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Vanderbilt Victory Completes Most-Wins Season Since 1915, LSU’s Offense Disappears Late As Clemson Rallies To Win

postgame-linksVanderbilt 38 – North Carolina State 24

1. Vanderbilt forces five North Carolina State turnovers, Zac Stacy runs for 107 yards. Seventh win a row for the Commodores, at 9-4 could crack final AP poll for the first time since 1948.

2. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin: “When you get in the nine-game category,it is a completely different conversation you are in.”

3. “Good is not good enough. Franklin demands excellence.”

4. Commodores employ wildcat formation for 19-of-68 offensive plays.

5. Interception right before half proves crucial.

6. James Franking post-game news conference video.

Clemson 25 – LSU 24

7. LSU blows 11-point lead fourth-quarter lead – just 1 yard of offense in last 15 minutes as Clemson kicks game-winning field goal as time expires.

8. Clemson runs 100 plays – LSU just 48.  Zach Mettenberger sacked six times.  Les Miles: “He was under duress from the first series on.”

9. Les Miles “must take a serious look at the direction in which his offense is going, especially in its last three postseason games.”

10. Mark Bradley: “For all its success, LSU can sometimes outsmart itself, which is to say that LSU can leave you wondering if it knows what it’s doing.”

11. Jeff Duncan: “Bowl games are supposed to be a reward. This was cruel and unusual punishment.”

12. Les Miles post-game news conference video.

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Gameday Links: UMass at Vanderbilt, Mississippi State at Alabama

UMass at Vanderbilt

1. With 2,670 career rushing yards and five games left, Vanderbilt running back Zac Stacy has a realistic shot at 3,000 yards.

2. Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rogers: “We feel like our toughest games are behind us.”

Mississippi State at Alabama

3. In balance.  Alabama rushing yards 1,536 – Alabama passing yards 1,541.  

4. Other than LSU, no team has played Alabama tougher than Mississippi State the last three years.

5. Can Nick Saban build a legacy that will eclipse Bear Bryant?

6. #WeBelieve hashtag sweeping Bulldogs country. Even reaches the White House.

7. What would happen in the BCS Standings if Mississippi State wins?

8. Mississippi State chaplain: “I am not there to get Dan Mullen to stop cussing.” 

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SEC Headlines 9/18/2011 Part One

Clemson 38 – Auburn 24

1. Auburn loses a game in the state of South Carolina for the first time since 1951.

2. Clemson accumulates 624 yards of offense, converts 77.7% of third-down opportunities.

3. Former Tennessee commit Tajh Boyd lights up Auburn for 416 yards of total offense,, throws for 386 yards, second best in Clemson history.

4. Jon Solomon: “For the first time in 60 years, Auburn has allowed 34 points or more in three consecutive games.”

Vanderbilt 30 – Ole Miss 7

5. Largest margin of SEC victory for Vanderbilt in 40 years.

6. James Franklin first rookie coach at Vandy to start 3-0 since World War II.

7. Vandy opens up the playbook – running back Zac Stacy goes for 169 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown run. Highest output for a Commodores running back since 2001.

8. Houston Nutt: “I’ve never felt that way on a sideline.”

Georgia 59 – Coastal Carolina 0

9. Biggest margin of victory for the Bulldogs since 1994.

10. Five-star recruit Ray Drew makes his Georgia debut.  Quarterback Hutson Mason and tailback Carlton Thomas make their 2011 debuts.

11. Isaiah Crowell takes a shot to the ribs.

Florida 33 – Tennessee 23

12. Seven straight wins for the Gators over Tennessee.

13. Pat Dooley: “In some ways it was like two years ago when Tennessee came into The Swamp and lost by 10 and bragged about it because it shouldn’t have been that close. Except Derek Dooley has way more class than Lane Kiffin.”

14. John Adams: Vols still not ready for “big-boy football.”

15. Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps combine for 297 yards of offense.

16. Vols lose wide receiver Justin Hunter early. Further tests needed to know extent of knee injury.

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SEC Headlines – 8/19/11 Part Two

1.  Sophomore defensive back Jerrell Priester is leaving the Kentucky program… making him the third defender in the last two weeks to depart Lexington.

2.  True freshman running back Josh Clemons is in position to see a lot of action this fall.

3.  The intensity level of UK’s freshman receivers is “unreal.”

4.  This practice report reveals that Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw was able to do some throwing yesterday, despite a thumb injury.

5.  Stephen Garcia says he’s got plenty of speedy playmakers to get the ball to this fall.

6.  Darrin Horn’s basketball team will face Final Four contenders North Carolina and Ohio State this season.

7.  Tennessee has moved two defensive backs to receiver to help with depth issues.

8.  The Vols are also a bit banged up at running back.

9.  Tailback Toney Williams is transferring from UT to Ball State for more playing time.

10.  Vanderbilt’s Wesley Tate is fine with his move from tailback to receiver.

11.  Zac Stacy is making a good run at the Dores’ starting running back gig.

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Transcript: Vanderbilt head coach talks Kentucky

Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

(AP photo/Butch Dill)

Vandy coach Robbie Caldwell at SEC Media Days in July. (AP photo/Butch Dill)

Transcript of Vanderbilt coach Robbie Caldwell’s press conference today:

Vanderbilt Head Coach Robbie Caldwell – 11/8/10

Opening statement:
“After watching the tape, Saturday was an ugly day. We had a lot of things go wrong and a lot of things that are correctable so we are excited to get to work on that and get ready to play Kentucky. Right now, we are a little fragile, a little beat up, a little undermanned. We have more in the training room than we have on the field but hopefully we can get some of them back by Wednesday and we’ll be ready to go to work. I’m excited about the challenge and we are doing everything we possibly can to win football games. That’s what we are doing, everything we possibly can. That’s our plan and we hope we can win out.”

On trying to get Zac Stacy back on the field:
“It’ll be difficult but I know that Zac is doing everything he possibly can to get ready. It’s a very scary thing but thankfully it turned out to be a concussion. Obviously, Vanderbilt is just tremendous at taking every precaution they possibly can. I got to spend some time Saturday in the emergency room with his mom and brother. His brother was very upset to see him lying on the table but it was great to be able to comfort them a little bit. Our doctors were just outstanding.”

On the injuries:
“This time of year this has become a regular thing for us. We have plans for it and are making preparations offensively to do things, from moving people over to possibly going empty with five wide receivers. We need to use the healthy people we have. We are going to find a way to move the ball, score points and win this game.”

On Wesley Tate and the running situation:
“He was in the training room and is a little stronger today. Whether he’ll be able to give us something is yet to be seen but hopefully we’ll know more Thursday. Kennard Reeves is healthy and I know he’ll give it his all. We talked last week about the possibility of Eric Samuels or Micah Powell, who we converted over to running back a few weeks back. Reece Lovell is another guy that we hope can spell us here and there.”

On if Florida’s athleticism led to the punt blocks:
“It certainly can. If you are not doing what your supposed to do, then that’s what happens. You can’t go to sleep. We had two missed blocks and it resulted in two blocked punts. They also had a missed block that resulted in us getting a blocked punt. Unfortunately it happened at the wrong time of the game because we were playing extremely well defensively, getting after them. We made an error on the fake field goal and we think it could have been there. We have to go back to the drawing board and it’s something that goes back to me. I don’t shuck the responsibility. It’s my job to make sure we practice it every day. Maybe we need to practice a little more.”

On Walker May’s injury:
“Not good. I don’t know his status or whether he’ll be able to go at all this week. He’s pretty tender right now with a high ankle sprain. We already had Tim Fugger hurt going into the game but hopefully he’ll be back full speed. Johnell [Thomas] has a ding in his neck but he’s going to be fine. We were down to our third sub on the punt team because Walker and Johnell are our back-wall people. That was difficult but we’ll be ready and prepare three or four more this week.”

On if the offense will have to throw the ball more because of injuries:
“We might have to because when you don’t have any running backs you may have to do that. We don’t want to give too much away.”

On John Cole and John Stokes getting Academic All-America honors:
“It’s very important. We are very proud of our school here and very proud of our academics. We led the SEC again with 89 percent and we are disappointed. Quite frankly, my goal for the team is to have 100 percent graduation rate and I’m not afraid to reach for that high of a goal. Our goal is to lead the nation and we are usually in the top-five or so since we’ve been here. Hopefully we’ll continue to do that but we also want to compete in the [SEC] East. If we can do that on a consistent basis then we will have a chance to play for it all one day.”

On punter Richard Kent:
“We’ve been extremely pleased. He missed his mark a couple of times and was deep in it too. You look at all aspects and it starts with me. We weren’t all on our P’s and Q’s there and I don’t know if it was the excitement of playing the Gators or whatever, but we just didn’t do what we had been doing and that was one of our solid points. We probably give up fewer yards returned than anyone. In particular against the young man on LSU who is one of the best in the country. That was disappointing for us.”

On the recent success of playing in Lexington, Ky.:
“I don’t know, it’s kind of the like the Ole Miss deal. Sometimes you match up well with teams. Previously we had been matching up pretty good with people in our league and were competing and having the chance to win. As you see, we are rearranging offensively and trying to manage the clock a little better. We are trying to do that and are heading towards our plans for the future. We want to win now and that’s our goal.”

On Randall Cobb and Kentucky:
“I’m glad you asked that. I was talking and looking at some tape with our defensive staff and he might be the best all-around athlete in this league. He does everything; I think he holds for extra points. He does kickoff returns, punt returns, he’s a wideout, quarterback and running back. He does everything in their Wildcat offense. We know he can throw the ball and we’ve seen him do that. [Mike] Hartline might be the most improved player in the SEC. What a good job he’s done checking in and out of plays. He’s getting them in the right offense. They have a good offensive line. They have a few sophomores in there and things look bright for them. I’m very proud of that staff, you know they have David Turner. He’s worked here with us and I know him and got him his first job. I love him like a brother. To watch coach [Joker] Phillips in his first year trying to get bowl eligible. We hope we can make them squirm another week.”

On playing two first-year head coaches in the next two weeks and sharing sentiments:
“Yes I can. What a great joy for me. I mean, after all the years I’ve worked at this to sit down in the seat. Unfortunately, they got the job at and earlier time than I did and have been able to make some changes that we haven’t been able to make. We have to plan for the future and I’m excited about it. We want to win and give our fans something to cheer about and we’ve been able to do it here before.”


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SEC Headlines – 11/8/10 Part Four

1.  Twelve seniors have a chance to lead Kentucky to a record fifth straight bowl game.

2.  The Wildcats want to take care of business against Vandy on Saturday… and not be forced into a win-or-else game with Tennessee.  (‘Cause it’s been 25 years of “else” for the Cats in that series.)

3.  John Calipari doesn’t like it, but UK fans are already comparing this year’s team to last year’s.

4.  Despite a big win over Memphis, Derek Dooley says his team still has plenty of concerns as Ole Miss comes to town.

5.  One of UT’s starting O-lineman could be out on Saturday with an ankle injury.

6.  If UT wins out, the Vols could still finish 6-6, reach a bowl, and be rewarded with a month’s worth of practice time.

7.  Vandy #2 running back Zac Stacy is doubtful for the rest of the season after being knocked unconscious during Saturday’s loss to Florida.

8.  As we noted this morning, there’s nothing in ESPN’s “multiyear contract” story that guarantees Robbie Caldwell will be back next year. 

9.  Vanderbilt’s basketball team will face Southern Indiana in an exhibition game tonight. 

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Vanderbilt loses 2 more Running Backs Crushing Loss to Gators

Content provided by Vanderbilt Sports Line.

Jeff Lockridge reports that both Zac Stacy (concussion) and Wesley Tate (ankle) might miss next week’s game at Kentucky. If neither Tate nor Stacy return, the Commodores will only have 1 scholarship running back in Lexington. When it rains it pours.

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Tate Could Get More Carries At Vandy

With Warren Norman lost for the season with a wrist injury, Vanderbilt’s rushing game will now turn to Zac Stacy as its top option.  As Stacy moves up the depth chart, Nashville’s Wesley Tate will also be given a shot to advance.

“It’s a great opportunity.  I can show everybody what I can do on the field.”

Not so fast.  Robbie Caldwell says he’ll give Tate more carries if he first meets some criteria set down by the coach.

“He has to prepare better.  He blew a couple of things (in practice on Tuesday), but hopefully he’ll get it down and be ready to go.  He’s got to step up.  This is time.”

Tate’s older brother Golden was a star receiver at Notre Dame and is currently a rookie for the Seattle Seahawks.

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BREAKING NEWS: Warren Norman to Miss Remainder of 2010 Season

Content provided by Vanderbilt Sports Line.

Anchor of Gold is reporting that sophomore Warren Norman will miss the remainder of the season with a wrist injury (The Tennessean‘s Jeff Lockridge broke the story, I just saw AOG first). This is a big loss for a Commodores offense that already struggles mightily. Zac Stacy will become the featured back, with Wesley Tate likely moving up to #2 on the depth chart.

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Week Nine On The SEC Hot List

It’s time for our regularly-scheduled SEC stock check and we’ll once again keep things short and to the point.  Below you’ll find our most recent Hot List rankings as well as three sentences of info on each squad as they head into Saturday’s action.

Here’s goes…

The SEC Hot List

1.  Auburn

As we’ve shown you here, here, here and here there are plenty of reasons to believe Auburn’s walking into a trap in Oxford.  Eleven days ago, we ticketed the Tigers for a loss at Ole Miss.  But the closer we get to kickoff, the tougher it becomes to pick against Cameron Newton.

2.  Alabama

The Crimson Tide has an open date to prepare for a road trip to LSU.  Then rough games against Mississippi State and Auburn follow.  But in the end, it’s still likely that the deepest roster, most-balanced offense, stingiest defense and sharpest coach will still win the SEC.

3.  LSU

The Tigers are also off as they prepare for next week’s showdown with Nick Saban.  Their quarterbacks couldn’t pass and Cam Newton gobbled up their defense, but the Tigers were still neck and neck with Auburn — on the road — with five to play last week.  If this team could throw the football they’d be in national championship hunt.

4.  South Carolina

The Gamecocks host downtrodden Tennessee this week.  And this is exactly the kind of game Carolina has blown in years past.  Steve Spurrier’s team is miles ahead of UT this year… if they play up to their potential.

5.  Arkansas

The Razorbacks’ ground game has come to life the past few weeks and that should help to take some pressure off of Ryan Mallett as the Hogs race to the finish line.  But Mallett and his two top wideouts are banged up.  Bobby Petrino needs to hope for an early knockout against Vandy so he can get ‘em some rest.

6.  Georgia

On one hand, the Dawgs have won three games in a row and scored 40+ points in each contest.  That’s not easy to do in the SEC.  But on the other hand, those wins came against foes who are a combined 2-11 in the league… and Florida is likely to bounce back from its awful showing against MSU two weeks ago.

7.  Mississippi State

Dan Mullen’s run-first (and second, and third) attack should thrive going up against Kentucky’s abysmal rush defense tomorrow night.  Whether this will be a blowout or a close ballgame depends on the play of Manny Diaz’ defense.  They stumbled through last week’s game with UAB and can’t afford to do the same against Mike Hartline, Randall Cobb, Chris Matthews and crew.

8.  Florida

Last chance, Gators.  I’m expecting to see a rejiggered offense and some big plays from Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey.  Oh, and the Nike Pro Combat uni with the gator-scale pattern on the helmet, too.

9.  Kentucky

“Operation: Win” has turned into “Operation: Get Us To A Better Bowl” in Lexington.  That goal is still a possibility, but a win at Mississippi State in front of Chick-fil-A Bowl scouts would certainly help.  Another loss and Joker Phillips’ team might start running out of motivations.

10.  Ole Miss

The pieces are in place for an upset: home game, option offense, versatile quarterback, experienced coach.  But these Rebels just haven’t shown much consistency on either side of the ball from one week to another.  If this is to be the high point of UM’s 2007 season, they’ll need to score points in bunches because — barring turnovers — Auburn darn sure will.

11.  Tennessee

A vocal chunk of the Volunteer fanbase is already losing faith in new coach Derek Dooley.  It remains to be seen whether he’s a good coach or not, but considering the roster he inherited, it’s laughable for anyone to give up on the guy just yet.  Misters Kiffin and Fulmer left the cupboard bare.

12.  Vanderbilt

This week Robbie Caldwell took the unusual step of reassigning Vandy’s offensive coordinator duties in midseason.  Expect Des Kitchings to put the ball in the hands of Warren Norman and Zac Stacy more than Jimmy Kiser did.  Arkansas’ defense has allowed a ridiculous 1,078 yards (515 on the ground) the last two weeks, so Norman and Stacy will likely see plenty of holes through which to run.

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