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Would Arkansas Give Michael Dyer A Chance?

gfx - they said itFormer Auburn running back Michael Dyer is an Arkansas native who would like to play for the Razorbacks.  Dyer, who left  Auburn after the 2011 season, and was dismissed at Arkansas State in 2012, says he would like a third chance in Fayetteville for Bret Bielema.


“If I was given the chance, I would definitely do the best that I can for [Arkansas] and for the coaches and for the fans,” Dyer said. “To be able to play at home, I think any kid would love that dream to come back home and start over and play at home. But I’m just, you know, sitting here, I’m going to play it out and I’m going to let God do the rest for me.”



At Auburn , Dyer admitted in court that his pistol was used in a robbery by teammates.  He transferred to Arkansas State where then head coach Gus Malzahn attempted to give him a second chance.  That second chance ended in the summer of 2012 when he was dismissed after details about a traffic stop emerged – going 96 in a 70 MPH zone and evidence of marijuana.  He’s been at Arkansas Baptist College as a student, not a football player, since then.  He’s set to graduate this spring.  He’s expected to announce his future plans in the next few weeks.

Update: WholeHogSports says “Dyer will not be walking on at Arkansas despite the rumors saying he will.”


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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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Rumor: Dyer Done At Auburn, Heading To Arkansas State. Chizik Says No

Michael Dyer has been a bellcow for the Auburn program since suiting up as the Tigers’ top tailback last year.  Unfortunately, there have also been off-field issues and an indefinite suspension to go along with all his rushing yards and that BCS Championship Game MVP award.

Now, rumors are swirling that Dyer is finished on the Plains and will be transferring to Arkansas State… where it just so happens Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn will be taking over as head coach.

At least two Arkansas State players have already welcomed/congratulated Dyer on his move to Jonesboro via Facebook and Twitter (though that page no longer exists).

But Gene Chizik said today that the rumors that first kicked up yesterday are just that — rumors.

“Michael Dyer’s status has not changed.  If it does, I’ll let you know.  I’m not aware of any of that.”

Pressed for more information, Chizik simply said: “I’m not going to go into details of my discussions with Mike Dyer.  I’ve told you guys his status, and that status hasn’t changed.”

So is Chizik simply avoiding the question until after the bowl game?  Stay tuned.

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A Look At ESPN’s Top 150 Prospects: Past and Present

Chris Low and Edward Aschoff of have taken a look at how the SEC has fared in the website’s top 150 lists since 2010.

The 2010 class have spent one fall on campus. Signees from the 2011 class have just arrived or are still expected to by the time August rolls around.

Several players from the 2010 class made immediate impacts last fall. One standout is Auburn running back Michael Dyer, who was named the Offensive MVP of the BCS National Championship Game.

Tennessee has four players on the impact last from 2010: quarterback Tyler Bray, wide receiver Justin Hunter and offensive linemen Ja’Wuan James and James Stone. All four players are expected to start for the Vols this year.

Other prospects fall into the “wait and see” category. After all, they’ve only had one year to show what they can do. Some notables include Florida defensive end Ronald Powell and defensive tackle Dominique Easley and Tennessee receiver Da’Rick Rogers.

As for the ESPNU 150, Alabama landed the most with 11 signees. Auburn (8) and Florida (7) both had strong runs, and Georgia, LSU and Tennessee each landed six prospects.

Alabama already has commitments from six ESPNU 150 members in the 2012 class. Florida (4), LSU (3), Auburn (2), Ole Miss (1) and South Carolina (1) are the other SEC schools with commitments from the ESPNU list.

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Previewing the SEC Championship Game: Three Keys and What It Means

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South Carolina fans react after their win over Clemson in the NCAA college football game in Clemson, S.C., Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010. AP Photo/Patrick Collard)

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South Carolina fans react after their win over Clemson in the NCAA college football game in Clemson, S.C., Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010. AP Photo/Patrick Collard)

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As you know, my usual weekly preview includes a Prediction in addition to Three Keys and What It Means. In honor of the momentous occasion in Gamecocks football history that is this Saturday, the Prediction will be forthcoming tomorrow in its own post. For now, here are the other two parts of my preview.

Three Keys to Victory

3. Figure Out a Way to Contain Cameron Newton

This one is obvious, but you really can’t discuss Auburn without mentioning it. Newton is the centerpiece of the Tigers’ offense, and no one has found a way to stop him. When we played Auburn earlier this year, the Gamecocks actually did a fairly admirable job for three quarters of slowing everyone except Newton down. The final stats show big numbers for Michael Dyer, but those stats belie the fact that we bottled him up until late in the game; in fact, I recall the announcers talking a good bit about how badly we were stuffing him in the second quarter. What happened to us defensively is that Newton got enough first downs on his feet through the first three quarters to wear our defense out, eventually opening things up for the rest of the Auburn offense. (Our offense’s inability to sustain drives int the second half also contributed to this problem.) This time around, we need to figure out how to keep Newton from doing the same. I’m not sure what to expect from Ellis Johnson in this game, as he’s discounted the possibility of using a spy on Newton, which would have seemed like the most obvious choice. I’m not sure that Johnson isn’t right, though. His approach last time was misplaced; soft zone coverage and infrequent run blitzes won’t work because you really can’t give Newton any cushion or he’ll hit you up for seven yards every time. But do we need a spy? We have enough speed and hard hitters to stop Newton without a spy as long as our guys play him aggressively. Isn’t a QB like Newton exactly what the 4-2-5 is designed to stop? Johnson was, after all, recruited partially because Spurrier thought he might be able to stop Tim Tebow; Newton is simply Tebow 2.0 in many senses. (Yes, I said it. I think Newton is better than Tebow.) In short, we may give Auburn some room to gain yards in other ways if we forego the zone coverages, but I don’t think you can expect to have any success if you don’t key on Newton; history is against you there.

2. Stephen Garcia

For the past few weeks, I’ve called the run game a key to victory. Auburn, though, has one of the best rushing defenses in the country. I don’t expect that to change this week; the Tigers will key on Marcus Lattimore and they have the front line to stop him. (I do think we need to get him involved through the air, though.) However, just as there was last time we played Auburn, there should be plenty of opportunities to gain yardage through the air. That means that Garcia needs to be at the very top of his game. This game is his to win for the ‘Cocks. And why shouldn’t he be able to? He may have a checkered past, but now he’s all grown up. This is his chance to shine.

1. Don’t Take the Foot Off the Gas

Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen Georgia and Alabama come very close to ending Auburn’s run at the national title by jumping out to big leads against the Tigers. In both cases, a combination of resorting to vanilla playcalling and self-inflicted wounds allowed Auburn to hang around and eventually take the game when their offense finally got warmed up. We can’t let that happen. It should now be completely apparent that Auburn is capable of making up almost any deficit. That means that if we build a lead, we need to try to extend it. (History says that we will build a lead; that’s what’s happened to Auburn all year long.) Have a 21-point lead and a chance to extend it? You better get another seven if you want to beat the Comeback Kids.

What It Means

What doesn’t it mean? It’s hard to say that this is bigger than a championship, as SEC championships are pretty big in and of themselves. The SEC Title, after all, has essentially meant that you’re the best team in the land over the past few years. An SEC Title is what everyone wants short of the national title itself.

This game is even more than that for Carolina, though. In a year when the Gamecocks have accomplished numerous firsts, the most important first remains on the table this Saturday. This is a chance to complete the clean break with history that Carolina has been trying to make all season. This is it, folks. This is the chance to accomplish the kind of thing that Carolina has been searching for for its entire history.

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Dyer, Washington Earn SEC Player Of The Week Awards

Senior cornerback Demond Washington has been named SEC Co-Special Teams Player of the Week and running back Michael Dyer has been named SEC Tri-Freshman of the Week.

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