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Ex-Gator Rainey Proves That Discipline Isn’t A Bad Thing

gfx - honest opinionIn the fall of 2010, Florida receiver Chris Rainey was arrested on stalking charges after sending a threatening email to his girlfriend.  The message read, “Time to Die, Bitch.”

Not long after Rainey agreed to a plea bargain, then-Gator coach Urban Meyer welcomed him back to the UF football team.  Meyer took heat at the time for looking the other way.  But the coach said Rainey had never been in trouble before: “He’s never been an issue before and he certainly better never be again.”

Rainey finished up his career at Florida and is now a professional with the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Meyer left Gainesville after the 2010 season only to get back into coaching this season at Ohio State.  In April of last year, Rainey repaid his ex-coach’s 2010 leniency by saying that he believed Meyer and his coaches “were scared” of certain players and gave them preferential treatment as a result.

Apparently the irony of what he was saying was lost on Rainey.

I bring this all back up because Rainey was once again in the news today.  At 8:26am this morning, Gainesville Police received a call from a witness who reported seeing a male and a female engaged in “a verbal altercation that turned physical.”  The police report states that “Rainey and the victim got into an argument over Rainey’s cell phone” and that witnesses “observed Rainey slap the victim across the face with an open hand.”

Rainey was charged with one count of simple battery for “dating violence.”  The police report says Rainey has been dating the victim for about nine months.

To be fair, Rainey hasn’t been found guilty yet and perhaps both of his dustups with women can be explained away easily.  Here’s guessing, however, that there’s more to these stories than just coincidence.  Also, if Rainey is found guilty of this latest offense, it will be crystal clear to us that he might have benefited had Meyer handed down some real discipline back in 2010.

There’s a feeling among coaches — and most fans — that a troubled player on their team can be helped more with love than with punishment.  While this writer is far from a hanging judge, there are certain issues that require discipline and consequences whether those consequences hurt a team’s chances of winning games or not.  Violence or violent attitudes toward women are among those serious issues.

In Rainey’s case we’ve now moved from a threatening text to an alleged slap.  What’s next?  And would the slap have even happened had Meyer benched Rainey for a number of weeks back in 2010, showing him that his ways would have to change?

We’ll never know the answer to that last question.  We’ll only know that Meyer looked the other way — as many coaches do — when Rainey crossed a line.  Police and witnesses say Rainey has now crossed another one.  Wonder what Meyer thinks about that today?


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A Youthful Comparison: Tide Vs Cats (And Why This Writer Thinks Phillips Deserves Another Year)

Kentucky’s Joker Phillips has spent the week reminding folks in the Bluegrass State that his team features 72 freshmen and sophomores.  Here at MrSEC, we got our first email from a UK fan about this on Sunday… after Phillips followed up his team’s 32-31 overtime loss to Western Kentucky with the statement.

Well, since mentioning Phillips’ remark again yesterday, we’ve received several more emails as well as one “Don’t give me that crap” response in our comment box.  Every single one of these responses — the emails and the comment — have shared one similarity.  They all claim that Alabama has just as many young players as Kentucky.  (Why, it’s as if someone’s posted that on a messageboard and the anti-Phillips crowd are sharing it.  But we all know that would never happen.)

Interested, I grabbed a pen and paper, took a look at each squad’s two-deep roster for the upcoming weekend and found the following:


Alabama has 22 freshmen and sophomores in its two-deep.  Kentucky has 24.  Pretty similar.


Alabama has three sophomores starting on offense with no freshman starters.  Kentucky has four sophomores starting on offense as well as three freshmen or redshirt freshmen.

On defense, both teams have three sophomore starters.

So in terms of starters, UK is starting 10 first- or second-year players while UA starts just six.  At least according to my quickie, cocktail napkin math.  I could be off by a player as I didn’t have time to take my shoes off and use my toes to help with my cipherin’.


Now, do I personally believe Phillips to be the man to fix what’s been ailing UK football for decades?  No, I do not.  But I do believe he deserves another year to see how his young players develop next season.  Another year to prove me and many others wrong.  I don’t believe he’ll get that year as we now live in a world where coaches are fired after two or three seasons, but I think he should get another year.  Mainly because my gut could be wrong about him (the guy did end the Cats’ long losing streaks to Steve Spurrier and Tennessee).  I’ve also written on this site for years that young teams tend to get their rumps kicked.

And Phillips — at least by my count — has more youngsters playing major roles on his team than Saban does on his.  (As if an Alabama-to-Kentucky comparison is fair to in the first place.  Might as well compare the Wildcats to the Pittsburgh Steelers.)

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Ex-Dawg, Steeler Ward Drops By UGA Practice

Recently retired Super Bowl champion Hines Ward — formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers — dropped in on his alma mater’s spring practice this week with an eye on coaching.

Ward’s former teammate and current UGA offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said “he’s trying to see if that’s something he wants to go into.”  Ward is expected to spend “a couple of days” checking out practice, recruiting, and all the other things that go into college coaching.

Due to NCAA rules, Ward can’t do any actual coaching while he’s hanging around Mark Richt’s program this week.  He can only watch.  Someday that might change.

According to The Athens Banner-Herald, Ward told an Atlanta TV station earlier this year: “If (Richt) wants to hire me, hire me.  That would be my ultimate dream job to come back and coach at the University of Georgia.”

This week he’s taking his first steps in that direction.  Whether Richt would want to put a man on his staff who some Dawg fans would no doubt want to see succeed him is another matter.

The former “Dancing With the Stars” champ was also busted on a DUI charge last summer, but here’s guessing the folks in Athens would overlook that one if it meant landing Ward as a recruiter.

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Bradley: Richt’s Seat Isn’t Hot And Won’t Be… Until He Loses His Next Game

Wanted to pass along a funny nugget from Mark Bradley of The AJC today.  It sums up not only the feelings around the Peach State these days, but it would also hold true in most college towns as we wind toward the season.

July and August are the months hope rise.  In June, Game X looks like a probable loss.  By July, Game X starts to look like a toss-up.  By August, Game X — even if it’s against the Pittsburgh Steelers — “could go our way ’cause they’ll be overlooking us!”

Well, here’s Bradley’s take on how hopes are rising in Georgia:

“A disconnect was witnessed at the SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala.  People who live outside Georgia were wondering who will be the Bulldogs’ next head coach.  People who live in Georgia were wondering if Richt might be the 2011 SEC coach of the year.  Heat Index: (Mark) Richt’s job is not yet in question and won’t be until he loses another game.”

And that is the life of a millionaire football coach in a world dominated by instant media, instant analysis and expectations of instant success.

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