FLORIDA: Marcus Baker, a receiver at Hawthorne (Fla.) High has decided to walk-on at Florida. Coach Ron Zook has also told Baker that he might get a scholarship offer either in June or in January. (GatorBait.net) Athletic director Jeremy Foley is a part of a NCAA task force that will consider rules changes to deal with recruiting prospects. Some of the issues to be addressed are private jet transportation, number of visits, financial limit on meals and background checks. Lee McGriff is replacing Scot Brantley on the Gator football broadcast. McGriff was the analyst from 1985-93. Brantley has done the broadcast for the past seven years. (Gatorsports.com)
TENNESSEE: Quarterback Rick Clausen, who sat out last year after transferring from LSU, has been awarded a scholarship. (Knoxnews.com) Clausen, who has two-years of eligibility remaining, will be competing this spring with senior C. J. Leak, junior James Banks and redshirt freshman Bo Hardegree. Individual ticket prices for Tennessee games are increasing from $38 to $45 for five (Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Notre Dame and Kentucky) of the seven home games. Athletic director Mike Hamilton said the Vols are simply keeping up with other teams like Miami ($50 per ticket for particular games) and Vanderbilt ($55 per ticket for particular games). Former Vol linebacker Reggie Ingram, who played from 1990-93, died over the weekend at 33 years old. (Tennessean.com)
GEORGIA: Although he will probably be limited this spring, the return of defensive end Will Thompson, who missed all of last season with an injury, means David Pollack will not be double and triple teamed so often. The emergence of Quentin Moses and Marcus Jackson means the Bulldogs will have one of the best defensive end units in the SEC. (UGASports.com)
AUBURN: The Tigers start spring practice Sunday. Quarterback Jason Campbell has had four offensive coordinators (Noel Mazzone, Bobby Petrino, Hugh Nall and now Al Borges). Tailback Brandon Jacobs has decided to transfer to a yet to be determined school. (Huntsville Times) With the return of Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams, Jacobs carries would have been limited. He might have had to move to another position. Tiger running back Tre Smith is considering a redshirt season because this is Brown and Williams final year. Smith would have two seasons left. Jeremy Ingle is moving to center and Danny Lindsey, the previous center, is moving to right guard. On defense, Jay Ratliff is moving from defensive end to defensive tackle. In other changes, Karibi Dede is moving from safety to weakside linebacker; Antarrious Williams from weakside linebacker to safety; Ben Grubbs from tight end to offensive line and Kyle Derozan from defensive line to tight end. Tommy Tuberville said he would also re-open the competition for the starting place-kicker. Lemarcus Rowell, a junior college linebacker transfer, is back on the team after an arrest last year. Tez Doolittle, a redshirt fullback last year, is now at nose guard after his weight ballooned to 300 pounds. (Birmingham News) Tiger trustee and the CEO of Colonial Bancgroup, Bobby Lowder, has donated $4.2 million for the building of a student-athlete development center. Lowder has been under criticism for micromanaging the athletic department. Auburn was placed on probation by it accrediting agency because of allegations of micromanagement by the trustees. (Mobile Register)
SOUTH CAROLINA: Rick Stockstill has taken over as the Gamecock recruiting coordinator. Dave Roberts, the running backs coach, was the recruiting coordinator last season. Stockstill was the recruiting coordinator when he was at Clemson. While he was at Clemson, Stockstill recruited 16 players who were drafted or signed as in the NFL. Lou Holtz hired five new coaches this year after firing four.
ALABAMA: Despite offseason shoulder surgeries, both Brodie Croyle and Spencer Pennington were zipping passes in the Tide’s first spring practice. Miami transfer Marc Guillon is seeing action with the first team offensive for the first time. Tight end Greg McLain is out for the spring after having surgery on his elbow. Alabama will have three spring scrimmages on March 6, 13 and 20. The “ESPN OUTSIDE THE LINES” segment involving the Alabama/Tennessee controversy is set to air Sunday at 9:30 a.m. eastern time. Kyle Tatum (6-7, 282) has adjusted well to his move to the offensive line. The sophomore had 14 tackles in nine games as a reserve defensive tackle last season. Alabama practiced in full pads for the first time Thursday. Alabama has only 12 scholarship seniors on the spring roster. (BamaOnline.com)
KENTUCKY: Three players who saw a lot of playing time in 2003-sophomore linebacker Brad Booker, sophomore safety Maurice Marchman and redshirt sophomore tight end Bruce Fowler- are currently not on the roster for spring practice. (Collegefootballnews.com)
OLE MISS: Coach David Cutcliffe has signed a two-year extension, which runs his contract through Dec. 31, 2007. In five years at Ole Miss, Cutcliffe is 40-22. Cutcliffe announced changes to assistant coach responsibilities this week. Chuck Driesbach will move from coaching linebackers to the secondary while continuing to coordinate the defensive. Jay Hopson, who recently came from Southern Miss, will coach the secondary and be the recruiting coordinator. Cutcliffe also announced the hiring of Arlington Nunn as an assistant coach filling the void left by Ron Middleton who was hired by Tampa Bay earlier this month. Nunn was a receivers coach at Troy (Ala.) State. (RebelGrove.com)
LSU: The hiring of Leroy Ryals as tight ends coach filled out Nick Saban’s staff. Bobby Williams will coach receivers and carry the title of associate head coach. Derek Dooley has been promoted to assistant head coach and will continue to coach running backs and special teams. (TigerBait.com)
WAKE FOREST: Demon Deacons have replaced Air Force on the 2004 with North Carolina A & T on Sept. 18. Air Force requested the change in order to have an extra home game next season.
CLEMSON: TigerIllustrated.com points out four players-receiver Chansi Stuckey (6-0, 180), defensive end Charles Bennett (6-4, 242), linebacker Nick Watkins (6-1, 220) and defensive back Roy Walker (6-3, 195) who are just some of the players to watch for this coming spring. Tiger officials are moving ahead on the first phase of adding 2,000
west-end zone club seats. Construction should begin after the 2004 season. The project should be completed by 2006.
VIRGINIA: The Cavaliers have won 11 of 12 games at home. This year’s home schedule includes Akron, Syracuse (The Cavs have never beaten Syracuse), North Carolina, Maryland, Clemson and Miami. (WagonOnline.com)
FSU: As many as eight offensive players could be sidelined for spring practice March 2. Only four scholarship receivers are available. Chris Davis had foot surgery, Willie Reid had screws removed in his leg, Cro Thorpe is rehabbing a broken leg. FSU is limited to Chauncey Stovall, Dominic Robinson, DeCody Fagg and Lorne Sam. Backup quarterback Wyatt Sexton will take half the snaps with Chris Rix. Leon Washington is out this spring due to foot surgery. Lorenzo Booker will be the only tailback. (Tallahassee.com) The field at Doak Campbell Stadium is going to be rebuilt at an estimated cost of $800,000. The more than 20-year-old drainage system and 18 inches of sand and soil will be replaced with a state-of-the-art system. The drainage system failed during the Miami game last year. Because of the work, the annual spring game will be moved to Gene Cox Stadium in Tallahassee. Mat drills end Friday. (Warchant.com)
ACC: The new TV deal worth $40 million for seven years will be announced soon. This nearly doubles the current contract. The ACC had to agree to a certain amount of Thursday night ESPN games. FSU will play a Thursday night game on the road, but they prefer not to play at home because of the interruption to classes. (Tallahassee.com)
SOUTHERN MISS: Ron McCrone has been hired as the new secondary coach. McCrone coached last year at Southwest Missouri State. He has been a college assistant for roughly 30 years. McCrone also coach at Orange Park (Fla.) High School. Former running back Derrick Nix is the new tight ends coach. Jay Johnson has been moved from tight ends coach to running backs coach. (EagleTalk.net)
KANSAS STATE: The Wildcats have added a home game with Fresno State set for Sept. 11. K-State’s other two non-conference games are against D-IAA Western Kentucky (Sept. 4) and UL-Lafayette (Sept. 18), both at home. (Collegefootballnews.com)
MIAMI: There is a lot of strength and conditioning news from Coral Gables according to CaneSport.com. Quarterback Kyle Wright has gained 15 pounds. He squats 345 pounds. Brock Berlin has squatted 415. There is an interesting battle at the tight end spot between Greg Olsen, a Notre Dame transfer, who weighs 251 pounds and squats 385 and Kevin Everett, who weighs 251 and squats 405. Everett has a 41-inch vertical leap. Kellen Winslow had a 36-inch vertical leap. Lineman Andrew Bain came in at 362 pounds and is down to 332. He was the top performer in back squats with a 515-pound lift. Strength and conditioning coach Andreu Swasey said the player who had made the biggest weight room improvement is Terrell Walden, who squatted 240 pounds last year and is now up to 315. Walden came in at 142 pounds and currently weighs 163. Receiver Roscoe Parrish, who weighs 171 pounds, has a 3% body fat. Swasey said Parrish is the strongest player pound-for-pound squatting 355 at his weight. Junior college transfer Tyler McMeans (340 pounds), a former Marine specialist in hand-to-hand combat, squats 415 pounds.
Hurricane officials have made a schedule change for two home games. The Louisiana Tech game will be moved from Sat., Oct. 16 to Sat., Sept. 18 and the Louisville game will be moved from Thursday night, Sept. 16 to Thursday night, Oct. 14 because of Miami fans pleas not to interfere with the Jewish holidays. (CaneSport.com)
FAMU: The Rattlers will have at least two games against Division I-A schools this season on the road against Virginia Tech and Illinois. Oklahoma has canceled its game against FAMU. (OrlandoSentinel.com)
BIG TEN INSTANT REPLAY: The appropriate NCAA committees have approved instant replay for Big Ten use on an experimental basis for the 2004 season.
BYU: Four Cougar football players have been dismissed from the team for violating the Mormon Church’s school honor code at a party that included sex and alcohol. The incident occurred at an off-campus party.
OKLAHOMA: Sooner officials are trying to finalize a two-game series with Oregon. The first game would be at Norman this Sept. 18 and the return game would go to Eugene in 2008. (Collegefootballnews.com)
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Before making his decision to leave USC, receiver Mike Williams was having second thoughts about entering the draft. Over the weekend, USC coach Pete Carroll, former players and NFL general managers all advised him to wait. (Collegefootballtalk.com) This is also a very deep receiver draft.
BRENT BEAIRD IS A SPORTS WRITER FOR THE CLAY COUNTY LINE IN ORANGE PARK, FL.
HE ALSO WRITES FOR RIVALS.COM AND SAMSPORTSLINE.COM. E-MAIL BRENT AT email@example.com