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Tag:Jerry Hinnen
Posted on: August 20, 2011 11:12 am
 

Georgia's new Nike uniforms are ... something

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If you follow the Eye on CFB on Twitter -- and if you don't, why on earth not? -- you saw a Tweet Thursday from a former Georgia volleyball player that described the Bulldogs' new Nike-designed uniforms as "red jersey and pants, black belt, silver helmet."

That seemed awfully unorthodox for a Bulldogs program that's been burned fooling around with uniform tweaks before, but never doubt the Swoosh's ability to amaze, we guess. Because the Bulldogs' "Pro Combat" uniforms were officially released today, and they're every bit that unorthodox and then some:



Yes, Virginia, that is a silver helmet (as opposed to the Dawgs' traditional silver pants). And odd black panels on the shoulders. And a freaking gigantic red stripe on the helmet. And nothing but that one sliver of belt on the front to break up the sea of red from the collar to the knee. We'll make our official reactions short: yeeeeeesh.

Mark Richt said the uniforms do "a great job of trying to capture a lot of the tradition of Georgia football." We're not sure what tradition that is -- unless Nike foresees a loss to Boise State, fulfilling the Bulldogs' tradition of defeats in new uniforms -- but we don't doubt Richt when he also says the players like them.

But unless the Dawgs get the season off to a winning start in the new duds, we're guessing the Georgia faithful are going to be much, much less pleased.

Posted on: August 19, 2011 3:33 pm
 

Spurrier: coaches "paranoid" about open practices

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Steve Spurrier has never been one to follow the coaching football crowd or refrain from speaking his mind, and he proved it once again Thursday on his weekly radio call-in show.

For starters, Spurrier announced that Saturday's Gamecock scrimmage would be open to the public, a reversal from earlier policy regarding the scrimmage and a move that flies in the face of the nationwide trend towards closing off fall practices.

But even more interesting was Spurrier's rationale for the switch: “We don’t have to act like all those guys who are paranoid somebody is going to come and watch a ball play," he said on the radio show.

What makes Spurrier's statement particularly interesting is that "all those guys" include most of his SEC head coaching brethren. Les Miles closed LSU practices to the media several days early, unhappy with the local coverage. Will Muschamp closed Florida's spring practice for the first time ever and has kept fall camp likewise off-limits. Dan Mullen closed off Mississippi State practice Aug. 8. Reporters at Auburn are barred from scrimmages while players are instructed not to discuss certain aspects of those scrimmages, aspects like "who played well."

All of which is entirely those coaches' prerogative, of course, as it is the many, many other coaches across the country who employ the same policies. And if asked to choose between more incisive coverage of their team and the potential revealing of information that might help their team's opponents, or more generic coverage and fewer leaks, the overwhelming majority of fans will support closed practices and the latter.

So whether Spurrier is being fair or not in labeling the move towards tighter restrictions "paranoia," don't expect to see it change anytime soon ... just like, as we've seen again, the Ole Ball Coach himself.

Posted on: August 19, 2011 12:06 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 6:29 pm
 

Sooners' DE Lewis, WR Metoyer not practicing yet

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Coming out of spring practice, Oklahoma defensive end Ronnell Lewis was penciled in to start for the consensus preseason No. 1 Sooners. And five-star wide receiver signee Trey Metoyer, the top-ranked player in the Sooners' 2011 class, was due to make an immediate impact even in the Sooners' loaded recieiving corps.

With barely more than two weeks before the Sooners' season opener against Tulsa, though, those projections aren't looking so accurate, as neither participated in Thursday's practice. Per CBSSports.com RapidReporter Tim Willert, Bob Stoops told reporters Thursday that Lewis "has some personal matters he's tending to" and that "we'll see" if he proves available for the opener. He added that Metoyer's eligiblity was "still not totally resolved" and again declined to name a timetable for when it might be.

Those statements will only add fuel to the burning speculation that neither Lewis nor Metoyer will be academically eligible to play this season. The Oklahoman reported that Lewis "needed to improve his academics this summer," suggesting that his absence might be due to those academics not having improved enough.

Metoyer, meanwhile, attended a junior college over the summer in order to meet the NCAA's qualifications standards. But according to one report Metoyer won't even be eligible to play for his JUCO. That report is disputed by Stoops' statement and other reports that suggest a ruling is still forthcoming from the NCAA clearinghouse, but in any case Metoyer's eligibilty is still very, very much up in the air.

Even given Metoyer's great promise, any set of wideouts featuring Ryan Broyles will be OK. But if Lewis is ineligible, it's another blow for an Oklahoma defense already reeling from the injury to star linebacker Travis Lewis and the tragic passing of Austin Box--and that wasn't projected to be especially dominant to begin with.

Auburn
and Oregon proved last season it's possible to be No. 1 without a top-drawer defense, of course. But it looks like the Sooners may wind up putting that theory to the test A.S.A.P.


Posted on: August 18, 2011 5:18 pm
Edited on: August 23, 2011 3:45 pm
 

Auburn names Barrett Trotter starting quarterback

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Auburn
has announced which quarterback has won the battle to try and fill Cam Newton's oversized shoes this season. And that winner is ... Barrett Trotter.

While far from a household name outside the SEC, Trotter is in his fourth year as a redshirt junior and in his third year of offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn's system. Even with only nine career passes to his name, that was enough experience to fend off challenges from redshirt sophomore Clint Moseley and true freshman Kiehl Frazier.

"Barrett has worked extremely hard to earn the starting quarterback job at Auburn University," Gene Chizik said in a statement. "Barrett understands the huge responsibility that comes with being the starting quarterback at Auburn and we are confident in his ability to lead this team."

But if Trotter has to deal with the pressure that comes with that "huge responsibility" (not to mention the shadow still cast by Newton), he's also been handed one of the most gilt-edged opportunities an FBS quarterback could ask for. Going back to his days at Tulsa, Malzahn's quarterbacks have never failed to deliver the statistical goods; even Chris Todd (whose arm strength might be described as "pedestrian" only if you're feeling charitable) somehow wound up setting a school record for touchdown passes and finishing third in the SEC in passing efficiency in 2009 ... and he'd only practiced under Malzahn for the length of one fall camp.

So as long as Trotter remains upright and avoids making enough killer mistakes to get benched -- and given enough time to learn the offense, the more athletic Frazier will look awfully appealing -- he's likely been handed the keys to a statistical fortune. If Auburn can avoid the kind of sub-.500 collapse that afflicted Texas last season, it's a safe bet that many, many more college football fans will know his name by the end of the season.



Posted on: August 18, 2011 2:54 pm
 

Mark Emmert says he's 'fine with' death penalty

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

NCAA
vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach said Wednesday the "majority of ... support" she encounters within the organization is for sanctions like bowl bans and scholarship reductions that stop short of the death penalty--even in the event of mammoth scandals like the one unfolding at Miami. But apparently, she didn't talk to the NCAA's own president.

Mark Emmert, having already taken the unusual step of commenting on an ongoing NCAA investigation with his initial statement on the Hurricane allegations, told the USA Today Thursday that the death penalty ought to be one "tool" at the Committee on Infractions' disposal:
"We need to make sure that we've got, for the committee on infractions, all the tools they need to create those kinds of deterrents. If that includes the death penalty, I'm fine with that."
Emmert said those deterrents should "provide serious second thoughts for anybody who thinks they can engage in this kind of behavior with impunity." He also commented on the Miami case directly again, saying that "if these allegations are true," they are "very troubling, and ... point out the real need for us to make changes and to make them thoughtfully and aggressively."

All of that certainly sounds noble enough. But Emmert's tough talk of change and nuclear-option sanctions won't mean much in the public eye if his organization doesn't back it up with legitimate reform, and penalties with teeth in cases of wanton rule-breaking (like, say, Jim Tressel's cover-up at Ohio State).

Discussing the death penalty is one thing, and it's fine as far as it goes. (Though the seemingly contradictory statements from Emmert and Roe Lach don't exactly portray the NCAA as an entity whose left hand knows what its right is doing.) But all the talk in the world won't do as much for Emmert's crusdade as one sensibly firm decision in a case like Miami's--and that decision doesn't have to be death penalty-caliber to prove the NCAA is serious.

Posted on: August 17, 2011 6:10 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2011 1:36 pm
 

Report: UGA safety Jakar Hamilton out for year

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

For Georgia fans, a secondary that was shaky at times last season, saw corner Vance Cuff graduate, and safety Alec Ogletree move to linebacker entered 2011 as one of the Bulldogs' biggest concerns. And it's safe to say today's news won't help alleviate them.

According to Dawgs247.com reporter Gentry Estes, senior safety Jakar Hamilton has been diagnosed with a pair of stress fractures in his right ankle and will likely miss the entire 2011 season. The injuries occurred sometime during the offseason but were only discovered by a recent MRI.

A JUCO transfer who enrolled last year, Hamilton still has a redshirt year remaining and will likely take it if forced to by the ankle injury. After starting five games in 2010 and collecting 27 tackles with one interception, Hamilton was battling Shawne Williams and Sanders Commings for a starting job and was expected to play a major role in the Dawg secondary regardless.

Thanks to Williams and Commings -- and clearcut strong safety starter Bacarri Rambo -- Hamilton's injury isn't a backbreaker for the Bulldogs, on paper at least. But his departure limits the unit's versatility (particularly where the mix-and-match Commings is concerned) and certainly weakens its depth.

Assuming Hamilton returns at full strength in 2012, his continued presence will be one more bonus for what projects as one of the SEC's deepest and most experienced defensive backfields. (Barring early NFL departures, corner Brandon Boykin should be the only loss.) But that doesn't mean a whole lot for Georgia now as Mark Richt heads into a make-or-break season.


Posted on: August 17, 2011 4:50 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 5:38 pm
 

SI regional preview covers are so totally cursed

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Despite the best efforts of the Worst ... Offseason ... Ever, it appears the 2011 college football season really is on the verge of getting underway. Your latest evidence? The Sports Illustrated season preview is on its way to newsstands, featuring five regional covers that look something like this:



That's the South Carolina/Alshon Jeffery version, but also available will be covers featuring (left to right), Stanford's Andrew Luck, Alabama's Trent Richardson, Nebraska's Jared Crick and Oklahoma's Landry Jones.

Much of the initial Internet reaction has focused on Jeffery looking, ahem, not quite as svelte as Gamecock fans might like, but the much bigger issue (no pun intended) is that Jeffery's on the cover at all. SI has been producing their multi-pronged regional covers since 2005, and in those six years the fortunes of the teams that have appeared there have been up-and-down, to put it politely. You might even say that these regional covers seem to be ... you know ... cursed.

But don't just take my word for it. Here's the year-by-year breakdown, with a tally of how many teams finished their cover season happy with how it played out:

2010: Boy, did SI pick the wrong year to spotlight defense in its preview coverage; Auburn and Oregon faced off for the national championship with the two most statistically generous defenses in BCS title game history. SI didn't do so hot picking out the right teams to feature, either; Alabama finished fourth in their own division, Boise State saw its most talented team yet finish the year in the Las Vegas Bowl, and Texas, of course, collapsed in a 5-7 heap. We'll be generous and give SI the benefit of the doubt on Ohio State, thanks to the Buckeyes' Sugar Bowl victory. Happy tally: 1 of 4

2009: This year, SI picked out four "party crashers" who would "shake up the BCS." Oops: this was the season the Longhorns and the SEC champion (be it Alabama or No. 1 Florida) seemed destined for their eventual title tilt by the end of September. Double oops: of the four teams picked, only Pac-10 champion Oregon earned a BCS berth at all. Ole Miss and Oklahoma State met in the Cotton Bowl after losing a combined seven games and finishing outside the top 20; Penn State finished a distant third in the Big Ten, having been blown out by both Iowa and the Buckeyes. Happy tally: 1 of 4

2008: SI did have the good sense to spend their final cover of five on Tim Tebow's Gators, the eventual national champions. But three of their other four were duds: preseason No. 1 Georgia lost three games, including routs at the hands of the Tide and Gators; Missouri plummeted from No. 3 to No. 25 after losing three in the regular season and getting drilled by 41 in the Big 12 championship game; and Ohio State was blasted out of the national title race via a 35-3 beatdown from USC, then lost the Big Ten title at home to the Nittany Lions. The Trojans' 12-1 Rose Bowl season wasn't half-bad, though. Happy tally: 2 of 5

2007: We're not sure curse evidence gets more compelling than SI putting Michigan's Mike Hart on one of its covers, then having the Wolverines lose to Appalachian State right out of the gate. But there's still USC losing to Stanford as a 41-point favorite, five-loss Arkansas finishing the season unranked (and with Houston Nutt fired), and Oklahoma laying a pair of colossal eggs against Colorado and West Virginia. In fact, it's only that Fiesta Bowl victory over the Sooners that keeps the Mountaineers -- themselves one stunning loss to Pitt away from the national title game -- out of the unhappy tally themselves. Happy tally: 1 of 5

2006:
No less than six regional covers this season. Among the good calls, LSU finished their season with a dominant Sugar Bowl win over Notre Dame and Ohio State rolled to a national title game berth. But the Irish never looked like living up to their preseason No. 2 billing, both Texas and USC blew shots at the BCS championship with inexplicable late-season losses, and though 11-2 wasn't a bad year for West Virginia, a pivotal upset at USF and the Gator Bowl wasn't what they had in mind, either. Since we're nice people, though, we'll give WVU half-credit and USC half-credit after their Rose Bowl spanking of Michigan. Happy tally: 3 of 6

2005: The first year of the regional plan was the best one for SI, as Vince Young and Reggie Bush both lived up to that "unstoppable" tagline on their way to the BCS championship game. Florida's Chris Leak, though, not so much; the Gators limped to third in the SEC East in their first year under Urban Meyer. Happy tally: 2 of 3

FINAL VERDICT: Only 10 teams out of the 27 spotlighted by SI's regional covers went on to have satisfying seasons--meaning a whopping 63 percent finished their cover year disappointed. And it's even worse in recent seasons, since half the happy teams came in the first two years of the regional approach. Since then, the ratio of successful-to-unsuccessful campaigns is just 5-to-13. Only twice in these six years have one of those 27 teams -- 2005 Texas and 2008 Florida -- gone on to win the national title.

There's only one word to accurately sum up those kind of results: cursed. Cardinal? Gamecocks? Sooners? Huskers? Tide? Consider yourselves warned.


Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:45 pm
 

Mark Emmert on Miami: "fundamental change" needed

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The NCAA has a policy of never commenting publicly on an ongoing investigation, but for the epic maelstrom of malfeasance uncovered at Miami, apparently it's willing to make an exception.

That exception arrived Wednesday in the form of a statement from (suddenly very busy) president Mark Emmert, published at the NCAA website. It reads in full:
If the assertions are true, the alleged conduct at the University of Miami is an illustration of the need for serious and fundamental change in many critical aspects of college sports. This pertains especially to the involvement of boosters and agents with student-athletes. While many are hearing about this case for the first time, the NCAA has been investigating the matter for five months. The serious threats to the integrity of college sports are one of the key reasons why I called together more than 50 presidents and chancellors last week to drive substantive changes to Division I intercollegiate athletics.
We won't argue with Emmert that college football needs some "serious and fundamental change" if it's to continue its status as an amateur sport for "student-athletes," or that the actions of Nevin Shapiro -- or, more specifically, Miami's inaction in response -- are the most powerful argument presented yet in that change's favor.

But we're skeptical Emmert simply reasserting his position while that particular iron in hot really what issuing this statement is about. The key sentence in it is this one:
While many are hearing about this case for the first time, the NCAA has been investigating the matter for five months.
In recent months, the NCAA has taken a heavy dose of criticism for lagging behind as the media -- Yahoo! Sports, as often as not -- do their enforcement work for them. (See the media's unraveling of Jim Tressel's e-mail coverup for one example.) For once, though, the NCAA did not find out about serious allegations when the "many" of the public did--and from the looks of things, Emmert can't help but take the opportunity to crow about it.

We don't blame Emmert for being sensitive to the regular blasts of criticism aimed his organization's way; while much of it is deserved, much of it is entirely unfounded and unfair as well.

But this kind of passive-aggressive response isn't exactly the best way of firing back at those critics. Yes, it's good to hear the NCAA has been on the case. But given the magnitude of Shapiro's misdeeds, it's hardly such an achievement that it's necessary for Emmert to break with years of steadfast policy just to beat his chest about it.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com