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SEC Recruiting Headlines 4/24/2013

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1. Texas A&M signed quarterback Kohl Stewart in its last class but he may never make it to College Station.  That’s because he’s also quite the pitching prospect and has been invited to New York for this year’s Major League Baseball draft.  Just how good a pitching prospect is he?  Good enough to be ranked the 8th best overall prospect by one MLB analyst.

2. Georgia has as many 13 players that could be selected in this year’s NFL draft – and that’s good for recruiting, says coach Mark Richt.  ”I haven’t recruited many guys that didn’t think or weren’t at least dreaming about the NFL or hoping to be or expecting to be (drafted).”

3. Charlotte, North Carolina’s Jeb Blazevich is ranked as a top 10 tight end in the country.  He’s heading to Georgia to play for Mark Richt next year.  Blazevich committed to the Bulldogs Tuesday. “I love what they’re doing there and they’re having a lot of success.” He’s Georgia’s fourth commitment of the 2014 class.

4. Tennessee is stocking up on tight ends.  Barring attrition, the Vols could have seven tight ends on their 2014 roster.  Ethan Wolf and Daniel Helm are tight end commitments for this next year’s class on the heels of Tennessee adding two tight ends in its 2013 class.

5. Alabama’s fifth commitment of its 2014 class is Opelika cornerback Stephen Roberts.  The four-star defensive back committed after defensive coordinator Kirby Smart paid a visit, even though he grew up an Auburn fan.  ”I have always rooted for Auburn as a fan but when it comes time to making the decision about what’s best for me as a player going forward, you can’t think about those things.”

6. Kentucky landed four-star running back Mikel Horton over the weekend.  Horton, from the Cincinnati area, chose the Wildcats over Florida State and Vanderbilt. New Kentucky coach Mark Stoops has made recruiting Ohio a priority.

7. Nine players from the state of Alabama have been nominated for the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

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8. 6-foot 8 power forward Demetrius Henry is headed to South Carolina to play for Frank Martin next season..  The Brandon, Florida senior  chose the Gamecocks over Miami.  Here’s a look at all the newcomers headed to South Carolina for the 2013-2014 season.

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SEC Headlines 1/5/2012

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1. Ole Miss vs. Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl features two 6-6 teams that had to win their last regular season game to become bowl-eligible. One is more excited than the other.

2. Rebels ran 70 or plays seven times this year.  Only three teams got above 70 against the Panthers.

3. Hugh Freeze: ”I don’t know how much of our stuff is done in the Big East.”

4. Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart says the BCS Championship Game will be won in the trenches.  Nick Saban doesn’t totally agree.  “You could also argue that Texas A&M exploited us in a different fashion than that.”

5. What did Notre Dame learn from watching tape of the Bama-A&M game? “That we can take advantage of their secondary.”

6. Smart on beating Georgia and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo in the SEC Championship Game: “I’ll be honest, that was a really tough moment for me in coaching, because Mike is really my best friend, and we grew up together.”

7. Dallas writer: “If there was a playoff in college football now, nobody would want to face Texas A&M.”

8. Twitter roundup - Cotton Bowl edition.

9. Fox missed the kickoff of the game last night.

10. First championship game site in new playoff era could be announced within 45 days.

11. LSU vs. Clemson most-watched Non-BCS bowl game in ESPN history.

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12. Gus Malzahn has stockpiled recruiting coordinators.  New staff has more than 100 years of SEC coaching experience.

13. Kirby Smart on interviewing at Auburn: “I respect the University of Auburn, and the opportunity they gave me to interview and talk to them.”

14. With Connor Shaw having foot surgery on Friday, what does that mean for the quarterback position at South Carolina in 2013?

15. Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer says stability and relationships were key when he was at the school, but “with four presidents in six years, that has gone away. We’ve eaten away internally all the relationships to work together.”

16. Sensors in helmets could help answer the question – how many hits are too many?

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17. Missouri vs. Bucknell.  Are the Tigers too dependent on Phil Pressey? Averaging a team-high 34.1 minutes per game.

18. Arkansas vs. Delaware State.  8-4 Razorbacks close out their non-conference schedule.

19. Oakland vs. Alabama. Tide struggling in second half, lost five of last six games.

20. LSU vs. Bethune-Cookman. Sophomore guard Anthony Hickey expected back in lineup.

21. Tennessee A.D. Dave Hart on the Tennessee-Memphis series: ”In what form and what will happen next year, nobody is certain of, but at some point we’ve got to continue the series.”

22. Florida plays Yale Sunday – only the second game for the Gators in the last 15 days.

23. The man who transformed basketball in the South – Pistol Pete Maravich. Died 25 years ago today at the age of 40.


24. Cleveland Browns closing in on Chip Kelly?

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UT’s Dooley Says New A.D. Hart Has Re-Energized Him

When a new athletic director arrives on campus, coaches tend to pucker up a bit.  That’s because ADs — like most new bosses — often like to put their own people in place around them.  In the case of Derek Dooley at Tennessee, it would seem he’d have plenty of reasons to worry about the intentions of his new boss, Dave Hart.

Speak to those close to the Tennessee program and you’ll soon learn that even the assistant coaches believe Dooley’s job won’t be safe unless he wins eight football games this fall.  Coming off a 5-7 season, a streak-ending loss to Kentucky, and facing a further decline in season-ticket sales, Dooley’s seat is warm to say the least.

Couple that with the fact that Hart — who came from Alabama (no banjo on his knee, though) — has close ties to new Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri and is rumored to be tight with Alabama defensive coordinator/up-and-coming coaching prospect Kirby Smart and you might expect Dooley to be looking over his shoulder these days.

Not so.  At least not according to the coach:


“Dave has had a real re-energizing effect on me in a positive way.  He, of course, has a great background of understanding big-time college athletics.  He was the son of a coach, so he gets coaching.  He gets the day-to-day problems that come with coaching, and he’s just been incredibly supportive of everything we’re doing.

We have a lot of dialogue.  We talk at least every week, and he’s very much in tune with our issues.  My only hope is that we allow Dave to do his job, and that’s the only hope I have.  If Dave’s allowed to do his job, then we’re going to have success as a department…

I think we’re on the same page (regarding expectations), and I think what I appreciate about Dave is that he also understands the world of coaching.  He understands that (there’s) things you can control, and certainly we need to show significant improvement on that. He understands things you can’t control that you have to learn to manage day to day.

We’re on the same page, and I’m appreciative of Dave’s kind of taking on this role.  I think he’s going to be great for Tennessee.”


Sounds good.  But Dooley better get off to a good start this fall and provide proof of progress if his relationship with his new boss is to remain positive.

As for the coach’s odd comment regarding Hart being allowed to do his job, rest assured that some UT fans will wonder if Dooley might be targeting Tennessee chancellor Jimmy Cheek with that remark.

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Saban Gets Extension; Assistants’ Deals Announced

Coaches winning two national titles in the span of three years, can expect to be rewarded.  For Nick Saban and his two-time title-winning assistants at Alabama, the rewards are pretty darn large.

The University of Alabama approved today a two-year extension for Saban that will stretch his contract through the year 2020.  His deal will be for $5.3 million this season and will continue to escalate upward towards the $6 million mark over the life of the deal.  His raise for this year is for more than $500,000.

Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is also getting a bump from $850,000 to $950,000.  New offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier will reportedly earn $590,000 this year.

Other assistants received raises in the $10,000 to $35,000 range.  Poor guys.

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SEC Headlines – 1/24/12 Part Two

1.  Some players may be leaving, but the most important piece to Alabama’s defense — D-coordinator Kirby Smart — is returning.

2.  Gene Chizik isn’t the first coach to kick the tires of new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler.

3.  Loeffer’s first order of business is developing a quarterback at Auburn.

4.  Arkansas’ Marvell Waithe is doubtful for Wednesday’s game with a calf injury.

5.  On the plus side, freshman BJ Young appears to okay after being injured on a flagrant foul during the Hogs’ upset of Michigan.

6.  If Johnny O’Bryant’s injured hand is cleared by doctors today, Trent Johnson says he’ll be in the lineup when LSU faces MSU tomorrow.

7.  Ole Miss will need an effective, healthy Murphy Holloway moving forward.

8.  Mississippi State’s Jalen Steele “was blacking out” as he nailed four-straight 3-pointers against Vanderbilt on Saturday.

9.  Renardo Sidney is showing flashes of good play.  (Teammate Arnett Moultrie said, “We’re just glad to finally see change.”)

10.  Receiver Michael Carr has rejoined the Bulldog football team.

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Reports: Nussmeier Hired As OC By Bama

It’s not official yet, but multiple reports are claiming that University of Washington offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier has been hired to fill the same spot at Alabama. 

Prior to his stop in Washington, Nussmeier has served as a quarterbacks coach in the NFL (St. Louis Rams) and in the Big Ten (Michigan State).

Ironically, Nussmeier replaced Jim McElwain at Fresno State when Saban tabbed McElwain to run the Tide offense in 2008.  Now he’ll replace McElwain as the ex-Bama coordinator takes over as head coach at Colorado State.

Many view the Washington offense as being the baby of head coach Steve Sarkisian, rather than of Nussmeier.  Of course, some look at Bama’s defense as being Nick Saban’s rather than Kirby Smart’s.  Bottom line — Nussmeier and Sarkisian had the Huskies offense ranked 25th in the nation in scoring offense this past season.

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Texas A&M Fires Sherman; Will Enter SEC With A New Coach

When you’ve got oil money behind you, it appears you can pay a $9 million buyout pretty easily.  (UPDATE — Sherman’s buyout is only about $5.8M as opposed to the $9M that was reported earlier in The Houston Chronicle.)

Texas A&M has fired head coach Mike Sherman just a week after president R. Bowen Loftin gave him a vote of confidence.  Of course, a heartbreaking loss to hated Texas played out between then and now and that defeat clearly served as the straw that broke Reveille’s back.   The Aggies finished 6-6 despite preseason predictions for a Top 10 season.

Ole Miss fans are fearful that Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart might be on A&M’s wish list — because the Rebels are looking him over, too — but we hear the Aggies might actually stay close to home to find their next coach.  Houston’s Kevin Sumlin wouldn’t have far to move.

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SEC Headlines – 11/29/11 PM Edition

1.  Two Florida footballers are transferring out of Gainesville.

2.  Billy Donovan’s 400th win was overshadowed by Urban Meyer’s move to Ohio State.

3.  Another Georgia player is saying the Dawgs’ defense is as good as LSU’s.  (Tip: Why don’t you pipe down and then go out and prove it… rather than talk about it and further motivate LSU?)

4.  The basketball Bulldogs fell 70-68 at Colorado last night.

5.  Kentucky fans are riding high after the end of a 26-game losing streak to Tennessee.

6.  Steve Spurrier and South Carolina have accomplished a lot in 2011.

7.  After a win in Rochester, Michigan last night, Oakland has now beaten Tennessee two years in a row.

8.  Will it be Vanderbilt or MSU for the Music City Bowl?  (We’ll put our money on State.)

9.  Nick Saban says no one has contacted him about Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart… yet.

10.  Gene Chizik says Auburn’s young quarterbacks were hurt by the youth surrounding them.

11.  This writer says Bobby Petrino’s sideline antics at LSU might hurt recruiting.

12.  LSU offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa may be a candidate to join his old boss Meyer at Ohio State.

13.  Tiger safety Tyrann Mathieu says winning the SEC is important… regardless of the BCS.

14.  As MSU rises in the AP Poll, Rick Stansbury says he likes his team’s effort.

15.  The Ole Miss basketball team is preparing for an “important” week.

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Smart Gets Another Raise At Bama

In 2009, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart was paid $360,000.

The Crimson Tide won the national championship and Georgia — Smart’s alma mater — came calling.  But Smart stayed put.  For his loyalty to Bama, UA more than doubled his salary (not unlike George C. Scott’s Scrooge to David Warner’s Bob Cratchit).

So in 2010, Smart was paid $750,000.  Then rumors swirled that his old college teammate and buddy Will Muschamp was interested in having him join his new Gator staff down at Florida.  But Smart stayed put.  And now he’s getting another raise worth $100,000.

2009 — $360,000

2010 — $750,000

2011 — $850,000

Think the big football factories don’t have plenty of excess cash to throw around?

Of course, Smart’s salary doesn’t even make him the highest-paid coordinator in the state of Alabama.  Auburn’s Gus Malzahn will make $1.3 million next season.

Joining Smart at the Tuscaloosa teller window is strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran who’ll receive a raise that will take his pay up to $290,000 next year.

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SEC Headlines – 1/4/11 Part One

1.  A lot of tumblers fell into place to land Charlie Weis in Gainesville.

2.  This writer loves the Weis hire.

3.  Urban Meyer’s new role with Florida is still unclear.  (As we’ve stated, it would be best for Will Mushcamp if Meyer had no new role with Florida.)

4.  The Florida basketball team knocked out Rhode Island 84-59 last night.

5.  How many wins will it take to save Mark Richt’s job at Georgia?

6.  Unless they’re hired this offseason, get ready to hear the names Kirby Smart and Mike Leach connected to the UGA job for months to come.

7.  Pitt will have an interim head coach and two missing assistants when the Panthers face Kentucky in the BBVA Compass Bowl.

8.  The UK basketball team had to come back from a 12-point deficit to knock off Penn 86-62 last night.

9.  Some guys that Billy Gillispie brought to Lexington are coming up big for the Cats.

10.  John Calipari wants more intensity from Terrence Jones and more consistency from Brandon Knight.

11.  South Carolina AD Eric Hyman says he and Steve Spurrier “have talked about the possibility of extending his contract.”

12.  USC’s roundball team has gone from 5-1 to 8-4… as the Cocks’ schedule has toughened.

13.  Tennessee has unveiled its 2011 football schedule.  Gone is North Carolina, on is Buffalo.

14.  UT basketball players say they’re hurt and embarrassed by their recent nosedive.

15.  A Lane Kiffin automobile accident in 2009 is at the center of a new lawsuit in Knoxville.

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