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UA’s Petrino Curses LSU’s Miles For Doing Unto Him What He’s Done Unto Others

With five minutes remaining in 41-17 beatdown on Saturday, Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino didn’t take too kindly to Les Miles sticking the final three points on the board with a 37-yard field goal attempt.  The fact that the Tigers led 38-17 and had starter Jordan Jefferson pass on five of seven plays to get into field goal range likely played some role in his disgust as well.

Petrino’s message to Miles from across the field was caught by CBS cameras and, well, if you can read lips it’s not hard to figure out what he had to say:

After the game, Miles tried to speak with Petrino, but the Razorback coach wanted no part of that conversation:

Now one could easily defend Miles for trying to put more points on the board.  His squad is playing for a slot in the BCS title game and style points might count to the human voters.

But Miles needs no defending.  A week earlier he took his foot off the gas and had his team kneel four times at the Ole Miss five-yard-line with five minutes to play.  He was ripped for that move, as well, so perhaps this time he decided to err on the side of running it up.

Or perhaps Miles fears Arkansas a bit more than Ole Miss when it comes to the recruiting trail.  The Hogs have reached the 10-win plateau two years in a row at this point.  Perhaps LSU’s coach wanted to show recruits the difference between his squad and Petrino’s.

Whatever Miles’ motivation, Petrino was in the wrong.  Mainly because Petrino hasn’t exactly been Bobby the Lenient this year, either:

51-7 over Missouri State — five of last 13 plays were passes

52-3 over New Mexico — scored last TD up 45-3 with 4:28 to play

38-14 over Auburn — scored last TD up 31-14 with 5:50 to play on pass from starting QB

44-28 over South Carolina — scored last TD up 37-28 with 4:07 to play

49-7 over Tennessee — scored last TD up 42-7 with 6:37 to play

44-17 over Mississippi State — scored last TD up 37-10 with 3:20 to play

Petrino has done a fantastic job in Fayetteville and he’s turned the Razorbacks into a national power.  But he’s no longer at Louisville.  Sure, he can still win big with his potent offense, but he’ll need to field a top-flight defense if he ever wants to win an SEC championship.  Until he gets himself one of those, it’s likely he’ll continue to find himself in situations like the one that so riled him up on Saturday.

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SEC Headlines 10/23/11

Kentucky 38 – Jacksonville State 14

1, Wildcats win the “Relief Bowl.”

2. 148 yards for CoShik Williams.

3. Linebacker Danny Trevathan knocks out a referee.

Arkansas 29 – Ole Miss 24

4. Ten straight SEC losses for the Rebels.

5. Ole Miss blows a 17-point lead.  Houston Nutt did that once at Arkansas – losing to an eventual national champion.

6. Nutt takes issue with pre-game predictions in post-game news conference.

7. Halftime adjustments key for the Razorbacks.

8. Career-high 160 yards for Dennis Johnson.

9. Arkansas offense generates seven plays 20-yards or longer but Tyler Wilson doesn’t throw a TD pass for first time this season.

10. Did anyone wear black?

LSU 45 – Auburn 10

11. Bring on Alabama.  LSU’s largest margin-of-victory ever against Auburn.

12. Worst loss for a defending national champion since 1984.

13. Turnovers, penalties, and big plays spell doom for Auburn.

14. Six sacks and ten tackles for losses. LSU defense dominant.

15. LSU has trailed for 6 1/2 minutes all season.

16. ” (I)f the Tigers do lose, it will be because they made mistakes, not because the Crimson Tide is the better team.”

Vanderbilt 44- Army 21

17. 198 yards and three touchdowns for Zac Stacy. Has a shot to become first 1,000 yard rusher for Vandy since 1995.

18. Jordan Rogers adds 98 yards in his start at quarterback.

Alabama 37 – Tennessee 6

19. 31-point second half means Alabama can turn its attention to LSU.

20. John Adams: “Alabama had 31 points in the second half. Tennessee didn’t make a first down.”

21, Kevin Scarbinsky: “The Tide and Tigers will play the game to end all games, and if it plays out as expected, with one team winning on a pick six in the fifth overtime, it will start the debate to end all debates.”

22. Alabama vs. LSU?  Tennessee says it’s a toss-up.

23. Second-half collapse a familiar theme for the Vols.

Other news

24. Drama at the top of the BCS standings.

25. Mid-term grades for the Florida Gators.

26. Updated bowl projections.

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Miles Explains QB Rotation At LSU

During the SEC teleconference yesterday, Les Miles was asked about his quarterback rotation of Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson, how he decides who plays when, and whether or not he is concerned the Jefferson’s return might have a negative impact on Lee moving forward:

“There’s the view of Jarrett Lee’s our starter, and there are bit and pieces of game plans that Jordan Jefferson is best for.  Depending on an opponent, depending on the situation, we may dial his number.  But both guys are doing a great job.  They’re both competing.  They both want the opportunity to play all the snaps, and it’s just what you want from a first- and second-team guy…

I think you’re trying to make a discerning decision about playing your best players, I think you always worry (about messing up a good thing).  And it’s one where frankly the team takes precedence over anything else.  If you feel like the best call is to run whichever guy it is out on the field for the snaps, that’s the call you’re making as a coach that says this is my best opportunity at victory.”

In six games, Lee has completed 71 of 118 passes (60.2%) for 947 yards with 8 touchdowns and just 1 interception.

Jefferson has been used mainly as a runner (8 carries, 36 yards, 1 TD) since returning two action two weeks ago.  He has completed 3 of 4 passes or 61 yards and a touchdown through the air.

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If The New Celebration Rule Bites Your Team This Weekend… Blame The Coaches, Not The Refs

New SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw spoke to the quarterback club in Montgomery, Alabama this week and he had one message to share regarding college football’s stiffer celebration penalty — Don’t blame us:

“… Keep in mind, it is not the officials doing this.  It is the coaches.  Not one official is on the rules committee.  The rules are made by the coaches.  This is what they agreed on and how they want the game run.  We are trying to implement the rule they made.”

Sound like a guy who wants officials to have to make more judgment calls?

Shaw was attempting to explain the circumstances that would call for points to be taken off the board due to a player’s on-field celebration.  Basically, if a player celebrates on the field of play prior to scoring, that’s a 15-yard penalty from the spot of the celebration.  Bye bye, points.

Only players on the field of play and involved in the play can draw such a penalty.  So if someone from the sideline rushes onto the field to celebrate, that’s still just a 15-yard dead-ball foul.

But the person doing the celebrating can be any of the 22 players taking part in a play… not just the ball-carrier:

“Say a quarterback throws a long touchdown pass and during the play he runs to midfield and does the throat-slash gesture to the opposing team.  The ball would be returned to midfield and the 15 yards marked off from there.  The touchdown wouldn’t count.”

(Think Shaw had any specific quarterback in mind with that throat slash example?)

So if your team see’s a 50-yard TD bomb turned into a 2nd-&-25 from its own 35 tomorrow, remember who’s to blame — the guy celebrating and the coaches who voted for this ridiculous rule change.  Not the NCAA and not the game officials. 

Literally… the coaches asked for it.

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Kentucky Survives And Looks To Stay Unbeaten Against Rival Louisville

The young Kentucky Wildcats grew up a little last week.  UK trailed Central Michigan by a touchdown in the middle of the third quarter and looked to be doomed to a disastrous loss.

Instead, the Cats came up with a huge fourth down stop and one play later Morgan Newton and La’Rod King connected on a 39 yard TD strike.  Suddenly a team with some advanced hype began to show signs of living up to it.

Still, a win over CMU doesn’t strike fear in the hearts of Florida and Georgia but the way they turned around their level play so quickly did alleviate some fear within the program that this team was in fact better than they showed in the first game and a half of the season.

That fourth down stop is unquestionably the play of the year so far and perhaps it saved the season for UK.  The Cats have little margin for error and a loss last Saturday would have made a bowl appearance difficult to imagine.  A loss to Louisville this week would have the same impact.

While it’s the not the Iron Bowl this match-up is intense and nasty.  UK has won four in a row against Louisville and anything less than a fifth and Joker Phillips will hear about it big time.

Phillips said on Monday that the Cardinals’ dare teams to throw on them and that’s exactly what Kentucky will try to do.  Despite a dozen dropped passes in the first two games, the Cats have had some success throwing deep so expect the Cats to challenge the Cardinal secondary on Saturday.

Freshman Josh Clemons and Raymond Sanders will try to provide some balance.  The tandem combined for nearly two hundred yards last week.  Clemens had an 87 yard TD run.  His 126 yard performance made him the SEC’s Co-Freshman of the Week.

The biggest issue for the Blue has been a banged up offensive line.  It’s not getting much better.  Matt Smith and Billy Jo Murphy didn’t practice on Monday.   Because of the injuries, Phillips has had use tight ends to block rather than catch passes.

The Cats opened as a touchdown favorite and I expect them to cover against Cardinals who have their own set of problems after a loss last Friday at home against Florida International.  The kickoff is set for 7:00 and will be televised by ESPNU.

 Larry Glover hosts Larry Glover Live weeknights from 6-8pm on 590, WVLK in Lexington and on statewide television on the Wazoo Sports Network.  The show is available for download on his website

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Not A Lot Of Proven Quarterbacks In The SEC

Heading into Summer 2011, the SEC isn’t exactly a who’s who of top-flight, proven gunslingers.  Even most of the spring quarterback competitions across the league have failed to produce clear-cut starters.

So not only does the league not have many proven vets, but those guys vying to replace proven vets can’t seem to separate themselves from one another in practice.

Below is a quick, late-spring look at the quarterback situations across the league.  Considering the position is the most important on the field — and that the SEC will have a lot of greenhorns under center — conference fans could be in for a bumpy ride this fall.

The starter will be: AJ McCarron or Phillip Sims.

McCarron was the #7 ranked QB in America (according to when he signed in 2009.  Sims came in as the #2 ranked QB a year later.  This spring, the gunslinger McCarron was expected to win the starting job over Sims, who was more of a game manager in high school.  But that hasn’t happened.  In fact, Nick Saban is already talking about the possibility of rotating quarterbacks this fall.  If you read this site regularly, you know we’re not fond of those rotations unless you have two totally different styles of quarterback.

The starter will be: Tyler Wilson

Wilson was 25 of 34 for 332 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 picks filling in for an injured Ryan Mallett against Auburn last year.  Though he missed some open targets in the Hogs’ spring game — and some folks continue to talk up the running skills of co-candidate Brandon Mitchell — it’s hard to imagine Petrino not plugging in Wilson and continuing his pass-happy ways in Fayetteville this fall.

The starter will be: Kiehl Frazier

Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley are the veterans.  They battled all spring for the right to replace Cam Newton.  But neither has managed to take a clear lead in that race.  So we’re going out on a limb here and predicting the incoming freshman Frazier will land the starting job in the fall.  Whether the folks on The Plains want to hear it or not, the Tigers are in a full-fledged rebuilding mode.  If Frazier lives up to his billing — the #5 quarterback in the country, the #1 prospect in Arkansas last year — it would make sense to go ahead, simplify the offense and throw him into the fire.

The starter will be: John Brantley

There aren’t many experienced signal-callers in the SEC right now.  Brantley has experience.  Granted, some might refer to what Brantley has as “baggage,” but he has played college football in the Southeastern Conference.  He’s started on the road in the SEC.  That experience counts for something.  While he didn’t completely close the door on Tyler Murphy, Jeff Driskel or Jacoby Brissett this spring, Brantley did do enough to solidify his spot as the Gators’ starter.  Charlie Weis should be able to help him.  And if UF can only develop some receivers who can consistently get open and catch the ball, Brantley might surprise some folks as he acclimates to the Gators’ new system.

The starter will be: Aaron Murray

Murray is a redshirt sophomore with one 6-7 season under his belt.  Despite all that, he’s likely the SEC’s best quarterback today.  He passed for more than 3,000 yards last season and had a 3-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio (24-8).  His mobility adds yet another dimension to his game.  For a guy who looked seasoned beyond his years last fall, Mark Richt says Murray looked more comfortable still in Mike Bobo’s offense this spring.  No question marks in Athens.  Murray’s the man.

The starter will be: Morgan Newton

Newton is in his third year in UK’s program and his only competition — on scholarship anyway — comes from freshman Maxwell Smith.  Joker Phillips recently said Newton is starting to get “some swag going.”  The quarterback himself has said that he’s taking more of a vocal, leadership role with the Wildcats this season.  There’s no debate in Lexington regarding the starting quarterback.  It’s Newton.

The starter will be: Jordan Jefferson

If there’s been a shock around the SEC this spring, Jefferson’s survival as the Tigers’ starter might be it.  It was assumed when LSU brought in former Georgia and juco QB Zach Mettenberger that the newcomer would team with new offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe to immediately upgrade the Tigers’ passing game.  But Miles has backed Jefferson throughout the spring, talking up his progress at every opportunity.  Unfortunately, during LSU’s spring game Jefferson looked like the same shaky passer Bayou Bengal fans grew tired of last season (despite his 11-2 record as a starter).  Miles believes his QB is ready for a big senior year.  But we wouldn’t write off Mettenberger just yet.

The starter will be: Chris Relf

Dan Mullen says the quarterback competition in Starkville is “wide open right now.”  But unlike some of the other competitions that really are wide open around the league, the situation at State sounds more like a motivational ploy than an actual battle.  Relf improved as the 2010 season played out, capping his year with an 18 of 23 performance against Michigan in the Gator Bowl.  He rolled up 281 yards passing, 30 yards rushing, 3 TDs through the air and one on the ground in that game.  He followed that up with a solid spring, by all accounts.  Tyler Russell and Dylan Favre might not be totally out of the picture, but Relf is clearly front and center.

The starter will be: Randall Mackey

This one’s another surprise.  Heading into spring, there were plenty of people who expected Mackey — who has battled speech issues — to be moved to another position.  Instead, he took the early lead at QB and has held onto it throughout spring drills.  With Nathan Stanley transferring out, juco transfer Zack Stoudt and former West Virginia quarterback Barry Brunetti will try to unseat Mackey in the fall.  (Brunetti will need to get an NCAA hardship waiver to play.)  None of the three have started at Ole Miss, but Mackey at least has more experience in Houston Nutt’s system.  That and his dual-threat abilities should keep him in the lead at quarterback until the season starts.

The starter will be: Stephen Garcia

Garcia led the Gamecocks to their first-ever SEC division championship last season.  He has two years worth of starts to his credit.  With a veteran team returning — and the road to Atlanta wide open again — it would behoove Carolina to find some way to make things work with Garcia.  If — and it’s a big if — he can walk the straight and narrow from now through August.  Steve Spurrier prefers Connor Shaw when it comes to work ethic, but the Ol’ Ball Coach knows how much a veteran quarterback means in SEC play.  We’ll roll the dice and say Garcia will be back.  After all, if Carolina’s administration had wanted him gone, they could have booted him this spring instead of giving him yet another suspension.

The starter will be: Tyler Bray

The Vols’ sophomore signal-caller had a “B” spring according to Derek Dooley.  He also had a hard-to-get-your-head-around 5 for 30 passing performance in UT’s spring game.  But Bray has more raw ability than backup Matt Simms.  Simms could be a solid game manager on a team with more talent.  But the Volunteers just aren’t deep enough, talented enough, or experienced enough to go with a caretaker quarterback.  They need someone to make plays and Bray has the big arm to do just that.  the guy has some Brett Favre in him.  But while it’s good that Bray doesn’t let an interception get him down, at some point he’ll need to show that he learns something on those occasions when he does get picked.

The starter will be: Larry Smith

Smith completed a horrible 47.4% of his passes last year for a miniscule 5.11 yards per attempt average.  And in 247 attempts, he tossed just 6 touchdowns.  Yet Smith looks to be the starter again in 2011.  In James Franklin’s new offense, the senior completed 16 of 26 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown in the ‘Dores’ spring game.  He also rushed for 20 yards and caught a 10-yard touchdown on a trick play.  This fall, Jordan Rodgers — the little brother of Green Bay Packer Aaron Rodgers — will return with a clean bill of health, but it’s clear Smith currently has a leg up on Vandy’s other QBs.

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SEC Headlines 4/17/2011

1. Tennessee spring game: Brawn vs. Skill and a struggling QB – Tyler Bray 5 for 30.

2. Thoughts from a “guest coach.”

3. Georgia spring game – 13 of 60 scholarship players out with injuries but Branden Smith displays his two-way talents.

4. Offensive line – Georgia’s biggest question as the Bulldogs await their “Dream Team” recruiting class.

5. Ole Miss spring game – there will be a quarterback battle this fall. 5 burning questions answered.

6. Arkansas spring game – quarterback Tyler Wilson leads five TD drives.

7. Alabama spring game – no definitive answers at quarterback. Saban not ruling out a rotation.

8. Largest crowd for a spring game in school history.

9. Saban statue unveiled. Dennis Dodd – “Everything about Alabama football is oversized.”

10. Alabama’s biggest question – replacing Julio Jones.

11. What Jones and Auburn’s Nick Fairley have in common.

12. Auburn spring game – yet another team in search of a quarterback. Defense dominates.

13. Vanderbilt revives its spring game tonight. What to watch for.

14. Kentucky scrimmaged on Saturday – spring game is next weekend.

15. The austerity debate comes to UK athletics and the topic of a new arena.

16. LSU awaits word from the NCAA on self-reported violations from 2009.

17. How will the NCAA enforce the new taunting rules?

18.  Which school has the best helmet design?

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Cotton Bowl Headlines

LSU 41 – Texas A&M 24

1. “Now the watch begins to see if Miles can be lured from LSU to his alma mater, Michigan.”

2. Is Les Miles the change Michigan wants?

3. QB Jordan Jefferson says Miles isn’t going anywhere.

4. Three touchdown passes and one rushing TD for Jefferson.

5. The LSU running backs were effective as well.

6. Scott Rabalais: “Time for more yell practice, Aggies.”

7. Was anyone watching?

8. Since 2006, the SEC is 7-1 in BCS bowls. The Big 12 is 2-5.

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Butler begins the drive at its own 23 with 1:05 left. Mettenberger’s pass is intercepted by Chazz…

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Butler begins the drive at its own 23 with 1:05 left. Mettenberger’s pass is intercepted by Chazz Edmond-Paris. Since Butler has only one timeout left, the Bulldogs can run out the clock.

NJCAA championship game final: Navarro 13, Butler 12

Zach Mettenberger’s Juco career presumably ends on a pick. Still, not a bad year when you have +30 passing TD’s and over 2500 yds (those stats are intentionally nebulous, I’m having difficulty compiling complete stats)

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SEC Championship Game Post-Game: Auburn Dominates Carolina

South Carolina
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South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier looks on the sidelines during fourth quarter of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010 in Atlanta. Auburn  won 56-17. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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John Bazemore – AP

about 5 hours ago:

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier looks on the sidelines during fourth quarter of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010 in Atlanta. Auburn won 56-17. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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Well, I was wrong: South Carolina did not beat Auburn. In fact, we didn’t even come close, as Auburn dominated Carolina to the tune of a 56-17 final score. My hat goes off to the Tigers, who proved that they’re clearly worthy of a bid to play against Oregon for the national title. They came ready to play in this game, they came with a good game plan, and they executed more or less flawlessly other than for brief moments late in the second half. Cameron Newton put the finishing touches on an already sterling Heisman campaign. The Auburn defense did its part with a dominant performance.

Carolina cannot say these things for itself. I don’t think that our showing was quite as bad as the final score indicated. This was one of those games that proves that a few slightly off plays here and there can make a huge difference in a game’s outcome. For the first two-and-a-half quarters, Carolina hung somewhat tough with Auburn. However, we generally failed to seal the deal when we had chances to make key plays. The Carolina offense frequently moved the ball into Auburn territory only to see drives bog down. Stephen Garcia was off on a pass to Marcus Lattimore that would have resulted in a TD. On another play, Garcia made a decent third-down pass to Lattimore, Lattimore made a leaping grab, but an Auburn defender pushed Lattimore out of bounds before Lattimore could get a foot down. That play would usually be a good one, but it didn’t work out that time. Spencer Lanning closely missed two key FGs. It was one of those games where the offense seemed to be just a little off its game. The Carolina defense was similarly close-yet-oh-so-far. Carolina got pressure on Newton at times but could never seem to take him down, and in what was really one of the keys of the game, Auburn got a freak TD on a tipped ball in the end zone on a late-first-half Hail Mary.

Against a team like Auburn, you can’t afford to be anything but perfect. As the game went on, Carolina continued to fail to take advantage of its opportunities, and Auburn’s lead began to grow. Eventually, Carolina lost its handle on the game, and the flood

gates opened and Auburn rolled to a lopsided victory. Sometimes it’s only a few plays that make the difference between a close game and a blowout. That’s the difference between good and great teams, however, and after this game, it’s clear that while Carolina had a good team this year, it didn’t have an elite team. We’re not ready to consistently play with the best teams in the country yet.

A few other thoughts on the game:

  • I thought that our schematic game plan on offense was fairly well conceived. We came in knowing we’d have trouble running between the tackles and that we’d have to neutralize Auburn’s defensive line, and I liked the early attempts to run Lattimore outside the tackles, and I thought we did some interesting things in the short passing game. Our undoing was our inability to deal with the blitz.
  • One element of Auburn’s success was the great coverage packages Ted Roof and his staff had drawn up to deal with Alshon Jeffery. At the same time, though,  you have to wonder if we should have tried to figure out more ways to Jeffery the ball.
  • Garcia–whew, man. Pick yourself up after that one.
  • Our secondary has apparently not gotten as much better since the Arkansas game as I thought. A lot of the old problems manifested themselves yet again. Stephon Gilmore–get it together, man. I never expected to see you get manhandled like that.
  • I take back every nice thing I’ve ever said about Gary Danielson after this game. I knew what to expect from Verne before the game, and we got the usual senility. (The best example was when Verne called a five yard gain on a 3rd-and-15 a first down.) But Danielson I usually like for his play-by-play insights. Tonight, though, he was more interested in defending the NCAA’s decision on the Newton pay-for-play situation. Listen, Gary: we know that you’re interested in promoting the SEC / CBS brand, and your discussion of the Newton scandal came off for what it was, an attempt to whitewash the SEC’s image. I don’t know what happened with the Newton case, and I’ve accordingly expressed my unwillingness to pass judgment on the situation until damning evidence comes out. What I do know is that Gary Danielson doesn’t know enough about the situation to say anything substantial one way or the other, and his attempt to do so was shameful. Gary’s claim that we were faking injuries to slow down Auburn’s hurry-up offense was also pretty ridiculous.
  • The CBS crew might have outdid itself, though, when Tracy Wolfson gave herself a (money?) shot of Cammy-Cam Juice. Good God was that surreal. And WTF was up with Newton getting carried onto the field by his “supporting cast”? Ugh. I never thought I’d say this, but I think I might miss Tim Tebow after that one.

That’s a wrap on this one, folks.

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