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Gus Malzahn On Mizzou’s Defense: “They’re Very Active”

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn meets the media following Wednesday’s practice, talks Missouri Tigers, the upcoming SEC championship game and a rumor linking him to the head coaching job at Texas (read MrSEC’s take on Malzahn and Texas).

 

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Auburn Faces New Recruiting Challenges

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxAuburn has not had a good week on the recruiting trail.

Nothing has happened specifically with any 2014 recruits. It’s the negative stories surrounding Auburn’s program that will create such a challenge for the Tigers as they try to rebuild the program following a disastrous 2012 season.

First, there was Selena Roberts’ report on Wednesday alleging payments to players, grade changes and involvement in the robbery case of former Auburn safety Mike McNeil. Then came a Thursday report from ESPN The Magazine alleging Auburn covered up failed drug tests during and after the Tiger’s national championship run in 2010.

Auburn fired back at the ESPN report and did a good job defending itself. But a lot of the damage is done for the Tigers.

Auburn has battled allegations of wrongdoing for more than two years. While the NCAA has yet to find anything to actually punish the Tigers, their public image has taken a huge hit. And that will affect recruiting.

Auburn is already behind most of the SEC in recruiting for 2014. The Tigers have two commitments for the upcoming class, which ranks Auburn 11th in the conference and 39th in the nation by Rivals.com.

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn put together a strong staff that should be able to hold its own on the recruiting trail. But there’s only so much any staff can overcome.

Parents will ask a lot of questions and Auburn will likely be prepared with many of the right answers. But opposing schools in the SEC will continue to point out Auburn’s past troubles, which will lead to culture questions about Auburn’s program.

Forget the accusation of NCAA violations. Does Auburn really have its drug issue under control? Thursday’s statement from Jay Jacobs helps show Auburn has made a strong effort to eliminate the use of synthetic marijuana, which is the focus of ESPN’s report.

Still, there’s evidence that drug use has been a problem at Auburn. And the school’s current athletic director and head coach were both part of the football program in 2010 and 2011 when these issues were present. Will parents of recruits trust Jacobs and Malzahn?

“I feel like Auburn betrayed me,” a parent of a former Auburn player told ESPN.

That parent could be wrong and Auburn might have done everything it was supposed to do to alert parents of their children’s drug use. But that quote will be seen in the homes of many recruits around the Southeast.

Roberts’ report and ESPN’s allegations might lead to nothing for Auburn. The Tigers have already survived an NCAA investigation and continue to possess a 2010 BCS championship trophy.

But the more allegations against Auburn we see (and we’ve seen a lot), the more problems Auburn will have as it recruits in the nation’s most competitive conference.

 

Missouri losing ground on St. Louis?

The Tigers received more bad news this week when running back Markel Smith from St. Louis announced he has decommitted from Missouri.

He’s the second 2014 prospect from St. Louis to decommit from Missouri, joining offensive lineman Andy Bauer, who switched his pledge to Ole Miss last month.

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SEC Headlines 10/21/2012

1. Two marque games top next week’s calendar - Mississippi State-Alabama and Georgia-Florida.

2. Dan Mullen on next week’s game: “We’re going to be excited.”

3. Aaron Murray on next week’s game: “We know we have to play an unbelievable game offensively, defensively and special teams if we want to have a chance to win that game.”

4. Dennis Dodd: “If there are any among you at this point who don’t believe the Tide and Gators are going to meet in Atlanta, please leave the tailgate.”

5. Overconfidence biggest obstacle for Florida?

6. Will the Gators remain at No. 2 in the BCS standings or will they get jumped by Oregon?

7. Geoff Caulkins on Tennessee: “Sad to be reminded how far this program has fallen.”

8. Mark Weidmar: “It’s time for Jimmy Haslam to rescue the rest of the Southeastern Conference from Alabama and its maniacal genius of a football coach, Nick Saban.”  MrSEC’s view.

9. Mark McCarter on Gene Chizik: “The Auburn program is on a downhill spiral this coaching staff can’t end.”

10. Two weeks ago, South Carolina was undefeated and basking in a 35-7 win over Georgia.  ”Two weeks ago,” Steve Spurrier said, “was two weeks ago.”

11. Zach Mettenberger attempted a season-high 29 passes against Texas A&M – only connected on 11 of them.

12. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin is working it.

13. Former Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill on the Missouri Tigers and the adjustment to life in the SEC: “The Big 12 is so concerned with skill people. Well, you only play one quarterback. You only use one running back. You better stockpile offensive and defensive linemen.”

14. One man’s preseason ballot for an All-SEC basketball team.

15. A torn ACL forced him to miss all of last season, but Mizzou forward Laurence Bowers was a presence on the bench: “He would have swelling because he was jumping around and they had to tell him to calm down.”

16. The newcomer on the Tennessee basketball roster you’ll likely see the most.

Extra

17. Is Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein the new Heisman frontrunner?

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SEC Headlines 10/17/2012

SEC East

1. Florida is averaging just 145 passing yards per game – last in the SEC. Quarterback Jeff Driskel: “If you’re winning, everything’s all right.”

2. Steve Spurrier: “I hope the Gators finish second in the East. That would be a good season for them.”

3. More Spurrier: “We’re going to try to get the ball to Marcus Lattimore more than we did last week.”

4. Battling a sprained ankle, Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones is not a sure thing to play against Kentucky.

5. Jeff Schultz on Georgia’s defense: “Are players thinking more about the next level than the next game?”

6. Tennessee offensive lineman Antonio Richardson: “We’ve lost three SEC games, and in my opinion I think we were better than all three of them.”

7. Kentucky has been outscored 152-38 in SEC play.

8. Three freshman making a big impact at Vanderbilt this year.

9. A bye week comes at a good time for the 3-4 Missouri Tigers.  Gary Pinkel: “It’s a good time to get a break.”

SEC West

10. Is Johnny Manziel one game away from joining the Heisman race?

11. Kevin Scarbinsky on the A&M quarterback: Johnny Football. Not Cam Newton 2.0.

12. Due to concussions and recurring headaches, Texas A&M safety Steven Campbell has decided to end his career.

13. Tennessee’s offense will be the biggest challenge Alabama’s defense has faced this year.

14. Alabama’s midseason report card? “This should scare future opponents: There still is room for improvement.”

15. Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell is on pace to break every major passing record at MSU. Russell and Johnny Manziel added to Manning Award watch list.

16. Auburn’s defensive tackle Gaby Wright: “1-5, let’s face it. It sucks. But the absolute truth is, we’ve got guys talking about firing coaches, and the truth is it’s a battle.”

17. Is Auburn offensive coordinator Scott Loeffler up to the task?

18. LSU’s leading tackler at linebacker had 64 tackles last year.  Kevin Minter has 63 through seven games this year.

19. Steve Spurrier wasn’t yelling at LSU defensive tackle Bennie Logan Saturday – he was yelling at the refs.

20. What’s changed at Arkansas?  Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino: “The only thing that was really different between Rutgers and A&M and the last two weeks is we didn’t hurt ourselves.”

21. Razorbacks tight end Chris Gragg returned to the practice field Tuesday.

22. How Arkansas AD Jeff Long has put several other schools on the clock.

23. Once described by his coach as “all boy”, Bo Wallace is maturing at quarterback for Ole Miss.

SEC/College News

24. Welcome to the new SEC – where the running game rules.

25. John Adams: “There’s nothing complicated about how to energize your fan base. Just follow Alabama’s lead. Or South Carolina’s.” Round table on the future of Derek Dooley at Athlon.

26. Tony Barnhart calls Arkansas, Auburn and Missouri major disappointments.

27. A hearing Wednesday in the NCAA lawsuit will focus on an economist’s calculations of how players and colleges could share revenue.

SEC Basketball

28. ESPN’s “All-Access Kentucky” - three, half-hour commercials for Big Blue? A sneak peek at the show.

29. The Ole Miss basketball team looks deeper and more diverse this year.

30. Arkansas forward Marshawn Powell says he’s “95 percent” recovered from a season-ending knee injury.

31. At 30:1 odds,, are the Missouri Tigers a steal?

Extra

32. The new drug of choice for athletes.

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What A Weekend In The SEC

Now how was that for a weekend?


* LSU tops Alabama in the what was an absolute classic game in Tuscaloosa.

* The Tide fell only to #3 in the BCS standings, meaning a rematch with LSU in the title game remains a possibility.

* Even before Saturday’s game, several Crimson Tide and Tiger fans brawled drunkenly and stupidly on Bama’s campus.




* With Arkansas’ big win over South Carolina, Georgia and Mark Richt are now in the driver’s seat in the SEC East.

* Houston Nutt had to dispel rumors of his own demise at Ole Miss.

* And the Missouri Tigers were officially welcomed into the SEC with little fanfare… ticketed for the “East initially” as Arkansas AD Jeff Long tweeted.


A busy weekend means a busy wrap-up from us today.  We’ll get started shortly.  Until then, enjoy the video of a few morons putting a black eye (literally) on the past 72 hours.

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No Word On A Mizzou Move At Big 12 Meeting

The Big 12 board of directors meeting has come and gone but it appears there was no news regarding the Missouri Tigers.  In fact, Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas told The Kansas City Star that MU did not withdraw from the league nor did it notify the league that it plans to do so.

PowerMizzou.com – the rivals site covering Missouri — writes that their writers “had been told my multiple sources that Missouri planned to present a conditional withdrawal from the Big 12 Conference on Monday.  At this point in time, it appears that did not occur.”

The Big 12 put out a statement that included the following line:  “Additionally, a strong desire for the University of Missouri to maintain its Big 12 affiliation was expressed.”  That’s for the University of Missouri, not by the University of Missouri.

We — like just about everybody else at this point — still believe that Missouri will move to the SEC by the end of the week.  But as is the case with anything involving politics and money… never say never.

Clearly, Missouri and the SEC are taking their time on what Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin called a 100-year decision.  They won’t rush into something just because and fans and media are tired of waiting.

That said, the MU administration whiffed so badly in the PR game last summer — publicly angling for a Big Ten invite only to be passed over for Nebraska — that Tiger fans are no doubt growing very weary of the school’s leadership.

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