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Tennessee Return Man Young Will Miss 4-6 Weeks

devrin-youngBad news for a thin-to-begin-with Tennessee football team today.  Receiver and top return man Devrin Young will miss the next four to six weeks with a broken wrist suffered during practice this week.  According to head coach Butch Jones, Young tried to use his hand to keep himself from going to the ground, but his wrist snapped as a result.

Against Austin Peay last weekend, Young returned two punts for 21 yards, returned one kickoff for 58 yards, rushed the ball once for six yards, and caught one touchdown pass of nine yards.  In other words, he’s a versatile weapon for a rebuilding Volunteer offense.

Now Tennessee must find a replacement for Young who — at the very least — can catch the football on special teams.  According to that unit’s coordinator, Mark Elder: “On the return game, the very first criteria is that we secure the football.  Obviously we want to increase our field position, but we don’t want to do it at the expense of not having the football.”

Obviously.

The Vols face a difficult Week Two visit from Bobby Petrino’s Western Kentucky team.  A team fresh off a 487-yard performance in a 35-26 win over Kentucky.  And like Kentucky, Tennessee chose to go in another direction with its head coaching position while Petrino sat by his phone last winter.

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UK’s Barnhart Says Football “Not Where We Want It To Be Just Yet”

Mitch Barnhart weighed in on the state of Kentucky football yesterday while speaking to the City Salesman’s Club in Louisville.  Of note, he specifically said that the school’s football program is “not where we want it to be just yet.”

(We’ll pause to allow Wildcat fans to say, “Duh!”)

Barnhart spoke about both the program and its coach, Joker Phillips:

 

“We made some progress and climbed up the hill a little bit and were doing some good things in a really tough league but we’ve found that we’ve stubbed our toes a little bit.  We’ve got to figure that out and we’ll get that figured out…

Joker is one of my dearest friends.  I think the world of him.  We’ve been together nine years in some way, shape or form as an assistant coach, coordinator and now as a head coach… I think the world of him as a man and as a coach and as a leader of our young men and what he’s done.  We just have to figure out the football piece and ow we get that going in the right direction.”

 

Kentucky is currently 1-8 overall and 0-6 in the SEC.  The Cats’ lone win came over Kent State back in Week Two of the season.  Now in his third season, Phillips is 12-22 as UK’s coach.  Rich Brooks went 22-17 as the captain of the Big Blue program before turning the wheel over to Phillips.

 

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MSU’s Mullen Wants To Avoid The Hole Of A Week One SEC Loss

The importance of Saturday’s visit from Auburn isn’t lost on Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen.  He’s tired of hearing that he’s never beaten an SEC West foe not named Ole Miss.  He also realizes that losing a conference opener puts a team in a hole:

 

“We’ve beaten Florida, Georgia, Michigan.  We’ve beaten a lot of team and we’ve lost to a bunch of team, too.  I really think about this season and my goal every year is to win the SEC West.  Well, to do that, you really need to win your first conference game.  I think it’s tough to lose your first conference game and come back and win the conference title.  Teams have done it but you put yourself in an uphill battle.  You guys think about it.  To be honest, I’ve never thought of it…

Right now the winner of this game is two games ahead of the other one because you have the head-to-head win, too.  So, Week Two of the season you’ve either catapulted yourself to the top of the standings or you’re two games back already.  So I think that’s always a huge deal for conference games.”

 

A year ago, Georgia lost its SEC opener to South Carolina only to run the table the rest of the way and win its division.  But that’s the exception to the rule.  No team wants to start out two games behind a division rival.

As for the State/Auburn series, last season the Tigers held on for a 41-34 win over the Bulldogs on the Plains.  In 2010, Cam Newton led Auburn to a win at Scott Field, 17-14.  And in 2009, AU rolled to a 49-24 victory.

But Saturday’s game is shaping up as a “prove it” game for both programs, not just MSU.  Certainly Mullen need to finally to record a breakthrough West Division win, but Gene Chizik also must start proving that he can win games without Newton as his quarterback.

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SEC Headlines – 4/17/12 Headlines

1.  Someone accidentally shattered Alabama’s crystal football BCS trophy.  (Here’s guessing they can afford to replace the $30,000 item.)

2.  Bama’s players will be heading to DC to meet the President on Thursday and they’ll have their new championship rings to show to him.

3.  At Auburn, spring progress is giving way to summer expectations.

4.  Tiger players bought into their new coordinators, Scot Loeffler and Brian VanGorder.

5.  This writer says Auburn’s clearly better off without Mike Dyer.

6.  This is behind a paywall, but Arkansas fundraisers say they’ve not lost a single donor since Bobby Petrino’s dismissal.

7.  The Razorbacks will enter Week Two of their coaching search (or interim search) tomorrow.

8.  This writer says the Petrino scandal is just the latest in a long Arkansas football soap opera.

9.  New coach Johnny Jones remembers the glory days of LSU basketball.

10.  Ole Miss would best be served by finding a true leader in its quarterback race this weekend.

11.  Mississippi State’s Malcolm Johnson is not your typical tight end.

12.  Kevin Sumlin says Texas A&M still hasn’t picked a starting quarterback.

13.  Florida’s Billy Donovan will be head coach for the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championships.

14.  Georgia’s coordinators break down the Bulldogs’ 2012 spring practice session.

15.  UGA has the toughest drug policy in the SEC and AD Greg McGarity says they’re not going to change it.

16.  The press conference of John Calipari and five Kentucky basketball players has been moved to 7pm ET this evening.

17.  Frank Martin has given sophomore Damontre Harris permission to seek a transfer which means South Carolina with only two returning starters and one of those — Bruce Ellington — won’t join the team until after football season.

18.  A quiet spring was a good thing for the Gamecocks.

19.  Tennessee coaches want their players focused during the final week of spring drills.

20.  Vol kicker Michael Palardy is hoping for a better season in 2012.

21.  Here’s a look back at Missouri’s spring practice.

22.  Alex Oriakhi’s impact with Mizzou could be big.

23.  This year’s Music City Bowl will kickoff at noon ET on New Year’s Eve.

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SEC Headlines – 9/7/11 Part Two

1.  What is a Texas A&M Aggie?

2.  Will Muschamp says Florida didn’t hold anything back in its opener.

3.  Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey are the keys to UF’s offensive success.

4.  Safety Baccari Rambo — returning for Georgia this week — regrets last week’s suspension because he believes he could have helped UGA against Boise State.

5.  UGA players are sticking by their coach…

6.  But a big question hangs over their coach’s head.

7.  Kentucky’s offensive line isn’t strong yet.

8.  Wildcat AD Mitch Barnhart says a new arena “better be” an option for a Lexington planning task force.

9.  Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia found redemption on Saturday night.

10.  As of now, it looks like USC will be favored in all of its remaining games. 

11.  Tennessee looks to make the big improvement typically found in Week Two.

12.  Vanderbilt wants more from its defense on second down.

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Vegas’ View Of The SEC: Week Two

The Week Two odds have been set out in the desert.  Below you’ll find the lines from:

 

* The Las Vegas Sports Consultants

* The Las Vegas Hilton

* The MGM/Mirage Casinos

* The Caesars/Harrah’s Casinos

 

The favorites are in italics.

 

Game LVSC Hilton MGM/Mirage Caesars/Harrah’s
C. Michigan at Kentucky      -14 -13.5 -12.5 -13
Miss. State at Auburn -2 -6.5 -6 -6.5
Cincinnati at Tennessee -4.5 -6.5 -7 -6.5
Alabama at Penn State -11 -10 -10 -10
S. Carolina at Georgia -1.5 -3 -3 -3
UAB at Florida -23 -21.5 -21.5 -21.5
N. Mexico at Arkansas -40 -37 -37 -37
UConn at Vanderbilt -5.5 PICK PICK -1
S. Illinois at Ole Miss NONE NONE NONE NONE
Northwestern St. at LSU NONE NONE NONE NONE

 

The games featuring Ole Miss and LSU aren’t on the boards because their opponents are from the FCS level.

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