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Former Vandy QB Rodgers Eviscerates Alma Mater Right Before Signing Day

jordan-rodgers-vanderbiltYesterday, Former Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers attacked his alma mater with an extremely long Twitter-based rant.  Whether Rodgers is right or wrong about the way former Vandy football players are treated after their careers end, he’s made new Commodore coach Derek Mason’s job even more difficult in the run-up to signing day.

Recently, Rodgers was not allowed in the Vanderbilt football facilities.  He was told he would have to pay a fee to use the school’s new indoor fields.

Now, we could post Rodgers’ rant tweet by tweet but, to be honest, it’s a bit tedious to read that way.  So here’s a link to his feed and here is what he tweeted last evening:

 

“It’s a shame but Vanderbilt will continue to be a stepping stone for coaches, a second rate program in the SEC and stuck in mediocrity b/c..

..of how the institution views athletics and treats their current and former players.  As a leader and starting QB during the emergence..

..and transformation of Vanderbilt into a contending and respectable program in the SEC I am ashamed at the treatment of some former players

..As I return to Nashville after my rookie year in the NFL I was excited to train at Vanderbilt with current players as well as pro day…

..and combine prep players. I have been throwing with current Vandy QBs and receivers and a receiver prepping for pro day. However, it has..

been a constant problem gaining access to the new “football” indoor facility during times it is “open use” I was turned away from the..

..indoor facility all together several times (even though the field was empty). After inquiring about the use of hte facility by active..

NFL alums and pro day players not currently enrolled. I was told I CAN’T use it unless I purchase a membership to the rec center!!!!..

..Vanderbilt and David Williams have “changed the culture”. NO.  The players (recruited by Bobby Johnson) and coach Franklin changed the..

..culture at Vanderbilt.  WE build that indoor by winning like no team in the history of VU. Now I have to pay to use it?! Pay to help..

..mentor and train with current players and alum trying to stick with a team in the NFL. WE built this program not some chancellor. This..

..is an embarrassment and only a reflection of the future of this program if it continues to put football and the success and treatment ..

..of its players as an after thought. I will choose to train somewhere else if VU has this little respect for its alumni who sacrificed so..

..much for this program. This is an embarrassment and a shame.  I love this school and program but it obviously is done with my services.

Let me reiterate: I would rightfully pay to use weight room, exercise classes, bball courts @ rec.I’m talking about 30 min/day on fball field

It’s not a me thing. There are 5+ ex VU players now in or continuing to pursue the NFL and a handful of recent grads trying for pro day

@VUNation @VandySportscom we didn’t request to drop in whenever. We gave a specific time window during open access hours to field.

It’s not about the $. It’s the fact that recent grads training for pro day in march and current NFL als can’t sue field without paying.”

 

Yikes.  Not surprisingly, Rodgers was quickly lit up on Twitter forcing him to post these follow-ups:

 

“Relax ppl and fans. I love you and Vandy! Just pointing out something that is disappointing for guys trying to make a name for themselves/VU

Twitter is a fickle thing. Love VU. What I said was truth. I will continue to search for resolution in house. Twitter can be taken out of..

..Context unfortunately. I am responsible for my actions and love my school. It will be better. It will be fixed.”

 

Twitter can be blown out of proportion, but it’s hard to see where anything Rodgers wrote last evening was taken “out of context.”  He ripped his alma mater, called the football program “second rate” and said it would be “stuck in mediocrity” before blasting the “culture,” the athletic director and the chancellor on a medium viewed by, well, everybody.

He didn’t put his foot in his mouth.  That would have gone unnoticed.  No, he put two feet on his keyboard.  And then things blew up for him.

In addition to ripping Vanderbilt’s program a week before National Signing Day, Rodgers also aligned himself with James Franklin who’s not exactly the most popular man in Nashville at the moment.  (Some people are trying to get his image erased from a local mural due to the fact that he left the Commodores and took half their recruiting class with him.)

Getting to the crux of Rodgers’ case, he’s actually in the right.  It’s foolish for schools not to welcome back alums.  Former players now in the NFL — or trying to reach the NFL — serve as good motivation for current players and can help lure recruits.  Unfortunately, Rodgers chose to take his argument to the people, did so with a hot head, and undercut the legitimate point he was trying to make.

Best of luck to Mason as he tries to cobble together a signing class in a two-week period while an ex-VU quarterback strafes his program with Twitter bombs.

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The Best (And Worst) SEC Quarterback Situations Entering 2014

quarterback-silhouette-question-markUsing statistics from a previous season is not always the best way to predict which school will thrive at the quarterback position in an upcoming year.  There are injuries to consider.  Not just to the QB but to his offensive line or receivers.

There are always surprises, players who come from nowhere to become stars.  Two years ago there was a four-way battle for the signal-caller spot in Kevin Sumlin’s brand new Texas A&M offense.  The winner was a small fella who Texas had actually recruited to play safety.  But Johnny Manziel went on to win the Heisman in just his first season.

Last offseason, Auburn’s quarterback battle appeared to be a four-way battle as well.  But the two holdovers from 2012 were quickly chucked from the race.  A pair of newcomers — the runner Nick Marshall and the thrower Jeremy Johnson — wound up duking things out.  The former Georgia defensive back, Marshall, earned the starting gig and led the Tigers to the brink of a BCS championship.

Before we look at 2014, let’s take a quick look back at 2012 and 2013.  Below you’ll find the 2012 total offense numbers for each school’s top returning QB.  Farther to the right you’ll find the 2013 total offense numbers for each school’s top quarterback for comparison.  Again, be careful not to draw too many conclusions:

 

  School   Top 2012 QB Returning   Total Off. 2012   Yds/Gm 2012   Top 2013 QB   Total Off. 2013   Yds/Gm 2013   SEC Rec.   Overall Rec.
  Texas A&M   J. Manziel   5116   393.5   J. Manziel   4873   374.8   4-4   9-4
  Georgia   A. Murray   3825   273.2   A. Murray   3261   296.5   5-3   8-5
  Ole Miss   B. Wallace   3384   260.3   B. Wallace   3701   284.7   3-5   8-5
  Alabama   AJ McCarron   2937   209.8   AJ McCarron   3041   233.9   7-1   11-2
  Miss. State   T. Russell   2892   222.5   D. Prescott   2769   251.7   3-5   7-6
  LSU   Z. Mettenberger   2401   184.7   Z. Mettenberger   2949   245.8   5-3   10-3
  S. Carolina   C. Shaw   2391   217.4   C. Shaw   3005   231.2   6-2   11-2
  Florida   J. Driskel   2054   171.2   T. Murphy   1277   141.8   3-5   4-8
  Missouri   J. Franklin   1684   187.1   J. Franklin   2939   267.1   7-1   12-2
  Kentucky   J. Whitlow   1007   100.7   J. Whitlow   1492   124.3   0-8   2-10
  Auburn   J. Wallace   872   96.9   N. Marshall   3044   234.2   7-1   12-2
  Vanderbilt   A. Carta-Samuels   225   37.5   A. Carta-Samuels   2382   238.3   4-4   9-4
  Arkansas   B. Allen   183   36.6   B. Allen   1581   143.7   0-8   3-9
  Tennessee   J. Worley   134   26.8   J. Worley   1295   161.8   2-6   5-7

 

As you can see, the numbers from one year don’t always mean very much heading into the next year.  So even though the list below of returning total offense leaders is stacked up by total yards gained, you’ll find that our grades don’t always mesh with those 2013 stats.  Here’s our quickie take on the best, worst, good and bad SEC quarterback situations rolling into 2014:

 

  School   Top 2013 QB Returning   Total Off. 2013   Yds/Gm 2013   Our View of Situation
  Ole Miss   B. Wallace   3701   284.7   Good, Just needs to keep cutting down on turnovers
  Auburn   N. Marshall   3044   234.2   Best, But Marshall still needs to improve as a passer
  Miss. State   D. Prescott   2769   251.7   Good, Prescott was a solid leader in ’12 when healthy
  Arkansas   B. Allen   1581   143.7   Worst, Injuries were an issue, but Allen needs work
  Kentucky   J. Whitlow   1492   124.3   Bad, Likely an open race as Whitlow’s health always a ?
  Missouri   M. Mauk   1300   100.0   Good, Mauk showed he’s a solid heir to the job
  Tennessee   J. Worley   1295   161.8   Bad, An open race once between up to 4 guys
  Georgia   H. Mason   960   240.0   Good, Mason wasn’t great, but he should be ready for ’14
  Vanderbilt   P. Robinette   856   85.6   Bad, If Franklin walks out how will new coach see/use him?
  S. Carolina   D. Thompson   810   101.2   Good, But not great… he’s not been a Shaw clone to date
  Florida   J. Driskel   515   171.6   Bad, New OC and likely an open competition
  Texas A&M   M. Joeckel   293   73.2   Good, Whoever gets the nod should excel in Sumlin’s system
  Alabama   B. Sims   228   28.5   Good, The people around Bama’s QB will help a lot
  LSU   A. Jennings   199   22.1   Good, Beat Arkansas and Iowa and run game will help

 

We’re not factoring in freshmen because we’ve yet to reach signing day and who knows which commitments might flip-flop between now and then?

One thing is clear looking at this SEC quarterback chart — the league should shift back to more of a defense-first conference next season.  In 2013, a combination of young defenses, veteran quarterbacks and the proliferation of hurry-up offenses inside the league conspired to “soften” the SEC in terms of defense.  In 2012, SEC defenses allowed 42,609 in conference-only games.  That number ballooned to 46,600 yards in 2013.  On average, SEC defenses allowed about 70 yards per game more in 2013 than they did in 2012.

With newcomers expected to take over at so many schools and with defenses that should be a bit more veteran in 2014, we suspect that total-yards-allowed number to drop a bit, even with all of the hurry-up offenses currently being utilized across Dixie.  That’s because only about half of the league’s teams — Ole Miss, Auburn, Mississippi State, Missouri, Georgia, South Carolina and LSU — have a pretty firm grasp on who’ll be taking their offense’s snaps in the season ahead.

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Miles Believes LSU QB Mettenberger Should Be Ready For Bowl Practice

zach-mettenberger-crutchesLSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger should be ready to practice by the time LSU begins bowl preparations.  At least that’s the word from Tiger coach Les Miles, who refused to state just exactly what Mettenberger’s injury is.

The senior LSU signal-caller hurt his knee in the fourth quarter of last weekend’s win over Arkansas.  Mettenberger was on the sideline as backup Anthony Jennings — a freshman — led the Bayou Bengals on their game-winning 99-yard drive.

More than likely — if Miles believes Mettenberger will be ready to practice soon — the QB suffered a sprained knee.  He was on crutches and wearing an ice pack at game’s end on Saturday.  (Photo from The New Orleans Times-Picayune.)

Mettenberger led the SEC in quarterback rating this season, percentage points ahead of Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel.

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A&M Downplays The Value Of Manziel’s Heisman, But The School Sure Has A Lot Of Heisman Gear For Sale

manzieltimes+squareLast December, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel capped off his riches-to-more-riches meteoric rise by winning the Heisman Trophy.  But according to the school, having its QB win the award didn’t result in much of a cash windfall at all.  In fact, A&M claims it made only about $20,000 off Manziel’s victory.

Bull.  Sorry, we’re not buying that one.

The school says its tickets for the 2013 season were already sold out and its radio, TV and sponsorship deals were pretty much locked in, too.  Bloomberg.com reports that the school claims booster donations were tied to those seat purchases, not to Manziel winning the Heisman.  And that $20,000 includes a portion of the team’s $60,000 in royalties from jersey sales, too.

Additionally, the folks in College Station downplay the value of the media exposure provided by Johnny Football’s win.  AD Eric Hyman says the school’s conference swap was worth more than last December’s Heisman:

 

“People draw the conclusion that we make millions from Johnny winning the Heisman.  I’d say we’ve gotten more financial benefit from joining what’s widely perceived as the best football conference in the country and having a winning program.”

 

Well, no kidding.  But that’s like saying Peyton Manning’s new Papa John’s business dealings really aren’t worth much compared to his football money.  Yes, football has paid him millions upon millions, but there’s value in his Papa John’s venture as well.  It’s not nothing.

Hyman goes so far as to tell Bloomberg.com that the Heisman probably didn’t convince anyone to go to A&M.  More impactful was Kevin Sumlin’s up-tempo offense, the Aggies’ success on the field, and the opportunity to play in the SEC.

There have been rumors and reports of bad blood existing between Family Manziel and Texas A&M.  Hyman’s decision to downplay the value of Manziel’s Heisman win from every conceivable angle is so out of the ordinary as to draw attention back to the perceived rift between Manziel’s parents and the school.

And Hyman isn’t the only member of the Aggie brass saying that Manziel’s trophy was pretty much worthless.  A&M chief financial officer, Jeff Toole, had this to say about ticket sales: “If we had an 11-2 season, won the Cotton Bowl and he finished third, we’d be doing just as well because we already sold everything.”

The man behind TAMU’s campaign to raise funds for Kyle Field’s renovation, Mark Klemm, says Manziel’s trophy didn’t help that cash drive one bit: “You can’t remotely say that.  The planning for the stadium started before we joined the SEC and before Johnny Manziel became our starting quarterback.  It was just an amazing coincidence of timing.”

OK, OK.  We get it.  Manziel’s Heisman has been worth bupkes to the school.  Just a big ol’ nuthin’ that didn’t help recruiting, didn’t provide added exposure for the school, didn’t increase fan interest, and only brought in 20-thousand bucks.  Got it.

Knowing that, it seems some A&M boosters should be pretty ticked right now.  See, if there was so little value to Manziel’s Heisman win, the school shouldn’t have spent up to $500,000 on Manziel’s pre- and post-Heisman campaign.  The school shouldn’t have wasted money on a Times Square billboard.  The school shouldn’t have blown cash by placing more than 400 other billboards referencing Manziel’s win all across the country.  The school shouldn’t have bought congratulatory ads on ESPN.com, SI.com and USAToday.com.

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Carolina’s Spurrier Flip-Flops On Media Attention

steve-spurrier-looks-over-shoulderOn October 15th, Steve Spurrier was riding pretty high.  South Carolina had just whipped Arkansas on the road to the tune of 52-7.  Spurrier’s offense — led by quarterback Connor Shaw — was one of the SEC’s best.  And speaking of Shaw, the Ol’ Ball Coach made it clear that his QB didn’t care that he wasn’t getting enough attention from the national press:

 

“Having a wonderful season is a lot more important to them than how much attention they get.  Ten years from now, people aren’t going to ask Connor Shaw, ‘How much attention did you get?’  They’re going to ask him ‘What was your record?’ And he’s going to tell them what his record is.”

 

Fast forward to yesterday, October 21st, just two days after a shocking 23-21 loss at Tennessee.  It’s fair to say Spurrier’s views on the media coverage afforded his offense have changed:

 

“Maybe we had too much press.  We thought we were too good, maybe.  I don’t know.  I thought Tennessee played strong up front.  I thought their D-line played well, and their linebackers.  We did pop a few, and of course Connor had that one long run, but we didn’t have many passing yards, that’s for sure.”

 

For those who haven’t been keeping score at home, Spurrier is not a real big fan of the media.  He plays the media like harp every season at SEC Media Days, tossing out pie-in-sky ideas that get repeated over and over by those of us in the press, but that doesn’t mean he likes the fourth estate.  Check out his comment from yesterday regarding Missouri, Carolina’s opponent on Saturday:

 

“According to the media experts, ESPN and all those guys, nobody saw this team coming from where they are now.  They weren’t picked to do much that I know of by hardly anyone, but they have got an excellent team — offense, defense, special teams, the whole bit.  They haven’t been winning by any fluky means.”

 

One must wonder where an “expert” like Spurrier would have placed Mizzou in his preseason picks.

Spurrier’s voicebox has ruled the SEC for two decades.  Whether he’s joking, needling, or complaining, the media is ever-quick to disseminate whatever Spurrier says.  It’s ironic, then, that he can find ways to dig at the press regardless of whether reporters are giving his club too much press or not enough.

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SEC Odds And Television Listings – 9/16/13

tv-remotesThe Southeastern Conference has released the television listings for this Saturday and the Saturday to follow.  We’ll show you this week’s schedule first, complete with early lines from Las Vegas (or offshore books).

 

September 21st

Vanderbilt vs UM at Foxboro — 12:00pm ET on ESPNews — Line: Vanderbilt -36 (now -31.5)

North Texas at Georgia — 12:21pm ET on SEC Network — Line: Georgia -36.5 (now -32.5)

Tennessee at Florida — 3:30pm ET on CBS — Line: Florida -15.5 (now 14)

Arkansas at Rutgers — 3:30pm ET on ESPN — Line: None yet (due to QB injuries)

Colorado State at Alabama — 7:00pm ET on ESPN2 — Line: Alabama -36.5 (now 39.5)

SMU at Texas A&M — 7:00pm ET on ESPNU — Line: Texas A&M -26.5 (now -28.5)

Troy at Mississippi State — 7:30pm ET on Fox Sports Net — Line: MSU -13 (now -15)

Auburn at LSU — 7:45pm ET on ESPN — Line: LSU -14 (now -16.5)

Missouri at Indiana — 8:00pm ET on Big Ten Network — Line: Missouri -5.5 (now -6)

 

September 28th

South Carolina at UCF — 12:00pm ET on ABC/ESPN/ESPNU

South Alabama at Tennessee — 12:21pm ET on SEC Network

LSU at Georgia — 3:30pm ET on CBS

Ole Miss at Alabama — 6:30pm ET on ESPN

Texas A&M at Arkansas — 7:00pm ET on ESPN2/ESPNU

Florida at Kentucky — 7:00pm ET on ESPN2/ESPNU

UAB at Vanderbilt — 7:30pm ET on Fox Sports Net

Arkansas State at Missouri — 7:30pm ET on CSS

 

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Scandals, Scandals, Scandals… Three Takeaways (Rants) From The Latest SEC Scandal

gfx - honest opinionCome on in.  Take a seat.  This isn’t going to take long.  I just have a few things I’d like to get off my chest.

Today I spent about 15 minutes listening to some sports radio in my car.  In that time, I heard the same two points — really dumb points, I might add — made time and again across the dial.  In between growls and slaps to my forehead, a third issue came to mind, as well, and it’s equally aggravating.

So without further delay, please allow me this short rant about three things that drive me absolute batty.  Ready?  Good.

 

1.  Media members and ex-jocks must stop suggesting that paying players is The Answer (!) to cheating.

Are these people really so simpleminded?  Do they not realize that if a kid is willing to cheat for a few bucks now he’d also be willing to cheat for a few extra bucks on top of whatever a school might pay him?

Think of it this way — Let’s say colleges provide their players with a free meal.  Then boosters and agents and runners come along with the promise of a free piece of cake.  Ummm-ummm.  Tasty.

Now, let’s say that the colleges — in an effort to cut out these unscrupulous cake-dealers — decide that they will provide cake for their players.  Is it not painfully obvious that the boosters and agents and runners would immediately return with the promise of a little free icing to put on that cake?

If a man makes no money, he wants some.  If a man makes some, he wants more.  If a man makes more, he wants a lot more.  And so on.

So please, please, please stop saying that paying athletes would fix the NCAA’s cheating problem.  It wouldn’t.

And this is not coming from someone who’s against schools providing full-cost-of-tuition scholarships.  I’m fine with that idea.  But it wouldn’t deter cheating.  You know why?  ‘Cause a lot of people are just cheaters.

The providers want favors in return for their gifts.  The recipients want what they’re not supposed to have.  Presto chango… cheaters!

I hear these folks on national radio peddling this nonsense and I swear I think they should be yanked from the airwaves.  Hell, they probably shouldn’t be allowed to handle sharp objects or operate heavy machinery.  They’re daft.

 

2.  There is positively no quick fix for cheating.

Apparently this is the question of the day.  I’ve seen it asked on ESPN.  I’ve heard it asked on radio.  I, myself, was asked it on two radio shows today: “How can we clean things up?”

Short answer: We can’t.  Know why?  See Point #1: Some people are just cheaters!

In the case of the five SEC players who were allegedly paid by a runner for agents and financial advisers, some have suggested that the guys doing the paying should be thrown in jail.  Sure.  Sounds good.  I’m all for it.

Now good luck getting all 50 states to pass legislation that sends agents or runners or other boosters to jail for paying athletes.

Not.  Gonna.  Happen.

Now, the NCAA could get tough with coaches if it wanted to — “If you get caught cheating, it’s the career death penalty for you.” — but college presidents aren’t going to back themselves into that type of corner.  After all, their coach could be the next guy caught cheating.  But even if they did decide to take a draconian approach with coaches, there would still be boosters and agents and runners to deal with and the NCAA can’t go tossing people in actual jail which brings us back to — deep breath — attempting to get all 50 states to pass strong legislation that outlaws providing extra benefits to athletes.

But for the sake of argument, let’s say all 50 states did pass legislation saying that any booster, agent, or runner paying a college athlete illegally will go to jail.  And let’s say those folks couldn’t even hand a player a penny.  Nothing.  No cash whatsoever.  How long before the boosters, and agents and runners start providing meals?  Or shoes?  Or rides to and from campus?  Or rides across campus in a golf cart?  Or a night with the pretty little hostess in the school-color skirt?

You see?  Even if the NCAA got tough with the coaches and the states got tough with the folks giving money to players, there would still be people looking for loopholes and workarounds.

“How do we fix this?”  We don’t.  Not completely.  It’s always gone on.  And it goes on everywhere.  We’re just more aware of it today because there are more means of transmitting information than ever before.  So instead of having some dirt under the rug, everybody’s rugs are being lifted up and all the dirt beneath them exposed.  The problem’s not getting worse.  We’re just being exposed to the problem more often.

And there’s no way to completely fix the problem.

 

3.  Fans must not place blind faith in any coach or player, even their own.

Fan.  It’s short for fanatic (as you’ve no doubt heard a million times).  Fanatics are so crazed for their own institution’s athletic teams that their coaches and players are lionized to the point of being viewed as infallible gods.

Heaven help the media member who tries to point out that Tommy All-American is kind of — when you think about it — a jerk.  Fans back their guys.  Blindly.

If Steve Spurrier wants a columnist off his Gamecocks’ beat — and that columnist happens to work for a spineless weasel — the columnist will be taken off that beat, replaced with a fan — not a journalist, a fan — and some in the fanbase will gushingly approve.

That’s really happened at South Carolina.  But what it should tell USC fans is that Spurrier believes they’re stupid.  At least too stupid to read a man’s column and decide for themselves whether it’s a hatchet job or not.  And those few who cheer the reporter’s banishment — don’t you dare try to say I’m calling all Carolina fans stupid — are basically saying: “Yes, we are too stupid to read an opposing view.  No opposing views!  Ever!  We can’t handle them.”

Coaches aren’t the only one who get the bubble-wrap treatment from some fans.  Criticize the behavior of a certain star quarterback and a chunk of his team’s supporters will rise up in anger.  And, no, I’m not talking about Johnny Manziel (though Texas A&M fans had better pay close attention to this rant).

I’m talking about former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray.  When we chided him during his freshman year for his over the top on-field celebrations and taunts (including a throat slash gesture against North Carolina), several Vol fans filled our email box in defense of their supa-dupa gunslinger.  And when we dared to point out that tossing beer bottles at parked cars and hotdogging on jet skis might just maybe/kinda suggest deeper behavioral issues, we got smoked by some angry Vol fans in our comment boxes.  (Check ‘em out.  All you LSU fans who say I pick on LSU, you’ll see Tennessee fans claiming I never pick on LSU.  And all you Texas A&M fans who say I only talk about Manziel’s taunts, take notice, too.  Seems we’re a lot more consistent than some folks want to believe.)

Well now it turns out that ol’ Bray was indeed the bad news we made him out to be.  People, if it walks like a punk and it talks like a punk… it’s a punk.  Even if it wears your favorite team’s colors.

Ironically, those same fans who so loudly and angrily defended their quarterback are the ones who were ultimately punked by the QB himself.

The quarterback who once said, “I’m paid to win football games,” — remember that one? — is likely going to bring the NCAA posse back to Knoxville even though he’s long gone to Kansas City (as an undrafted free agent, we might point out).  Bray’s in the clear while the folks who called media members meanies for picking on “little stuff” are left to wonder what’s next for their tortured program.

The lesson?  Pull for your players and coaches.  Root for them.  But don’t put blind faith in them.  And don’t start hollering about media conspiracies the next time someone with an objective view states that your coach or your player might not be the A-1 peach you make him out to be.

 

One, two, three.  Just some raw feelings on a Thursday afternoon in the early part of scandal season.  Did I say “scandal season?”  I’m sorry, I meant football season.

Now I feel better.

 

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WOW Headlines – 8/15/13

Kentucky OC Neal Brown says the coaching staff might not tell the media if a starting QB is decided upon
Texas A&M is implementing new rules with regards to the types of autographs its players can sign
Georgia tells its players to personalize autographs so that they will have less value if they are sold
Missouri CB EJ Gaines remains out of practice due to a strained patella tendon
Auburn could name a starting QB after a scrimmage on Saturday
South Carolina WR Bruce Ellington remains sidelined with a hamstring injury
Tennessee unveiled a new dark grey alternate football uniform on Thursday
Follow the SEC each day at MrSEC.com

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Manziel Talks Manning Camp, Twitter, Scrutiny And The Upcoming Season

gfx - they said itTexas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel — obviously the sensation of this year’s SEC Media Days — just sat down with a large media group.  Here’s how it went down:

 

*  The scrutiny of him has been “blown a little bit out of proportion.”  Manziel said he’s still trying to live his life and “hopefully that won’t upset too many people.”

*  How do you think defenses will challenge you this year?  “Maybe bring some more blitzes.  I haven’t really thought that much about it.”  (That might concern an Aggie fan or two.)

*  Manziel said he and his teammates earned the right to have some fun this offseason.

*  “I never realized the magnitude of (the scrutiny)… You don’t really understand until you go through it and deal with it.”  Manziel said no one knew what was coming in terms of media scrutiny, not him, not Kevin Sumlin and not the A&M athletic department.

*  He reiterated that he was simply tired at the Manning Passing Academy and that his departure had nothing to do with what happened the night before.

*  He said again that he was not asked to leave the camp.  Manziel called it a “mutual decision.”

*  Kevin Sumlin made it clear less than an hour ago that his “discussion” with Manziel resulted in the QB dropping off the social media site.  Manziel was asked about why he hasn’t tweeted in a month and he sure didn’t mention any discussion with his head coach: “I guess I haven’t said anything lately because I really haven’t had anything interesting to say.”

*  Asked how he needs to change, Manziel said that “he’s continuing to learn.”

*  “Football is football,” and Manziel said his offseason activities won’t impact his play on the field this year.

 

Once again, Texas A&M’s quarterback seemed relaxed and self-assured while staring down a host of media members.  “I love talking to y’all.  There’s nothing wrong with this.  It’s just another day.”

The difference between the Manziel who sits down with the media and the Manziel who is his own worst enemy when it comes to offseason antics is enormous.  Manziel, today, has come across as he did all last season and at the Heisman Trophy presentation — as a young man fans can enjoy rooting for.

But who is the real Manziel?  The guy who handed multiple fake IDs to cops and tweeted that he “can’t wait to leave College Station” or the guy who’s focused on football and realizes that to some extent he’s brought a lot of this scrutiny on himself?

If it’s the latter, A&M might have another fantastic season.  If it’s the former, no one should be surprised if Manziel some how, some way creates an off-field distraction for himself and his team in the next few months.

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Source: Manziel – Suspended Before The 2012 Season – Nearly Transferred From A&M

johnny-manziel-holds-ball-smilesHere’s one for you fans of alternate history novels.  If Johnny Manziel hadn’t been quarterbacking Texas A&M last year, would the Aggies have had any chance of going 11-2?  Would A&M be recruiting quite so well right now?  Would Aggie fans have been as happy with their SEC move had their team suffered through a .500-ish season (as most had predicted last summer)?  Would the Aggies have upset Alabama in Tuscaloosa?  Would the Heisman Trophy ever go to a freshman?  Heck, who would have been sitting courtside at all those NBA games and throwing out all those first pitches at baseball games this offseason?

And so on.

Well, according to a source speaking with SportsDay, a website run by The Dallas Morning News, that alternate reality almost became plain ol’ reality last offseason.  Over the summer of 2012, Manziel was arrested in College Station’s bar district.  He was initially suspended by TAMU and “would have felt it was necessary to transfer” had the suspension not been overturned on appeal.  The athletic department had nothing to do with the suspension or its reversal.  According to the paper, it was the dean of student life who ruled in the quarterback’s favor.

The arrest has been public knowledge.  The supension/transfer/reversal is the new information.  Head coach Kevin Sumlin has said that he wound up imposing his own discipline on the QB for the arrest.

Manziel was arrested for misdemeanors of fighting, failure to identify and possession of fake IDs last June 29th.

Fans being fans, we’re certain many an Aggie-backer will convince himself that A&M would have been just fine without Manziel.  But the reality is — if the source is correct — Texas A&M was thisclose to entering the 2012 season without the player who wound up taking the college football world by storm.  And it’s unlikely the Aggies’ entry into the SEC would have gone near as smoothly without him.

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