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SEC Headlines – 6/20/11 Part Two

1.  Another list — Charlie Weis, Steve Kragthorpe and David Lee as the SEC’s “most intriguing offensive coordinators” in 2011.

2.  Derek Dooley showed heart and humor while visiting a tornado-hit area of East Tennessee.

3.  One of four Auburn players arrested on charges of armed robbery had his “youthful offender status” request denied.

4.  Gene Chizik’s plan of surrounding himself with ace recruiters has paid off big for all involved.

5.  A decision on Rotnei Clarke’s very public request for a scholarship release from Arkansas could come today.

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Miles Expects Jefferson’s Best In 2011

Les Miles continues to be the chairperson of the Jordan Jefferson Fan Club down in Louisiana (to the chagrin of many Tiger fans, no doubt).  Speaking in Shreveport yesterday, LSU’s coach said that he expects his quarterback to have his “best year” in 2011:

“The one thing he is, is tough.  He’s competitive and he’s really developing into a really good leader.  If you look at him in the games he’s called upon to make plays; he’s made them.  He’s improved.  (New offensive coordinator) Steve Kragthorpe has certainly helped him.  I think this is going to be his best year.

… Jefferson is providing great leadership, he’s had a really good spring and I suspect he’ll have a great summer.  If he does that, we may have a very, very good quarterback.”

Listen carefully and you can hear the scoffing from Rodessa and Shongaloo all the way to Houma and Grand Isle.  After all, Tiger fans were disappointed by Jefferson’s performance in LSU’s spring game… a performance that looked very much like some of Jefferson’s lackluster efforts in 2010.

However — and this is a big however — it should be noted that for all the guff Jefferson has taken this offseason, the Tigers posted an 11-2 record last year in the toughest conference in the country with #9 taking the vast majority of the snaps.  While fans are looking for style points, Miles clearly is more impressed with his quarterback’s won-lost record.

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SEC Headlines – 3/25/11 Part One

1.  Alabama fans, here’s a thumbnail preview of the NIT’s Final Four.

2.  Bama’s Courtney Upshaw wants to become a pass rushing monster.

3.  The Tide are putting more emphasis on sacks this spring.

4.  Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley are battling for Cam Newton’s old job.

5.  Neiko Thorpe’s move to safety is yet another new look for Auburn.

6.  AU has created a collection of all the objects and messages left under the Toomer’s Corner oaks post-poisoning.

7.  Graduations, early departures, arrests, allegations, even tree poisonings.  If you thought Auburn’s offseason couldn’t get any worse, now nine athletics department employees are alleging racial discrimination.

8.  This writer says Mike Anderson is a slam dunk hire for Arkansas.

9.  Anderson has already met with two of the Hogs’ highly-regarding signing class.

10.  LSU receiver Reuben Randle says he can already tell that new offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe “is pretty much a passing guy.”

11.  Cornerback Tyrann Mathieu is looking forward to an expanded role this fall.

12.  Andy Kennedy says there’ll be a lot of changes on Ole Miss’ roster next year.

13.  Looks like Murphy Holloway wants to transfer from South Carolina back to Ole Miss.  What the what?

14.  Who’s going to be upfront on the Rebels’ defense this fall?

15.  Houston Nutt expects to have a four-man competition to find an efficient quarterback.

16.  Mike Slive wanted SEC schools to beef up their nonconference schedules and most have.  Mississippi State has not.

17.  State was “really sloppy” as they re-started spring drills yesterday.

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SEC Headlines – 3/8/11 Part One

1.  NFL scouts will be watching Cam Newton’s passing accuracy today during Auburn’s Pro Day.

2.  And a lot of scouts and media members will be on The Plains this afternoon.

3.  Here’s a look at Alabama’s competition on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

4.  Arkansas’ spring game will be televised by ESPN.

5.  It’s Pro Day in Fayetteville today.

6.  John Pelphrey says Tennessee — who the Hogs beat in January — will be a tougher matchup in the SEC tourney because Bruce Pearl will be on the sidelines.

7.  As LSU gets ready to face Vandy in Atlanta, Trent Johnson says his team’s problems all come back to youth.

8.  New offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe discussed his offense with a Baton Rouge radio station yesterday.

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SEC Headlines – 2/25/11 Part Three

1.  Alabama’s Charvez Davis has upped his defensive effort and become a complete player in the process.

2.  Nick Saban knows how to produce pro talent.

3.  The search continues for Auburn’s next defensive line coach.

4.  John Pelphrey enjoyed his team’s win over Kentucky… now he wants them to keep on winning.

5.  This writer says the Hogs’ win was much deserved.

6.  LSU is okaying raises and handing out salaries this week.  New offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe will make $700,000… $200,000 more than what Gary Crowton would have made in 2011.

7.  The Tiger basketball team felt a big relief in snapping a 10-game losing streak this week.

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SEC Headlines 2/13/2011

SEC Basketball

1. Vanderbilt 81 – Kentucky 77.  Career-best 32 points for John Jenkins.

2. Third-most points a Vandy player has ever scored against Kentucky.

3. John Clay: “It’s more about execution than it is elocution.”

4. Florida 61 – Tennessee 60. Gators sweep the Vols for the first time since the 2001-2002 season.

5. Disappointing loss, frustrating ending for the Vols.

6. Gene Frenette: “The 17th-ranked Gators had no business pulling out a 61-60 win Saturday night over Tennessee at the O’Connell Center.”

7. Auburn 65 – Mississippi State 62.  Bulldogs blow a 19-point lead.

8. Evan Woodbery: “The four most magical minutes in Auburn Arena’s young history.”

9. Georgia 60 – South Carolina 56.  Bulldogs nearly blow a 23-point second-half lead.

10. Despite the victory, reasons for concern in the Bulldogs camp.

11. One of the worst halves in school history for the Gamecocks.

12. Alabama 74 – Ole Miss 64.  Tide withstand a furious Rebels rally.

13. Kevin Scarbinsky: “There are reasons this Alabama team hasn’t lost in this house. There were 15,383 of them Saturday.”

14. Trevor Relaford: “We’re a defensive team, the best defensive team in the SEC right now.”

15. Arkansas 80 – LSU 61.  “Arkansas was just a lot better,” said LSU coach Trent Johnson.

16. Are the Razorbacks an overachieving team?

SEC Football

17. Houston Nutt says he’s not running anyone off the Ole Miss football team.  More here.

18. Signing the Number 1 recruit in the country is no guarantee of a national championship.

19. A pre-spring practice Top 25. What are the biggest surprises?

20. Phil Steele’s Pre-Season Top 10.

21. Breaking down Alabama’s 2011 schedule.

22. Nick Saban is expecting a hungry and mature team this fall.

23. Former Clemson assistant Billy Napier is reportedly joining the Alabama football support staff.

24. With his wife’s improved health, Steve Kragthorpe can enjoy football again.


25. Rupp Arena – tough to renovate or replace when it’s already the Gold Standard.

26. The 25 coolest athletes in Kentucky history.

27. Norris Cole is a 6’1″ guard for Cleveland State.  He had 41 points and 20 rebounds Saturday.

28. NCAA President Mark Emmert: “The cases we saw this fall were highly controversial and highly debatable.”

29. A sad anniversary for NASCAR – ten years since the death of Dale Earnhardt.

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LSU’s Wilson Named Rivals’ Recruiter Of The Year

Frank Wilson has only been on the LSU coaching staff for a year… but he’s already made a pretty big impact.  The Tigers’ receivers coach and recruiting coordinator has been named’s national recruiter of the year.

Wilson has been a Southern star on the recruiting circuit for the last half-decade — first at Ole Miss (under Ed Orgeron), then at Southern Miss, then at Tennessee (under Lane Kiffin) and now back in his home state of Louisiana.

“Top to bottom this has been the best group of high school kids in the region I’ve seen since I’ve been around,” Wilson said of this year’s Top 10 Tiger class.  “The credit goes to all of our staff for the hard work we put in and of course to head coach Les Miles.  It’s an honor to be singled out and win an award that some great coaches have won before me, but this was a team effort.”

Considering the success Miles has had with ex-Tennessee coaches (including John Chavis as defensive coordinator), maybe The Hat really should have gone after Vol offensive coordinator Jim Chaney instead of Steve Kragthorpe.

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SEC Headlines – 2/1/11 Part Two

1.  Former Alabama basketballer Justin Knox — whose actually having some success at North Carolina — won’t comment on why he transferred.

2.  Auburn coach Tony Barbee joked at a Tip-Off Club: “If I had known I was going to lose my two best returning players to injuries and my two top recruits weren’t gonna qualify academically, I still might be at UTEP.”

3.  SEC coaches are talking up Auburn… despite the Tigers’ 1-6 SEC record.

4.  Arkansas’ Rotnei Clarke followed his coaches’ advice and was rewarded with SEC Player of the Week honors.

5.  The Hogs’ win over Vandy on Saturday was nice… but now they need to do it again.

6.  Steve Kragthorpe is ready for football — as is his wife after having MS-related heart surgery last year.

7.  LSU’s new offensive coordinator jumped at the chance to work with Les Miles.

8.  When it comes to using multiple formations — as Gary Crowton did — Kragthorpe says, “We don’t want to be a jack of all trades and a master of none.”

9.  Ole Miss will need for others to step up alongside Chris Warren if they’re to upset Kentucky tonight.

10.  UM’s defense also needs to take a big step forward.

11.  Andy Kennedy says his players “are not playing the way I think they are capable.”

12.  Mississippi State needs more production from its bench.

13.  State’s players believe Alabama will see a better opponent on Wednesday when the two school meet for the second time this year.  (Bama won in Starkville 75-57.)

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Kragthorpe’s Top Duty – Fix LSU’s QB Situation

New LSU offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe met the media in Baton Rouge for the first time yesterday and the talk turned quickly to coaching quarterbacks.

“Coaching quarterbacks is about two things: You play with your feet and you play with your head,” Kragthorpe said.  “You’ve got to be able to make quick decisions with your head, put the ball where it’s supposed to be put, get the ball in the playmakers’ hands.  And the other thing is you’ve got to be able to make and manufacture some offense.”

In spring practice, returning seniors Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee will be joined by juco transfer (and former Georgia Bulldog) Zach Mettenberger in the QB race.  Tiger fans are excited about the arrival of Mettenberger, but Kragthorpe had good things to say about last year’s starter, Jefferson.

“He’s got a lot of ability.  The first thing I looked at was his ability to keep plays alive and make plays with his feet.  There were huge plays that were critical with the game in the balance.  He got first downs that kept drives alive.  That’s one of the things we talk about with the quarterbacks — keep the drive alive, get another set of downs.  Put yourself in position to keep the drive going.”

Kragthorpe said the competition for the starting job would be wide open, but it sounds like Jefferson’s feet and legs might give him the early edge over Mettenberger’s arm.  That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll hold that edge, mind you.

“I tell people all the time, ‘If you want seniority, join the Army.  If you want to play with the best players, go to LSU.’”

You can click here for a more detailed Q&A breakdown.

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SEC Headlines – 1/20/11 Part Two

1.  Auburn fans can buy up a piece of the sod from last week’s BCS Championship Game.

2.  Add the Manning Award to Cam Newton’s long list of honors.

3.  Newton hopes he’s remembered at Auburn for being “very resilient.”

4.  Auburn will be looking for its first SEC win of the season when it hosts Florida tonight.

5.  You can view the plans for Arkansas’ new Football Operations Center right here.

6.  With last night’s overtime loss to South Carolina, the basketball Hogs fell to just 1-4 away from Bud Walton Arena.

7.  Steve Kragthorpe’s hiring at LSU may signal a return to a more pro style offense with less option.

8.  Andy Kennedy says his team can’t let last night’s loss to Vanderbilt turn into a hangover.  (At 0-4 in the SEC, the Rebels are already hungover.)

9.  The Rebels aren’t playing a whole lotta defense.

10.  Billy Brewer sounds excited that his son is heading to Oxford as Houston Nutt’s associate head coach.

11.  Nutt won’t comment on the possibility of making another staff move.

12.  Rick Stansbury says one win “is a streak for us,” and therefore he wants to keep his two-game win streak going at Georgia on Saturday.

13.  Here’s a look at the master plans for stadium and facility upgrades in Starkville.

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