Posted on: September 30, 2011 4:20 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Running down everything you need to know from the current news in the SEC, courtesy of our CBSSports.com RapidReporters (and others).
SOUTH CAROLINA. It doesn't seem possible that Marcus Lattimore could take on even more of a burden for the Gamecock offense, but that's how things look as his team prepares for Saturday's visit from Auburn. Lattimore's top two backups are both doubtful for the game with injuries; Kenny Miles is struggling with a sprained wrist, third-stringer Eric Baker might miss the game as well, and freshman Shon Carson tore his ACL in mid-September. Freshman Brandon Wilds could be the only scholarship running back available for Steve Spurrier other than Lattimore, but even if Baker is healthy, the junior has just five carries combined the previous three seasons.
Lattimore already leads the nation in rushing attempts with a whopping 26.75 per game. But given the problems Carolina must deal with when either anyone other then Lattimore rushes the ball or Stephen Garcia drops back to pass, that workload doesn't seem likely at all to decrease this week.
In other Gamecock news, true freshman receiver Damiere Byrd will make his long-awaited debut this week after all. His four-game NCAA suspension has been served, but in midweek Spurrier said he hadn't been "cleared" just yet. Now he has.
AUBURN. If the Gamecocks start to feel sorry for themselves, though, all they'll have to do is look to the opposite sideline this week. After already losing receiver Trovon Reed to a shoulder injury for this week and possibly longer, the Tigers also confirmed this week that defensive end Dee Ford will miss the remainder of the season with a herniated disk. Though technically a backup, Ford was the only junior in the entire Tiger defensive line's two-deep; his spot in the rotation will be filled by two players with a combined 23 career snaps.
It's those kinds of defensive issues that have forced Gene Chizik and Gus Malzahn to slow down Malzahn's preferred up-tempo style during his Auburn tenure; the Tigers have averaged only one more play per-game under Malzahn than they did in the 12 seasons before his arrival.
OLE MISS. Things in Oxford are ugly off the field, with the Ole Miss chancellor himself writing open letters in response to anonymous "threats" and the Rebel community seemingly divided over the status of athletic director Pete Boone and coach Houston Nutt. But they might be even uglier on it right now, which is why Randall Mackey seems set to become the Rebels' third starter under center in five games as the Rebels travel to take on Fresno State.
And speaking of ugly, more than a few wags on Twitter had something to say about Nutt's decision to wear a flat-brimmed blue baseball cap during his team's loss to Georgia. He explained himself in straightforward fashion this week: he wanted to protect his face from the sun, and he couldn't wear both his preferred straw hat and a headset at the same time. Works for us.
ARKANSAS. Even after losing Tenarius Wright for 4-to-6 weeks, there is some good news for the Hogs on the injury front. Senior corner Isaac Madison is expected to play against Texas A&M after leaving the Alabama game with an injury, and running back Broderick Green has made startling progress from the ACL tear suffered during spring practice--so much progress that Green is already practicing and is now expected before the season's end, possibly as soon as this week.
On the downside, defensive coordinator Willy Robinson is less-than-thrilled with the performance of senior safety Tramain Thomas at the moment. "I'm not going to sit down there and allow what was going on during the course of the game to continue, so I made a switch there," Robinson said of pulling Thomas against Alabama. "This week he knows he's under fire, and he'd better give us better effort."
ELSEWHERE: Nick Saban said five-star running back recruit Dee Hart has made substantial progress since preseason ACL surgery, but remains highly likely to redshirt ... Vanderbilt starting linebacker Tristan Strong will miss the rest of the 2011 season after tearing an ACL against South Carolina. He was third on the team in tackles ...
Georgia linebacker Christian Robinson is expecting to play "15-20 plays" in his return from injury. His partner in rehab? None other than Barbara Dooley, who Robinson promised he'd wear Derek Dooley-style orange pants if his Dawgs beat Derek's Vols later this season ... After initially asking to leave the team, Bulldog backup running back Ken Malcome changed his mind and rejoined the squad on Thursday ...
Tennessee freshman running back and returner Devrin Young is set to make his season debut after missing the Volunteers' first three games with a broken collarbone ... Fans at the Vols' game against Buffalo will be able to wave pink shakers in exhcnage for a donation to breast cancer research ... Mississippi State isn't unhappy with defensive tackles Fletcher Cox and Josh Boyd, but would like to see more production from them all the same ... Why, yes, Kentucky offensive coordinator Randy Sanders is "frustrated" with his team's offensive struggles. We doubt you're surprised.
Tags: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Barbara Dooley, Brandon Wilds, Broderick Green, Buffalo, Christian Robinson, Damiere Byrd, Dee Ford, Dee Hart, Derek Dooley, Devrin Young, Eric Baker, Fletcher Cox, Fresno State, Gene Chizik, Georgia, Gus Malzahn, Houston Nutt, Isaac Madison, Jerry Hinnen, Josh Boyd, Ken Malcome, Kenny Miles, Kentucky, Marcus Lattimore, Mississippi State, NCAA, Nick Saban, Ole Miss, Pete Boone, Randall Mackey, Randy Sanders, RapidReport Roundup, SEC, Shon Carson, South Carolina, Stephen Garcia, Steve Spurrier, Tenarius Wright, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Tramain Thomas, Tristan Strong, Trovon Reed, Vanderbilt, Willy Robinson
Posted on: March 28, 2011 11:36 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
We wouldn't go nearly so far as to say that South Carolina's spring practices have been cursed. But we also don't think there's any arguing with the fact that -- as the old Chinese curse goes -- Steve Spurrier is living in interesting times this spring.
Start with last Thursday, when (as you may have heard) Gamecock signee, consensus national No. 1 recruit, and action figure Jadeveon Clowney was briefly detained by police at a Columbia bar Clowney had entered unlawfully. Though Clowney was not arrested and cleared of any wrongdoing in the robbery that led to the detainment, the incident made national headlines nonetheless.
So to emphasize his (future) player's innocence, Spurrier elected last Friday to do what any other coach would do in this situation: arrange for the local police chief to stop by during his post-practice meeting with the media and handcuff him in a simulated detainment , of course. And yes, via The Big Spur , there's video of this handcuffing:
When we say "any other coach" would do the same thing here, we actually mean "no other coach," naturally. It's great to see that even if Spurrier isn't quite lighting up scoreboards the way he did in his Florida salad days, his sense of the theatrical has remained entirely intact.
By his own admission, though, if his quarterbacks's performance thus far this spring is any indication, his offense this fall won't have much use for flash or theatricality. Stephen Garcia and Connor Shaw did not fare well in Saturday's first scrimmage of spring camp, and Spurrier did little to hide his disappointment:
Senior Stephen Garcia, in his first scrimmage action since his suspension last week, was 5 for 13 for 51 yards ... Backup Connor Shaw was often shaky in his decision-making, going 4 for 14 for 47 yards and an interception on a deep ball. He did make one nice throw on an out route to Lamar Scruggs, a 14-yard pickup as he was getting hit.
Complaining, loudly, about his quarterbacks is obviously nothing new for Spurrier. But he's right that those stats are the furthest thing from inspiring, particularly considering Garcia and Shaw were going up against a secondary that finished dead last in the SEC in opponent's quarterback rating in conference play. Even with a back as superhuman as Lattimore, running the ball 50 times a game isn't going to produce a second straight trip to Atlanta.
Spurrier knows that, which is why his frustration with his quarterbacks is so palpable. It's just one more interesting story to watch in what's becoming a very interesting spring in Columbia.