Tag:SEC
Posted on: October 27, 2010 11:36 am
Edited on: October 27, 2010 11:38 am
 

Arkansas DT DeQuinta Jones arrested

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Two weeks ago, the Arkansas defense gave up 65 points to Auburn . Last week, the Arkansas defense gave up 512 yards to Ole Miss . Safe to say the Arkansas defense could use some help.

As of this morning, it's equally safe to say Razorback defensive tackle DeQuinta Jones is not the person offering that help :

Arkansas defensive tackle D.D. Jones has been arrested for possession of a controlled substance, according to the Washington County Jail Log ...

According to the arrest report, Jones was pulled over for a traffic stop by an officer at 12:37 in the morning ... The officer made a traffic stop and detected “an overwhelming odor of marijuana” coming from inside the vehicle ...

The officer asked Jones if he could look in his pockets and Jones, according to the report, asked why. The officer felt a soft bundle in his right front pocket and asked Jones how much marijuana he had. Jones said he had “about a quarter.”

The plastic bag, which the report said contained 8.7 grams of marijuana, was removed from his pocket and Jones was placed under arrest.

The Hogs will probably be fine without Jones's services this week as they not only take on toothless Vanderbilt , they take on toothless Vanderbilt in toothless Vanderbilt's first week under new offensive coordinator Des Kitchings .

But if the arrest costs Jones any more time, it'll hurt. The following week brings a trip to South Carolina , and Jones to date has been one of Arkansas's most productive defensive linemn, starting all seven games and ranking ninth on the defense in tackles from his defensive tackle spot. After bring gashed with Jones by Cameron Newton and Jeremiah Masoli , leaving him at home is not how the Hogs want to face Marcus Lattimore and Co. on their visit to Columbia.
Posted on: October 27, 2010 11:04 am
Edited on: October 27, 2010 11:07 am
 

UGA RB Ealey will play on Saturday

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Georgia Bulldogs have turned their season around since a 1-4 start that had fans in Athens calling for Mark Richt's head and scratching their own.  But after rattling off three straight wins that have all included 40+ point performances by Georgia's offense, the Bulldogs are preparing to make an improbable run at an SEC East Division title.  The improvement has been visible on both sides of the ball, but the offensive production can be credited as arguably one of the most pivotal factors in Georgia's turnaround.

Which is why the thought of not having leading rusher Washaun Ealey for Saturday's annual battle with Florida in Jacksonville evokes concern from Athens.  Ealey suffered what was called an MCL sprain during the middle of the fourth quarter of Geogia's 44-31 victory over Kentucky.  Fear not Dawgs fans, Ealey will play against the Gators.  He said so himself.

"It's really nothing," Ealey said Tuesday night. "It's basically just a bruise."

Ealey went on to refer to his knee as "100 percent," and deflected any concern that being held out of some drills on Tuesday has anything to do with his playing status for Saturday.  Of course, having a sore knee is not surprising after his 28 carry, 157 yard performance that included a school-record five rushing touchdowns.  After sputtering a few weeks ago, Ealey bounced back with 123 yards against Vanderbilt before his career day against the Wildcats.  The sophomore entered the season with high expectations, and Saturday will provide the opportunity to write himself into the hearts of Georgia fans with a victory in Jacksonville.
 

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Posted on: October 26, 2010 1:37 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2010 1:43 pm
 

SEC joins helmet-to-helmet crusade

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The biggest story in the NFL over the past couple of weeks -- and as many would argue as the health risks become clearer and clearer, the league's biggest story for the coming decade -- has been the sudden rash of vicious helmet-to-helmet hits and Roger Goodell 's subsequent crackdown on the perpetrators via suspension.

As connected at the hip as major college football and the NFL have been for years, it's no wonder that it's only taken a matter of days for the anti-helmet-to-helmet crusade to trickle down to the college ranks. First conference up is the SEC , and the first (Second, rather; see below--ed. ) player suspended is ... drumroll please ... courtesy of the Clarion-Ledger 's Brandon Marcello ...



Mississippi State 's Chris Hughes ! It's not exactly a blow to the Bulldogs' chances against Kentucky this weekend (Hughes is a freshman backup who ranks 26th on State's roster in tackles this season) but that the SEC stepped in this quickly, and following a game where State's opponent came from outside the conference, shows that the league is making some level of commitment to cleaning up any wayward headhunting.

Of course, it's also easy to make that commitment in the wake of the NFL's high-profile decisions, and even easier to pick out an obscure backup linebacker at Mississippi State for punishment. When the SEC suspends one if its all-conference performers for a game with a divisonal title on the line, that's when we'll know their statement on player safety is serious.

UPDATE: Hughes is actually the second player suspended by the SEC in the past four days; South Carolina 's Rodney Paulk missed the first half of the Gamecocks' win over Vanderbilt after a last-minute decision from the league office.


Posted on: October 26, 2010 11:05 am
Edited on: October 26, 2010 12:18 pm
 

Cowbell prescriptions getting real expensive

Posted by Tom Fornelli



The fine folks of Starkville, Mississippi have had that fever for a long time as well.  One they've only been able to cure through the mysterious healing powers of the cowbell, but now it seems that the SEC wants the afflicted fans of Mississippi State to either die of this fever, or just die broke.  You see, the SEC placed restrictions on when Mississippi State fans can medicate themselves during a football game over the summer.

Before the game, after the game, and during timeouts are permissible. 

Of course, for those who have needed the cowbell to soothe their soul over the years, it's hard to place such limitations on healing.  Which is fine, according to the SEC.  Fans can use their cowbells whenever they like, it's just going to cost you a hell of a lot of money.  Well, not you, but the school.

The SEC has let Mississippi State know that the school has violated these cowbell rules, and that they plan on fining the school for each violation at the end of the year.  Those violations cost $5,000 for the first offense, $25,000 for the second and $50,000 for the third and any violation after that.  Which, over an eight-game conference schedule that includes four games, would end up costing the school $130,000 should Mississippi State be found to have violated the rules in each home game.

Along with the fines, the SEC is considering just abandoning the new "Cowbell Rules" and just banning them once again.  Which may be the best route for Mississippi State fans to take, actually.  After all, having the cowbells banned before never stopped fans from ringing them.

Posted on: October 26, 2010 11:02 am
Edited on: October 26, 2010 11:04 am
 

Urban Meyer misses Cam Newton. Probably.

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Cracks abounded yesterday when Twitter collectively heard that Urban Meyer had described the agony of watching former Gator Cam Newton go apenuts for Auburn by saying "It's really hard." (No, the CBS College Football Blog was not above joining in .) Which, all gym-class joking aside, it has to be at this stage; Meyer and his offensive staff have been totally unable to either adapt John Brantley to the existing Gator offense or adapt the offense to Brantley, a problem that Newton would have rendered utterly irrelevant if he'd remained in Gainesville.

But even so, was that actually what Meyer meant when he said it? Someone get us an ALCOA sponsorship, because here's the transcript , and now You Make the Call :

Reporter: Do you allow yourself to watch Cam Newton on Saturday? Did you watch him?
Meyer: It’s really hard, I’ll tell you that. I don’t watch much of it.
Reporter: It’s really hard to watch it?
Meyer: Yea.
Reporter: Because…
Meyer: I just think he’s a very good player, and I’m trying to watch more of the teams we play, so I spend my time watching the other ones we’re going to play.
Reporter: So like every Florida fan in the country, you think, ‘What if he was here?’ You let yourself...
Meyer: No, no, no, no. I didn’t say that.
Reporter: Does that ever cross your mind?
Meyer: No.
Reporter: Liar. (Laughter ensues)
On the one hand, Meyer's defense makes logical sense. If you're one of America's most richly-paid coaches and your team is riding the first three-game losing streak of your current tenure, with your biggest rivalry game of the season coming up against one of the SEC 's hottest teams, you probably don't have a whole lot of time to kick back with a cold one on Saturday afternoon and watch one team you won't play take on one you've already played.

Then again: the highlights of Newton's masterpiece performance against LSU were near-inescapable Saturday for even the most causal of football fans, and suffice it to say Meyer is not a casual football fan. Meyer is certainly aware of them, aware of what Newton is doing at Auburn, and aware that -- according to the Miami Herald 's Mike McCall -- he made a sizable mistake in evaluating Newton's potential:

Newton left because Tim Tebow decided to come back for his senior year and John Brantley was waiting in the wings.

That's where UF's staff really messed up--they just missed on the kind of talent they had in their hands. The decision was effectively made when Brantley and Newton were freshmen and Brantley got redshirted, meaning he'd be around longer after Tebow's departure. There was also some talk of putting Newton at tight end, though we'll never really know how serious it was.

The verdict here? When Meyer adds "I'll tell you that" to the difficulty of watching Newton, he's not talking about carving out the time for it. He's talking about watching a player he recruited, groomed, and eventually let walk away win a Heisman Trophy -- probably -- for someone else while the quarterback he promoted instead flails. Meyer is only human. You can bet it's hard.
HT: Team Speed Kills .
Posted on: October 25, 2010 6:57 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:11 pm
 

Davey O'Brien semifinalists announced; no Persa?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Davey O'Brien Award, given annually to the nation's top quarterback, announced its 16 semifinalists for the award today. The list is as follows, in alphabetical order:

 

  • Matt Barkley (Soph.), USC
  • Kirk Cousins (Jr.), Michigan State
  • Andy Dalton (Sr.), TCU
  • Blaine Gabbert (Jr.), Missouri
  • Robert Griffin III (Soph.), Baylor
  • Landry Jones (Soph.), Oklahoma
  • Colin Kaepernick (Sr.), Nevada
  • Andrew Luck (Jr.), Stanford
  • Ryan Mallett (Jr.), Arkansas
  • Taylor Martinez (Fr.), Nebraska
  • Kellen Moore (Jr.), Boise State
  • Cam Newton (Jr.), Auburn
  • Terrelle Pryor (Jr.), Ohio State
  • Denard Robinson (Soph.), Michigan
  • Ricky Stanzi (Sr.), Iowa
  • Darron Thomas (Soph.), Oregon

 

All in all, this is a pretty thorough list of the quarterbacks who might end up being the top quarterback in the nation once December rolls around, but it certainly does seem as if there was one glaring omission: Northwestern sophomore Dan Persa . Persa currently leads the nation in completion percentage, is eighth in passing efficiency  and is fifth in total offense . Oh, and Persa also leads his team in rushing yards (341) and rushing touchdowns (six) -- each by pretty substantial margins over the nearest teammate.

Of course, it certainly merits mention that Northwestern is currently on a two-game losing streak, and that the Wildcats hadn't really beaten anyone of merit before the streak either. But in the Wildcats' losses to Michigan State and Purdue -- neither of whom have lost a Big Ten game yet, for what it's worth -- Persa was hardly "at fault" for the losses; he averaged 281 yards of total offense in the two games and scored four touchdowns to just one turnover.

It's hard to say who should be bumped for Persa's sake, though; every one of the top 16 semifinalists has a legitimate claim to deserving some sort of accolade. It's also worth pointing out, however, that until Missouri and Oklahoma faced each other this past weekend, Dalton, Gabbert, and Jones were all quarterbacking undefeated teams, and that's probably the only reason they're on the list; Jones and Gabbert, in particular, aren't even close to the top 16 of passing efficiency in the nation (34th and 39th, respectively). None of the three are terribly gifted runners, either, while Persa's been forced to anchor the woeful Northwestern ground game.

Of course, the O'Brien Award probably wants to avoid the embarrassment of not being able to even nominate a title contender's quarterback as a finalist, and with two conference losses, it's extremely unlikely that Northwestern will represent the Big Ten in Pasadena, much less make a run at a spot in the Top 10. Persa and his Wildcats aren't high-profile, and that's enough to leave him off this list. Inclusion's academic either way, since this is clearly Cam Newton's to lose, but it'd be nice to see a quarterback like Persa rewarded for putting together one hell of a season so far even when he doesn't have the supporting cast to win 11 games in a season.


Posted on: October 25, 2010 5:06 pm
 

Vandy coordinator carousel should stop on option

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's understandable that Vanderbilt would be a little desperate when it comes to the offensive coordinator's position: they rank 105th in total offense, a year after finishing 109th, a year after finishing 118th, a year after finishing 103rd.

But still, you'd think going through three coordinators in less than a calendar year would be a little much. Not if you're first-year head coach Robbie Caldwell , though, who today demoted previous play-caller Johnny Kiser back to quarterbacks coach and promoted running backs coach Des Kitchings to the coordinator's chair. Kiser was himself promoted just this past offseason at the expense of former coordinator Ted Cain , now the Commodores' special teams/tight ends coach.

That Caldwell has shaken up the usually-staid 'Dore coaching ranks is already on the surprising side. (Previous head man Bobby Johnson stuck with Cain through several disappointing seasons.) But what borders on stunning is that he selected the unproven Kitchings over a staff member with an excellent offensive pedigree and actual coordinating experience: Herb Hand , the current Vandy offensive line coach and a Rich Rodriguez disciple who served as co-coordinator alongside Gus Malzahn at Tulsa. Making the move even more mystifying is that for the past two seasons, Vandy has attempted (and largely failed) to run the same no-huddle, up-tempo attack that Hand had a major hand (heh) in developing with Malzahn for the Golden Hurricane.

That he was passed over in favor of Kitchings is probably a signal that Caldwell intends to scrap the sputtering no-huddle for something more conservative; he even added a "no comment" for good measure when asked about the possibility of such a change. But without a once-in-a-decade talent like Jay Cutler or Earl Bennett on hand -- and though Warren Norman is a productive running back, no such talent currently is -- swapping offensive philosophies at Vandy is like rearranging the proverbial deck chairs on that boat they made the move about.

Which is why Vandy is long overdue in following the lead of fellow academics-first peer Georgia Tech and embracing the triple option. Vandy faces an overwhelming talent deficit in regards to the rest of the SEC and realistically always will; it's past time, then, to turn towards the offensive scheme that has proven itself most able to level an uneven athletic playing field. After four straight years plumbing the bottom-most depths of the country's offensive rankings, it's safe to say that playing musical chairs in the coordinator's chair isn't going to deliver the kind of 180-degree change Vandy needs. With all due respect to Caldwell and Kitchings (who, in fairness, cannot do any worse than his predecessors), it's time to think much, much further outside the box.

Posted on: October 25, 2010 4:52 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2010 4:58 pm
 

Lattimore expected to play against Tennessee

Posted by Chip Patterson

With Saturday's 21-7 victory over Vanderbilt, South Carolina snapped an SEC road losing streak that dated by to 2008 and pushed the Gamecocks into the division lead in the SEC East.  After getting shut down in the second half against Kentucky, South Carolina's offense was able to get clicking again against the Commodores for 484 yards of total offense.  A statistic that is especially impressive with the absence of star running back Marcus Lattimore.  

Lattimore sat out Saturday's match up with Vanderbilt nursing a sprained ankle.  Word from Columbia is that he could have gone if needed, but head coach Steve Spurrier wanted to rest the true freshman in preparation for the Gamecocks' final three conference games: against Tennessee, Arkansas, and at Florida.  

So far, the plan appears to be working.  The Gamecocks picked up the W in Nashville and Lattimore was able to take the week off.  Spurrier says that after resting against the Commodores, Lattimore should be 100 percent for Saturday's showdown with Tennessee.  

Lattimore is currently fifth in the SEC in rushing yards per game (89.7) and has scored a touchdown in every game of his young career.  Lattimore's greatest strength's are not able to be read in statistics.  His running style is not completely power, but he rarely is brought down by less than two defenders.  The rare combination of power and speed can wear down a defense, opening up the passing game for quarterback Stephen Garcia to find All-SEC wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey down the field.  The Gamecocks are three conference victories from their first SEC Championship Game appearance.  All of their games are winnable, but with one loss the Gamecocks will find themselves in a messy three-way with Georgia and Florida.  No one wants that (innuendo intended).

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