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Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin On Missouri: “Tremendous Challenge For Our Defense”

Vanderbilt coach James reviews the win over UAB and looks ahead to this weekend’s matchup against Missouri. Vanderbilt is 3-2 and 0-2 in conference play. Missouri is 4-0. This will be the Tigers first SEC game of the year.

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SEC Gameday Links: Saturday Night Lights 9/28/2013

gameday linksOle Miss at Alabama

1. Ole Miss will learn a lot about itself tonight when it takes on the nation’s No. 1 team.

2. Can Ole Miss really upset Alabama in Tuscaloosa? Zac Ellis takes a look.

3. Here are three keys for Alabama as the Crimson Tide get ready to host Ole Miss.

4. Tonight’s game is critical for Alabama as it looks to remain unbeaten and defend its last two titles.

Texas A&M at Arkansas

5. Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen has been cleared to return from his shoulder injury.

6. Can Texas A&M’s defense stop the run? It will face a strong running game against Arkansas.

7. Here’s a look at the history between Arkansas and Texas A&M.

Florida at Kentucky

8. Florida is beaten up but it doesn’t expect any sympathy from the folks at Kentucky.

9. Florida has the top run and pass defense in the SEC. But coach Will Muschamp demands more from the Gators.

10. Kentucky knows it has its hands full as it gets ready to host Florida.

Arkansas State at Missouri

11. Missouri’s explosive passing game is one of five things to watch tonight in Columbia.

12. Missouri’s defense will try to slow down Arkansas State running back David Oku.

13. It’s crucial for Missouri to win tonight so it can enter SEC play with a 4-0 record.

UAB at Vanderbilt

14. Can UAB’s defense matchup with Vanderbilt’s passing game? That’s a concern for the Blazers.

15. Here are five keys for Vanderbilt, which returns home after consecutive road games.

16. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin’s message to his team last week: “Change your circumstances.”

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James Franklin: “The Expectations Have Changed”

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin meets the media Monday to reflect on the UMass game and looks ahead this weekend’s matchup with UAB.

 

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LSU’s Beckham Enjoyed A Day For The Record Books (Sorta)

odell-beckhamOn Saturday night against out-gunned UAB, LSU receiver/returner Odell Beckham went off.  He was a one-man arsenal dressed in purple and gold.  His list of accomplishments:

 

*  One rush for 15 yards

*  Five catches for 136 yards and three touchdowns (a 27.2-yard average)

*  One kick return for 21 yards

*  Three punt returns for 59 yards (a 19.7-yard average)

*  And the uber-rare 100-yard return of a missed UAB field goal (technically it was 109 yards)

 

All told that’s 331 yards and four touchdowns in one game.  A record right?

Not quite.  It turns out that the missed field goal Beckham returned with 2:11 left in the game is not covered in the NCAA’s official statistics.  There is no category for missed field goal returns.  Therefore, Beckham’s final 100 yards aren’t added on to his all-purpose yardage total, which pretty much stinks.

LSU’s sports information department found three instances of missed field goal attempts being returned for TDs — a Tennessee player did it in 1926, a California player did it in 1966, and a Clemson player did it in 1968 (against Georgia).  While the play has occurred in the NFL a few times in recent years, there’s a good chance Beckham is the first man to score such a touchdown in the college game in half a 40+ years.

Had the play counted and had Beckham been credited with 331 all-purpose yards, his performance would rank 8th all-time in SEC history:

 

1.  Moe Williams, Kentucky vs South Carolina in 1995 — 429 yards

2.  Kevin Faulk, LSU vs Houston in 1996 — 376 yards

3.  Rafael Little, Kentucky vs Vanderbilt in 2005 — 372 yards

4.  Darren McFadden, Arkansas vs South Carolina in 2007 — 355 yards

5t.  Kwame Doster, Vanderbilt vs Ole Miss in 2002 — 344 yards

5t.  Nick Turner, Mississippi State vs Tennessee in 2003 — 344 yards

7.  Josh Reed, LSU vs Alabama in 2001 — 338 yards

8t.  Craig Yeast, Kentucky vs Florida in 1998 — 331 yards

8t.  Odell Beckham, LSU vs UAB in 2013 — 331 yards

 

Again, that’s if that return had counted in the record books.  While the NCAA won’t recognize those 100 yards, it was still one of top one-game performances in SEC history.  We know it.  LSU knows it.  Beckham knows it.  And you can be sure UAB knows it.

 

UAB-LSU: Missed FG Returned 109 Yards For Touchdown

 

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SEC Gameday Links: Saturday Night Lights 9/7/13

gameday-linksSamford at Arkansas (Little Rock)

1. Chance for redemption in Little Rock for the Razorbacks.  Arkansas lost both games there last season.

2. “It’s hard to imagine Razorback fans getting too worked up for Samford…”

UAB at LSU

3. Is tight end Dillon Gordon a receiving option for the Tigers?

4. It’s a Saturday night in Tigers Stadium. “The place is full of myths and legends … and ghosts.”

Southeast Missouri State at Ole Miss

5. After a thrilling 39-35 victory over Vanderbilt, Rebels facing an FCS opponent that went 3-8 a year ago.

6. Ole Miss announces facility renaming -  the Olivia and Archie Manning Athletics Performance Center.

Sam Houston State at Texas A&M

7. Why everyone wants to get this game over with -  ”the game of the century is next week and everyone wants to see the rematch between Johnny Manziel and Alabama.”

8. Texas A&M now one of the “it” programs in college football.  How did it happen so fast?

Arkansas State at Auburn

9. As the former coach at Arkansas State and the current man in charge at Auburn, no one knows these two programs better than Gus Malzahn.

10. Arkansas State has a 330-pound nose tackle.  It will be up to center Reese Dismukes to contain him.

Austin Peay at Vanderbilt

11. After giving up 39 points to Ole Miss, look for a motivated Vanderbilt defense.

12. Vandy wants a blowout to give the bench playing time.

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Report: Suspended LSU Running Back Jeremy Hill Expected Back Saturday

jeremy-hill-lsu-celebratesSuspended LSU running back Jeremy Hill is expected back Saturday against UAB.  Citing “a source familiar with the situation” The Advocate in Baton Rouge says Hill won’t start - but will play a backup role behind Alfred Blue and possibily behind two other LSU backs, Kenny Hilliard and Terrence Magee.

Hill was suspended in April after punching a man outside a bar near LSU.  He had been placed on probation back in 2012 following a 2011 arrest.

Hill was LSU’s leading rusher last season with 755 yards and 12 touchdowns on 142 carries.

With or without Hill, LSU is a 34.5 point favorite over UAB.

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No Decision Yet From The SEC On Fanning Play; Will Flagrant Foul Rule Allow For A Suspension?

Get ready, conspiracy theorists.

The SEC office has suspended two players this season.  Mississippi defensive back Trae Elston and South Carolina defensive back DJ Swearinger were each benched a week for helmet-to-helmet hits back in September.  At the time, a few fans from both schools said that the SEC was simply picking on their teams and that the office would never suspend an Alabama player.  (Just as the league would never do anything anti-Kentucky in basketball.  Supposedly.)

Well, the SEC office hasn’t acted yet on a nasty takedown delivered by Bama defensive lineman LaMichael Fanning last Saturday.

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Spurrier Speaks, Morris Apologizes, And A Penn State Comparison That Does Make Some Sense

After Saturday’s big win over Missouri, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier gave a statement at his postgame presser… and then he left the room without taking questions.  Sunday, on his teleconference, the coach gave a statement… and then he hung up the phone before taking questions.

On Monday, we suggested that the Ol’ Ball Coach was a) feeling powerful enough to do whatever he liked because he’s winning and b) probably mad at something written by Ron Morris, a columnist for The State newspaper in Columbia who Spurrier strongly dislikes.

Yesterday, Spurrier was talking to the media again.  He spoke long enough to plainly state what many already know — that unbeaten Carolina should defeat Kentucky this weekend in Lexington:

 

“I think we are better than them.  But if we don’t play better than them, they can certainly beat us.  Personnel-wise, they might be a little below some of the SEC teams, but they are a well-coached bunch.  We know that upsets happen, and we know why they happen, usually when a team is not ready to play.  Simple as that…

We know the meat of the schedule is down the road, but this is a game this week that’s one of 12, and we’re going to try to play our best.”

 

That’s kind of a far cry from Nick Saban’s “Why won’t you people take Western Kentucky seriously?” rant, no?  Last year, Spurrier suggested that his Gamecocks could have hung 70 points or more on UK.  Obviously, Carolina’s coach doesn’t have a whole lot of respect for Kentucky, a team that upset his Cocks on their last visit to Commonwealth Stadium.

But the key here is that Spurrier’s talking to the press again.  Now the question is: Why did he go silent on everybody in the first place.

The aforementioned Morris seems to know that he’s the reason.

Today, Morris explains in column form that he was simply doing his job when he dared to suggest last week that Spurrier shouldn’t have played an already banged-up Connor Shaw in a victory of UAB.  (And to be fair, most of the folks I spoke with also wondered why Spurrier would risk playing Shaw.).  Here’s a piece of Morris column from today:

 

“Football coaches are hired to win football games. Sports columnists are expected to praise and critique those coaches, their teams and their programs.

It is natural for coaches — in any college town — to ask about columnists: ‘Who the heck are you to judge me?’

The answer is today, as it always has been: ‘I’m just a sports columnist doing my job.’”

 

All of that’s true.  Many fans don’t care, of course, because many fans want only “positive” stories about their team or coach.  Right up until said team and coach start losing.  At that point, they tend to get angry with the media for “overhyping” a team.  Trust me, I’ve experienced it firsthand.

“Negative” columns are also the ones that tend to be most remembered, as Morris also states in his column:

 

“The same week that I wrote about Shaw starting against UAB, I also wrote in celebration of Spurrier’s 200th win, the novelty and success of USC’s ‘Rabbits’ defense and how coordinator Lorenzo Ward’s defense excelled against Missouri. (Credit to Spurrier for placing Ward in charge of the defense).”

 

No one cared about the other columns, just the one questioning Spurrier’s use of Shaw and whether or not it would impact the rest of Carolina’s season.

If the story ended there, fans would back Spurrier and the media would back Morris (even though I’ve disagreed with several of Morris’ columns on this site in the past).  Morris was doing his job.  Spurrier punished everyone — including Carolina fans — by childishly zipping his lips and pouting.

But Morris took things a step further yesterday while appearing on Bill King’s radio show on XM Radio.

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Georgia Guard Compares His Game To Bradley Beal

Our Joseph Thompson recently caught up with Georgia point guard prospect Devin Mitchell as part of his ongoing series of Q&As with potential future SEC hoopsters.

Joseph Thompson: Who is interested in you?

Devin Mitchell: Miami, Ga Tech, Alabama, Stanford,, LaSalle, Florida and UCF

JT: Do you have any offers?

DM: I have offers from UGA, Boston University, College of Charleston, Mercer, Georgia State, Tennessee Tech, Kennesaw State, UAB, and Ole Miss

JT: What teams did you grow up watching?

DM: I grew up watching a lot of Chicago Bulls tapes from the 90′s. My dad was a big fan of the Bulls and Micheal Jordan, so I always watched him. As far as the pros. I watched Kobe and Allen Iverson growing up  as well. As far as college teams, I watched Illinois in the 2004-2005  season when they had Deron Williams and Luther Head. They are my  favorite team of all time!

JT: Who would you compare your game to?

DM: I would compare my game to a bigger version of Jason Terry and  Brad Beal.

JT: What are you looking for  in a NCAA program?

DM: My first thing that look for in a school is the coaching staff. I like to play for guys that I’m comfortable with because I play my best basketball when I’m comfortable; so coaching staff is always first. Second would have to be location.

JT: Do you have a dream school?

 DM: When I was growing up I always dreamed of playing for Michigan. I guess that would be like a dream school but besides that, not really.

JT: Are you a fan of an NCAA team?

 DM: I’m really not a fan of any team because I watch so much  basketball. I like everybody. I’m more of a fan of how teams play, and how they play as teams.

JT: Do you have any visits planned?

DM: Yes, I have visits that I’ll be taking in the next couple of  weeks. I’ll be at College of Charleston, Mercer, Tennessee, UGA,  Georgia Tech,Georgia State, UAB, and hopefully UCF and Miami.

JT: Have you visited any schools?

DM:Yes, I’ve visited UGA, Georgia Tech, UAB, Georgia State, and Kennesaw State recently.

JT: You had a great summer. What are your goals for the upcoming season?

DM: My personal goal is to take Collins Hill to the state playoffs   this year and make a run while there. We haven’t been in the last 3  years and it would be special for our seniors on the team to play in a State Playoff game before they head out and our fans deserve it!

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SEC Suspends USC’s Swearinger For Nasty Hit; Conspiracy Theorists Need To Hush

Two weeks.  Two suspensions.

One week after penalizing Ole Miss defensive back Trae Elston for a violation of the rules 9-1-3 and 9-1-4, the SEC office has doled out a suspension to South Carolina defensive back DJ Swearinger for a violation of good ol’ 9-1-4.

For the conspiracy theorists who said of Elston’s suspension, “Let’s see the SEC suspend a player from a good team before a big game,” uh, well, you can now hush and get back to looking at that model of Dealey Plaza you made out of mashed potatoes on your kitchen table.

Here’s what the SEC had to say about the suspension of the free safety starter from the seventh-ranked team in the country:

 

“This action is the result of a flagrant and dangerous act which occurred at the 5:46 mark in the third quarter (of South Carolina’s game with UAB on Saturday).  The action is in violation of Rule 9-1-4 of the NCAA Football Rule Book, which reads, ‘No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder.’

By playing rule, a defenseless opponent is defined by ‘one who because his physical position and focus of concentration is especially vulnerable to injury.’  One of the example in the rule book is a receiver whose focus in on catching a pass.”

 

Unlike Elton’s play, the hit by Swearinger — shown below — did draw a flag from officials.

 

D.J Swearinger knocks out UAB player

 

According to commissioner Mike Slive: “These rules are for the protection of the health and safety of our players on both sides of the ball.  It is imperative that our student-athletes understand the importance of this rule.  Our motivation in making these decisions is to protect our student-athletes.”

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