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SEC Headlines – 3/21/11 Part One

1.  Here are five questions facing Auburn as it opens spring practice.

2.  Two of the four Auburn players arrested for armed robbery made bond (at $511,000) this past weekend.

3.  Spring practice is the first chance for Alabama’s new assistants to shine.

4.  And spring drills began today in Tuscaloosa.

5.  Tonight Anthony Grant and crew host a New Mexico club that beat BYU twice.

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SEC Headlines – 3/16/11 Part One

1.  Alabama whooped up on Coastal Carolina 68-44 in the NIT last night… setting up a home game with New Mexico in the next round.

2.  Anthony Grant’s players listened when he told them to “turn the page” from their NCAA disappointment.

3.  The four Auburn football players booted from the team last week have admitted to police that they were involved in last week’s armed robbery.

4.  Spring practice has begun at Arkansas…

5.  And all eyes are on the quarterback race.

6.  Nolan Richardon opened up this week about John Pelphrey and Mike Anderson.

7.  This fella — whose radio show I’ll be doing later today — believes Anderson should be Arkansas’ first and only phone call.

8.  Don’t write off Jordan Jefferson just yet, LSU fans.

9.  LSU’s Pro Day was a motivation for the returning Tiger starter.

10.  The Tiger athletic department isn’t backing down from its legal use of scouting services.  (Question: How many LSU fans who were laughing at Will Lyles’ connection to Auburn recruits from Thibodaux are now defending their own school’s connection to Lyles?)

UPDATE — Big error on our part here.  Rushing to point out how fanbases flip-flop when their schools get in trouble, we tried to draw the connection between Auburn’s ties to a street agent and LSU’s ties to a street agent.  But the street agent at Auburn is Sean Nelson — who we’ve covered on this site numerous times — and it’s Lyles at LSU.  Our point is the same, but the brainfreeze on the name is poor.  Sorry we didn’t catch that in the proofing stage.  Of course, when you write as much as we do in a day, accidents will occasionally happen.  Our bad.)

11.  If his career ends tonight in Berkeley, Chris Warren will leave a pretty big legacy behind at Ole Miss.

12.  The Rebels should be ready for their NIT game with Cal tonight.

13.  This writer pens an obituary for the 2010-11 Mississippi State basketball team.

14.  The family of former MSU footballer Nick Bell — who died from cancer last fall — has set up a memorial fun in his honor.  (Also on the other end of the above link… today is Jack Cristil Day in Mississippi.)

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UT Re-Releases Notice Of Allegations With Fewer Redactions

Due to complaints from the media, the University of Tennessee has re-released the NCAA’s 26-page letter of allegations which was sent to the school last week.

There are fewer redactions in the updated version, but according to The Knoxville News Sentinel’s Andrew Gribble, the new version “does not reveal much more than the original.” 

A UT official said of the earlier redactions: “The University has not been trying to conceal information, but rather has been attempting to comply with (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and to protect student privacy.  Upon re-examination, we have determined that there is another way to redact the Notice of Allegations that both protects student privacy and avoids creating the impression that we are attempting to conceal information.”

Nineteen areas of the document were changed. 

The only real information gleaned from the changes is that former UT quarterbacks coach David Reaves — Lane Kiffin’s brother-in-law — was involved in two separate violations that fell under the “impermissible recruiting activities with prospective student-athletes” banner.

Reaves is believed to be a key figure in Tennessee’s use of hostesses to recruit off campus.  He is now the offensive coordinator at New Mexico.

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L’affaire Kouandjio Rolls On

According to The Tuscaloosa News, five-star offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio is still weighing his options when it comes to his collegiate home.  Auburn (whom he committed to on signing day), Alabama and Iowa are the finalists.  That’s according to the player’s father.

“He’s still confused,” Jean Claude Kouandjio told the paper late yesterday.  “We keep talking with him.  I don’t think he’s ready yet.  He’s the one who wants more time.”

The player told The Washington Post yesterday that New Mexico is back in the race and Iowa is out.

There is currently no timetable for Kouandjio’s decision though his father said, “I’m hoping that it will be as soon as possible.”  Even the much-discussed family vote that was planned for Thursday failed to produce a final decision.  “I told him to go to school, quiet his mind, forget about it… and we will talk about it after school,” the elder Kouandjio said.

Kouandjio’s coach told The Tuscaloosa News that the player did speak with Gene Chizik yesterday.  “They had a conversation and Cyrus said the he just wasn’t ready to make the decision yet.”  The Washington Post has reported that the player also spoke with Nick Saban yesterday.

While Kouandjio struggles with his decision, fans of UA and AU continue to campaign in website comment boxes across the internet. 

“Blood is thicker than water,” say most Bama fans, referring to Kouandjio’s older brother, Arie, who is already on Alabama’s team.  (For the record, the father has said, “The best thing would be to go to his brother.  His brother is already on the field.  We know about the coaches.  We know about Alabama.”)

Many Auburn fans — writing as if Kouandjio is actually reading their remarks — are complaining that the young man isn’t being allowed to make up his own mind.  “Auburn is the place for you.”

What’s silly, of course, is that for all we know New Mexico would actually be the best fit for the young man.  When it comes to recruiting, we look only at on-field football results (through our own lenses) when we decide what’s right for a high schooler.

But the player is not only picking a football team, he’s picking a place to live, a school, a support staff, and a launching pad for his future. 

The only thing more bizarre than Kouandjio’s delay is the “I know what’s best for you” remarks being made by Southern football fans who know not one solitary thing about the player… other than the fact that he’s got five stars beside his name.

(Sidenote — Kouandjio told one website that 2,500 text messages were sent to his phone yesterday.  Ridiculous.)

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Auburn Recruiting Notes

Auburn has made it into the top five of the schools being considered by offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio from DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Md.

Kouandjio is also considering Alabama, where his older brother Arie Kouandjio is a freshman offensive lineman, Southern Cal, Iowa and New Mexico.

Kouandjio replaced Miami with Auburn, according to ESPN.com.

Auburn also appears to be in the running for running back Marlin Lane, who is committed to Clemson. Lane, who attends Mainland High in Daytona Beach, Fla., said his recruitment will come down to Auburn or Clemson.

“By Feb. 2 or 3, I should know where I’ll be going,” Lane told AuburnUndercover.com. “It will be one of the Tigers.”

Auburn also received a visit from running back Jeremy Hill from Baton Rouge, La. Hill recently decommitted from LSU.

Hill, whose teammate La’el Collins is committed to LSU, said he and Collins will return for a visit to Auburn in January. It will be interesting to see if LSU can try to hold on to its hometown standouts or risk losing them to a division rival at Auburn.

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