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Billick: Mallett Must Mature Mentally

Former Super Bowl-winning coach Brian Billick is examining the quarterbacks in this year’s draft for Baltimore radio station WNST-AM.  Former Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett received his latest once-over.

Billick writes that Mallett “has all the tools to be successful at the next level.”  And then comes the but:

Mallett will need to mature most on the mental side of the game.  For a professional athlete, especially a franchise quarterback, this mental maturation process is both off the field and on the field.  Off the field, his character has been dissected and his unwillingness to answer drug-related questions at the NFL Combine only fueled the fire.  To me, this is awfully reminiscent of Ryan leaf as he struggled to find his way in the NFL.

No player wants to draw comparisons to Leaf.  Unfortunately for Mallett, Billick’s not the first person to draw that parallel.  The ex-Ravens coach also believes Mallett has some mental work to do on the field when it comes to hot reads, audibles, and coverage reads.

In order to do all these things, he will need to spend hours in film study and commit himself to nothing other than football season after season.  I am not sure he is mentally prepared for that right now.

This is all just one man’s opinion, of course.  But there are a lot of other “one man’s” out there right now who happen to view Mallett as Billick does.

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SEC Headlines – 4/19/11 Part One

1.  Nick Saban has had to use two quarterbacks in a season before… and he may do it again — by choice — this fall.

2.  Journalists and bloggers got to work first-hand with game officials at Alabama’s spring game.  A very interesting read.  In fact, a must read for all the ref-bashers out there.

3.  Auburn’s quarterback race is too close to call.

4.  Tiger offensive lineman Aubrey Phillips has something to prove on The Plains.

5.  A few final practice notes from AU’s spring drills can be found here.

6.  Here’s more on Ryan Mallett’s draft status.

7.  Former LSU Tiger Patrick Peterson wants to be the first cornerback taken with the #1 overall pick in the draft.

UPDATE — 8.  For all the NCAA investigations into Auburn, this writer thinks Mississippi State might have more to worry about than the Tigers.

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SEC Headlines – 4/15/11 Part Three

1.  Arkansas’ Ronnie Wingo is trying to earn more carries by becoming a more physical running back.

2.  Some national writers are now coming to the defense of Ryan Mallett. 

3.  This writer thinks LSU might want to hire a translator to help cut through Les Miles’ coachspeak.

4.  There’s no quarterback debate in Starkville as Chris Relf looked good all spring long.

5.  Mississippi State’s opener with Memphis has been set for Thursday, September 1st.

6.  Ticket demand “is huge” when it comes to whether or not State will expand Davis Wade Stadium.

7.  Injured linebacker DT Shackelford tearily accepted this year’s Chucky Mullins Courage Award at Ole Miss last night.

8.  Charles Sawyer is growing up at corner for the Rebels.

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SEC Headlines – 3/30/11 Part One

1.  Auburn will have “extremely young people” on both sides of the ball this fall.

2.  The Tigers’ Anthony Morgan feels at “home” back at running back.

3.  The media seems to be more interested in Anthony Grant’s opinions about his old team — VCU — than his current team.

4.  The future looks bright for next year’s Bama hoops team.

5.  New Nick Saban assistant Chris Rumph is bringing energy to the Tide practice field.

6.  Former Tide star Julio Jones will be attending the NFL draft (and bucking the wishes of the NFL Players Association).  Good for him.

7.  You know all those rumors about Ryan Mallett’s off-field issues?  Well this reporter did a lot of digging into the former Arkansas QB’s past and found that “Ninety-nine percent of it seems positive to me.”

8.  Through four practices, the guys trying to replace Mallett in Fayetteville have done “OK.”

9.  Offensive tackle and early enrollee Brey Cook is settling in at Arkansas.

10.  Here’s more — we mentioned this yesterday — on Mike Anderson’s plans to recruit in Memphis.

11.  LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne continues to fly under the radar.

12.  Defensive tackle Anthony Johnson is drawing notice due to his motor.

13.  Dan Mullen says Mississippi State’s lack of depth at defensive end “really scary right now.”

14.  Injuries and angry coaches became the theme for yesterday’s practice session.

15.  State’s coaches are also busy shuffling linebackers. 

16.  Longtime MSU color analyst Jim Ellis will take over play-by-play duties now that Jack Cristil has retired.

17.  The Ole Miss quarterback derby is still “really tight.”

18.  David Lee’s new offensive system has “leveled everyone out,” according to UM quarterback-hopeful Nathan Stanley.

19.  The #38 jersey of the late Chucky Mullins will return to action in Oxford this fall.

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No Questions About Mallett’s Arm After Pro Day, Just His Legs

Unlike Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett wowed scouts with this passing ability at the NFL combine in February.  So it was no surprise that his arm once again drew praise at Arkansas’ Pro Day yesterday.

Bucky Brooks of the NFL Network said Mallett was “absolutely sensational” during his workouts.  How good was his showing?  Brooks claims some scouts and coaches were comparing Mallett to Dan Fouts and Dan Marino.

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock says Mallett is the most pro-ready QB in the draft. 

But here’s the bad news for the former Hog: A 40-yard dash time of 5.37 seconds.  In case you’re wondering, that’s “lineman-slow.” sums things up as follows for Mallett:

There are character questions about Mallett, and his plodding 40-yard dash time may have some teams wondering whether his lack of athleticism could hold him back in the NFL.  But there’s no question that his arm is incredible.

Our view:

Slow-as-Christmas guys like Fouts, Marino and Drew Bledsoe won an awful lot of games and threw for a boat-load of yards during their NFL careers.  But the game has changed quite a bit in the past decade.  Pass rushers are faster than ever and it’s tough to be a statue in the pocket in today’s NFL.

Now, does that mean we wouldn’t grab Mallett if we were running a team?  Based on his on-field talents, no.  We’d snap him up.  But we’d try to build an offensive line around him like Peyton Manning’s got in Indy.  Manning’s no speed merchant, either, but with a great line in front of him and a quick release, he’s rarely even touched.

For the lead-footed Mallett, going later in the draft might actually be best for him in the long run.  The farther he falls in the first round, the better the team — and the O-line — he’ll get to play with early in his career.

If he goes early, he’ll likely go to a bad team where his internal clock could get screwed up as he takes weekly beatings (a la David Carr).  And if he does have leadership issues, those could be exposed if he goes to a Bengals-like, hopeless franchise.

In Mallett’s case, he should be hoping for less money up front… in exchange for a better team to play for long-term.

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Petrino Defends Mallett From Accusations

Over the past two months, Ryan Mallett has been accused of being a poor team leader and — worse — a marijuana and cocaine user.  None of that’s good for a person’s draft stock.

But Bobby Petrino took up for his ex-QB at a fan banquet in the Manila, Arkansas last night.

“Ryan did a tremendous job for the University of Arkansas, was a tremendous leader, was a very, very dedicated student-athlete.  It’s unfortunate that at this time of year those young men are scrutinized by the NFL teams.  You have to understand it in one aspect because they are going to invest millions of dollars in them.  But, in the other aspect, you hate to see the rumors and things that go around there that are absolutely untrue.”

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SEC Headlines – 2/28/11 Part One

1.  Yet another writer believes Atlanta is the perfect spot for the SEC Championship Game.

2.  Ryan Mallett’s arm made an impression at the NFL combine.

3.  People in Louisiana are ready to start talking LSU spring football.

4.  Wondering what makes Tad Smith Coliseum so bad?  Let this writer give you a breakdown.

5.  Mississippi State controls its own destiny in the SEC West.

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SEC Headlines – 2/23/11 Part One

1.  Alabama’s basketball team can clinch the West title outright by beating Auburn tonight.

2.  The Bama-Auburn rivalry isn’t as big in basketball as it is in football.

3.  A lot of UA and AU talent will be on display at the NFL combine this week.”

4.  Auburn walk-on Josh Wallace is winning over Tony Barbee with his attitude.

5.  Harvey Updyke is seeking safety.  (From other nuts who might want to attack the original tree-killing nut.  Nuts.)

6.  Arkansas will look to break a 10-game losing streak to Kentucky tonight.

7.  Former Hog coach Nolan Richardson says he’ll be pulling for John Pelphrey and crew tonight.

8.  Ryan Mallett’s agent says he’ll be ready to answer difficult questions at the NFL combine.

9.  Does LSU’s basketball team have anything left to play for?

10.  The Tigers will try to break their 10-game losing streak tonight at The Hump in Starkville.

11.  Trent Johnson looks forward to having 6-11, 260-pound Iowa State transfer Justin Hamilton next year.

12.  MSU’s Ravern Johnson has responded well to the attitude adjustment he received from Rick Stansbury.

13.  State has Renardo Sidney taking part in mock interviews in preparation for meeting with the actual press. 

14.  Chris Warren high eight 3-pointers and scored a career-high 33 points… only to see Ole Miss lose 79-73 at South Carolina last night.

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SEC Headlines – 2/22/11 Part Two

1.  This writer believes Alabama has the easier remaining schedule and is likely to win the SEC regular season title over Florida.

2.  Another court-appointed defense attorney wants off the Harvey Updyke/Toomer’s Corner case.

3.  Cam Newton plans to fully participate at the NFL combine.

4.  Mississippi State’s Rick Stansbury says the new Auburn Arena is a more hostile environment for road teams.

5.  Juco offensive tackle Jason Peacock has enrolled at Arkansas.

6.  Ryan Mallett, reportedly, will not go through all of the workouts at the NFL combine.  (But he’d better be ready to answer some tough questions about rumored drug us.)

7.  Sophomore walk-on Daron Populist might earn himself some more playing time.

8.  Ole Miss will face a “quick turn” when it travels to South Carolina tonight.

9.  Andy Kennedy is tired of his team’s up-and-down play.

10.  New UM offensive coordinator David Lee believes Houston Nutt will be able to better manage games without calling plays.

11.  Former Florida then Ole Miss signee Jamar Hornsby is beginning a 90-day jail sentence today.

12.  This writer says that if MSU ever finds consistency, you better watch out.  (Don’t Stansbury-coached teams always peak around SEC Tournament time?)

13.  State’s players certainly believe they can make a run.

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SEC Headlines – 2/18/11 Part One

1.  Harvey Updyke’s actions go far beyond an athletic rivalry.

2.  Here’s how “Al from Dadeville” went and got himself caught.

3.  Updyke’s court-appointed attorney asked off the case yesterday due to a conflict of interest — he’s an Auburn man himself.

4.  Could Auburn fans just move down the street for their post-game toilet paper parties?

5.  Alabama has a massive four-game lead in the SEC West.

6.  This writer dares to claim that last night’s UA-LSU game was well officiated.  What?

7.  Ryan Mallett’s draft stock is still pretty shaky.

8.  LSU’s players gave a good effort last night, but it wasn’t enough.

9.  Trent Johnson said: “It seemed like (Alabama) capitalized off each turnover.  They are a very good basketball team.  They know exactly where they want to go with the ball.”

10.  When Zach Graham is hot, so is Ole Miss’ basketball team.

11.  Andy Kennedy will try to halt a four-game losing streak to Mississippi State tomorrow.

12.  New MSU defensive coordinator Geoff Collins likes what he’s seen so far of his defense.

13.  Freshman guard Jalen Steele is fighting to stay in State’s starting lineup.  (Well, not Renardo Sidney-Elgin Bailey fighting, but…)

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