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SEC Headlines – 10/27/11 Part One

I’m afraid today’s going to be a rushed day with lots of headlines.  Projects away from the site are eating into my time today.  My apologies.

1.  Florida’s defense needs to create more takeaways.

2.  Will Muschamp allowed two players to walk away from his program earlier this week.

3.  Gator defensive lineman Dominique Easley is in hot water after getting into a scuffle with former Alabama player Reggie Myles outside the stadium following the teams’ game this year.

4.  The Florida-Georgia rivalry has had its share of unsportsmanlike acts in recent years… but it was “The Stomp” in 2007 that rekindled the rivalry.

5.  Here are five keys to a Bulldog victory on Saturday.

6.  Georgia wideout Malcolm Mitchell is now “doubtful” for this weekend’s game.

7.  They’re already covering basketball scrimmages in Lexington.  Terrence Jones scored 52 with 16 rebounds last night.

8.  The Cats also have a football game this weekend, and it would help their cause if tailback CoShik Williams could rush for another 148 yards this week.

9.  South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington is questionable for Saturday with a hamstring injury.

10.  Steve Spurrier said earlier this week that Ellington — a receiver — might back up Connor Shaw… showing once again that the coach no longs has his old touch with quarterbacks.

11.  Tennessee receiver Da’Rick Rogers — who showed up quarterback Matt Simms with some serious head-shaking following an incompletion last week — is happy to have the “gunslinger” Justin Worley under center.

12.  Vol coaches want to get more out of defensive end Jacques Smith.

13.  James Franklin isn’t interested in talking about Vanderbilt’s bowl chances just yet.

14.  The Commodores are bracing for Arkansas’ passing game.

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UT’s Simms: “This Isn’t My First Rodeo”

Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms — thrust back into action by the broken thumb on Tyler Bray’s throwing hand — says he feels ready to play against top-ranked LSU this weekend:


“I think everyone kind of realizes that this isn’t my first rodeo.  I played in a lot of big games last year, and obviously I’m not afraid to get hit.  I’m just looking forward to it, looking forward to the experience.  It’s a tough position for all of us, and we’ve just got to focus and win our first SEC games.”


Simms was the Vols’ starter last year as UT nearly upset LSU in Baton Rouge.  “I did an interview with someone in the summer and they asked me who was the one team I would love to go against.  I said LSU, and I got what I wished for.”

Saturday, he may come to regret making that wish.

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SEC Headlines – 4/12/11 Part Two

1.  Here’s a breakdown of Florida’s spring practice… though all but the final spring game practice were closed to the public/media.

2.  The spring game itself gave Gator fans cause for encouragement and concern.

3.  Georgia’s run-stuffers are becoming more comfortable in Todd Grantham’s 3-4 scheme.

4.  Cornelius Washington is ready to earn his spot at outside linebacker.

5.  UGA quarterback-turned-receiver Logan Gray is transferring to Colorado.

6.  This writer says football should be a secondary issue for Stephen Garcia right now.

7.  The possibilities for Carolina are still high because it’s only April, not September yet.

8.  This writer says Tennessee’s a winner for landing Cuonzo Martin… but Martin’s a loser for landing Tennessee over Missouri.

9.  Matt Simms still wants to be a leader for UT even though he’s currently the backup quarterback.

10.  Second-year receiver Matt Milton looks up to speed this spring.

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SEC: East to be decided at night; UT changes QBs

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

(AP photo)

(AP photo)

SEC links for Tuesday:

Travis Haney of the Charleston Post and Courier: “The South Carolina football team learned over the weekend that, in all likelihood, it would have to beat Florida to win the SEC East. Now it knows it will have to win at night in the Swamp on Nov. 13 to claim its first division title. CBS went for Auburn-Georgia for its afternoon game in two weeks, leaving the Gamecocks and Gators for a 7:15 p.m. kickoff on either ESPN or ESPN2.”

John Adams of the Knoxville News-Sentinel:Derek Dooley changed starting quarterbacks Monday. The first-year Tennessee coach moved freshman Tyler Bray ahead of Matt Simms, who had started the first eight games. Based on the team’s 2-6 start and the way Bray played in a 38-24 loss to South Carolina, the announcement was hardly surprising. But the change doesn’t resolve all the quarterback questions at UT.”

Jay Greeson of the Chattanooga Times Free Press: “Certainly Matt Simms is not at complete fault for the Vols’ woes, but it’s common knowledge that the quarterback gets too much credit for his team’s success and too much blame for his team’s failures. And the Vols’ winless October definitely qualifies as the latter. Change just for change’s sake is not a concrete fundamental on which to base a program, but it’s not like coach Derek Dooley is looking to fix something that’s not broken. These Vols are broken, and if the fixing is going to take time, then let the process start sooner rather than later.”

Tim Tucker of the AJC:Richt said he was “very proud” of the Georgia team’s effort against Florida, “but the bottom line is we turned it over four times to [Florida's] one and you’re not going to win many games that way. . . . There was a lot more than that to that ballgame, but as we know the turnover stat is the one that is the most devastating in those types of ballgames.”

Rick Cleveland of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger: “The health of Nick Bell, the Bulldogs’ 20-year-old, sophomore defensive end, has taken a decided turn for the worse. In early October, a tumor was discovered on Bell’s brain. The tumor was malignant, a form of skin cancer. Bell was supposed to begin chemotherapy at UAB Hospital today, but his health deteriorated over the weekend. Mullen visited with Bell’s family at UAB Hospital Monday afternoon.”

Chase Goodbread of the Tuscaloosa News: “Losses by Missouri to Nebraska and Michigan State to Iowa over the weekend allowed the Crimson Tide to move up to the No. 6 BCS position. BCS experts have suggested that if Alabama continues to navigate a late-season stretch of difficult opponents without suffering a second loss, the Crimson Tide would eventually return to the BCS title game.”

John Frierson of the Chattanooga Times Free Press:Russ Huesman thought about the question for a moment. His forehead wrinkled and he got a perplexed expression on his face. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football coach was asked about his approach to Saturday’s game at No. 2 Auburn.”

Robbie Andreu of the Gainesville Sun: “Just moments after the 34-31 overtime win over Georgia on Saturday, when Urban Meyer said it was his biggest victory at Florida, many assumed Meyer must have just gotten caught up in the emotion of the moment. Surely, those two national championship game victories were bigger. After having some time to think on it, Meyer on Monday re-confirmed what he said Saturday night.”

Rachel George of the Orlando Sentinel: “The emergence of freshman Trey Burton as a running quarterback has cut down on Brantley’s snaps. A dropback passer, Brantley struggles in the option where Burton excels. Burton has been a jack-of-all-trades – playing at quarterback, tight end, receiver, fullback and on kickoffs – but has seen more time at quarterback recently.”

Randy Rosetta of the Baton Rouge Advocate: “It’s LSU-Alabama week. That means Miles – never one to stifle his affinity for a big game – is a little more amped up than usual. Enough so that Miles harkened back to his Oklahoma State tenure and reenacted his first, and perhaps still most famous, YouTube moment. Also known as the “Let ‘er rip” clip.”

Don Kausler, Jr. of the Birmingham News: “When the Tide plays its first exhibition game of the 2010-11 season at 7 tonight against Talladega College (18-15 last season) at Coleman Coliseum, the first sign of progress fans should notice is more players on the bench. Alabama has 13 players on scholarship, including five newcomers. ”Our style of play is based on depth,” Grant said. “Our strength will hopefully be in our numbers.”

Jeff Lockridge of the Tennessean: “Starting running back Warren Norman is scheduled to have season-ending surgery today after dislocating his right wrist in the second half of Saturday’s loss at Arkansas. Pins and screws are needed to repair the wrist of Norman, who leads the team in rushing yards (459), carries (77) and touchdowns (4).”

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UT To Start Bray Over Simms

Tennessee will have a new starting quarterback against Memphis on Saturday, but the switch from Matt Simms to Tyler Bray might not be permanent.

“We’re going to start Tyler Bray this week, and I just feel like that’s the best thing for out team right now,” Derek Dooley said today.  The true freshman Bray replaced the juco transfer Simms early in the second half of Saturday’s 38-24 loss at South Carolina.  Simms had fumbled twice on sacks.  Bray threw for two touchdowns in relief, but also tossed a pick six.

Simms questioned his benching after the game.

“I had a real good conversation with Matt and Matt is a team guy.  He’s a high-character guy, Matt’s a competitor and Matt’s emotional.  He was very apologetic for what happened after the game, and I really respect the fact that he came to me and said that.  The decision, just as an aside, has nothing to do with comments (from Simms).  It’s strictly a business evaluation of our team and where we need to go.”

Dooley also said that his team has reacted well to rotating the two quarterbacks — the team is 0-3 since the rotation began — and that he has seen no signs of division in the lockerroom.

All the same, Dooley would be better off nipping any quarterback controversy in the bud by naming Bray his guy for the remainder of the season.  As long as the door remains open for Simms to return, some on the team might start wishing the veteran was on the field anytime the youngster might toss a ball into double-coverage.

In other words, if Dooley’s going to go in, he’d best just go ahead and go all in.  Bud-nippin’ is in order.



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More Turbulence On Rocky Top

On Saturday, the Tennessee football team will make the long trek across their home state to play longtime punching bag Memphis.  But to date, it’s the Volunteers who must feel like they’ve been sparring with Mike Tyson.

The Vols are just 2-6 overall, 0-5 in the SEC.  They are looking up in the standings at Vanderbilt and Kentucky, something UT fans aren’t used to.  On Saturday they used just 46 players in a 38-24 loss to South Carolina.  By comparison, the Gamecocks used 57 players… which underscores the lack of depth Derek Dooley inherited.

But Dooley has made matters worse by creating a quarterback controversy.  His squad’s offense has been one of the league’s worst this year, but starting quarterback Matt Simms has hardly been UT’s biggest issue.  Dooley has said he wants one of his quarterbacks to “take the reins,” but that’s hard to do while opposing rushers are stampeding right over you.

On Saturday, Simms was benched for fumbling twice on sacks.  He was criticized for holding onto the ball too long.  Unfortunately, his backup, Tyler Bray, was sacked an identical three times and he threw a pick six against the Gamecocks.

Now Simms has gone to the press to complain about the benching, the fans want Bray to start, and the team is reportedly split over the two.  (Dooley has yet to say who’ll get the start at Memphis, but the smart money is on the true freshman Bray.)

The last thing Dooley needs at this point of the season is for his already undermanned lockerroom to split apart over who’s calling the signals.

Wait.  Scratch that.  The last thing he would need would be an arrest of one of his most promising freshman.  But he got that, too.

Defensive end Jacques Smith was arrested early Sunday morning after a fight in a Knoxville bar.  Dooley said his punishment will be handled internally.

“Well it sounded like in this latest incident that there were some emotions over a girl,” Dooley said.  “Jacques used some bad judgement and our team did the right thing to defuse the situation.”

The incident involving Smith was the first for UT’s football team since a bar brawl made national news back in July.  In fact, Dooley touted the fact yesterday that the Vols’ flight crew after Saturday’s game in Columbia said that UT’s team was “the most respectful, best-behaved football team that they’ve ever transported.”

So the Vols have got that going for them.  Unfortunately for Dooley — a coach who is now just 1-20 against FBS teams with winning records in his career — UT’s season is going nowhere near as smoothly as the team’s flights.

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SEC Headlines 10/31/2010

South Carolina 38 – Tennessee 24

1. Gone in 60 Seconds. Derek Dooley: “It’s impossible to have a worse start to the third quarter.”

2.  Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms benched: “I’m just still upset that I got taken out like that.”

3.  So is it Matt Simms or Tyler Bray for the Vols?

4. “South Carolina might have lost this one in the past.”

Florida 34 -Georgia 31 (OT)

5. The Georgia Bulldogs are the “magical elixir” for the Florida Gators.

6. With three interceptions and a forced fumble - the Gators secondary leads the way

7. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray on the OT interception: “It was my worst nightmare.”

8. Eight of the last 10 – same old story for the Bulldogs.

Auburn 51 – Ole Miss 31

9. These number-one Tigers aren’t going away.

10. Cam Newton: “We haven’t brought all of the rabbits out of the hat.”

11.  Rebel assistant to Newton: “Go win it all.”

12. ” Game’s final minutes had the look of an Auburn home game. ”

Mississippi State 24 – Kentucky 17

13.  Late interception seals the deal for Bulldogs sixth straight victory.

14. “Start off slow, turn the ball over, dig a hole, fight back, fall short.”

15.  “Kentucky is not bad, but it’s not good, either.”

Arkansas 49 – Vanderbilt 14

16. Vandy comes out smoking but ends up getting pummeled.

17. Early QB rotation backfires on Vanderbilt.


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SEC Headlines – 10/19/10 Part One

1.  Tomorrow’s game in Jacksonville is a must-win game if Florida is to reach Atlanta.  (Not necessarily.)

2.  This Gainesville writer takes Georgia… big.  Though he admits it’s a bit of reverse psychology.

3.  The Gator basketball team whipped Florida Tech 92-58 in an exhibition opener last night.

4.  Florida will need to protect its quarterback from Georgia’s Justin Houston.

5.  Washaun Ealey’s injured knee bears watching.

6.  It’s put up or shut up time for Kentucky linebacker Ridge Wilson.

7.  UK will try to avoid a West sweep when they face Mississippi State tomorrow.

8.  South Carolina has one of the best running back/receiver duos in the nation.

9.  Tori Gurley is developing as a solid #2 to Alshon Jeffery.

10.  Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms was limited at practice yesterday by a sore knee.

11.  Derek Dooley says Marcus Lattimore “wears you down over time.”

12.  Bruce Pearl is working to set his team’s line-up.

13.  Vanderbilt’s defensive tackles coach could have been a high chief in American Samoa.  (What do you want from me?  This is the coverage Vandy gets in football.)

14.  Linebacker Nate Campbell is thankful that he got a second chance to play for the Commodores.

15.  VU b’baller John Jenkins wants to be more than just a shooter.

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Gamecocks likely to see Matt Simms and Tyler Bray at QB for Vols on Saturday

 

 



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