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SEC Headlines – 10/20/11 Part One

Some quickie headlines from around the league today…

1.  Florida’s football game with Furman on November 19th will air on pay-per-view.

2.  The Gators have landed a Top 10 ranking in the USA Today/ESPN Basketball Coaches’ Poll.

3.  Georgia will be without two defensive players for the first half of their game with Florida… but two other starters will return to the lineup.

4.  And now there are claims that another Georgia player was clipped flagrantly by a Vanderbilt player.  Asked about it, Mark Richt said reporters could check the tape for themselves.  Let.  It.  Go.

5.  Kentucky will have to deal with ex-Georgia tailback Washaun Ealey when they host Jacksonville State on Saturday.

6.  UK is ranked #2 in the nation behind North Carolina in the preseason Coaches’ Poll.

7.  Steve Spurrier wants his team to improve its third-down defense.

8.  Carolina hoopster Damontre Harris returned to practice sooner than expected after injuring a big toe.  (Betcha his toe injury wasn’t this interesting.)

9.  Tennessee’s receivers are working to cut down on dropped balls.

10.   UT’s season-ticket sales for basketball are down about 10% from last year (under Bruce Pearl).

11.  James Franklin has decided that Jordan Rodgers will take over for Larry Smith at quarterback.

12.  Franklin doesn’t believe suspended center Logan Stewart meant to play dirty when he clipped Georgia’s Kwame Geathers.  Let.  It.  Go.

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UGA Will Be Without Another RB Versus Boise State

To say Georgia is counting on true freshman running back Isaiah Crowell is an understatement.  By the time the season kicks off, Crowell might be the only tailback on the Dawgs’ roster.

Over the summer, Washaun Ealey transferred out and Caleb King failed to qualify academically.  With UGA’s top two backs from 2010 and 2009 gone, the coaching staff moved tailback-turned-linebacker Richard Samuel back to tailback.  In the press, backup rusher Carlton Thomas began to get more mentions as a possible sidekick to Crowell as well.

But The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported yesterday that Thomas has been suspended for the first game of the season.  Thomas “violated team rules back in the spring,” according to the AJC.

With Thomas now out of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game with Boise State, the Bulldogs will have Crowell, redshirt freshman Ken Malcome and Samuel as scholarship running backs on opening night. 

In other words, Crowell had better be all he’s cracked up to be.  And he better not sprain an ankle or stub a toe between now and the final whistle of Week One.

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SEC Headlines – 6/3/11 Part One

Lots of headlines this morning as we await the oversigning vote in Destin:

1.  This writer says roster changes are definitely coming to the SEC.

2.  Florida president Bernie Machen said: “If you only have 10 scholarships to offer, you wouldn’t offer it to 15… you’d offer it to 10.”

3.  Don’t forget — the SEC’s coaches wanted a 30-man cap instead of 28 a couple of years ago, but they lost out on that one.

4.  The SEC and NCAA have had their share or recent scandals.

5.  This writer likes Steve Spurrier’s pay-for-play plan.

6.  But this scribe says it doesn’t go far enough.

7.  And this one says it would never work in the real world.

8.  The SEC has owned the BCS era.

9.  Undrafted Auburn players are in limbo as the NFL’s labor situation plays itself out.

10.  Mark Richt says it was “tough” to dismiss quarterback Zach Mettenberger… who’s now at LSU.

11.  Former Ole Miss linebacker Clarence Jackson is heading to Jacksonville State (along with Washaun Ealey from Georgia).

12.  Man I’m sick of this one: MSU’s cowbell situation will be voted on today.

13.  Florida will face Stetson in basketball next season.

14.  Steve Spurrier says you don’t have to cheat to win.

15.  Derek Dooley said: “If we get fired around here, it better be for losing,” not for breaking rules.

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Ex-Dawg Ealey Lands At Jacksonville State

Looks like Georgia Southern was serious about not taking Washaun Ealey.  Despite months of speculation that the former Georgia tailback would transfer to GSU, the ex-Dawg has landed at Jacksonville State where he began school today.

Jacksonville State — which won at Ole Miss last year — is coached by former Arkansas head coach Jack Crowe.

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More Ealey Fallout At UGA

One day after receiving word that leading rusher Washaun Ealey would be transferring, the mood in the Peach State — at least on the messageboards — has seemingly gone from “who cares?” to “you know we could use that depth.”

Without Ealey, true freshman hotshot Isaiah Crowell will be expected to step in as this year’s Marcus Lattimore/Mike Dyer for the Dawgs.  Fifth-year senior Caleb King — who’s never quite lived up to his top billing — will have to finally show that he’s matured enough to be a top back in the SEC.  And backups Carlton Thomas and Ken “Boo” Malcome will also have to come through if/when called upon.

Ealey might have been a pain in the rear, but he was an experienced back.  He was also the main ballcarrier for the Dawgs a year ago.  Losing bodies — especially at running back in the SEC — is rarely a good thing.

Even if Crowell does turn out to be a freshman prodigy, what happens if sprains an ankle in fall drills?  And what if King is suspended again — something he says “will never happen again.”  Ealey would’ve come in handy in such a fix.

As for his future, Ealey sounds like someone who wants to star in a backfield, not blend into it.

“I’m a person where I want to be a premier back,” Ealey told  “If I was to play here, I would have had to share the backfield with Caleg and Carlton also.  Then they were going to try to give the freshman Isaiah his chance.  He probably was going to get some carries at the beginning of the year, too.  I just felt like I didn’t want to be in that mix of things anymore.”

Ealey’s got talent, so some school will certainly scoop him up… but that kind of attitude likely won’t help his chances.

Maybe there’s a reason Georgia Southern officials have said they won’t be contacting Ealey despite many rumors to the contrary.

Stay tuned.

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SEC Headlines – 5/11/11 Part Two

1.  Billy Donovan’s new assistants at Florida — John Pelphrey and Matt McCall — will bring a lot of familiarity to Gainesville next season.

2.  Pelphrey says “hopefully” he can be a better aide in his second go-round with Donovan.  “I’m sure it will come back (to Donovan) that I was a tremendous pain in the neck to him.” 

3.  Despite months of rumors, Georgia Southern “has not been and will not be in conversation with Washaun Ealey,” the former Georgia leading rusher.  Ouch.

4.  Is Mark Richt getting tougher… or just more pragmatic?

5.  UGA’s Mark Fox has lifted a Twitter ban on his hoops team.

UPDATE — 6.  The Orlando Sentinel has a Q&A with Dawg QB Aaron Murray.

7.  New basketball coach Cuonzo Martin helped collect goods for Tennessee residents impacted by last month’s tornado outbreak.

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SEC Headlines – 5/10/11 Part One

1.  Florida is one of many schools that have learned you can make a buck by conducting a women’s clinic for female football fans.

2.  Washaun Ealey’s release from Georgia is unconditional.

3.  A few tickets to this year’s UGA-Boise State Kickoff Game are still available.

4.  Terrence Jones decision to return to Kentucky could lead to him being overshadowed next year – both at UK and in the NBA draft.

5.  This writer believes Phillip Fulmer could handle Tennessee’s athletic director gig if given the chance.

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Tailback Ealey Transfers From Georgia

Georgia’s leading rusher from a year ago has decided to transfer and has been granted an unconditional release.  But there’s not a whole lot of panic in the Peach State over the departure of Washaun Ealey.

Ealey has been in Mark Richt’s doghouse for some time now.  He has been suspended twice — at least — during the past seven months.  Chip Towers of The AJC even writes: “Can a team lose its leading rusher and actually become a better team?”

All-everything running back prospect Isaiah Crowell will arrive for the fall.  Senior Caleb King is back, too, with Carlton Thomas and Ken “Boo” Malcome behind him.  The Dawgs appear to be set with talent and depth, even without Ealey… though no coach likes to lose bodies, ever.

“Washaun and I have had several conversations in recent weeks,” Richt said via press release last evening.  “We both have come to the conclusion that a transfer to another institution would be in his best interest.”

Richt recently told a Bulldogs booster club: “The bottom line is we don’t have a tailback right now that deserves to start, in my opinion.  We don’t have a guy that has proven he can do all the things that we’re going to ask that guy to do.  Washaun is one of them.”

Not anymore.

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Richt Says Ealey Still Has Work To Do

Georgia running back Washaun Ealey isn’t out of coach Mark Richt’s doghouse just yet.  Not according to what the coach told the Augusta Bulldog Club last night.

“Washaun has a ways to go still to show me that he deserves to start or even play right now,” Richt said.  “He has a ways to go in my book.  We’ll see.  I love him, though.”

Ealey was suspended in February for missing a disciplinary run.  After being reinstated, he accomplished little during spring practice due to a hamstring injury.

As time passes, it’s looking more and more like hotshot freshman Isaiah Crowell might just be the Dawgs’ starting tailback this fall.

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Ealey Will Be Back On UGA Team… If He Takes Care Of Business

The rumors have been floating around for a while.  Georgia tailback Washaun Ealey was being kicked off the team and he would transfer to Georgia Southern.

Yesterday morning, reported that Ealey had been indefinitely suspended from the team, not dismissed.  Then Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph actually caught up with Ealey who admitted that he’d been suspended, wouldn’t say why he had been disciplined and said “of course” when asked if wanted to remain in Athens.

However, he also said, “I’m looking at my options… and (we’ll) see what happens.”

In announcing Ealey’s suspension, Richt said that his leading rusher from a year ago would eventually earn his way back on to the team.  “We have certain expectations and standards that apply to all our student-athletes.  We expect them to do things the right way, the Georgia way.  If Washaun does things the Georgia way, he’ll be back in good standing.”

Ealey’s career has never taken off as expected at UGA.  Now the suspension and the signing of top prep back Isaiah Crowell throws Ealey’s future further into question.

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