UM’s third quarterback candidate, Randall Mackey, blew his shot at the job with an arrest for disorderly conduct on Monday night. Allegedly, Mackey got involved in a large bar fight at an Oxford music venue called The Lyric. During the scrum, Mackey allegedly struck a police officer who was trying to play peacemaker. He was given a lesser charge because it’s not believed he took a swing at the officer on purpose.
“I am still looking into everything, but the bottom line is that he got into a fight,” Nutt told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “The bottom line, as I tell them, even though there may be 50 other arrests, your arrest is headlines. Walk away. Turn the other cheek.”
Mackey violated his team’s curfew by being out after 11:30pm.
“I wish I had known there was a Monday night school party downtown,” Nutt said. “I really wish I’d known that. Because had I known that it wouldn’t have happened.”
Credit Nutt for acting quickly on this one and suspending Mackey for a game. At LSU, senior starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson also broke his team’s curfew and also found himself in embroiled in the aftermath of a bar fight. But Jefferson has continued to take first-team snaps in Les Miles’ practice sessions.
Brunetti transferred from West Virginia to Ole Miss this past offseason. He has been the favorite to win the Rebels’ quarterback job, but he’s still been splitting reps in practice. Now he has the opening day start nailed down and he obviously has a leg up in the ongoing competition for everyday starter. His performance against a good BYU team will obviously help determine if he can keep said leg up.
The SEC’s two premiere programs are still carrying the league’s banner in the NCAA Tournament this week. Kentucky — the SEC’s top program all-time — slipped by both Princeton and West Virginia last weekend to set up a Friday night duel with top-seed Ohio State in the Sweet Sixteen.
Florida — the league’s best program in the 2000s — snuffed out UC-Santa Barbara and UCLA to make it back to the regional semifinals. The Gators will take on Jimmer Fredette and BYU on Thursday evening.
Last week, we presented our “good bets and bad bets” for the tourney and we’re still feeling pretty good about ‘em. Our “bad bets” all disappeared after their first games — Georgia, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Our good bet — UK — faces a pretty tough road at this point. To reach the Final Four, the Wildcats will have to upset an Ohio State team that has won its first two tourney games by 29 and 32 points. Get past the Buckeyes and North Carolina will likely be waiting. No offense, Cat fans, but it looks like Kentucky is about to exit the dance.
Our best bet — UF — still looks like an Elite Eight team at worst. #3 seed BYU has looked good so far, but can the Cougars outrebound the Gators without dismissed starter Brandon Davies? If not, and the Gators move on, UF will play the winner of Butler and Wisconsin for the right to reach Houston. On Wednesday, we said that the #1 seed in Florida’s bracket — Pittsburgh — was “the least frightening of the tourney’s top seeds.” Turns out they were indeed the first #1 to go. Which means UF’s road to the Final Four is still shaping up as the easiest among #1 or #2 seeds. If we had to put money on it, we’d take the Gators to reach Houston.
Here’s how the Sweet Sixteen field breaks down by conference:
ACC (3) — Duke, Florida State, North Carolina Big East (2) — Marquette, UConn Big Ten (2) — Ohio State, Wisconsin MWC (2) — BYU, San Diego State SEC (2) — Florida, Kentucky Atlantic-10 (1) — Richmond Big 12 (1) — Kansas CAA (1) — VCU Horizon League (1) — Butler Pac-10 (1) — Arizona
REPORTER: “Jordan Jefferson’s been in the program for almost three years now. Jarrett Lee’s been in it for four, and yet you’ve got the worst passing attack in the SEC. It continues that way every week. Every week, you answer the question the same way, that ‘We’ve got to get better throwing the ball.’ What are you all not doing? Or what is the problem?”
MILES: “We’re throwing it, I can tell you that.”
REPORTER: “I know that, but…”
MILES: “We’re throwing it. I don’t know. It’s… we’re working at it. And the players and the coaches are taking the time. And we’re throwing. We’re throwing balls. I guess for me, I just expect at some point in time that this thing is going to take off. I just think it’s OK. That’s what we would well have expected.”
REPORTER: “Do you think the coaching has been good enough after four years with one, three with the other?”
MILES: “I don’t know. You know, that’s a tough question. The only thin I can tell you is that they’ve been coached and coached and coached and drilled. The passing attack has not changed so significantly that it’s not comfortable for all. I, uh, yeah, I think they’ve been coached.”
Well it could get even more brutal if LSU loses to Alabama next Saturday and can’t throw the ball to boot. With Miles possessing a buyout clause that basically cedes to him all the lands of The Louisiana Purchase should he be ousted, offensive coordinator Gary Crowton figures to be LSU’s version of The Fall Guy if things don’t improve.
But it’s hard to point a finger at Crowton considering his past work with passers.
He began his career in 1982 under LaVell Edwards at BYU. From 1991 to 1993 he tutored future NFL quarterback Glenn Foley at Boston College. As Louisiana Tech’s head coach in 1997, his team was third in the nation in passing and in total offense with future NFL quarterback Tim Rattay at the helm.
A year later, Rattay threw for a ridiculous 590 yards against 4th-ranked Nebraska. The Bulldogs had the top passing offense in the nation in 1998 and Rattay was named an All-American.
After Louisiana Tech, Crowton became offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears where his 1999 squad ranked #3 in the NFL in passing and set a franchise record for passing.
Next, Crowton served as head coach at BYU for four seasons. In 2001, the Cougars led the nation in total offense and in scoring. Future NFL pick John Beck was his signal-caller in 2004.
After losing his job at BYU, Crowton became the offensive coordinator at Oregon. Again, his offense ranked in the Top 10 nationally in a number of categories. His quarterbacks were future NFL’ers Kellen Clemmens and Dennis Dixon.
After coming to LSU in 2007, the Tigers immediately won a national title with him calling plays. Matt Flynn threw for nearly 2,500 yards and wound up being drafted into the NFL.