during spring practice that his QB race could last the length of fall/preseason practice.  Pike — a three-star prospect from Kentucky — competed with sophomore Kiehl Frazier and redshirt junior Clint Moseley in the spring after enrolling early.

Might this arrest lead Loeffler or head coach Gene Chizik to question the young man’s leadership capabilities at this stage of his career?  Possibly.  But if Pike turns out to be the clear best choice to run Loeffler’s offense, then probably not.

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Don’t Write Off The Spread At Auburn Just Yet

Following the introductory press conference of Scot Loeffler yesterday, many pundits began writing the epitaph for Auburn’s spread offense.  After all, the new offensive coordinator said that he wanted to “protect the defense” and that likely means chucking the no-huddle, hurry-up part of Gus Malzahn’s system.  (Makes you wonder if Gene Chizik and Malzahn might not have seen eye-to-eye when the OC had to slow down his offense at the HC’s request last season.)

Auburn also welcomed aboard Jay Prosch, a transferring fullback from Illinois last week.  There certainly wasn’t a traditional fullback in Malzahn’s spread, either.

Further muddying the water, Loefler and Chizik danced around specific questions about Auburn’s new offensive style.  “I like it all,” Loeffler said.  “What we’re going to do here is take our personnel, assess exactly where we are, and we’re going to build a system to get our playmakers the football.”

“Everybody’s going to talk about spread and pro,” Chizik said.  “What they’re called, that’s overrated.  It’s real simple on offense right now.  Create the offense, and have the flexibility to get your best players the football.”

A slower pace.  A fullback.  Both coaches refusing to say the spread would be back.  All have been taken as clear signs that the days of Malzahn’s influence are at an end.

But remember that one thing still lives on from the Malzahn era — a roster specifically recruited for the spread offense.  If Auburn wants to go from spread to pro-style on a dime, the Tigers could be looking at some of the same issues faced by Florida’s new regime in 2011.  Ask Will Muschamp how easy the Gators’ transition was.

We find it far more likely that Loeffler — a man with experience in both spread and pro-style systems will simply start the move from spread to pro-style.  That may be a multi-year project depending on how quickly Auburn can begin to recruit to Loeffler and Chizik’s desired system.

So what do we think you’ll see on the Plains this fall?  Listen to what receiver prospect JaQuay Williams said last week that Chizik told him:


“He said it’s going to be a little bit o the same.  Four receivers.  Three receivers.  It’s be more a little pro-style.  It’s going to be good.”


That sounds reasonable.  The Tigers have recruited the skill positions hard.  If Loeffler can coach up one of Auburn’s quarterbacks — Clint Moseley, Kiehl Frazier or newcomer Zeke Pike — it makes sense that AU would still try to spread teams out across the field.  They also lost their best offensive weapon in running back Michael Dyer.

With Dyer off to Malzahn’s Arkansas State squad, Onterio McCalebb is the Tigers’ leading returning rusher.  But McCalebb has most often been used on sweeps as AU’s speedy “Mr. Outside.”  Could he become a traditional, workhorse, SEC back?  Good question.  See: Jeff Demps at Florida.

Florida-transfer Mike Blakely (close to Dyer’s 5’9, 210 frame) and Alabama-transfer Corey Grant are options as well, but current commitment Jovon Robinson might be the closest thing to a prototypical, pro-style back at 6’0, 215.

Suffice to say, Loeffler might not have the personnel to run a tried-and-true pro-style offense.  For that reason we anticipate Auburn will continue to spread teams out (think NFL Saints and NFL Patriots rather than Malzahn’s or Oregon’s spread) and will continue to utilize the occasional sweep or end-around to take advantage of talents like McCalebb’s.

We do agree with most others that it sounds like the hurry-up is going bye-bye.

But to suggest a wholesale system change in Year One?  That would be inviting the same kind of troubles that Muschamp and Charlie Weis experienced last season.  To see those issues first-hand, Chizik would only need go dig out the game tape from Auburn’s 17-6 win over the Gators last season.

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QB Trotter Walks Away From AU Football Team

Barrett Trotter began the season as Auburn’s starting quarterback.  By mid-October he’d been replaced by Clint Moseley and Kiehl Frazier.  After sitting for five games, Trotter came off the bench to help lead the Tigers past Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Now he’s walking away from the see-saw and will forgo his senior year of football.  Trotter graduated last August and is currently enrolled in graduate school on the Plains.


“My four years at Auburn has been a great experience and I’m thankful for the opportunities that I’ve had.  I’m truly blessed to have been a part of winning seasons and championships during my time at Auburn.

I’m also very appreciative of Coach (Gene) Chizik and the coaching staff, as well as my teammates and the entire Auburn family.”


Trotter said the he will not transfer to another program.  He can take part in Auburn’s pro day if he wants to pursue an NFL career, though it’s unlikely he’ll get a look in the pros.  For his career, Trotter passed for 1,248 yard and 11 touchdowns.

Chizik and the person he hires as offensive coordinator will have Moseley, Frazier and highly-touted incoming freshman Zeke Pike to choose from when it comes to Auburn’s quarterback position in 2012.

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