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Tag:SEC Football
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 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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Posted on: October 19, 2010 10:40 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 10:44 am
 

Mallett may practice Tuesday for Razorbacks

Posted by Chip Patterson

Ask any Arkansas fan, Ryan Mallett was sorely missed on the field in the second half of the Razorbacks 65-43 loss to Auburn on Saturday.  When Mallett went down after a blow to the head in the second quarter, backup quarterback Tyler Wilson did his best impression of the Razorbacks starter for as long as he could.  Wilson threw for 332 yards and four touchdowns in just over two quarters of work, but two interceptions in the fourth quarter helped the Tigers pull away late.  The good news for Razorbacks fans is head coach Bobby Petrino seems to think Mallett will be back this week, perhaps as soon as Tuesday.

“Yesterday he was asymptomatic,” Petrino said Monday at his weekly press conference. “He’ll go through series of tests today, this afternoon. Best-case scenario, he comes out and practices tomorrow, but I don’t know that yet.  He has no headaches and he has no symptoms from the concussion. So that’s very, very positive.”

Petrino will prepare Wilson for Saturday's match up with Ole Miss, but all signs seem to point to Mallett taking the field.  

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Posted on: October 14, 2010 11:01 am
Edited on: October 14, 2010 11:05 am
 

Meyer: Demps probable, Brantley at full speed

Posted by Chip Patterson

Florida's home loss to LSU on Saturday night left Gator fans with a lot of "what if's."  Fans wondered how the game could have been different if quarterback John Brantley had been 100%, or if the outcome would have changed with the presence of speedy playmaker Jeff Demps.  Head coach Urban Meyer was able to deliver good news on both players on Wednesday.

"Good news on Demps," Meyer said during the SEC teleconference on Wednesday. "He's feeling a lot better than he did last week.  Obviously, we need his big-play shot. I put him as probable for Saturday (against Mississippi State). He's going to do some practice (Wednesday) and then, he's telling me, he's going to practice (Thursday)."

While the exact extent of Brantley's rib and thumb injuries have been a topic of much debate, Meyer continues to insist that his starting quarterback is ready to play.  Though this time he has some more evidence to present, with Brantley going full speed in practice for the first time in almost two weeks.  Brantley was limited leading up to the LSU game due to shoulder complications from his rib injury.

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Posted on: October 13, 2010 4:31 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2010 4:34 pm
 

Derrick Locke doubtful against South Carolina

Posted by Chip Patterson

Kentucky came painfully close to stunning the No. 8 Auburn Tigers at home last Saturday, only to have their hearts ripped out by a last minute field goal.  The Wildcats fought till the end, but at the end of the night found themselves still winless in conference play.  Unfortunately for first-year head coach Joker Phillips, that elusive first conference win will be even more difficult to obtain with leading rusher Derrick Locke doubtful for Saturday's matchup with No. 10 South Carolina.  

The senior running back has been the cornerstone of the Wildcats offense, rushing for 574 yards and scoring seven times through the first six games of the season.  The SEC's third-leading rusher suffered a shoulder stinger in the 37-34 loss to Auburn last week, limiting the use of his left arm.  Locke has not been ruled out against the Gamecocks, but Phillips does not sound optimistic.

“If he can’t protect himself, we’re not going to put him out on the field,” Phillips said Wednesday morning.  “He’ll be in the hotel on Friday night...we’ll take him to the hotel and he’ll be part of the 70 that travels. We’ll see how he feels on Saturday morning because (feeling) could come back at any moment, any day, anytime. It could be this afternoon, a week and a half, two weeks, who knows. But we’ve got to put him on the bus.”

If Locke is out, the rushing duties will likely fall in the hands of sophomore Donald Russell and junior wide receiver Randall Cobb.  Cobb was a threat all over the field against the Tigers, rushing for two touchdowns, catching a touchdown pass, and throwing for another.

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Posted on: October 12, 2010 6:11 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2010 6:25 pm
 

Offense costing Gators more than wins?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The headlines folllowing LSU's 33-29 win over Florida Saturday were universally in the vein of "Les Miles's brand of crazy deserves its own entry in the DSM-IV," and with good reason, because Miles's brand of crazy does totally deserve his own entry in the DSM-IV.

But the Mad Hatter's endgame theatrics shouldn't have entirely overshadowed the number his defense did on the Gators, who were held to all of 242 total yards, 12 first downs, a miserable 4.0 yards per-play, and just one scoring drive longer than 17 yards. At home. The performance dropped Florida--only a top-3 offense in yards per-play for the past three seasons, when that Tebow kid was around--to an unthinkable 96th in total offense, 81st in yards per-play. The Gator fans baying for offensive coordinator Steve Addazio's blood kind of have a point.

But the bleacher rabble can be ignored. Gator recruits, not so much. And it doesn't sound like they're all that impressed with Addazio's work either:



That's not some run-of-the-mill recruit walking out on the Addazio show there, either; Mike Bellamy is a five-star, top-100 player that by most accounts has been the Gators' No. 1 target at running back for months, even after he committed to Clemson in June. Florida's recruitment of him is probably over. But Bellamy was always leaning elsewhere; what did Florida commitment A.C. Leonard, a four-star tight end out of Jacksonville, think of the performance?
Jacksonville University Christian tight end commit A.C. Leonard was in attendance Saturday, but according to a report from 247sports.com, he came away from Florida’s loss a little down on the Gators.

Leonard now says he’s down to three schools — Miami, Alabama and Florida.

When asked if he still considered himself committed to Florida, Leonard responded “Yeah, I guess.”

That's recruit-speak for "No, I am not actually committed in anything other than name." Your thoughts, wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin?

With his size Benjamin could also be considered as a tight end, but Florida is recruiting him strictly as a wide receiver. That’s something Benjamin likes, and after watching how Florida lacked many big plays from the receiving unit, he sees that his services are needed.

What he was unsure of was how Florida’s offense looked. With a traditional passing quarterback, Benjamin expected to see a few more deep plays from the Gators.

“(The offense) was OK, but they didn’t throw the ball like I wanted them to,” he said.

Again, "OK" is recruit code for "horrifying."

This doesn't yet consititute a crisis, by any means -- it was just last February Urban Meyer and Gators were bringing in a class hailed my many recruitniks as the greatest of all-time -- but it's another step towards Florida's problems in attack reaching critical mass... and Meyer finding someone other than Addazio to run his offense.

Posted on: October 12, 2010 12:14 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2010 12:22 pm
 

Alabama OL Fluker likely out for Ole Miss

Posted by Chip Patterson

Less than a week ago, nearly the entire nation was wondering if anyone would be able to topple the seemingly unstoppable Alabama Crimson Tide.  The fantasy ended in a 35-21 loss to South Carolina in Columbia on Saturday, and the charmed life of the Alabama football team has quickly come to a halt.  Whether it be head coach Nick Saban's foul tongue or wide receiver Julio Jones' broken hand, the news out of Tuscaloosa has not great since falling from the top of the mountain.  Jones wasn't the only offensive starter hurt against the Gamecocks, right tackle D.J. Fluker sustained a groin injury in the game and has already been ruled out for this week's matchup with Ole Miss.  

“D.J. Fluker has got a pretty severe groin injury that will probably keep him out at least a week,” Saban told reporters on Monday, “maybe longer, depending on how he responds to treatment ... McCulllough was the guy that went in the game. He’s the guy that has been sort of our swing, third tackle. He’ll move up as a starter.”

The Crimson Tide should find their rhythm again against the Rebels this weekend, regardless of the different health concerns.  Continued struggles would hint the beginnings of a complete unraveling, and this team is simply too good for that.  However, the Tide will need to find a way to overcome these struggles quickly if they plan on defending the SEC Championship on December 4 in Atlanta.  Luckily, they do still hold their own SEC West fate in their hands.  Alabama still has division leaders LSU and Auburn left on the schedule, and if the Tide can win out the worst case scenario would be a three-way tie for first place in the West.  With the first tiebreaker being head-to-head competition, Alabama would get the nod to compete for the SEC Championship.  While the loss to South Carolina may have put a national championship out of reach, they can still find a way to win the conference.  They just can't afford any slip ups along the way.

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Posted on: October 12, 2010 9:23 am
Edited on: October 12, 2010 12:25 pm
 

UGA: King's arrest could mean time for frosh RB

Posted by Chip Patterson

UPDATE 12:08 ET: Caleb King has been suspended two games by head coach Mark Richt in response to his arrest for failing to appear in court.  It is expected that true freshman Ken Malcome will play, splitting the running back duties with starter Washaun Ealey.   

"I expect all our players to take care of their responsibilities on and off the field," said Richt in a university release. "When players don't do that it damages the reputation of the player, our team, and our university. My goal is for Caleb to learn a lesson and for other players to learn from his experience."

-------------------

With Caleb King's arrest on Monday morning, much of the attention in Georgia has refocused on off-field issues with King being the 11th player arrested from this year's squad.  King was arrested for failure to appear in court after a speeding ticket, certainly not the worst of his Bulldog teammates, but still not the idea result after getting pulled.  Of the other 10 players arrested this season, four have been dismissed and most of the others have resulted in at least a one game suspension.  King's situation is the first traffic related incident, though some sort of punishment is expected.  

Head coach Mark Richt did not address the situation in terms of revealing what kind of punishment would be handed down, though he hinted that a combination of the arrest and Carlton Thomas' injury may result in the first playing time for freshman Ken Malcome.

“There’s a good chance that happens,” Richt said on his radio show Monday evening. “We’re not saying for 100 percent certain he will, but the situation that Caleb has gotten himself into and the fact that [tailback] Carlton Thomas’ hamstring may or may not be ready by the end of the week, it may be that Ken has to play.”

Malcome, a highly touted four-star recruit, has yet to see action for the Bulldogs. The in-state running back was one of the big wins for Richts 2010 class, with Malcome choosing the Bulldogs over Florida, Oklahoma, and Alabama, among others.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com