College Weekly Report
by Brent Beaird
February 20, 2011
TEXAS A&M TO SEC?: Could we still see the Big 12 South merge with the Pac 12 this summer? There's really nothing that takes that off the table is there? Kevin Sherrington: Texas' TV network takes everything off the table. When the next shake-up comes, it'll more likely be Texas going independent and Oklahoma and A&M going to the SEC. Everyone else will be scrambling. I don't see any other big mergers. Guest asks ... When will TAMU join the SEC? Kevin Sherrington: Within five years. Or whenever Texas decides to go independent
PROPOSED RULE CHANGES: On Thursday, an NCAA committee proposed adopting a 10-second runoff for clock-stopping penalties in the final minute of each half, changing the intentional grounding rule and experimenting with placing umpires behind the running backs. A vote on the proposals is expected April 14. It should sound familiar. Last year, the NFL moved umpires from their traditional position in the middle of the defense to the offensive backfield for safety reasons. The NCAA is now asking schools to experiment with moving the umpire during spring practice and spring games to assess whether it gives them better angles to make calls.
This fall, for the first time, unsportsmanlike penalties called on scoring plays before a player crosses the goal line will be assessed from the spot, taking away the touchdown. Televisions also will be added to the coach's boxes to help determine whether the head coach should challenge a call. Both of those rules were approved last year.
Intentional grounding will not be called if an eligible receiver is in the area of the pass. Previously, it was called if the receiver did not have a reasonable opportunity to catch the ball.
And the 10-second runoff could be used for the first time. "The idea is to prevent a team from gaining an advantage by committing a foul to stop the clock," Redding said. At the end of regulation of the December Music City Bowl, Tennessee was leading North Carolina when the Tar Heels committed a penalty with one second left in regulation. That penalty actually benefited the confused Tar Heels immensely as it allowed them to get their field-goal unit on the field for the game-tying field goal attempt, which they made. The Tar Heels ultimately won in the bowl game in double overtime.
If the proposed rule had been in place, the Vols would've had the option to run the final second off the clock and end the game.
Under the proposed rule, which still must be approved by the NCAA's rules oversight panel in April before being implemented, a team would be given the option in the final minute of each half to have 10 seconds run off the clock if the opposing team commits a penalty. The team could also accept the penalty yardage and decline the 10-second runoff in order to preserve time, or decline both the yardage and runoff. Regardless, the clock, provided time still remains, would be started once the ball is marked for play. (espn.com)
FLORIDA: Former Florida quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler has been hired as the offensive coordinator at Temple, according to a story from The Philadelphia Daily News. Loeffler had worked with Steve Addazio, Florida's former offensive coordinator who was hired as head coach at Temple in December, for the past two years in Gainesville. Loeffler had previously coached quarterbacks with the Detroit Lions and at Michigan and Central Michigan.
He joins a Temple staff that has many Florida ties. Defensive coordinator Chuck Heater was the safeties coach and co-defensive coordinator for the Gators when Urban Meyer resigned. Justin Frye was hired as the Owls' offensive line coach after working as an offensive line graduate assistant under Addazio for the past two years.
Here's a look at where Meyer's former assistants have found new jobs. Only receivers coach Zach Azzanni has not taken another coaching job.
||POSITION AT FLORIDA
||Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach
||Temple head coach
||Defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach
||Baltimore Ravens secondary coach
||Running backs/recruiting coordinator
||Ohio State receivers coach
||Linebackers/special teams coordinator
||Retained at Florida
||Temple defensive coordinator
||Temple offensive coordinator
||North Texas head coach
||Retained at Florida
GEORGIA: Will Friend celebrated his 36th birthday Monday by becoming Georgia's offensive line coach. Friend, who held the same position at Alabama-Birmingham for the past four seasons, was an All-SEC offensive lineman at Alabama in the 1990s and a graduate assistant coach at Georgia in 2003-04. He fills the position vacated on the Georgia staff by last month's departure of Stacy Searels for the same job at Texas. At UAB, Friend worked under head coach Neil Callaway, who was Georgia's offensive coordinator and offensive line coach from 2001-06. Callaway became UAB's head coach in 2007 and immediately hired Friend, who had been offensive line coach at Gardner-Webb for two years after his graduate-assistant stint under Callaway at Georgia.
EALEY PROBLEMS: Tailback Washaun Ealey's future in the Georgia football program appears uncertain. UGA said Tuesday that Ealey has been suspended from team activities "at this time" and left open the question of whether he will be reinstated. Ealey's suspension is believed to stem from missing an early-morning disciplinary run.
Although suspended from off-season activities, Ealey "is still here and still on the team," Georgia senior associate athletic director Claude Felton said.
Even before this issue, Richt had raised the possibility of Isaiah Crowell -- the prized tailback signed last week - starting the 2011 opener. Richt also has said Ken Malcome, redshirted as a freshman last season, will contend for playing time at tailback. There have been rumors since December that Ealey might transfer; he has previously denied those.
This is not Ealey's first brush with trouble at Georgia. He was suspended from last season's opener because of an arrest for hit-and-run of a parked vehicle and driving with a suspended license. Richt was particularly upset about that incident because Ealey had assured coaches he wouldn't drive while his license was suspended. Ealey played in Georgia's other 12 games last season, starting seven and rushing for 811 yards and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore.
The Bulldogs' other returning tailback, Caleb King, was twice suspended last season - for two games because of an arrest for failure to appear in court to address a speeding ticket and for the Liberty Bowl because of missed academic appointments. (ugasports.com)
TENNESSEE: Phil Simms hasn't exactly buried the hatchet with Desmond Howard. But the father of Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms surely won't be mixing it up with the ESPN analyst in public anymore. Angry about on-air comments from Howard critical of Matt Simms before UT played at LSU in October, Phil Simms and Howard had a heated exchange that nearly came to blows in the days leading up the Super Bowl last week in Dallas. And though the elder Simms hasn't changed his mind about Howard, a former Heisman Trophy winner, he did apologize for his actions on Monday in radio interview on SiriusXM.
"It's over," Simms told Chris "Mad Dog" Russo. "And, you know, and I'm sorry. I really, I mean this, I'm sorry it happened. I really am because even if it remained private, there's still nothing gained.
"So I've learned another lesson." Perhaps another was the way social media can allow any event to spread nationally in a matter of minutes, which Howard helped the confrontation do by using his Twitter account to pass along his account shortly after it happened.
And aside from the analysis of his son, that appears to have bothered the former Super Bowl MVP quarterback with the New York Giants just as much.
"Well, of course I am (annoyed), but it is what it is," Simms said. "It's a great lesson learned and of course I'm not excusing myself. You know, I've got to know better. It's a new day and age. I talked about it the week before, or whatever, the week after the championship games with Jay Cutler so it's kind of the same situation. And, you know, you've got to know that I think about those things all the time. It's just not good on my part, either. I understand that." (mrsec.com)
LSU: The LSU spring football game will be televised by ESPN April 9 in Tiger Stadium, the school announced Thursday. It's the second consecutive year ESPN will televise the game. LSU begins spring practice March 11 and will hold 15 practices, culminating in the game. Admission to the game will be free. Tickets will be distributed in the coming weeks. (espn.com)
AUBURN: At the league's request, the Tigers moved their previously scheduled open date before the Alabama game, and the domino effect, plus other schedule movement, means two significant changes late in the 2011 season for Auburn.
For the first time since 1963, the Tigers won't play Georgia and Alabama in back-to-back games; Auburn slipped in Samford to split them up. Also, the change means AU's open date will fall before Georgia and not before Alabama. The SEC sought changes because six league teams enjoyed open dates before playing the Crimson Tide last season. Auburn agreed to work with the league, switching where Samford fell on the schedule. The changes should benefit the Tigers the most in a schedule that features most of the tough games on the road -- including a four-game swing at South Carolina, at Arkansas, home against Florida and at LSU. (al.com)
Here's the entire schedule: Sept. 3 UTAH STATE
Sept. 10 MISSISSIPPI STATE
Sept. 17 at Clemson
Sept. 24 FLORIDA ATLANTIC
Oct. 1 at South Carolina
Oct. 8 at Arkansas
Oct. 15 FLORIDA
Oct. 22 at LSU
Oct. 29 OLE MISS
Nov. 12 at Georgia
Nov. 19 SAMFORD [HC]
Nov. 26 ALABAMA
NEWTON EXPENSES: Auburn University says it has spent approximately $170,000 in attorney fees on the Cam Newton case during the past 4 months. Auburn Senior Associate Athletic Director Scott Carr said Tuesday the fees started in mid-October and have all gone to Lightfoot, Franklin, White LLC, the university's Birmingham-based legal counsel.
Auburn provided the information in response to an open-records request by The Birmingham News. The NCAA and Auburn agreed in December that Cecil Newton, Cam's father, committed an NCAA violation by working with an owner of a scouting service to actively market Cam in a pay-for-play scenario. Cam Newton was briefly declared ineligible and then was reinstated for Auburn's final two games in its national championship season. Auburn's costs are approaching what Alabama paid on its NCAA major infractions case that ended in 2010. Alabama spent $188,443 over about a year for Bond, Schoeneck & King to defend the school when the NCAA ruled Alabama failed to monitor its textbook distribution system to athletes.
Hefty legal fees are a common cost of NCAA investigations, especially given what is at stake for the universities defending themselves. Michigan spent more than $600,000 with Lightfoot, Franklin, and White in its recent major infractions case, according to AnnArbor.com.
Connecticut paid Bond, Schoeneck & King $338,000 over 12 months to investigate improprieties in its basketball program, and then sought approval to spend another $337,000, according to the Hartford Courant. Indiana spent $460,840 with the firm Ice Miller through the first 17 months of an investigation into its basketball program, according to the Bloomington Herald-Times. Over about 2˝ years, Florida State paid $228,863 to The Compliance Group, a Kansas-based consulting firm, and $59,845 to the GrayRobinson law firm in the school's academic fraud case. (al.com)
MISSISSIPPI STATE: Former Mississippi State football coach Emory Bellard died Thursday morning at the age of 83. Bellard had been battling Lou Gehrig's Disease. Bellard compiled a 37-42 record at State from 1979 through 1985. He had two winning seasons in 1980 (9-3) and 1981 (8-4). Bellard is credited with helping to develop the wishbone triple-option offense at Texas in the 1960s, where he served under Darrell Royal. Royal came to MSU from Texas A&M where he put together a 48-27 record as head coach. Bellard coached high school football from 1988 through 1993 before retiring for good
OLE MISS: In the Ole Miss notebook in Wednesday's Clarion-Ledger, you probably read the lead note about the impending transfer of WR/KR Jesse Grandy. That's somewhat significant news, considering how valuable he was as a freshman and the depth at wide receiver. Later in that note, though, there are a couple of other names mentioned: Dele Junaid and Jared Mitchell. Both were scholarship players who are not on this roster that the school distributed Tuesday night, shortly after the news of Grandy's departure broke.
But here are four more scholarship players from last year who were missing, as we noted early Wednesday afternoon on Twitter: RB Martez Eastland, OL Terrance Hackney, DE Lekenwic Haynes and DL Alan-Michael Thomas. Junaid's name is on a list of mid-year transfers for a Texas junior college. Eastland has been announced as having enrolled at Georgia Southern, according to reports from media outlets covering that school. The other players have all decided to leave the program and transfer, according to a team spokesman with whom I went over the list last night. Well, all except Hackey, whose future with the program remains undecided.
Ole Miss quarterback Randall Mackey will have knee surgery today, Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said. Mackey will have surgery to repair a torn meniscus. His availability for spring drills, which begin on March 28, is unclear. A junior college All-American at East Mississippi Community College in 2009, Mackey was redshirted last season, his first at Ole Miss. He is expected to compete for the starting job in the spring with rising junior Nathan Stanley and with junior college transfer Zach Stoudt. Transfer quarterback Barry Brunetti could be in the mix as well. The school has said it will seek a waiver of the NCAA's one-year residency requirement. If granted, Brunetti would be eligible for the 2011 season. (nems360.com)
KENTUCKY: A couple of months ago, Kansas native Mitch Barnhart heard his name pop up in connection to the then-open athletic director post at the University of Kansas. After a few days of swirling rumors, Kentucky's AD said the he wasn't going anywhere and that he wanted to stay at Kentucky for the long haul. Whether Kansas actually approached Barnhart or Barnhart simply knew how to build up interest in himself is debatable. What isn't debatable is the result - a $125,000 raise in yearly salary and a three-year contract extension.
UK president Lee Todd Jr. says he is rewarding Barnhart for "exemplary performance" as the head of the Wildcat athletic department. The salary bump - up to $600,000 - makes Barnhart's salary "more competitive with other salaries of athletics directors in the Southeastern Conference
University of Kentucky assistant coach Steve Brown interviewed this week for the defensive coordinator position at UCLA, according to a report on the Los Angeles' Times' Web site Thursday. The report on the newspaper's Fabulous Forum blog by reporter Chris Foster cited a person familiar with the search who was not authorized to talk on the subject.
Brown, an assistant at UK since 2003, has spent the past four seasons at the Wildcats' defensive coordinator. Head coach Joker Phillips demoted Brown to a co-coordinator position when he hired Rick Minter to take over the defense in December. Kentucky ranked 45th in total defense and 72nd in scoring defense in 2010. UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel has considered numerous defensive coordinator candidates since firing Chuck Bullough on Dec. 18. (herald-leader.com)
ACC schedules should be announced next week
FLORIDA STATE: FSU will NOT play a Monday night Labor Day game against Miami. Yes, it's true that the game was proposed by ACC (at the request of ESPN) but it was quickly vetoed by FSU - primarily as a result of strong opposition by Jimbo Fisher. Not sure why some people keep talking about it because it was never a real possibility. However, Miami is expected to play in the Labor Day game against a different ACC opponent.
The Miami-FSU game should be played at its normal date - in early October.
FSU will be playing a road Thursday night game... again. The details of that game are one of the biggest holdups slowing down the release of the schedule. I've heard talk that Boston College is locked in as the Thursday game, but Clemson is also a real possibility. And contrary to some reports, FSU should have an off-week before the Thursday night game - they won't be forced to play on a short week.
Maryland or Virginia will be the final home game of the year (11/19).
Florida will of course be on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (11/26).
Other dates already locked in:
- September 3 - Louisiana-Monroe
- September 10 - Charleston So.
- September 17 - Oklahoma
SPRING GAME: Florida State has set the time for its annual Garnet and Gold spring game, which will be April 16 at 4 p.m. Coach Jimbo Fisher has challenged Florida State fans to fill Doak Campbell Stadium for the spring game."We can make this spring game something special," Fisher said in a statement the school released. "I want it to be a weekend where all the fans can come. I think we can fill Doak Campbell up during the spring game. We had 55,000 - the largest in Florida State history last year. Why can't we put all 83,000 in there?" (orlandosentinel.com)
THOMAS ARREST: Florida State running back Jermaine Thomas was arrested on Friday and released after the Tallahassee Police Department charged him with a nonmoving traffic violation while driving with a suspended license, according to the Leon County Sheriff's Office. Thomas posted $250 and was released on Friday. During his recently-completed junior season, Thomas ran for 490 yards and 6 touchdowns for the Seminoles. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry. (espn.com)
SIGNEE ACADEMICS: (Jernigan qualifies) FSU is confident that this class is in good shape, except for maybe Terry Bell, who appears to be the biggest question mark. Anyway, here are the thoughts from Howard on Jernigan. "I actually just got through speaking with Tim's guidance counselor and the past few semesters for Timmy have been very good. For the last three semesters he has been an A/B Honor Roll student and our counselor has informed me that Tim is in solid shape. Everyone associated with how Tim is doing in the classroom gave me the thumbs up. They fully expect Tim to be a full qualifier by the time he graduates." (warchant.com)
MIAMI: The Miami Hurricanes didn't sign a quarterback as part of their 2011 recruiting class, but they already have one lined up to start helping them right away in 2012. Former Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier signed a financial-aid agreement with UM on Wednesday afternoon, according to the school, and will transfer to Coral Gables "as soon as possible," according to his father. Forcier, one of the most highly recruited high school quarterbacks in the country in 2009, will be required to sit out the 2011 season under NCAA transfer rules. But he will have two seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2012. (miamiherald.com)
MARYLAND: Maryland has extended an offer to former Miami coach Randy Shannon for its vacant defensive coordinator position, according to a report in The Baltimore Sun. A source with knowledge of the discussions between Shannon and Maryland told the Sun that no agreement had been reached Thursday, but that Shannon has indicated he would like the job. Adding Shannon would fill out new head coach Randy Edsall's coaching staff.
N.C. STATE: NC State quarterback Russell Wilson has developed a reputation for succeeding at just about everything. Those who know him well talk about his desire to be the best he can at everything he does. This is why I'm not convinced we've seen the last of him on the football field. Sure, coach Tom O'Brien has said that those within the program are moving on as if Wilson will continue to play baseball with the Colorado Rockies, and he doesn't expect Wilson to return for his senior season. It's Mike Glennon's turn. But O'Brien is also leaving the door open -- just in case.
"The door is always open," O'Brien said at his signing day news conference. "You always have to have options in life and he has that as an option." It becomes an even more attractive option knowing a quick ascension to the big leagues is unlikely, and one more season at NC State would be another audition for the NFL. "Since I was little I've dreamed of playing in the NFL and every single day I try to give myself the best chance I can to have that opportunity," he told the Charleston Daily Mail. He has one more chance to do that at NC State. He's the one who's got to close the door on it. He's never quit after three quarters before. (espn.com)
CBS Sports and Turner Sports announced their plans for NCAA tourney coverage today and a few of the main points are listed below: Every game of the tournament will be broadcast nationally. This is a first. If you've got cable or satellite television in your home, you can see every game on CBS, TBS, TNT or TruTV. No longer will you have to worry about your local CBS affiliate showing a game that you don't want to see. The start times for games will be more staggered than in years past. Fans will literally be able to watch tourney action from noon to midnight without the usual 6-7:30pm break in the action. CBS will carry 26 games including the Final Four. TBS will carry 16 games, TNT 12, and TruTV will air 13 including the First Four play-in games, which debut this year.
WEDNESDAY HOOPS ACTION: The SEC standings board didn't experience any major moves after last night's basketball action. The surprises - if any - were small.
In the East, Florida continued to pull away from everyone else with yet another win inside its own division. The Gators' 79-60 victory over South Carolina was the third divisional road win for UF since January 11th (at Tennessee, at Georgia, at Carolina). If you're wondering how Billy Donovan's club sits 2.5 games up in its half of the league, consider this fact: Florida is now 5-1 against the SEC East on the season. That's how you win titles.
Carolina, on the other hand, has dropped four out of five league games. Ironically, the Gamecocks' upset of Florida in Gainesville last month is UF's only divisional loss of the season.
Florida shot 55% from the floor last night and Chandler Parsons came within two assists of notching a triple-double to lead the Gators. For Donovan the game marked career win #350.
The Ole Miss Rebels won their third straight league game (Kentucky, Arkansas and LSU) last night with a 66-60 win over Trent Johnson's struggling Tigers. Chris Warren poured in 26 points and moved into fourth place on UM's all-time scoring list.
Ole Miss has now won four out of five SEC games after starting the season 0-4 inside the conference. It could be too little too late as the Rebs are still a full three games behind West-leading Alabama. (mrsec.com)
VANDERBILT: Vanderbilt's 81-77 homecourt win snapped the Tide's five-game winning streak and pulled the Commodores even with Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee in the SEC East. While Brad Tinsley's three-point play with 17 seconds to go provided the key points in VU's win, it was a play under Vandy's basket seconds later that has folks talking. Down two, he Tide's JaMychal Green drove the 'Dores' baseline and appeared to be fouled… but officials ruled he had stepped out of bounds with 6.3 second left to play. Viewing replays, it looked as if Green's foot had stayed inbounds. "He drove the baseline," Tinsley said after the game. "I mean, there could've been a lot of calls right there. He just happened to step out of bounds, I guess." "It was in the referees' hands," was Green's take. "I can't do anything about it."
And head coach Anthony Grant? "All I know is that a call was made and we have to respect the call that was made." Vandy - the SEC's top scoring team (77.9 ppg) - posted 81 points against Bama's top-ranked defense (57.1 ppg). Advantage: Offense. At least last night on Vanderbilt's home floor.
Alabama hasn't won at Memorial Gym in Nashville since 1990. Vandy is now 5-4 in the East in second place, 2.5 games behind Florida. Alabama's lead in the West has been cut to two games (over Mississippi State). (mrsec.com)
LSU shot just 12 free throws to Ole Miss' 30 in Oxford last night, a point that Tiger fans will no doubt be complaining about today. The Tigers, of course, need no help when it comes to losing ball games. Last night's outcome marked the Tigers' seventh loss in a row and their ninth in 10 games. Playing without Ravern Johnson, Mississippi State took care of business at home with a 67-56 win over Arkansas on Wednesday. Goal One for the Dogs was to defend Rotnei Clarke. Mission accomplished. The Hogs' sharpshooter was just 3 of 11 from the field and 2 of 6 from three-point range, finishing with 9 points.
Dee Bost led a 23-6 second-half run for MSU. Finishing with 18 points, Bost passed the 1,000 career point mark.
Mississippi State's victory kept it in second place in the West, 2.5 games behind Alabama. Arkansas, meanwhile, fell four games back in the division as John Pelphrey's club lost its third-straight game. (mrsec.com)
GEORGIA: This was supposed to be a breakthrough year for the Georgia basketball team. Stegeman Coliseum had seen some offseason upgrades. The Dawg fanbase had had its hoops interest rekindled. And two future NBA'ers in Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie were back in Athens for another go-round. But things haven't gone according to plan yet. Georgia is just 16-7 overall, 5-4 in the SEC, and probably just inside the NCAA Tournament bubble as of today. The Dawgs have lost three of their last five games overall and three of their last five home games. They dropped an important nonconference game to Xavier last night.
Last year, Mark Bradley of The AJC suggested Mark Fox be named SEC Coach of the Year following a 14-17 inaugural campaign. Today Bradley says teams "at least the good ones, are out-executing the Bulldogs when it matters." In Bradley's view, "that shouldn't be happening" with four juniors and a senior in Fox's starting lineup. In his view, "it's time for a good team to act the part."
The fact that UGA hasn't made the expected jump this year (yet) should cause a hint of concern in the Peach State. When John Pelphrey arrived at Arkansas to rebuild, he inherited a veteran-heavy team and led it to a 23-win season and the second round of the NCAA tourney. When Trent Johnson arrived at LSU to being his own rebuilding project on The Bayou, he inherited the most experienced team in the SEC and led it to a regular season crown, 27 wins and the second round of the Big Dance. (mrsec.com)
ARKANSAS: Well the fans are weighing in on John Pelphrey's situation at Arkansas and the results aren't good for the Razorbacks' coach. Fans aren't buying tickets to games. Fans aren't coming to games. The once raucous Bud Walton Arena is now running at about 60% capacity and that's the "tickets sold" count. Matt Jones of The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette believes the Razorbacks will lose as much as $2 million this season due to unsold seats. Now toss in the losses brought on by unsold luxury suites, concessions, memorabilia, and even parking spots.
Those are the kinds of numbers that can make an AD who is supportive of his coach… fire his coach. In the end, Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long is running a business. As much as he wants Pelphrey to get the chance to coach his incoming, highly-ranked recruiting class, he might still be forced to make a move on UA's basketball coach for financial reasons.
In the end, the fans always control the show with their wallets. For that reason, Pelphrey had better end the Hogs' current three-game losing streak and close out the season on a good note.
Time and money are running out. (mrsec.com)
BRENT BEAIRD IS A SPORTS WRITER FOR MYCLAYSUN IN ORANGE PARK, FLA. HE ALSO WRITES FOR RIVALS.COM, SAMSPORTSLINE.COM AND GATOR BAIT MAGAZINE. HE CAN BE HEARD ON SPORTS RADIO 1010 XL.
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