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Top CB Jackson Showboats His Way To Southern Cal

PLAYER UPDATEAdoree Jackson — the top cornerback in the nation and the top player in the state of California — will be playing his college ball for Steve Sarkisian and Southern Cal.

Good riddance.

I realize that these are just kids, but the showboating some do on signing day shows — at least in this writer’s eyes — displays a me-first attitude that already takes up way too much space in today’s game.  Jackson pulled different objects out of a box and said with each pull, “Nope, that’s not where I’m going,” and “No, that’s not it.”  A Gatorade bottle represented Florida, for example.  The Gators and LSU were among the finalists for his services.

Finally he lifted a Southern Cal hat and broke into a smile.  Ha, ha.  Oh, so funny.

If Jackson let all the coaches who’d recruited him know ahead of his announcement that he was USC-bound, fine.  But here’s guessing he didn’t.  As a result, grown men who’d chased him as a prospect were left to hang on his every word and twist in the wind while he toyed with them (and the fans of all those other schools).

Who knows if Jackson is really a good kid or a showboat, but his performance today leads me to think… showboat.

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Turnover On Georgia’s Defensive Staff Could Continue With Two More Exits

revolving-door-cartoonIntroducing new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt yesterday, Mark Richt said he hoped to hang onto to his two remaining defensive assistants.  But reports say inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti and defensive line coach Chris Wilson are both on their way out the door.

Olivadotti will return to the Washington Redskins of the NFL after spending the last three years in Athens.  Wilson joined the Bulldogs’ staff last season from Mississippi State.  Now he’s heading to Southern California and Steve Sarkisian’s new staff.

Georgia already had an opening due to Scott Lakatos’ resignation last week.  The secondary coach said he was departing for personal reasons.  Toss in D-coordinator Todd Grantham’s decision to leave UGA for Louisville and it’s looking like a total housecleaning on the defensive side of Richt’s staff.  That or everyone just decided on their own to leave at the same time.  We suspect there was some motivation behind the scenes for all those folks to start walking.

Richt immediately replaced Grantham with Pruitt, defensive coordinator at Florida State last season.  Not only was he part of the Seminoles’ national championship squad, but he also served as secondary coach at Alabama during their 2011 and 2012 national title runs.  That’s three rings in a row for the Dawgs’ new defensive general.

Pruitt will be running a defense similar to Grantham’s 3-4 and now he (and Richt) will be able to select three men to help him coach it.

Don’t expect much weeping and wailing in the Peach State over all the turnover.  Georgia’s defense — young and inexperienced last season — finished 10th in the SEC in scoring defense, ninth in pass defense, and eighth in total defense.  The Dawgs did manage to finish sixth in rush defense.

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SEC Headlines 12/22/2013

headlines-sun-150x150SEC Football

1. Potential new Florida offensive coordinator candidate scratched from the list.  New Southern Cal head coach Steve Sarkisian will reportedly retain interim coach Clay Helton – a Gainesville native.

2. Will Alabama coach Nick Saban address D.J. Pettway’s return in his final press conference before the holiday break?

3. Jeremy Pruitt is now Florida State’s defensive coordinator but he had a big impact during his time at Alabama. ”Jeremy was Kirby and coach Saban’s eyes in the sky.”

4. Auburn flashback to season opener against Washington State.  “If they could find a quarterback, they’d be a top-five team in the nation.”

5. Was South Carolina’s Kelcy Quarles the best defensive tackle in the SEC this season?

6. South Carolina wide receiver Damiere Byrd will miss the bowl game with a knee injury.

7. Georgia coach Mark Richt on the Bulldogs secondary: “There’s some work obviously that’s got to be done.”

8. Why Georgia’s tailback depth could be even deeper than Alabama’s next season.

9. Was Missouri’s Michael Sam the biggest surprise of the league this year?

10. LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger may be out with a season-ending knee injury but, “I’m still part of this team; I’m still a leader.”

SEC Basketball

11. Mississippi State in Las Vegas to take on South Florida tonight.

12. Ole Miss hosts Mercer with Marshall Henderson on a hot streak - 41 points in his last two games.

13. Missouri’s Jordan Clarkson had 25 points in a losing effort last night -  ”as he continues to play like a guy on the fast track to the NBA.”

14. Kentucky coach John Calipari’s son tore his ACL in a high school game Friday night.


15. Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones gets some love from the Lexington Herald-Leader.

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Franklin, Pinkel, Nussmeier… SEC Coaches Keep Getting Tied To Open Washington Job

washington-logoFor the moment, Doug Nussmeier remains Alabama’s offensive coordinator.  But multiple reports are suggesting that Nussmeier is a front-runner for the Washington coaching job, along with Boise State darling Chris Petersen.  If those are the Huskies’ top two candidates, Bama fans can probably say goodbye to Nussmeier.  Petersen flirts but never accepts any school’s offer.  And Nussmeier has reportedly expressed interest in the job.

Nussmeier served as Steve Sarkisian’s offensive coordinator from 2009 through 2011 when Nick Saban came calling.  He replaced Jim McElwain who left Bama to become the head coach at Colorado State.  Nussmeier currently makes $680,000 in Tuscaloosa.

But Alabama’s OC is not the only SEC coach who’s had his name attached to the Washington gig.  Missouri’s Gary Pinkel was mentioned as a potential candidate on Monday.  When asked if he would be interested in the job once held by Don James — Pinkel’s coaching mentor — the feisty coach simply shut things down with a “press conference is over” and left the podium.

Today, however, he told ESPN radio that he would remain at Mizzou.  (Funny to think that Pinkel entered the season on the hot seat with many Tiger fans “tired” of him.)

James Franklin’s name briefly bubbled to the surface but that story has failed to gain traction to date.  Southern Cal didn’t make a run at Franklin though most expected them to.  If Washington doesn’t come knocking on his door, either, it might show that the Vanderbilt rape case is making potential suitors leery of the man who turned Vandy football around.  Attorneys defending one of the accused ex-Commodore players recently requested copies of all the text messages sent between the players and coaches during the period of the cover-up.

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Weep, College Fans… Gruden Wants To Coach In The Pros

JON-gruden-helmet-your-logoNewsflash: Jon Gruden isn’t coming to your school any time soon if Pat Haden is to be believed.  The Southern Cal athletic director said on “The Dan Patrick Show” yesterday that he contacted the coach-turned-announcer about the Trojans’ opening before hiring Steve Sarkisian from Washington.

“I talked with Jon a while back,” Haden said.  “He wants to coach in the pros.  If he’s a head coach, he wants to coach in the pros.”

Before anyone goes there — and someone will — that probably doesn’t mean he wants to be a coordinator or quarterbacks coach your alma mater, either.

Gruden has become the great white whale in collegiate searches.  One part Bigfoot — he’s “spotted” looking at schools and buying houses everywhere — the other part tease — he never states publicly that he’s not interested in college gigs — the ESPN broadcaster seems to just enjoy have his name kicked around.  Hey, who doesn’t want to be loved?

But the facts and Haden’s comments suggest Gruden won’t be taking any openings at Florida or Texas or Southern Cal.  He wouldn’t even take the Tennessee job where he coached and where his wife’s family resides (though you can be certain there are still one or two Vol fans who believe Butch Jones is just a ruse and that Gruden will eventually take over for him).

Time to nix Gruden from the list potential college coaches.  Ain’t happening.

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Reports: Nussmeier Hired As OC By Bama

It’s not official yet, but multiple reports are claiming that University of Washington offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier has been hired to fill the same spot at Alabama. 

Prior to his stop in Washington, Nussmeier has served as a quarterbacks coach in the NFL (St. Louis Rams) and in the Big Ten (Michigan State).

Ironically, Nussmeier replaced Jim McElwain at Fresno State when Saban tabbed McElwain to run the Tide offense in 2008.  Now he’ll replace McElwain as the ex-Bama coordinator takes over as head coach at Colorado State.

Many view the Washington offense as being the baby of head coach Steve Sarkisian, rather than of Nussmeier.  Of course, some look at Bama’s defense as being Nick Saban’s rather than Kirby Smart’s.  Bottom line — Nussmeier and Sarkisian had the Huskies offense ranked 25th in the nation in scoring offense this past season.

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