Have a great weekend.

We’ve got links to nearly 50 different stories from around the conference today.

We’ve also got a brand new column from our Ace Reporter, Jimmy Hyams, today… in which he profiles Kentucky’s Jeremy Jarmon, a player overlooked by the big schools and recruiting magazines.

Our Recruiting page is being manned by Josh Ward as always.  Plenty of good stuff over there throughout the afternoon.

And we’ve got another Summer preview up on our Webcasts page… this time looking at South Carolina’s 2008 campaign.

Thanks, as always.  And please tell a friend about

(Oh, and thanks to the person in Kunming, China who checks us out every day.)


Permalinktags: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

That’s the message delivered by Tommy Hicks of The Mobile Press-Register.

It’s just 27 days til South Carolina kicks off the SEC season against NC State on ESPN.

Finally, folks.  Finally!


Permalinktags: Georgia

Chip Towers of the AJC writes that Georgia’s place at the top of the first coaches’ poll of the season is a real positive in two respects:

1)  The coaches’ poll is part of the BCS formula, so starting off high will work in the Dogs’ favor later in the year.


2)  It’s a sign of respect from other college coaches.

Of course, there’s also the “bulls-eye” that will now be attached to their backs.


Permalinktags: Florida

Former starting offensive lineman Ronnie Wilson is expected to practice with the Florida football team next week… but he’ll be doing it on the defensive line… as a walk-on.

Wilson was the left guard on the 2006 national championship team.

He was suspended from the football team and the university for one year after he fired an AK-47 into the air during a parking lot altercation.


Permalinktags: Kentucky

After two run-ins with Johnny Law this Summer, quarterback Curtis Pulley will lose playing time this Fall.

But he still might win UK’s starting quarterback job.

Rich Brooks:  “Obviously Mike Hartline goes into Fall camp now with a lead over Curtis Pulley, but that decision on who will start will be (made) on the field, not off the field.”


We’ve already heard from Joker Phillips that teammates have been bragging about Hartline’s leadership.  He’s also kept his nose clean.

To me it appears that the Cats either:

a) are scared that Pulley, without a job to compete for, will slack off and not push Hartline…

or b) they think Pulley is the better player and they’re going to do everything possible to keep him in the picture.

As for the playing time Pulley will miss, Brooks said “that means he could miss games, yes.  Or a game or parts of a game.”

Parts of a game? 

(Sidenote — Years ago, I went to school with a kid named Chris Pulley.  Now, every time I go to write something about Curtis Pulley, I have to stop myself from typing “Chris Pulley.”  I apologize if that’s slipped through on occasion.  And Chris Pulley, wherever you are… thanks for nothing.)


Permalinktags: Florida

The Orlando Sentinel provides you with a UF training camp primer… complete with three key questions, a list of the freshmen to watch, injury updates and what they call “buzz.”

Good luck loading this one.  You might have to refresh a couple of times to get it.  Apparently everyone in Florida is clicking on it this morning.

(Sidenote — When did Fall practice become “training camp?”  That sounds too professional to me.  It’s “Fall practice.”)

Tight end Cornelius Ingram (photo at left) is on the watch list for the 2008 John Mackey Award given to the nation’s top tight end each year. 

There are way too many position awards now handed out, by the way.  No knock on Ingram, but what’s next?  The Milton Gribnacker Long-Snapper Award?

Not everyone needs an award.

Urban Meyer’s squad will open the season ranked number five in the coaches’ poll.  That means three SEC teams (Georgia and LSU are the others) are ranked in the polls top six.

Counting down the days til football season?  Pat Dooley, aka Dr. Football, gives Gator fans a plan for each of August’s dog days.

My personal favorite: 

“Aug. 17: Trace the Tim Tebow family tree with your buddies.  First one to Ghandi wins.”


Permalinktags: Auburn

When practice opens in Auburn tomorrow, Tommy Tuberville will have about 80% of his signees from February on-hand.

Evan Woodbery of The Mobile Press-Register explains what’s happened with all 29 of the Tigers’ signees.

The Birmingham News provides a thumbnail sketch of Auburn’s roster and the Tigers’ lingering question marks.

Finally, here’s a blurb from The Athens Banner-Herald on the quarterback competition between Kodi Burns and Chris Todd.


Permalinktags: Mississippi State

Mississippi State signees Trevor Stigers and Terrance Davis are still waiting to hear from the NCAA on whether they are eligible to join the Bulldogs or not.

Stigers believes it’s a done deal that he’ll be cleared.

“I’m eligible.  I’m just waiting on the phone call.”

Meanwhile, three other Bulldog signees will grayshirt and enroll in January.


Permalinktags: Ole Miss

Some outside sources are providing previews of the upcoming Ole Miss football season today:

Seth Emerson of Columbia’s The State writes that Houston Nutt is charged up to change the state of Rebel football.

“When you walk into a room, you ask how many of y’all have been to a bowl game, not one student-athlete can say, ‘I’ve been to a bowl game.’  To me that motivates me.”

Mike Strange of The Knoxville News Sentinel writes that Nutt believes he has the quarterback (Jevan Snead) in place to turn things around.

“He’s highly intelligent.  I love his leadership and I love his decision-making.  He has a strong arm and he’s very, very accurate, so he has all the qualities you need to be a quarterback.”

Here’s some video of Snead in high school.

Finally, linebacker Patrick Trahan says that he has indeed passed his Summer classes and is eligible to join the Rebel football team this weekend.

Trahan played at Auburn his freshman year, before transferring to Northwest Mississippi Community College last year.


Permalinktags: Mississippi State, Ole Miss

The Rebels and the Bulldogs are taking their rivalry into a new arena this Fall… the world of million dollar scoreboards.

Ole Miss has begun a $6 million stadium renovation project that includes the building of an 84-foot high, 48-foot wide HD video board.

Almost immediately, Mississippi State announced that they were putting in a $6.1 million dollar HD video board that would be 111-feet wide and 47-feet high.

This Fall, fans of both schools can truly shout “scoooooooreboooooard” at one another regardless of the action on the field.


Permalinktags: LSU

The first coaches’ poll of the year hands defending national champ LSU a number six ranking heading into the 2008 campaign.

According to USA Today:  “While still among the elite teams, it has been a rough offseason for the Tigers.”

For the second straight year, wide receiver DeAngelo Benton is not academically eligible and will not be able to report with LSU’s other incoming freshmen.

His high school coach says Benton was very close to getting in and still hopes to enter LSU this January.


Permalinktags: South Carolina

Here’s all the stuff coming out of the Palmetto State:

As practice gets underway, says there are six players fans should keep an eye on during August practices:

QB Tommy Beecher
WR Moe Brown
OT Hutch Eckerson
DE Jordin Lindsey
LB Dustin Lindsey
P Ryan Doerr

They also provide quotes from Steve Spurrier, Jasper Brinkley and Kenny McKinley in the column.

Another man sure to draw attention is newly reinstated quarterback Stephen Garcia.  Of course, his coach wants to limit that attention.

Spurrier:  “Stephen is he third quarterback.  Stephen’s not going to talk to the media.  Stephen doesn’t need any more attention.  He’s had plenty of attention for a guy who’s never played a down.”

USC is still waiting for word on two signees regarding their eligibility… though defensive end Jarriel King has recently been cleared.

Travis Haney of The Charleston Post & Courier lays out five questions facing the Cocks this Fall, then he gives you a best-case answer, a worst-case answer and his best guess.

1)  Is Tommy Beecher worthy of being the clear-cut favorite at quarterback?

2)  Can South Carolina stop the run?

3)  Will Ryan Succop wind up punting after all?

4)  Will the offensive line protect Beecher?

5)  Will the new coaches make the difference that Spurrier expects?

Finally, Ron Morris of The State writes that Gamecock sports fans owe a debt of gratitude to university president Andrew Sorenson.


Permalinktags: Arkansas

Terry Wood of previews the tight end position for the Razorbacks this season… a position Bobby Petrino feels is the quarterback’s first passing option.


Permalinktags: Arkansas

Arkansas defensive tackle Ernest Mitchell paid a $150 fine after being charged with “possession of an instrument of crime” (not a saxophone, I’m guessing.)

Mitchell was pulled over in June because allegedly his license plate wasn’t properly displayed.

Cops then found a small amount of what they believed to be marijuana and a handgun in the car.

No word on what punishment, if any, Bobby Petrino will hand down for this.

Mitchell is penciled in as a starter on the D-line, but he missed all of Spring practice while rehabbing a knee injury.


Permalinktags: Georgia

Ton of stuff coming out of Georgia today:

We told you yesterday that starting offensive lineman Clint Boling might see his suspension dropped after a DUI charge against him was lowered to a reckless driving charge.

Well, the suspension wasn’t done away with… but it was reduced, like the charges, and Boling will now miss only the season opener with Georgia Southern.

Boling is one of seven Georgia players arrested this offseason.

Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution believes it’s time for Georgia to start taking Georgia Tech seriously again.

The AJC’s Chip Towers says the Bulldogs need to improve their offense.

Are coach Rodney Garner’s defensive tackles ready to step up?

Mark Richt has awarded his starting punter a scholarship.

Georgia is #1 in the first USA Today Coaches’ Poll of the 2008 season.  But John Kaltefleiter of The Athens Banner-Herald doesn’t put much stock in pre-season polls.


Permalinktags: Auburn

Since Jeff Lebo took over in Auburn five years ago, the Tigers have seen 15 scholarship players transfer or receive their dismissals.

Number 15 is the man who led the Tigers in scoring and rebounding during the 2006-2007 season, Josh Dollard.

Dollard was booted for a “violation of Auburn University Athletic policy.”

His career has been suspension and injury plagued.

Lebo:  “Auburn has supplied Josh will all the resources for him to be successful.  Josh understood his requirements and responsibilities to be an Auburn student-athlete, and he has fallen short in fulfilling what was clearly communicated to him.”


Permalinktags: Tennessee

Phillip Fulmer is happy that after a rough start to the off-season, his seniors provided the leadership necessary to keep teammates off of the police blotter.

Tennessee might not ever wear them, but the Vols do have a new shipment of orange pants for the 2008 season. 

Fulmer said the pants might excite his players.  “They’re young people.  They like to be entertained.  It’s an Xbox generation.  I’m sure for a few plays, it might make a difference.  But usually once you get a sweat going and get your helmet turned sideways, the color of the pants don’t have a lot to do with anything.”

(Sidenote — UT should never wear all-orange and Florida should never wear all-blue.  Looks high schoolish.  Just my take.)

The Tennessean’s David Climer  doesn’t believe gas prices will come between the Vols and their fans this Fall.


Permalinktags: Alabama

Lots of news on the Crimson Tide today:

Linebacker Prince Hall, who had been indefinitely suspended since a “violation of team rules” earlier this year, will be suspended for the first three games of the year.

That’s just one of the notes covered in this Alabama, well, notes column from The Tuscaloosa News.

The Huntsville Times also covers Hall’s return to the team (he can now practice with them) in their Bama notebook column.

As practice starts in Tuscaloosa, the team is a step ahead of where they were last year.  This year they know what to expect from practice and from Nick Saban.

When Alabama signed a huge (and highly thought of) recruiting class in February there were a lot of questions about how Saban would squeeze so many people onto an 85-man roster.

That’s no longer a worry as attrition has taken care of things.  Seventeen scholarship players and 2008 signees were either dismissed, declared medically or academically ineligible or decided not to continue their careers with the Tide.

The Montgomery Advertiser provides a complete transcript of Saban’s “welcome to football season” press conference.

And the discussion continues as to whether or not the newly hired Dave Hart, Jr. should be considered athletic director Mal Moore’s heir apparent.

Kevin Scarbinsky, like his colleague Ray Melick yesterday, says he should not.


Permalinktags: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

If you think football players are the only ones worries about conditioning tests and endurance runs this month, think again.

Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News does an excellent job of getting you up to speed on what health tests SEC refs must pass before each season, the age limits placed on officials, and even the serious injuries that can befall them.

Good piece.


Permalinktags: Ole Miss

Now that Jerrell Powe has been cleared to play football for the Rebels, John Davis of The Oxford Eagle turns his eyes to the incoming freshmen… and their eligibility.

At first glance?  The Rebels look to be in pretty good shape academically.

According to David Brandt of The Jackson Clarion-Ledger the loss of starting defensive tackle Ted Laurent is “substantial, but probably not crippling.”

Laurent recently underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.  There is no timetable on when he might return.

Ole Miss should be getting some good news on the defensive side of the ball, however, when juco transfer linebacker Patrick Trahan gets his Summer school grades.

He’s expected to be eligible to join Houston Nutt’s squad this Fall.


Permalinktags: Auburn

Tony Barnhart of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sat down with Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin on Wednesday and got a “crash course on the basics” of the Tigers’ new spread attack. 

You can read the details in his blog, but here are the big points:

1)  The spread is a formation, not an offense.  (And according to Franklin, once the Tigers spread you out, they plan to “throw first and run second.”)

2)  Tempo is everything.

3)  The goal is to make the defense tired.

4)  The biggest misconception about the spread is that the players who run this offense are more finesse than tough.

5)  Players love this offense.

One of the guys hoping to run Auburn’s new offense is Chris Todd.  And Jay Tate of The Montgomery Advertiser reports that Todd is feeling good about his once-injured shoulder.

Franklin believes that shoulder, obviously, is key for the junior signal-caller.

“Chris is capable of being a championship-type quarterback.  We’ll have to see where he is with the arm.  He’s not going to run all over you.  He has to be outstanding with his throws to be great.  If he has the arm strength, he has a chance.”


Permalinktags: Mississippi State

You would think that pleading guilty to something might get you kicked OUT of school, but in the case of three MSU football players, this might be the beginning of an eventual reinstatement to the team.

Anthony Johnson, Jamon Hughes and Rodney Prince were involved in a March 27 on-campus “gunfire incident” that resulted in the arrest (and dismissal) of Quinton Wesley and All-SEC offensive lineman Mike Brown.

Sylvester Croom said that Johnson, Hughes and Prince had an “indirect” role in the incident.  The three withdrew from school soon after.

Now, the three have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of obstructing an arrest.  They are not eligible to play in 2008, but this might open the door for them to return in 2009.

Said Croom, “We are thankful that the university has given these three young men the opportunity to finish their education at Mississippi State.  For them, this is a second chance.  I hope that all of our palyers have learned a valuable lesson from this situation and understand there are consequences of making bad decisions and choices.”


Permalinktags: Florida

Some news and notes coming out of Gainesville:

Former Florida offensive lineman Ronnie Wilson is enrolled once more at UF and is grateful for a potential second chance from the football coaching staff.

Wilson missed last season after pleading no contest to one count of battery and oen count of discharging a firearm in public (both misdemeanors).

Jeremy Fowler of The Orlando Sentinel provides you with the Gators’ practice schedule for the upcoming week.

Pat Dooley of The Gainesville Sun ranks, in his opinion, the 10 teams most hated by Florida fans (reasons are in the column):

1)  Georgia

2)  Florida State

3)  Tennessee

4)  Miami

5)  Alabama

6)  Notre Dame

7)  Auburn

8)  LSU

9)  Ohio State

10)  Michigan

And Robbie Andreu, also of The Sun, examines Ron Zook’s final recruiting class with the Gators from back in 2004. 

That class was ranked the seventh best in the nation when it signed.  Has it lived up to its billing?  Not quite.


Permalinktags: Kentucky

Normally, I would hope, a speeding charge wouldn’t warrant major coverage from a newspaper. 

But in this case, it’s a follow-up to the July 22nd story that UK quarterback Curtis Pulley was arrested and charged with speeding, driving on a revoked license and having expired or no plates or registration papers.

Pulley pleaded guilty to the speeding charge on Wednesday.  The revoked license charge was dismissed.  The plates/registration charge was set for disposition on August 22nds.

Pulley was also cited for marijuana possession in June.


Permalinktags: South Carolina

Stephen Garcia, who’s been serving a suspension after numerous brushes with the law, arrived back in Columbia ahead of schedule yesterday.

He’ll also be back on the playing field two weeks earlier than expected, cleared to take part in Steve Spurrier’s practices starting tomorrow.

The quarterback’s suspension (handed down in March) was supposed to last through August 15th, when students return to campus.

According to Columbia’s The State, sources say Garcia will be on a zero-tolerance policy. 

Just one more screw-up and “you’re out!  Finished at Faber!  Expelled!  I want you off this campus at 9 o’clock Monday morning!  And you’ll be happy to know that I have notified your local draft boards and told them that you are now all, ALL eligible for military service.”

Meanwhile, just a day after complaining about the negative recruiting tactics of someone running a Clemson website, Spurrier followed up with more, this time talking about someone sending packets to recruits… packets that included articles about Carolina players getting into trouble.

“There was a bunch of newspaper articles sent to several recruits out of Clemson. …  We certainly didn’t think any Clemson coaches would send that stuff.  There was just a packet of articles came out of Clemson.  That’s what we were led to believe.  That’s why I mentioned it, and I hopefully I won’t have to mention it again.”

Spurrier then got in his two cents worth regarding, well, I guess it’s aimed at the press AND the cops:  “We have so many guys, I think the last four have been arrested and all charges dropped.  I just wish if you’re going to arrest somebody, make sure the guy’s guilty.”

Carolina has had seven players arrested or cited by police since December 31st.  Three of those cases saw all the charges completely dropped.

Seth Emerson of The State believes the “negative recruiting” story, which apparently is being played up pretty big in South Carolina right now, is much ado about nothing.

Agreed.  And I’m sure no Carolina zealot has ever smeared Clemson in any way.  This stuff, sadly, goes on everywhere these days.

Finally, for the eighth consecutive year, USC has sold our their season tickets.


Permalinktags: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

Here are a few quick-hitters from around the conference today:

John Clay of The Lexington Herald-Leader writes that the lack of buzz surrounding this year’s Kentucky-Louisville football game is due to uncertainty.

Both teams have lost a lot from last year, and no one’s really sure what to expect from either squad.

Bizarro story coming out of LA.  Louisiana, not Los Angeles, though you would assume the latter when I mention that West Coast rapper Snoop Dogg is involved.

This guy has been seen buddying up to dang near every athlete, coach and team in the country at one time or another and now he’s chosen LSU.

Dropping in on a Les Miles speech, Snoop (wearing a #8 Tiger jersey) dropped this line: “I just wanted to give my love and support to coach Miles.”

The Man In The Little Hat reciprocated.  “Ben Miles (Les’ son) is all over Snoop’s stuff.  I found every guy around him is a former coach or player and he runs a league of youth football and provides opportunities for young people.

“I defend his music, and am much more a fan of the person.”

As we learned earlier this year, John Pelphrey is also a fan of the Dogg.

Here’s a little taste of Snoop Dogg for those of you who aren’t familiar with him.

After the Snoop talk, Miles got down to the business of talking LSU.

“This team is veteran enough.  I know people have got to pick.  If I had to pick, I’d pick my team.”

Wally Hall of The Northwest Arkansas Times shares his ballot from SEC Media Days with his readers today, revealing that he sees an Auburn-Georgia match-up in the SEC Championship Game.

SEC East:  Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky and Vanderbilt.

SEC West:  Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss (well), Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi State (well, well).

Get the whys by reading his column right here.

Seth Emerson of The State previews the 2008 Mississippi State season right here.  And there’s a whole lot of pressure on quarterback Wesley Carroll.

The folks at The Montgomery Advertiser are running a Gannett piece on how the SEC has become the graveyard of failed NFL coaches.

The Huntsville Times takes a closer look at the obscene amount of money made by SEC football coaches.

Miles:  “I recognize that I’m highly paid.  I’m embarrassed by it.  If I had my father alive, he’d say, ‘You’re not worth it.’  I’d say he’s right.

“But how wonderful in this country that those things happen.”

This is a good read with a takes from Miles (obviously), Rich Brooks and Bobby Petrino.  Do yourself a favor and scan it.


Permalinktags: Vanderbilt

The SEC and the NCAA have told Vanderbilt to hold their horses when it comes to starting Fall practice.  Instead of getting underway today, the Commodores will have to wait until tomorrow.

“The league simply said we were mistaken in interpreting when we could start our preseason schedule,” Bobby Johnson said.  “After numerous discussions with the SEC, we decided that delaying practice by a day was the right action.”

Oddly enough, the fact that Vandy’s classes begin on a Monday (rather than the usual Wednesday) and that their first football game is on a Thursday (rather than a Saturday) probably played a role in this.

Wouldn’t it make more sense for the NCAA to simply say that ALL Division I schools may start practice on August 1st each year?  What?  Is that too simple for them?

Bob Holt of previews the Commodores’ 2008 season, but before doing so, he also lays out some of the obstacles faced by Johnson and his staff:

1)  Vandy is the only private school in the SEC

2)  Vandy has the smallest enrollment in the conference

3)  Vandy has the toughest academic standards

4)  Vandy plays in the SEC’s smallest stadium

5)  Vandy hasn’t been to a bowl since 1982

and 6) Vandy has NEVER won an SEC title.

Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?


Permalinktags: Alabama

The biggest news coming out of Tuscaloosa yesterday was the hiring of former Florida State athletic director Dave Hart, Jr. to the newly created role of “executive director of athletics,” serving under current UA AD Mal Moore.

Hart (photo at left) played basketball for the Tide in 1969 and 1970.

While it may appear that the 58 year-old Hart has been hired as the 69 year-old Moore’s replacement, Ray Melick of The Birmingham News calls poppycock.

Hart will NOT replace Moore whenever Moore decides to retire.

According to Melick: “That’s the unofficial word from people in the know who don’t want to be known.  They are adamant about that.”

(Sidenote — As someone who got ripped pretty good last year for a column I wrote using unnamed sources, I’m always amazed that fans have zero troubles with unnamed sources… until they divulge something that fans don’t want to hear.  Then it’s the devil’s work to use unnamed sources.)

I trust Melick is correct in his assessment of the situation.  He and Kevin Scarbinsky may be the best one-two columnist punch in the SEC.

The Tuscaloosa News covers the arrival of Alabama’s top-ranked recruiting class to the real world of Crimson Tide football. 

(It must be noted that the Tide’s #1 class has had some defections since that ranking was handed out.)

And Mike Strange of The Knoxville News Sentinel (who also ranks among the best writers in the region) previews the Alabama team, with an eye toward that all-important freshman class.

Nick Saban:  “These young players and how they respond to the challenges of the SEC, is certainly going to go a long way to determine how much success this team can have and how much this team will actually improve.”


Permalinktags: Tennessee

With Saturday marking the first day of Fall practice in Knoxville, the Vols are still waiting for eligibility word on a number of players.

Florida State transfer (and freshman All-American tight end) Brandon Warren, who sat out last year, is trying to win appeals with the NCAA and the SEC to become eligible to play.  He is already cleared to practice with UT.

(Warren can be seen making a one-handed catch for the Seminoles in this high quality video.)

Gerald Williams, who is Tennessee’s version of Jerrell Powe, is still waiting to find out if he passed the one Summer class he needed to pass to finally become eligible.  Williams signed with Tennessee back in 2005.

And that’s not to mention the questions regarding the Vols’ incoming freshmen.

(Also in Dave Hooker’s piece for The Knoxville News Sentinel: tight end Jeff Cottam has been slower to recover from a broken leg than doctors had initially hoped.)

Phillip Fulmer will, as we wrote yesterday, fight the subpoena tossed to him last week at SEC Media Days. 

“Obviously, this is an effort to distract our football team or distract me in some way.  The last time this happened we won the division with two freshman quarterbacks.  We won’t be distracted.”

In 2004, Tennessee won the SEC East after Fulmer was fined for bypassing Media Days, in order to avoid a subpoena.

Finally, the big talk around Tennessee football is the disrespect shown to the Vols by picking them third in the SEC East.

John Adams of The Knoxville News Sentinel looks back to another UT team picked to finish third in the division… the 1998 national championship team.

(Vol fans may commence to hooting and hollering now.)


Permalinktags: Arkansas

Terry Wood of The Northwest Arkansas Times continues his position-by-position look at the Razorbacks with this piece focusing on their defensive ends.

It’s a position that Mr. Wood feels is the strength of the team’s defense.

Bobby Petrino allowed Casey Dick and his other quarterbacks to choose what type of Wilson football the Razorbacks would use this year.

They chose the GST model which, according to Wilson, has “laid-in composite leather stripes” that are “82 percent more gripable than traditional painted stripes.”

Well, Hell yeah.

And while we seldom here anything other than complaints about Petrino’s personality, Tom Murphy writes that the coach is a good sport and has a good sense of humor when on the golf course… as he was with three journalists on Tuesday.


Permalinktags: Georgia

Georgia offensive lineman Clint Boling has had the DUI charge brought against him in May reduced to a charge of reckless driving.

Mark Richt was unavailable for comment, but this could un-do the two-game suspension Richt handed down to Boling earlier this month (over the DUI charge).


Permalinktags: Georgia

Some notes coming out of Georgia today:

Chip Towers of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sat down with Bulldog safety Quentin Banks for his latest “Five Questions” piece.

With Brannan Southerland and Fred Munzemmaier expected to miss the first few game this year (due to an injury and a suspension, respectively), the fullback position for the Dawgs is a major concern.

Finally, despite the fact that UGA president Michael Adams ripped ESPN for having too much power after the Bulldogs were leapfrogged by LSU into January’s national Title game… Mark Richt spent yesterday in Bristol all over ESPN’s various airwaves.


Permalinktags: Alabama, Mississippi State

When asked to pick his sleeper teams for the 2008 football season,’s Stewart Mandel throughout Rutgers, Utah… and Alabama.

“I can’t shake the feeling that Nick Saban will do exactly what he did in Year 2 at LSU: Throw a handful of his most touted freshmen on the field, turn up the intensity on defense and churn out nine or 10 wins.”

Elsewhere in his mailbag column, Mandel discusses the new wave of big-money kickoff games (like Bama vs Clemson at the Georgia Dome) and he takes a little dig at the Mississippi State vs Georgia Tech game coming up in September.

(To me, watching Paul Johnson’s option go up against Sylvester Croom’s defense sounds like a pretty good smashmouth football game.)


Permalinktags: Kentucky

Kentucky defensive end Jeremy Jarmon is just another reason why you can’t put too much stock in recruiting rankings.

Coming out of Houston High School in Germantown, Tenn., Jarmon was a 240-pound defensive lineman who was offered by Memphis, Ole Miss and Kentucky.

Tennessee wasn’t interested. Neither were most of the other SEC schools.

At age 17, Jarmon wasn’t ready made.

To some, he didn’t fit the bill.

But the Kentuckys of the world have to take a few chances. They have to roll the dice.

Wildcats coach Rich Brooks felt Jarmon had the ability to develop into a solid SEC player.

Brooks was right.

“You have to project a little bit,” Brooks said. “The higher up the food chain you are, the more you can rely on height, weight, speed and the five-star guys.”

Brooks realizes Kentucky isn’t high up the food chain.

Jarmon wasn’t a five-star guy. Or a four-star guy. More like a two- or three-star guy.

But he now carries 285 solid pounds on his 6-foot-3 frame. And he has run a 4.71. He registered nine sacks last year, three off the school record.

“He’s as good at his position as anybody in the country,” Brooks said. “He’s a playmaker. The good news is he’s got good people around him now.”

Better news is, Jarmon is hungry.

He wasn’t satisfied with nine sacks. In fact, he was a bit disappointed at the total.

“I went into last season with the mindset I wanted to set the school record of 12,” Jarmon said. “I got to nine and had numerous
opportunities to get to (12) and the reason I didn’t is because I wasn’t in as good a shape as I could have been and I wasn’t coming off the ball as fast as I could. Those are things I’ve been working on this offseason. ..

“I wasn’t to break the school record and I feel if I break the school record and beat out the statistics I had last year, maybe the coaches will take a look at it and the media as well and see that I do deserve my name on that first-team All-SEC.”

Jarmon was selected second team by the coaches and media in preseason ballots.

Brooks wasn’t turned off by Jarmon’s goal of 12 sacks, but he said there are bigger fish to fry.

“I hope that he can accomplish that,” Brooks said, “but I’m more interested in getting to nine or 10 wins than him getting to 12 sacks.”

Although he played high school ball in Collierville, Jarmon was born in Fort Knox, Ky., and grew up a Kentucky fan. When Brooks told Jarmon at his kitchen table he could be part of the rebuilding plan in Lexington, Jarmon hopped aboard that night.

“I’ve done almost everything I can to make sure our program has made a complete turnaround,” Jarmon said.

Kentucky has had consecutive 8-win seasons, won the Music City Bowl twice, and, last season, beat eventual national champion LSU and
scared Florida and Tennessee.

Jarmon took no solace in the close calls against Florida and Tennessee.

“There’s no satisfaction in losing any game,” Jarmon said. “Our goal is to win the SEC.”

Can Kentucky win eight games again?

“Absolutely,” Jarmon said. “The sky is the limit for us. We can win more than eight games. We’re not aiming at eight games. We’re aiming at the SEC East Championship. We’re aiming at a chance to compete in Atlanta for the SEC Championship.

“You probably don’t get to that point just winning eight ballgames.”

And you probably don’t set a school record for sacks in a season unless you were a five-star recruit.

Jarmon proved recruiting experts wrong when he came out of high school.

He hopes to prove the predicting experts wrong about Kentucky this season.

Extra Points

It’s worth noting that the top two returning sacks leaders in the SEC – Jarmon and Ole Miss’ Greg Hardy (with 10) – were not highly recruited players coming out of high school.

Hardy was a good basketball player who impressed the Rebels with his athleticism, but he wasn’t offered by Tennessee or any other upper echelon team in the SEC.

Which only proves: It pays if you can project.

Jarmon is a budding actor with some skills.

In high school, he played the lead role in two theatrical productions, including Colonel Jessep (the Jack Nicholson role) in “A Few
Good Men.”

In April, he had the lead role in the UK theater production of the play “Weak/Side/Help,” receiving rave reviews for his performance.

Jarmon also has an interest in being an FBI or CIA agent, if, of course, pro football doesn’t work out. He plans to further his education
by attending a diplomacy school.


Permalinktags: South Carolina

Here’s the latest in our series of SEC Summer previews: South Carolina.

Me and the Ace Reporter, Jimmy Hyams, discuss the Gamecocks’ upcoming season, including the on-going “who’ll call the plays” debate.

For more of our previews of the teams of the SEC, just check out our Webcasts page.


Permalinktags: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee

Want to know more about the biggest rivalry games in the SEC? 

Well, ESPN’s Chris Low will do you one better and both rank AND predict the SEC’s nastiest, most hate-filled games. 

As always, explanations are provided on Mr. Low’s blog, but here are his top five rivalries complete with his prognostications for 2008:

1)  Auburn 23, Alabama 21

2)  Tennessee 21, Alabama 17

3)  Florida 34, Georgia 31

4)  LSU 31, Alabama 14

5)  Tennessee 28, Florida 24

Meanwhile, Alabama fans are not happy with Mr. Low after he posted a blog entry outlining why Alabama is the most hated team in the SEC. 

One reason Low cited for opposing fans’ hatred of the Tide: Alabama fans dwell on the past, particularly the Bear Bryant era. 

Alabama fans’ response?  Remind him of Gene Stallings’ 1992 national title.  Way to show him, Bama fans.


Permalinktags: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

Pat Dooley of The Gainesville Sun writes that he learned five things while listening to the cacophony of talking heads at SEC Media Days last week:

1)  Ole Miss is going to be better than you think.

2)  It’s going to take a while to rebuild Alabama.

3)  Mike Hartline will be Kentucky’s starting quarterback.

4)  The hardest pre-season pick was the sixth slot in the SEC West.

5)  Media Days may not be long for Alabama after last week’s stupid subpoena incident.


Permalinktags: Georgia

John Adams of The Knoxville News Sentinel provides a preview of Georgia’s 2008 season right here.

Marc Weiszer of The Athens Banner-Herald reports that Mark Richt is busily trying to warn his team against the dangers of listening to pre-season hype.

He’s even shown them “The Seminole Rap,” a Chicago Bears-inspired musical salute to themselves, that backfired during Florida State’s 1988 campaign.

Richt is in a funny position right now.  He’s trying to deliver the “don’t believe the hype” message because of what the national media has been saying, yet the media around the SEC has “disrespected” the Dawgs and picked them second in their own division.

Which angle is the best to play?

(Sidenote — That video for “The Seminole Rap” does two things… one, it makes me sick to have grown up in the 80s… and two, it leaves me asking, “what the Hell was Bobby Bowden thinking?”)


Permalinktags: LSU

Scott Rabalais over at The Baton Rouge Advocate has compiled a brief notes column as his latest offering, and in it he makes some interesting points about The Man In The Little Hat.

Many fans and media around the conference (myself included) seem to think that Les Miles has inherited a ton of talent, a strong recruiting base, and those superior players lifted him to a national title last year despite wild coaching gambles and two regular season losses (a first for a national title winner).

Yeah, that sounds about right.

But as Rabalais points out, didn’t Jim Tressel win a national title with John Cooper’s players?  (Yes, but he improved the program as well.)

Didn’t Urban Meyer win a national title with Ron Zook’s players?  (Yes, but he improved the program as well.)

Will Miles keep the Tigers at their current level?  If he maintains a 34-out-of-40 kind of winning percentage, then we’ll all have to say that he not only won a BCS championship with Nick Saban’s players, but he also improved on Saban’s tenure.

That’s a hard mark to hit, of course.  And it’s probably not very fair.  But it IS what a lot of folks think.

And one other great note from Rabalais: if Miles wins another national title while at LSU he will become just the second coach in SEC history to win more than one. 

Only Bear Bryant has won multiple titles (six from the wire services).

If Miles pulls off that feat, would he be the SEC’s second-greatest coach ever? 

Would Phillip Fulmer, Steve Spurrier, Saban or Meyer be if they won another?


Permalinktags: Tennessee

Tom Murphy of The Northwest Arkansas Times brings us a preview of Tennessee’s 2008 season.  Once again, as in just about every piece you’ll read about the Vols, the disrespect angle is being trumpeted at full blow.

This time by Phillip Fulmer.

“I am excited about the fact that you’re always looking for ways to motivate your football team… (and) I appreciate y’all’s help picking us third or fourth in the East.  (That) has served us well at different times, and we’ll certainly use that.”

Not sure who picked the Vols fourth.  No matter, by the time the season starts UT’s players and coaches will be talking about how they were picked to finish dead last in the East and 0-12 overall.

Of course, if it works, it works.  If it doesn’t, then everyone will look kind of silly when the media’s third place predictions come true.

And speaking of Fulmer, as The Birmingham News reports, his attorney plans to fight the subpoena served to him last week.

“I certainly question any need for Coach Fulmer to testify, other than to try to harass and inconvenience and use him to obtain more media attention,” Jeff Hagood said.

“I’m fairly certain Phillip has never met, crossed paths, or even heard of the plaintiff in this case.”


Permalinktags: Arkansas

A whole LOT of stuff out there about the Hogs today.  Here goes, first from the folks at

Wally Hall believes there are two reasons why Arkansas could be in for a long season — the Razorbacks’ tough schedule and their overall lack of depth and experience. 

Technically, you could call those three reasons, but who’s counting?

Nate Allen introduces you to the Hogs’ 25 year-old tight end, Andrew Davie. 

Yes, the former minor league baseball player is 25.  And he’s just a junior.

Brandon Marcello writes that there’s a whole mess of freshmen that could be competing for jobs at receiver and linebacker.

Bobby Petrino has hired another former NFL man, Joe Sheehan, to be the Razorbacks’ top trainer.  Sheehan has spent the past 11 years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, so you might say that his NFL tenure was a little bit more fruitful than Petrino’s.

Finally, Razorback Central’s Harry King writes that Rimington Trophy winner Jonathan Luigs was almost overlooked coming out of high school.

In yet another example of how recruiting rankings aren’t the end-all, be-all, Luigs was a two-star player on a five-star scale.

This year he’ll be going for his second Rimington Trophy, awarded to the best center in college football.


Permalinktags: Alabama

Seth Emerson of The State previews Alabama’s 2008 season in his latest article, starting with the freshmen who will be counted on so heavily this Fall.

Gentry Estes of The Mobile Press-Register also writes about youth and the Tide’s need for leadership, but his focus falls on Alabama’s offensive line.

And Fan Day will be held at Bryant-Denny Stadium this Sunday afternoon.  Coaches and players will be available immediately after practice for autographs.

As always, Bama fans will circle the stadium seven times in a counter-clockwise direction before approaching and kissing Bear Bryant’s last houndstooth hat.


Permalinktags: Kentucky

UK signee Donte Rumph won’t be a part of Rich Brooks’ team this Fall. 

At SEC Media Days, Brooks had said that all of his freshmen would be eligible, but the UK sports information department now says that Brooks meant only those freshmen who enrolled in school this Summer would be eligible.

No word on where Rumph, a defensive lineman from South Carolina, is or what his plans are.


Permalinktags: Ole Miss

The Oxford Eagle recaps the Jerrell Powe situation, now that the big defensive tackle has finally been granted his eligibility.

Ole Miss is trying to help their fans avoid the heat by scheduling three early season games for nighttime kickoffs.

The season-opener between the Rebels and Memphis will kickoff at 7pm EST (6pm CST) at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

The Rebels will have the same start time for games against Samford and Vanderbilt (depending on the SEC’s television schedule).

Defensive tackle Ted Laurent has had to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his knee and there is no word on when he might be able to return.

Laurent played in seven games as a true freshman last year.

Linebacker Ashlee Palmer says there are some big differences between Houston Nutt’s way and Ed Orgeron’s way.

“(Fall training camp) will be more like a practice instead of Hell.  (Last year) it was more like Hell.  Players weren’t liking the coaches.  The coaches aren’t here to be your friends, but we get more coaching now.”


Permalinktags: Tennessee

The Old Spice Classic announced the bracket for their November basketball tournament yesterday and Bruce Pearl is worried about the match-up his Volunteers drew in the first round — Siena.

“There really isn’t a good draw out there, but there’s three things about this match-up with Siena.  Siena just drilled Vanderbilt in the NCAA Tournament, they have six seniors coming back, and their conference (Metro Atlantic) is the host of this tournament.”

Indeed, Rider (Metro Atlantic) upset Penn State last year, while Marist (Metro Atlantic) knocked off Minnesota the year before that.

The game with Siena will also change a lot of Thanksgiving plans around the state of Tennessee.  Instead of settling in with NFL football, Vol fans will be tuning to ESPN2 at noon on Turkey Day to watch UT’s battle with the Saints.

(Sidenote — We realize the crayon is actually “Burnt Sienna” with two Ns.  Also, how many times do you think the headline “Team X Burns Siena” has been used?)


Permalinktags: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

Usually, we leave the recruiting stuff to Josh Ward over at our Recruiting page.

But these two stories, I felt, deserved front page mention because they’re sort of overall “the state of recruiting” pieces.

First, Dave Hooker of The Knoxville News Sentinel breaks down the commitment list of each SEC school with six months left til Signing Day, providing you with his quick-take mid-term judgements.

Next, just to help you get your feet back on the ground, Chip Towers of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution looks back at previous Georgia signing classes to see how many blue chip prospects panned out… and how many went belly up.

Yeah, it focuses on Georgia, but since their recruiting is as good as any other team in the SEC right now, the Dawgs’ successes and failures serve as a good example of why stories like Mr. Hooker’s, while interesting, aren’t Gospel.

And here’s something else to help you get your feet back on the ground.


Permalinktags: Auburn

While juco transfer Chris Todd is always mentioned as a possible starter at Auburn, most folks believe it’s Kodi Burns that will take the majority of snaps for the Tigers this Fall.

And while the SEC media don’t seem to be worried about Auburn’s QB situation (they picked the Tigers to win the West handily), Burns didn’t look like much of a passer this past Spring.

Until he realized what was wrong: his feet.  Once he began focusing on his footwoork, his accuracy improved.

“That last week of Spring, I started to move my feet the right way and it was a big, dramatic difference.”

And before you see this kid play and start yelling, “happy feet” at your television screen, know that offensive coordinator Tony Franklin coaches his players to have “the hot feet.”

Quarterbacks are required to keep their feet moving even after the three-step drop.  He feels this keeps his passers in the proper posture at all times, ready to deliver a pass whenever a receiver breaks free.

(Sidenote — QB guru David Cutcliffe tutored both Manning brothers to pitty-pat their feet, as well.)


Permalinktags: Mississippi State

Mississippi State did a pretty good job of keeping this story out of the papers, but The Starkville Daily News reports that basketball player Phil Turner was arrested last week for disorderly conduct.

Police were called to an apartment complex over reports of “a disturbance with weapons.”  No weapons were found, but a very angry Turner was.

The police asked Turner to show them his hands.  He would not.  So a second officer told Turner to show his hands.  Again Turner refused… and he resisted “officer attempts to calm him.”

He was restrained, handcuffed and put down on the ground.  When the officers told Turner to remain seated, he tried to get up and was finally arrested.

Turner started 11 games for the Bulldogs last year and played in 30.


Permalinktags: Vanderbilt

Entering his seventh year at Vanderbilt (has it been that long), Bobby Johnson sounds pretty confident in the strides his program is making.

“People can think all they want: we lost some good players.  But we’ve been developing other players to take their place.  We anticipated losing them; we knew we were going to lose them.  We feel like we have people ready to step up and take people’s places.”

They better, Johnson lost his entire starting offensive line.  Whether he knew it was coming or not, that’s a pretty big gap to fill.


Permalinktags: South Carolina

Lots of stories coming out of the Palmetto State today:

Scott Cacciola of The Memphis Commercial-Appeal reports that Steve Spurrier is a lot more realistic heading into his fifth year at South Carolina than he was last year.

He even writes that Spurrier looks “downright disappointed” on the cover of USC’s new media guide.

“We were never that strong during that 6-1 record.  We were sort of squeaking by some teams,” Spurrier said.

Mr. Cacciola’s preview piece on the Gamecocks continues from there.

While Spurrier might be playing things closer to the vest this year, he at least believes his team LOOKS like a better squad this year.

“If you look at our team physically, I think you’d say, ‘Hey, that’s the best looking team we’ve had here in a long time.  We have not had a really good team.  We must get our players playing at a higher effort level.”

The ol’ ball coach (yeah, he doesn’t want to be called “ol'” anymore, but that was the original nickname and I like it) fired a shot at a Clemson website yesterday, but it could have very well been aimed at a lot of us in this business.

Referring to a webmaster that he claims sends Carolina arrest notices to recruits around the state, Spurrier said, “So I just wondered if he sends the articles about all charges dropped.  So you guys that know that dude over there, tell him he can add that one today hopefully when he sends them out.”

This, of course, references the marijuana charges that were dropped against receiver Dion LeCorn.  Which we did post right here on the site yesterday.

It’s a legit issue (and not just when it comes to superfans who use arrests to help with negative recruiting).  The bad news always gets a bigger headline than the positive news.

As for the guy who runs the Clemson site, I don’t think “that dude” would be motivated enough to send out negative emails.

Ron Morris of The State takes a closer look at the man who’ll be running the Carolina defense this year, defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson.

Spurrier hinted that suspended quarterback Stephen Garcia could be ready for action by the end of the week, but the coach says he has no say in that decision.

“I’m not in the loop for that.  I believe they told Stephen that if you do what you’re supposed to do, we’ll look at your situation and make a call.  We’ll find out in the next three or four days when and if he comes.”

Finally, some Gamecock notes from The State and some more from The Charleston Post & Courier.


Permalinktags: Arkansas

Tired of talking about Arkansas’ off-field issues?

Ready for the season to start?

Too bad.  There’s more blotter fodder coming out of Fayetteville this morning.

First, defensive tackle Ernest Mitchell has been cited (not arrested) by police who found a small caliber gun, drug paraphernalia and a what was believed to be a small amount of marijuana in his car.

Wisely, Mitchell called Bobby Petrino ASAP.

“Ernest came to me immediately to tell me.  At this point, we’re going to let the process take its course.”

With six arrests in the last few months, the process has apparently already taken its course with receiver Marques Wade and linebacker Freddy Burton.

Both will be suspended for the first two games of the year for their recent DWI arrests.

“That’s something we can’t have and certainly don’t want to have.  It’s an unfortunate incident that happened for both of them, but they’re going to be suspended for the first two games.”

Is there nothing better to do in Fayetteville than get yourself into trouble?

Don’t answer that.