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Georgia Preps To Face Vandy Without Gurley, Matthews

gfx - they said itIt appears the Georgia Bulldogs will once again be missing some of their bite this weekend.  Star running back Todd Gurley — who’s been out for two-and-a-half games with a sprained ankle — returned to practice in limited form yesterday, but Mark Richt suggested that might not mean much come Saturday’s game with Vanderbilt.  In addition, starting safety Tray Matthews — who suffered a hamstring injury two weeks ago at Tennessee — hasn’t practiced at all this week.

Richt’s take on the injuries:


“(Gurley) was out there moving around and changing direction a little bit, catching a couple of balls here and there, but not at a tempo that would make you feel like he’ll have a chance (to play Saturday).  If we played tomorrow he wouldn’t play tomorrow, I know that… We’re preparing to play without him…

We’ve got other people coming in and playing pretty good in (Matthew’s) spot.  Obviously we’d like to have him back and have him playing, not only on defense but some special teams as well… But we’ve just got to be careful with that hamstring.”


A BCS-contender when at full strength, Georgia’s season has come undone due to multiple injuries to key players in multiple spots.  As a result, this weekend’s game at 0-3 in the SEC Vanderbilt might be more of a struggle than many would assume.

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SEC Headlines 7/10/2013

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1. Did Missouri coach Gary Pinkel tip his hand regarding the Tigers’ quarterback race? Three players from each team will attend SEC Media Days next week, including James Franklin from Mizzou.  Here’s a  complete list of players scheduled to attend.

2. Could Pinkel’s Tigers start the season 5-0?

3. Some allegations emerging in the Vanderbilt sex-crimes case that led to the dismissal of four players.

4. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel:  “I’m still just a 20 year old kid at the end of the day.” Does Manziel’s talents translate to the NFL?  Kliff Kingsbury: “I think it all translates.”

5. With Aaron Murray and Todd Gurley, expect good things from the Georgia offense. With Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan facing a possible suspension, Seth Emerson says the Bulldogs should just go for it.

6. Manziel, Murray, Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace and Mississippi State’s Tyler Russell will be at the Manning Passing Academy.

7. Does South Carolina have one quarterback or two?  That’s one of several themes for the Gamecocks 2013 season.

8. A 14-0 season for Alabama and a 5-7 campaign for LSU? That’s what an EA Sports simulation of the season delivered. MrSEC has a different take on the 2013 season – see our fearless predictions here.

9. One take on Arkansas defensive end Chris Smith: “He’s the biggest playmaker on a defensive line that should be fairly formidable in 2013.”

10. Ole Miss redshirt sophomore guard Justin Bell was “a standout in the spring, playing his way into the conversation for this fall.”

11. Vanderbilt was already strong at wide receiver and is about to get stronger with five receivers in the last recruiting class.

12. Fortunes have changed at wide receiver for Florida.  Gators haven’t had a wideout taken in the NFL draft for three straight years – longest drought since the early 1980′s.

13. David Climer on Tennessee’s defense: “UT is not as devoid of defensive talent as it seemed last season. The Vols were just poorly coached.”

14. Tennessee self-reports some secondary NCAA rules violations.

15. Where it all began for Auburn coach Gus Malzahn – defensive coordinator at a high school in Hughes, Arkansas.

16. $75 million renovation of Davis Wade Stadium at Mississippi State won’t be officially done until next year but fans will notice plenty of changes this fall.

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17. Sitting out last season after transferring from Virginia, KT Harrell is ready to take a leadership role at Auburn.

18. Missouri knows its pairings for the Las Vegas Invitational. Will play Northwestern on Thanksgiving night.

19. Dana O’Neil on realignment’s impact on college basketball: “Anything that sounds the death knell on storied rivalries such as Kansas-Missouri and Georgetown-Syracuse can’t claim to be perfect.”

20. The architect and the builder have been hired to renovate Rupp Arena in Lexington.


21. ESPN’s “College Football Live” will be at SEC Media Days.  Crew will include Paul Finebaum.

22. “ESPN’s ratings are trending downward at a steep enough rate to take notice.”


23. “Twelve and a half percent of Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches in 2012 were African-American…”

24. Ed O’ Bannon’s attorneys want assurances that the NCAA won’t retaliate against any current athlete who joins the lawsuit.

25. Can this story get more bizarre?  Girlfriend of the guy who broke into the home of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops tries to break her boyfriend out of a juvenile detention center.

26. “Breasts have taken a metaphorical beating from the sports world ever since women first entered the arena.”

27. What you get when you mix Nick Saban with Rick Flair.

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SEC Headlines 4/12/2013

headlines-fri1. What’s the status of Tennessee running back Marlin Lane?  ”That’s up to Coach Jones.” Wide receiver injuries piling up for the Vols.

2. Peyton Manning on why he recruited Butch Jones…to Colorado. Impressed with coach – “I like his slogans and philosophies.”

3. Former coach on running back Braylon Heard, who’s transferring from Nebraska to Kentucky.  “He can change the game at the blink of an eye. He can go 80, 90 yards in a heartbeat.”

4. Kentucky preparing for a crowd as large as 50,000 for this Saturdays’ spring game. They won’t see any kickoffs or kick returns.

5. With Marcus Lattimore gone, a focus on running backs Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds at South Carolina.

6. Texas A&M’s spring game on Saturday will be carried live on ESPN for the first time in school history. Aggies overhauling linebacking corp.  ”“There’s a big hole to fill.”

7. Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin will serve as NFL Network analyst on the opening day of the NFL draft.

8. The first team will scrimmage the second team at Vanderbilt’s spring game on Saturday.

9. With the exception of Zach Mettenberger, LSU defenders had the go-ahead to hit all other LSU quarterbacks in practice the past few days.

10. With recruiting deregulation on hold, job responsibilities of support staff are up in the air at Auburn.  Gus Malzahn: “Right now, we’re just going day by day.”

11. Georgia’s spring practice is over but the competition for starting spots is just beginning. Coach Mark Richt: “If you’re working out this summer thinking you’ve got something nailed down, you better re-check your thinking.”

12. Hey Georgia fans, who do you want on the cover of Athlon’s preseason college football magazine?  You can vote for either Aaron Murray or Todd Gurley here.

13. With his Bulldogs team getting ready for its second spring scrimmage, Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen is looking for leaders.

14. With defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson gone to an NFL as a likely first-round pick, Missouri needs someone to step up in the middle of the defensive line.

15. Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash on safety Eric Bennett: “He’s been a great player. He’s been a great student of the game.”

16. With a year under his belt, expect even bigger things from Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper.  ”Everything is easier. “When I first came in, I didn’t know a lot of plays.” Dee Hart may return punts or kicks for Alabama this fall.

17. A profile of Alabama A.D. Bill Battle and his business career.  What if he hadn’t gone to Selma?

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18. Billy Donovan’s wish for his Gators next year.  ”We have to get more competitive. Nastier.”

19. They may not think it now – but Missouri fans will miss Phil Pressey - “the Jerry Lewis of point guards..”

20.  Garry Parrish on why Kentucky deserves to be ranked No. 1 heading into next season.


21. When Eli and Peyton Manning need a tune-up, they turn to Duke coach David Cutcliffe.

22. The NBA’s early entry deadline has some issues.  The case of Louisville’s Russ Smith is a perfect example.

23. “Louisville faced the easiest path, seed-wise, of any national champion since UNLV in 1990.”

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SEC Headlines 2/2/2013

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1. The nation’s number one recruit is at LSU this weekend.  Robert Nkemdiche met Shaq during the visit.  Here’s the picture.  

2. It’s official at LSU. The university’s board of supervisors approves Les Miles’ new pay package - $4.3 million annual salary represents a 15% increase.  He’s signed through 2019.

3. Not everyone is happy about the raise.  LSU associate librarian: ”LSU is known nationally as a football team, not as an institution of higher learning.”

4. Texas A&M made the hire of linebackers coach Mark Hagen official on Friday.

5. South Carolina defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney tweeted a few weeks ago “two more years of college” - but it’s not fooling coach Steve Spurrier. ” I think he’s just trying to get the fans to love him a little bit more. That’s not the smart thing for him to do. He knows that.”

6. Tennessee’s 2012 recruiting class is known for its attrition.  But what’s left could have a big impact on 2013.

7. Mississippi State guard Tobias Smith granted sixth year of eligibility by NCAA.  Hasn’t decided if he’ll come back in the fall.

8. What Gus Malzahn should be selling at Auburn.

9. When you rank the SEC signing classes by NFL draftees - here’s your top 10 of the past ten years.

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10. On the eve of the Super Bowl, Georgia coach Mark Fox recalls his time at Nevada with quarterback Colin Kaepernick and why he wants running back Todd Gurley at practice.  ” I told Gurley: ‘You run over people for a living, you need to come over here and go practice the charge drill.’ ”

11, The SEC used to be an up-tempo run-and-gun league.  No more.  “A 54-53 game was once unthinkable. Now, it’s routine.”

12. SEC winning percentage against non-conference opponents is 66.6 percent – the worst since the league started tracking it.

13. Kentucky’s Archie Goodwin on Texas A&M’s Elston Turner’s performance at Rupp: “(A) guy that scores 40 on a team as good as we are, that’s just an embarrassment to our team. We shouldn’t let that happen. I can’t wait to play him because I know that I’m not going to let it happen again.”

14. Turner: “I know I’m not going to have 40 again. But it’s going to be a great game.”

15. Florida guard Kenny Boynton on facing Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson: I heard he’s a good scorer. I’m not worried. We’re going to come ready to play.” Keep your eye on the Scott Wilkebin-Marshall matchup.

16. Auburn coach Tony Barbee on Missouri: “They’re probably the most complete team in the league.”

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Jalen Hurd Favors Three Schools

Running back Jalen Hurd from Beech Senior High School in Hendersonville, Tenn., is one of the nation’s top prospects in the class of 2014.

So it’s no surprise that he favors three of the nation’s top programs: Florida, Georgia and Ohio State. Hurd spoke to ESPN RecruitingNation recently after visiting Florida.

“Florida is great,” Hurd said. “I love the atmosphere and I love the weather. The coaches are also great. They’re very successful right now. Coach (Will) Muschamp is doing a great job with the program and I think they’ll be successful.”

Hurd is familiar with Georgia’s history of producing successful running backs, including current freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. That’s one reason the Bulldogs remain high on Hurd’s list.

“Georgia is great,” said Hurd, who plans to visit Athens, Ga., this fall. “I know they have a history of great running backs.”

Tennessee has a successful history but has struggled on the field in recent years. Those issues have appeared to hurt the Vols in their pursuit of one of the state’s top prospects in the 2014 class.

“As an athlete, you want a program that’s successful and has it all together,” Hurd told ESPN. “UT isn’t doing as well as they want to right now. If they start to do well, then they might be more with me but right now, UT is not the highest on my list.”

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Boo! UGA’s Richt Expects Malcome To Be Starting Tailback (Maybe)

Ken “Boo” Malcome will likely be Georgia’s first tailback onto the field when Buffalo visits Athens next weekend.  According to Mark Richt, he’s “pretty sure” Malcome will get the start, but he also told reporters yesterday that “something could change between now and then.”

After briefly considering a transfer last September, Malcome worked his way into the #1 tailback slot for UGA’s spring game in April.  He’d come to split time with the mercurial Isaiah Crowell by 2011′s end, so it’s no surprise that he’ll be the likely starter to open 2012.  Especially since Crowell was booted from Richt’s squad in June.

How long Malcome remains the starter remains a question.  For that matter, if the Dawgs rotate their tailbacks, starting might not mean much anyway.

Currently Malcome is competing with senior Richard Samuel as well as freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.  Marshall was the top tailback signee in February, but Gurley has led Georgia in rushing in its three fall scrimmages.

Malcome — a redshirt sophomore — says he won’t let Richt’s hint about starting slow him down.  According to The Athens Banner-Herald:


“It’s a relief.  I came from the bottom, and it’s just hard work.  It tells people hard work matters, it gets you where you want to go.  I’m not gonna take it for granted.  Because he said that, I’m not gonna let up.  It’s still gonna be all me on the field, telling the freshmen what to do.

I’m gonna be a leader.  I feel like I’ve been a leader the last couple weeks.”


Richt refuses to provide a definitive depth chart for his tailbacks saying that he doesn’t “even want the guys to know” so they will “keep fighting, keep competing.”  The coach said, “We’ll tell them the night before the game maybe.”

So there you have it.  Malcome will start.  Maybe.  How much he’ll play and who’ll be in line behind him if he does get the start won’t be known until the Dawgs step on the field for their opener.

Clear as mud.

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Georgia Tailback Thomas To Transfer

Georgia tailback Carlton Thomas announced on Tuesday he plans to transfer and will look to play at another school next season.

Thomas, who rushed for 361 yards and and two touchdowns as a junior in 2011, has one season of eligibility remaining. Thomas said in a statement:

“This decision was based solely on the fact that this is my last year to play, and my parents and I felt like it was the right move to make. I want to make more of an impact on the field.  I didn’t want to disrupt Georgia’s team and preparation for next season so I made the final decision to leave earlier rather than later in the year.”

It’s certainly questionable how much of an impact Thomas would have been able to make at Georgia in 2012. The Bulldogs return standout sophomore Isaiah Crowell and welcome highly-touted freshmen Keith Marshall, who enrolled in school in January, and Todd Gurley.

Ken Malcome, Richard Samuel and Brandon Horton will also return and compete for playing time in a crowded Georgia backfield.

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Gurley Commits To Georgia

Tarboro, North Carolina running back Todd Gurley has committed to the Georgia Bulldogs.  The four-star recruit made the announcement today.  ”I’m going to the University of Georgia,” Gurley said.  ”Go Dawgs.”

Gurley is Georgia’s 17th commitment for the class of 2012. He chose Georgia over Alabama, Auburn and Florida.

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SEC Recruiting Headlines – 10/18/11

1. Athlete Channing Ward put on a show last week for Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen.

2. Offensive tackle Avery Young will take his first official visit to Auburn on Oct. 29.

3. Auburn commit Josh Holsey is planning to visit other schools.

4. Vanderbilt recruits weighed in on the confrontation between Commodores coach James Franklin and Georgia assistant Todd Grantham.

5. 2013 Orlando linebacker Ryan Rankin is headed to Tennessee if the Vols offer him a scholarship.

6. Clemson is back in the picture for running back Todd Gurley of Tarboro, N.C.

7. Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman discusses the school’s move to the SEC and the impact on recruiting.

8. Alabama could receive a visit from a former Southern Cal commit.

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