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SEC Headlines 7/24/2011

1. Texas A&M joining the SEC makes sense for both parties but is the speculation premature?

2. What’s the SEC got against Memphis?

3.  SEC coaches have different opinions on recruiting services.

4. Roster management rules are here to stay.

5. Mike Strange reads Tennessee’s response to the NCAA:  ”(J)ust underscores how unnecessary and, thus, how sad an affair it is…”

6. Bruce Pearl: “I panicked.” If you don’t want probation, don’t lie to the NCAA.

7. Why Tennessee fans should be rooting for Arkansas.

8. Others are taking note of the Razorbacks talent.

9. Mike Herndon on Alabama/Auburn: ” Remind us which of these teams is the defending national champ?”

10. Kevin Scarbinsky: “Can this rivalry be saved?”

11. Three top passers from the SEC last year are now gone but seven starters return.

12. Kentucky quarterback Morgan Newton has a mentor in Andre Woodson.

13. Wildcats now in the NFL provide motivation.

14. John Clay on Kentucky’s loss in the Compass Bowl: “The guess here is that the Birmingham beat-down was a painful but necessary shock to the system.”

15. Anything less than the Outback Bowl will be disappointing to many Georgia fans.

16. 14 of the conference’s top 20 rushers are back this year.

17. Don’t forget Tennessee’s Tauren Poole when discussing the best running backs in the SEC.

18. Breaking down Florida’s secondary.

19. Profile of former Vanderbilt coach Robbie Caldwell: “Caldwell said when he thanked hotel and restaurant workers at SEC Media Days, they told him they don’t typically get that appreciation from other SEC coaches.”

20. Collision injury seminar at South Carolina.

21. Hershel Walker’s number 34 isn’t going anywhere.

22. SEC Media Days – the view from Los Angeles.

 

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The Workhorse Backs Of The SEC

When it comes to SEC rushing attacks, you might think that Auburn’s Cam Newton is the player most responsible for his team’s rushing yards.  After all, he does lead the SEC in rushing when counting in-conference games only.

But Newton ranks only 7th in a category we call our Workhorse Back Rankings.  Now don’t get me wrong, for a quarterback to rank 7th in a rushing category is fantastic.  It’s just not tops in terms of who’s most important to his team’s rushing attack.

Below you’ll see that we examined the records of the SEC’s top 10 rushers (conference games only) and compared their totals to their teams’ totals.  The results were a little surprising.


Workhorse Back Rankings

Rank
Back
Rush Yds
Team  Rush Yds
% of Team Rush Yds
1
T. Poole (UT)
333
385
86.4%
2
M. Lattimore (USC)
571
809
70.5%
3
K. Davis (Ark)
384
590
65.0%
4
W. Ealey (UGA)
548
984
55.6%
5
M. Ingram (Ala)
393
743
52.8%
6
S. Ridley (LSU)
480
942
50.9%
7
C. Newton (AU)
894
1948
45.8%
7
T. Richardson (Ala)
335
743
45.0%
9
C. Relf (MSU)
342
861
39.7%
10
M. Dyer (AU)
537
1948
27.5%



* In no way does this suggest that Tennessee’s Tauren Poole is having a better season Marcus Lattimore, Mark Ingram or Cam Newton.  What it does show, however, is his importance to his team.  Poole has accounted for nearly 85% of the Vols’ rushing yardage in SEC games.  Keeping him healthy is key for Tennessee.

* South Carolina’s Lattimore is having a tremendous freshman season.  The Herschel Walker comparisons of the season’s first two weeks were a bit over-the-top, but Lattimore has shown that he’s capable of more than running over and around defenders.  He’s shown — as a first-year player — that the pressure of being the Cocks’ top weapon isn’t too much for him.

* Arkansas’ running game has awakened a bit in recent weeks to finally take on a complimentary role in the Hogs’ Ryan Mallett-led offense.  Knile Davis has been a big part of that emergence.  And his name is not one that fans outside of Arkansas would expect to see so high on a list of “Workhorse Backs.”

* Alabama and Auburn are the only two schools to land two players each in the top 10.  There’s no surprise in Tuscaloosa where Ingram and Trent Richardson were expected to be bell cows.  But at Auburn, Ingram and Mike Dyer have been a pleasant surprise.  Before the season, many would have had their doubts if you’d told that the Tigers’ quarterback and true freshman tailback would be their leading rushers.

* Newton isn’t the only quarterback on our list.  Mississippi State has developed an offense that Woody Hayes would enjoy watching.  And the player accounting for 40% of the Dogs’ rushing yards (and cloud of dust) is signal-caller Chris Relf.

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