Posted on: August 15, 2011 4:19 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 4:27 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Running down everything you need to know from the weekend's news in the SEC, courtesy of our CBSSports.com RapidReporters.
ARKANSAS: Maybe that Knile Davis injury won't hurt the Hogs as badly as expected? That might be the lesson from Tyler Wilson's scorching fall camp, which continued through the weekend after a 16-of-20 performance in the scrimmage in which Davis was injured. Saturday, Wilson hit all 10 of his passes in a skeleton drill and had newly-anointed starting tailback Ronnie Wingo singing his praises. "“He’s taken control of the offense," Wingo said.
Wilson's progress has been helped by a new film system in which the Hogs' practice is shot from a camera at the top of a pole positioned behind the offense. More good news for the Hogs: starting lineman Grant Cook is back at practice and JUCO linebacker Alonzo Highsmith appears to have a starting position locked up.
GEORGIA: True freshman outside linebacker Ray Drew was expected to contribute early and often after picking the Dawgs over offers from nearly every school in the country, but that job became harder Sunday after Drew sprained his shoulder in a scooter accident. He's considered day-to-day.
But the much bigger injury crisis for the Bulldogs is taking place in the backfield--three of the first four tailbacks on the depth chart were forced to miss practice Saturday, including potential starters Richard Samuel and Isaiah Crowell.
LSU: Michael Ford arrived at Baton Rouge as a much-hyped running back prospect, but he was not among the four tailbacks mentioned by Les Miles as being in the starting mix for the Tigers. Those would be Spencer Ware (the favorite), Jakhari Gore, Alfred Blue, and true freshman Terrence McGee, who Miles singled out for some praise. "It's who's got the hot hand a little bit, and right now it would be those four," Miles said.
ALABAMA: Nick Saban sounded less than thrilled with his running game's iffy performance in the Tide's Saturday scrimmage. "At some point in this camp, we need to develop some cohesion,” he said. “I feel like we have power up front, and we should be a better running team." The passing game still has to yet to begin working with one of its key pieces, too, as receiver Duron Carter has not yet begin practicing as the school waits to solve a transcript issue.
But the Tide defense rolls on as expected; Mark Barron is 100 percent after last year's pectoral injury and redshirt freshman OLB Adrian Hubbard drew praise from Saban -- no easy task -- for his pass-rushing potential.
MISSISSIPPI STATE: Via the Clarion-Ledger's Brandon Marcello, Dan Mullen was not happy with his team's Saturday practice and was even more disgusted with the Bulldogs' Monday morning effort, calling the offensive showing "pathetic." Also: though Clemson transfer linebacker Brandon Maye has been expected by many to occupy one of MSU's three vacant starting linebacker positions, Mullen said Maye "has a long way to go to get a spot."
ELSEWHERE: Jadeveon Clowney collected a pair of sacks in South Carolina's weekend scrimmage, but defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson says he's not in line for a starting position just yet ... Florida do-everything tight end Jordan Reed got a look at punt returner over the weekend--and from the sound of things, came away with a shot at the job ... Speaking of punt returns, Auburn assistant Trooper Taylor said he'd take some heat this year if the Tigers' lackluster returns on his watch didn't improve. "It needs to get better or somebody else will be here talking to you," he said. "I'll be spraying fruit at Walmart" ... Tennessee is poised to start a pair of true freshmen linebackers in Curt Maggitt and A.J. Johnson. And while Derek Dooley was pleased with the improved "efficiency" of the Vol offense under Tyler Bray, Bray still completed just 12 of 26 passes (46 percent) in Saturday's scrimmage ... And speaking of errant passing, the three quarterbacks dueling for the Ole Miss job went a combined 7-of-24 in the Rebels' weekend scrimmage.
Tags: A.J. Johnson, Adrian Hubbard, Alabama, Alfred Blue, Alonzo Highsmith, Arkansas, Auburn, Brandon Maye, Clemson, Curt Maggitt, Dan Mullen, Derek Dooley, Duron Carter, Florida, Georgia, Grant Cook, Isaiah Crowell, Jakhari Gore, Jerry Hinnen, Jordan Reed, Knile Davis, LSU, Mark Barron, Michael Ford, Mississippi State, Nick Saban, Ole Miss, Ray Drew, Richard Samuel, Ronie Wingo, SEC, Spencer Ware, Tennessee, Terrence McGee, Trroper Taylor, Tyler Bray, Tyler Wilson
Posted on: August 12, 2011 12:04 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
The hits just keep coming to an already injury depleted Georgia team.
This time it's prized recruit and possible starting tailback Isaiah Crowell, who is dealing with a minor groin injury according to head coach Mark Richt. Columbus Ledger-Enquier beat writer Seth Emerson reports that the injury has sidelined Crowell for Friday's practice and made him day-to-day the rest of camp.
How big is this injury? Considering that the team's top two rushers from last season, Washaun Ealey and Caleb King are both no longer with the team, Crowell was expected to compete for significant playing time for the opener against Boise State.
Journeyman Richard Samuel entered camp as the number one running back but with Crowell limited, the depth at the position is perilously thin. Redshirt freshman Ken Malcome is the lone back behind Samuel with Carlton Thomas expected to return following his suspension for the Boise State game.
Posted on: August 10, 2011 11:49 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Running down everything you need to know from the day's news in the SEC, courtesy of our CBSSports.com RapidReporters.
TENNESSEE: Derek Dooley was less-than-thrilled with the Volunteers' first scrimmage of fall camp, saying of the offense "they just weren't working together, they looked like 11 individuals out there." And though quarterback Tyler Bray had his moments, Dooley wanted more out of his sophomore signal-caller.
"He made some throws, made a couple of big plays," Dooley said. "But the consistency was nonexistent, it's enough to drive you crazy." For the scrimmage, Bray went 13-of-29 for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Former blue-chip receiver Da'Rick Rogers had a productive scrimmage, catching six balls for 77 yards and a touchdown.
GEORGIA: The Bulldogs have named their three new starters on the offensive line, joining senior holdovers Cordy Glenn at tackle and Ben Jones at center: sophomore guards Kenarious Gates (left) and Chris Burnette (right), and senior left tackle Justin Anderson. Of thre three, only Gates made a start in 2010; Anderson was playing on the defensive line.
Two names impressing in the early going are converted linebacker Richard Samuel at running back -- at 6'2, 243 now a much more imposing physical presence than in his first stint at RB -- and wide receiver Marlon Brown. "“Coach (Mark) Richt asked me the other day if I could name one receiver that’s caught my eye," said quarterback Aaron Murray. "I said Marlon. He’s having a tremendous camp. He’s making plays, looks fluid and is real consistent.”
But the highlight of yesterday's practice? 6'4", 330-pound nose tackle Johnathan Jenkins taking an interception back for a score. Also, starting CB Brandon Boykin and potential starting S Jakar Hamilton continue to be held out of practice with hamstring inuries.
AUBURN: Gene Chizik confirmed yesterday that after offseason shoulder surgery, five-star linebacker signee Kris Frost will miss the entirety of the season. Frost likely would have began his Auburn career on the two-deep at outside linebacker. He becomes the second five-star Tiger recruit in as many seasons to miss his freshman year, following tackle Shon Coleman's leukemia diagnosis in 2010.
It doesn't sound like fan favorite fullback Ladarious Phillips will be a major contributor anytime soon for the Tigers; Chizik said he hasn't "bought any stock in his development yet" and that Phillips "has a long way to go."
ALABAMA: To hear wide receiver Brandon Gibson tell it, the rest of the Tide offense isn't taking sides in the QB battle between A.J. McCarron and Phillip Sims. " “They both come out with a great attitude, they help each other out, and they're both competitive," Gibson said. "So with either one of them, we're going to be fine.”
As for third quarterback Blake Sims, Nick Saban said he could see the field as the Tide's designated Wildcat quarterback, or even at tailback. After missing Monday's practice with a leg injury, backup offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio (brother of five-star Tide tackle signee Cyrus Kouandjio) participated in drills Tuesday.
AND ELSEWHERE: Starting senior guard Grant Cook was held out of Tuesday's Arkansas practice with a leg injury, but Bobby Petrino doesn't believe the injury is serious. True freshman Brey Cook (no relation, we think) is filling in with aplomb ... At South Carolina, No. 1 overall recruit Jadeveon Clowney returned to practice after a one-day absence due to a "personal matter." Clowney ran with the Gamecocks' first-team line in practice ... The Florida offensive line wants under-fire quarterback John Brantley to know they've got his back. And though we're not sure about the thoughts of speed-backs Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey on the switch, Gator powerback Mike Gillislee likes the move to a pro-style scheme ... Sixth-year defensive end Kentrell Lockett sat out Tuesday's practice as Rebel coaches exercised caution with their oft-injured star. Houston Nutt also praised JUCO quarterback transfer Zack Stoudt, saying that after his spring game suspension he had done what he needed to do over the summer.
Tags: A.J. McCarron, Aaron Murray, Alabama, Arie Kouandjio, Arkansas, Auburn, Ben Jones, Blake Sims, Bobby Petrino, Brandon Boykin, Brandon Gibson, Brey Cook, Chris Burnette, Chris Rainey, Cordy Glenn, Cyrus Kouandjio, Da'Rick Rogers, Derek Dooley, Florida, Gene Chizik, Georgia, Grant Cook, Houston Nutt, Jadeveon Clowney, Jakar Hamilton, Jeff Demps, Jerry Hinnen, John Brantley, Johnathan Jenkins, Justin Anderson, Kenarious Gates, Kentrell Lockett, Kris Frost, Ladarious Phillips, Mark Richt, Marlon Brown, Mike Gillislee, Nick Saban, Phillip Sims, Richard Samuel, SEC, Shon Coleman, South Carolina, Tennessee, Tyler Bray, Zack Stoudt
Posted on: July 21, 2011 8:06 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 8:07 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Asked about five-star Georgia running back recruit Isaiah Crowell on Signing Day, Mark Richt said he "wouldn't be shocked to see him running that rock in the dome against Boise State on the opening play." But even after losing top two rushers Washaun Ealey and Caleb King during the offseason, Richt declined to name Crowell the Bulldog starter Thursday at SEC Media Days and seemed to be making a concerted effort to keep a lid on the Crowell hype.
How concerted? Away from the main Media Days podium, Richt told Dawgs247 reporter Gentry Estes that entering fall camp, the Bulldogs' No. 1 tailback would be positional journeyman Richard Samuel:
“If anybody needed to be soothed a little bit, that will do it,” Richt said of Samuel. “He’s very mature physically, and he’s a mature man in the way he goes about his business. He has two years of experience within our system to know what to do.
“He’ll be in that meeting room, and he’ll be a great example of how to prepare and how to play the position.”
While we certainly don't doubt that Samuel (pictured) will indeed be "a great example of how to prepare," we won't blame Bulldog fans if they're less-than-soothed about Samuel's chances of being as great on the field as he is in that meeting room. Samuel spent all of 2010 and this year's spring camp at linebacker after two mildly productive years at tailback in '08 and '09. If he really is the Bulldogs' best option for "running that rock," it seems unlikely the Georgia ground game will have the teeth necessary to get them back to Atlanta.
Which is why Richt's putting Samuel in the preseason top slot is most likely his way of shielding Crowell from the pressure of statements like, well, his own on Signing Day. When asked directly about Crowell Thursday, Richt sang something of a different tune:
“We don’t expect Isaiah to save the program,” Richt said. “We don’t expect Isaiah to put the team on his back. We expect Isaiah to learn what to do and to do things the Georgia way and to try to do anything he can to help the team win as a freshman. We’ll see how far that goes.
“I’ve got a sense of anticipation. I’m curious to see what’s going to happen when we put the pads on for the first time and go live and just see what he does, see how he handles getting hit real hard, see how he handles the speed of the Southeastern Conference. … We won’t treat him whole lot different than any other player who is talented but we’re wanting to make sure he has success.”
Of course, Richt's elevation of Samuel may not be motivation for Crowell alone; redshirt freshman Ken Malcome remains in the mix, and Carlton Thomas is expected to return following his suspension for the Boise game.
But despite Richt's assurances, he does need someone to put the rushing attack on his back (if not the entire team), and Crowell remains the most likely candidate to do that. Samuel may start the fall at No. 1, but we not only won't be shocked if Crowell takes the opening handoff against Boise; we'll be shocked if he doesn't.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 12:33 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 2:25 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
For a coach expected by many to be shown the door at the end of the 2011 season, Georgia's Mark Richt didn't exactly seem consigned to his fate during an upbeat appearance at SEC Media Days.
"If you go in to [athletic building] Butts-Mehre," he said, "there's not one sense of doom or gloom ... Expectations are just as high as they've ever been going into any season. Our goal is to win the Eastern division. That's just the way we think, every single season, and we believe we've got just as good a chance as anybody to do that."
The rest of the highlights from Richt's time at the podium, organized by topic:
The first two games. The Bulldogs start the year off with the most challenging of bangs, playing Boise State in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic and hosting SEC East favorite South Carolina in Week 2. About agreeing to play the Broncos, Richt said "What better way to send a surge of energy through our program than to schedule a game like that? There's risk in playing a team that can whip your tail. Because they might whip your tail. But to get back where we want to be -- highly ranked and highly thought of -- we need to play this game."
About the Broncos themselves, Richt called them "a special football team in the way they approach it ... I've probably never seen anyone play any harder than they do as a team, down after down."
As for Carolina, Richt said understanding the challenge the Gamecocks represent "energized the program in a big way ... everybody understands what it's going to take, preparation-wise."
Recruiting. The most animated Richt became was discussing the Bulldogs' efforts to recruit in-state, which he says was hampered by opponents willing to hand out scholarship offers they don't intend on honoring right away.
"That's our biggest problem at Georgia, is trying to make those evaluations properly," he said. "Because I'll say this: when we offer a kid at Georgia, we mean it. If we offer a kid and he wants to accept that offer, we're not gonna tell him 'Well, we offered you, but we don't want you to commit right now.' If we offer a guy and he commits, he's in ...
"Some out-of-state schools, they'll go blazing through the state offering everybody--not everybody, but a lot of guys. And so the high school coach is like 'Well so-and-so offered him, why didn't you offer him?' It does put pressure on us to offer a guy a little sooner than you'd like to."
Richt also criticized teams that would take an early commitment, and then sever ties with the recruit once they saw a prospect they liked better. "At Georgia, if he commits to us," he said, "we're not dumping him."
The 3-4. Richt expects a big step forward in his team's performance in second-year defensive coordinator Todd Grantham's system, for two reasons. One is the Bulldogs' familiarity with the defense. ""Our guys were spending a lot of time last year trying to figure out what to do, [asking] what's my assignment," he said, "and maybe not enough time on 'How do I do my job well.'"
But he also said the arrival of jumbo-sized JUCO nose guard Johnathan Jenkins would make a major impact, both in terms of Jenkins' ability and in motivating holdover Kwame Geathers into his spring MVP performance. "We think [Jenkins] can really do a great job of making the 3-4 go," Richt said. "If you don't have a nose guard that demands double-teams and maybe a triple team once in a while, you're not going to free up your linebackers to do the things that you want them to do."
Crowell? On Signing Day, Richt said that incoming five-star running back Isaiah Crowell might take the first handoff of the season against Boise. But Richt said little (if anything) specific about Crowell at Media Days, choosing instead to focus on running back-turned-linebacker-turned-runni
ng back Richard Samuel when asked about the Bulldogs' diminished running back depth.
"We're really only one guy shy of where we thought we'd be," Richt said. "[Samuel] knows the system, knows the plays, knows how to play the game. And he's a more mature man than he was a couple years ago ... I think we have plenty of depth at that position right now. Question is how productive will we be."
That Richt declined to discuss Crowell could be a signal that he's less confident in Crowell's abilities than he was at Signing Day ... or he could just be trying to keep a lid on the hype that's described Crowell as the next Knowshon Moreno.
Richt did add that the "starting lineup gives me a lot of confidence" and that he thinks center Ben Jones "is going to win the Rimington." He even got to reiterate that stance when Jones himself entered the media room to take the mic and ask if Richt "trusted" the offensive line. (Rich said he did.)
Jersey change. The Bulldogs already have a history with uniform experiments and will go to the well again against Boise, donning a set of Nike "Pro Combat" uniforms (as will the Broncos) the players saw for the first time this week.
"I think jersey change is a great idea if you win, and I think it's a bad idea if you lose," Richt said. "Our players are excited about it. A lot of energy in the room [on their debut] and a lot of excitement. They're going to enjoy wearing those jerseys .... Is that going to help us win the game? I promise it won't win the game for us. Boise's going to be wearing theirs too.
"But it's fun ... College football is a grind. A grind for the coaches, a grind for the players. We're not complaining. But any time you can have some fun with your guys, I think it's good to do that."
Muschamp. Richt drew a laugh with this reponse to a question about new Florida coach Will Muschamp, a Georgia graduate: "I'm sure he's going to tell everyone in Florida he's Florida through and through, but I guarantee there's a little bit of red and black in his veins."
Tenure. Asked about the difficulties of being at one SEC school for 11 years: "It's not difficult if you win."
Posted on: July 18, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 12:37 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The rising junior from Frostproof, Fla., violated team rules back in the spring, three persons familiar with the situation confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As per Georgia Athletic Association student-athlete policy, Thomas has to sit out 10 percent of scheduled games this season.
This all means that for Georgia's season opener, the Bulldogs now have three running backs available to play. Two of them -- Isaiah Crowell and Ken Malcome -- have never played a down of college football. Then there's Richard Samuel, who does have playing experience, but unfortunately it's all been at linebacker as the Bulldogs just moved him to running back last week.
Posted on: July 15, 2011 4:52 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
On certain Fridays we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.
THE FOUR LINKS ...
1. Sure, we love Twitter for its ability to get big news out quickly and allow fans (and, ahem, bloggers) to interact directly with their favorite athletes and coaches. But we love it even more for allowing college football players the chance to Tweet pictures of their teammates dressed up like Harry Potter:
That's Alabama offensive lineman Tyler Love, as photographed by Tide safety Will Lowery. We'll turn this whole site into a Tyler Love tribute page if, in the event Alabama wins another national title, he pulls a wand out of his sock and screams "Accio crystal football!" on the championship dais.
2. One of college football's most well-known annual charity events still isn't well-known enough. It's Penn State's yearly "Lift for Life," which last weekend raised nearly $100,000 for kidney cancer research. Over its nine-year run, the event has raised almost $600,000 and is growing each year. A video report:
Well done, Nittany Lions.
3. It was a busy week of comings-and-goings on the personnel front in the SEC. Ole Miss return man/receiver Jesse Grandy is now officially no longer a part of the Rebel roster. Georgia linebacker Richard Samuel has moved back to running back after moving to linebacker last year (and may have a better shot at playing time after Caleb King's recent departure). Former Auburn backup linebacker Jessel Curry has landed at Delaware. And new Virginia Tech lineman Brent Benedict confirmed that a conflict with Bulldog strength-and-conditioning coach Joe Tereshinski was responsible for his leaving Athens.
4. Fans of Michigan submitted designs for a Wolverine mascot as part of a contest at the Detroit News. Even though there's no way to make this work as an actual flesh-and-cloth presence on the sidelines, we thought we'd pass on our favorite anyway:
More schools should totally be represented by vaguely feminine fang-toothed anime killing machines, right? Am I right? (No, I am probably not right.)
AND THE CLOUD ...
We're not sure who's really talking up Southern Miss for an undefeated season (negotiating road trips to both Virginia and Navy in a three-week span won't be easy), but head coach Larry Fedora is surprisingly fine with that talk anyway ... Desmond Howard says Michigan should start retiring numbers again, numbers like, say, just to pick an example totally at random, Desmond Howard's ... Alshon Jeffery took to Twitter to dispel rumors he'd been arrested for a fight ... Former Tennessee receiver (and one-time Lane Kiffin recruiting coup) Nu'Keese Richardson has had another run-in with the law ... The schedule of players to be made available at the annual carnival of cray-cray that is SEC Media Days has been released ... Cam Newton made an appearance (of sorts) in a Jeopardy! Daily Double answer recently ... Mississippi State and Ole Miss play out their rivalry in a who-has-the-best-promotional-Intern
et-video battle ... and, finally, though the Syracuse version was the first college-themed "pillow pet" to catch the Internet's eye ...
you should know there's a whole zoo of the things out there for purchase.
Tags: Accio crystal football!, Alabama, Alshon Jeffery, Big Ten, Brent Benedict, Cam Newton, Desmond Howard, Friday Four Links, Georgia, Harry Potter, It's Friday Friday Gotta Get Down on Friday, Jesse Grandy, Jessel Curry, Joe Tereshinski, Lane Kiffin, Larry Fedora, Michigan, Mississippi State, Nu'Keese Richardson, Ole Miss, Penn State, Richard Samuel, SEC, SEC Media Days, Southern Miss, Syracuse, Tennessee, Tyler Love, Virginia Tech, Will Lowery