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Blood, Give Us More Blood: Now Everyone Wants Rutgers Hammered

angry mobEx-Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice did some very bad things.  He shoved his players during practice.  He was verbally abusive towards them, even using homophobic slurs (not that he’s the first coach to do that).  Worse, he actually threw basketballs at them.

Mike Rice deserved to be fired.  End of story.

But it’s not the end of the story.  Rice is being obliterated in the national media.  ESPN’s numerous talking heads have jumped in to trash Rice.  Except for Bobby Knight, of course, who was conspicuously absent from the network’s pound-it-into-the-ground coverage on its 6pm ET “SportsCenter” broadcast yesterday.

You remember Knight.  He was the guy who threw chairs, verbally abused players, and finally lost his job at Indiana after he laid hands upon one of his Hoosier players and — like Rice — was caught doing so on videotape.  He’s also the guy who now serves as a top basketball analyst for ESPN and who fellow analyst Dick Vitale raves about.

Vitale got in on the Rice story yesterday via Twitter:




Coaching suicide, eh?  Must depend on how many games a guy’s won.  Knight lasted a long time before a video clip brought him down.  It can be argued that Rice’s taped incidents were worse than the biggie caught on tape involving Knight, but at that point we’re just splitting hairs.

Knight was a bully to his players.  Rice was a bully to his players.  Not all of their players hated them.  Some came to Knight’s defense.  Some have come to Rice’s.  It’s not unlike the Marine who hates his drill sergeant only to later say he appreciates him for “making a man out of him,” or some other such macho thing.  (Perhaps there’s a little bit of Stockholm Syndrome mixed in there, too.)

In Knight’s case, he had hundreds of wins and three national championships on his resume.  Rice had only been a head coach for six years.  He took Robert Morris to a pair of NCAA Tournaments, but in three years at Rutgers he was a disappointing 44-51 overall.  Winning masks a lot of ills.  Losing magnifies them.

Knight also coached — mainly — in an age before Twitter and wall-to-wall sports coverage across television networks and the internet.  Rice screwed up and got caught in the age of social media.  Once ESPN aired video of him flinging balls at this players’ noggins, he was doomed.

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SEC Headlines 4/4/2013

headlines-thu1. Senquez Golson reportedly turned down $1.8 million from the Boston Red Sox in order to go to college. Now the Ole Miss cornerback is giving up baseball to focus on football.

2. Mark Bradley on the Auburn allegations: “It’s clear that the Auburn program under Gene Chizik…wasn’t the happy family Chizik had us believe.” The MrSEC breakdown.

3. Florida’s Gideon Ajagbe has moved from linebacker to fullback this spring.  ”Oh, he’s a monster. He’s a complete monster.”

4. Gators linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr. will also lineup at defensive end.  Teammate D.J. Humphries: “Dante, he’s a freak now.”

5. Add Tennessee to the growing list of teams working on a fast-paced, uptempo offense. “Jones’ offense will be very hurry-up.”

6. Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley on the new offensive system: “I’m glad they’re not throwing the whole offense on us in four days and we’re out there treading water.”

7. Quarterbacks guru George Whitfield recently spent time with Georgia’s Aaron Murray.  Last week, it was Mizzou quarterback James Franklin’s turn.

8. Could Alabama center Ryan Kelly play tackle? “Nobody is really set on positions right now, but I know everyone is really moving around.”

9. So Ryan Kelly, if AJ McCarron pushes – will you push back?  ”I guess we’ll see what happens.”

10. Auburn’s first full scrimmage of the spring is this Saturday. Gus Malzahn:  ”We’re being very physical and we’re straining their bodies physically. We’re asking a lot of them and that’s the good thing.”

11. Everyone knows Jadeveon Clowney. Meet South Carolina’s “other” defensive end – Chaz Sutton.  

12. Carolina defensive line coach Deke Adams: “Everybody knows the offensive linemen are going to focus on one guy (Clowney) and he is going to get so much attention.”

13. Tony Barnhart assesses South Carolina’s chances:  ”It is not a stretch to believe that South Carolina could post double-digit wins for the third consecutive season in 2013.”

14. Cornerback Damian Swann is now the veteran of the Georgia defense.  Started all 14 games last year.  The rest of the returning Bulldogs defense combined for 26 starts.

15. Big focus at Arkansas this spring?  Cutting down on pre-snap penalties.

16. Injury in a pickup basketball game has Vanderbilt assistant coach Charles Bankins using a scooter at practice.

17. With BBVA Compass pulling their sponsorship of the bowl in Birmingham, what’s the future of SEC bowls?  SEC official says he expects discussions to continue through early summer.

18.  When it comes to linemen and NFL prospects - how big is too big?

SEC/NCAA Basketball

19. Two big questions for Georgia basketball - will Kentavious Caldwell-Pope turn pro and is  UCLA freshman Tony Parker possibly headed to Athens?

20.  When it comes to NCAA Tournament money and the SEC, the conference is going in the wrong direction. Next year’s value projected at the lowest level in at least seven years.

21. In the wake of the Mike Rice scandal, how about we remove the ability of coaches to control where players transfer?

22. Hey Bobby Knight, care to comment on Mike Rice?

23. Rice has a $100,000 bonus coming for making it through the season.

24. Tubby Smith replaced Rick Pitino at Kentucky.  Rick’s son, Richard, replacing Tubby as head coach at Minnesota.

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