Friday, August 30, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 30, 2013 and ONE day left until glory’s finally here! Gameday Eve’s edition of six cold, clear and fresh college football stories from around the country.

Cooper healthy and ready for opener

Amari Cooper remains humble headed into his sophomore season with the Alabama football team.

Five biggest takeaways from the SEC’s opening night

If last night was the slightest of indications of what 2013 will be, hold on to your jock straps. Football is back, and there was no better way to kick it off than last night.

Settlement of NFL Concussion Lawsuit Raises Questions for NCAA

The NFL’s announcement on Thursday that it had reached a tentative $765-million  settlement with thousands of former players in a legal dispute involving concussion-related injuries renewed speculation that the NCAA would take steps to resolve a case challenging its handling of head injuries.

Harrowing Moments Far From the Field

Derek Carr, the Fresno State quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate, became a terrified father of an infant born with a dangerous medical condition on Aug. 6.

Gators anticipate increased pressure from pass rush

Junior linebacker Ronald Powell has plenty of confidence in Florida’s defensive line entering the 2013 season.


Alabama's Nov. 20 game against Western Carolina was the first non-sellout of the Nick Saban era. CW sports editor Marc Torrence used that game as an example in his quote to the Wall Street Journal.

"You get to the point where there's a game against Western Carolina at 11 in the morning that's not really worth waking up for," Torrence said. "You can do a whole lot of other things on a Saturday, like get a head start on your drinking or sleep in, that are a lot more interesting."

One day later, ESPN's Around the Horn used Torrence's quote as a vessel to explore this topic. The notion that Alabama fans had grown bored of seeing their favorite team win two SEC titles and three national championships in the past four years had officially jumped the shark.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 29, 2013 and two days until kickoff, Hokies. That light at the end of the offseason tunnel is a crimson freight train. Six college football stories from around the country.


Johnny Football will start the season on the bench, having been suspended for the first half of Texas A&M's opener against Rice.

Alabama football: Thomas' size poses a challenge for Tide

Logan Thomas creates a big challenge for the Alabama football team in more ways than one.

Mark Schlabach's Upset Pick: Week 1

Mark Schlabach looks to the MAC to pull off the upset over the Big Ten this week in Iowa City.

North Carolina offensive tackle not afraid or intimidated by Jadeveon Clowney

"You can't let him intimidate you or you've already lost."

Auburn expects go-to receiver to emerge 'even when everybody knows where the ball is going'

Auburn listed five starters among four separate wide receiver positions on its initial depth chart, but the Tigers need to see how those pass-catchers perform under the lights before finding the reliable target the passing game.


Some have compared Manziel’s situation to that of several Ohio State players who were suspended for five games for selling memorabilia. This is different not only because that was proven to be true but Buckeyes coach Jim Tressell learned of it and didn’t report it.

Some have compared it to that of Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green, who was suspended for four games because he sold a jersey for $1,000. He admitted it.

Deion Sanders compared it to the one-year suspension Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant received for lying to the NCAA about a dinner they had together. The operative word there is lying.

We don’t know if Manziel is lying. Neither presumably does Texas A&M nor the NCAA.

Until we know otherwise, he is presumed innocent.

Isn’t that our system, even as overseen by the NCAA?

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 28, 2013 and three days until bammer football! hump day edition of the MSP brings yet another six college football stories from around SEC Country.

Hart overcomes hurts to be key competitor

Dee Hart has shown more determination than most. For that, Alabama head coach Nick Saban is impressed and thankful.

College football fanatics go beyond 'Roll Tide', 'War Eagle' with their license plates

The Tide and Tigers may combine to put close to 200,000 fans in the seats on a fall Saturday. But allegiances within the Heart of Dixie soar beyond the borders.

Brown looks to lead UF's tailback by committee approach

Junior Mack Brown will start Saturday's game against Toledo, but it looks like the Gators are going to go with a tailback by committee in the opener.

Marshall, coaches seek comfort zone

Quarterback Nick Marshall will make his first start in major college football Saturday when Auburn hosts Washington State.

Tennessee Vols' receivers working on artistry

For Tennessee's wide receivers, a well-executed passing game would resemble a work of art.


“When you have new players at any position, you’re always anxious to see how those players sort of respond to the challenge, take the bull by the horns,” Saban said.

Saban has seen practice players not perform in games and players who didn’t do so well in practice rise to the occasion once the season starts.

His biggest concern is at right tackle and left guard. Kellen Williams is considered the sixth man who is expected to see action at both positions. Grant Hill and Leon Brown have been prepared to step in if needed.

“We’ve been talking about it for a long time,” returning starting left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio said of the doubt about the linemen. “We’re just ready to go out there and just let our actions speak louder.”

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 27, 2013 and four days until kickass Tuesday! Six college football stories from around SEC Country to start your day off right.

Beamer: Tide has no weaknesses

Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer said Monday that Alabama has no weakness that he can find when preparing a game plan.

Depth Chart for Alabama vs. Virginia Tech

Disclaimer: This is not an official University of Alabama document. The depth chart is taken from individual practice and game observations, and is color-coded.

NCAA investigators meet with Johnny Manziel for 6 hours

NCAA meets with Heisman Trophy winner on Texas A&M's campus.

Danny Sheridan foresees one loss for Alabama, no division title for Georgia

Danny Sheridan agrees with the overwhelming consensus that Alabama will win the SEC West this season, but he doesn't see the Crimson Tide getting a rematch with Georgia in the SEC championship game.

Wiedmer: Justin Worley the reasonable choice

Tennessee football coach Butch Jones didn't seem to be specifically talking about starting quarterback Justin Worley during Monday afternoon's media luncheon when he discussed emotional people.


Saban's pathological drive helps explain why he's both one of the most successful coaches in American sports and, simultaneously, one of the most polarizing. He has now won four national championships—one at LSU and three over the past four years at Alabama, a coaching run unmatched in college football in more than half a century—and his Crimson Tide team is a preseason favorite to win it all again this year. In the insanely competitive SEC, Saban has been a career-wrecker for opposing coaches: Phillip Fulmer (of Tennessee) and Tommy Tuberville and Gene Chizik (of Auburn) all lost their jobs after beatdowns by Saban's squad. His victory over Florida in the 2009 SEC Championship Game left quarterback Tim Tebow in tears and the Gators' then head coach Urban Meyer in the hospital, complaining of chest pains.

"The thing that amazes me about him is that he doesn't let up," says retired Florida State coach Bobby Bowden. "People start winning, they slack off. But he just keeps jumping on 'complacency, complacency, complacency.' Most coaches don't think like that."

Saban is also among the highest-paid men on a college sideline, raking in more than $5 million a year, and he has rejected attempts to lure him back to the NFL, where he spent two seasons as coach of the Miami Dolphins and where he could easily earn more.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 26, 2013 and five days until glory to the final week of the countdown. Here are today’s six college football stories from around SEC Country.

Alabama football: Belue ready to finish college career strong

Deion Belue can adapt.

Students in Tuscaloosa camp overnight for Alabama-Virginia Tech tickets

Students were at Coleman as early at 5 p.m. Sunday night for the tickets, which were not available until 7 a.m. Monday.

Pick 6: Ways to win the Heisman

To win the Heisman Trophy, a player needs the right combination of numbers and narrative, highlight plays and signature victories.

UT Vols’ North ‘at a different point’ than typical freshmen

Your eyes tell you Tennessee receiver Marquez North is not your typical freshman college football player.

LSU offensive coordinator compares QB Zach Mettenberger to Super Bowl MVP

"He can throw a football. There is no throw that this kid can't make."


"It really got unbearable in the last year or two, and we had to do something," said a university president close to the deliberations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "It seemed as though every single five-star recruit was gushing on and on about Alabama."

Indeed, there have been a host of articles regarding just how "NFL-ready" players are after finishing their careers in Tuscaloosa. "It's bad enough that the media keeps writing about it, but now the recruits are openly talking about it in interviews, as though they've been coached to say it," said a different system chancellor who wished to remain unidentified.

A third administrator chimed in: "It would be a different story if we heard more about how many of those kids leave early for the draft, with both remaining eligibility a diploma -- but the idea that the only place you can become 'NFL-ready' is at Bama is a dangerous meme."

[ed. note: I wonder how many will take this seriously]

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 23, 2013. Eight days from kickass a weekend away! TGIF, and TG for six cool, clear and refreshing college football stories from around SEC Country.

Alabama QB AJ McCarron's dad, Tony: 'He's always been the quarterback that can'

"I didn't even fathom that, and for the ride it has been for the past four year, it's been unbelievable."

The Legend of Jadeveon Clowney

Jadeveon Clowney, likely to be chosen first over all in the next N.F.L. draft, speaks to college football’s booming popularity and the hype that accompanies such interest.

LSU head coach Les Miles was cast to play a role in a SyFy movie named “Ghost Shark”

LSU’s head football coach Les Miles is known for a lot of things. He has a crazy Twitter feed, eats grass at Tiger stadium, and is known for eating taffy. Well, now we can add one more item to the list.

Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson will call plays from booth; OC Rhett Lashlee will stay on sideline

The veteran defensive coordinator is more comfortable sitting in the booth and surveying the field as a play caller.

Scout-team picks approaching

Alabama football coach Nick Saban called it judgment day.


As Arizona's Rich Rodriguez said to the Associated Press: "Who goes to a game to watch a huddle?"

Still, it seems like common sense that risk increases with more plays. Add potential effects of fatigue, too. "You cannot tell me that a player after Play 5 is the same player that he is after Play 15," Bielema said.

"I don't disagree that more plays could lead to more injuries," Southern Mississippi coach Todd Monken said. "If you're driving more, there'll be more wrecks."

But it's perhaps not that simple. The hurry-up generally goes along with offenses that spread players all over the field, which at least theoretically should reduce the incidence of big collisions.

Monken, formerly Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator, is a hurry-up proponent. He suggested to "shrink the game," reducing it by three minutes a quarter, and to eliminate kickoffs, which account for many injuries. And he added: "I'm not upset when they go three tight ends and a fullback and it's a rugby scrum and somebody comes out with a twisted knee. I'm for whatever gives you the best shot to win within the rules."

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 22, 2013 and nine days to go’re down to single digits in the countdown! Here’s the customary six pack of fresh college football stories from around SEC Country.

Spotlight on Alabama's projected starter at 'Star' for season opener, Jarrick Williams

The fourth-year junior from Mobile will fill in for Geno Smith against Virginia Tech.

Auburn football: Tigers open 2014 at home against Arkansas

The 2014 football schedule will be significantly more challenging for Auburn than this year, with several difficult road trips and a tough draw from the East division of the Southeastern Conference.

Vols limit how, what players can autograph

A long line of patient Tennessee fans waited outside Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday night. Some grasped mini footballs, replica UT helmets and pictures of their favorite players.

Shuffling continues along Alabama O-line, but optimism prevails about developing chemistry

The Crimson Tide offensive line continues to gain valuable reps together before the season.


LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye feels comfortable '50 yards and in':


The Senior Bowl's roots have grown deeper under executive director Phil Savage's leadership and vision. There are no doubts about the game's future, no concerns it is headed elsewhere and certainly there is nothing stagnant.

Finding a title sponsor is not a piece of cake, or perhaps in the case, a piece of candy. It's hard work and a hard sell The growth the game has experienced and the growth of its footprint made it an attractive event, made it marketable.

While there are few events with more of a Mobile flavor, the Senior Bowl has also become a national brand. Football camps and clinics, tonight's "Girls of Fall'' program, the many other programs aimed at promoting local charities and youth-related issues, has made stronger the bond between the city, the Gulf Coast and the game.

Savage's other ideas and involvements - his time on ESPN's "NFL Insiders,'' his appearances on satellite radio programs and even his color analyst role with Alabama football radio broadcasts - have provided a more national scope and footprint for the game.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 21 and 10 days until kickoff morning, sports fans! The Hump Day edition of the MSP brings the customary half dozen from around SEC Country.

Ranking the SEC’s top 10 linebackers of the BCS era

It’s time to turn our attention to another position the SEC is known for – hard-hitting linebackers.

Delusional Optimism Is Gonna Save College Football

I want all of y'all to take a long, hard look at the photo above this article. That's how the last two seasons of college football ended - with the physical manifestation of evil lifting the crystal football. [Smirk]

Hokies RB will ‘definitely’ be ready for ‘Bama

Finally, some good news on the injury/personnel front for Virginia Tech. J.C. Coleman, listed as a co-starter at running back on Tech’s most recent depth chart, has suffered a pair of ankle sprains — a left high-ankle sprain and a right ankle sprain — several days ago.

Auburn football: Former safety set to transfer

Former Auburn safety Demetruce McNeal is expected to transfer to Division II West Alabama to continue his football career.

Alabama LB Reuben Foster has made 'tremendous progress,' will see increased repetitions

The five-star freshman fought through a stinger in his shoulder to show improvement from the first to second scrimmage.


No longer able to recruit players on athletic prowess alone, UT became somewhat average. After averaging 10.2 wins and directing teams in two BCS bowls in his first seven seasons, Fulmer averaged 8.4 wins and reached no BCS bowls in his final nine years.

Given his statement that he took responsibility, Fulmer was asked if there was anything he'd change.

"Not really," he said. "Now I'm sure I'd change something in each of the 52 losses we had. There are always things you'd change about those. But as for everything else, if I said something it might sound like I was throwing somebody under the bus. So I'll keep that to myself. But I'm very proud of what we accomplished there."

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 20, 2013 and 11 days until kickass Tuesday edition of the Morning Six Pack brings a fresh new ring of six cool, clear college football stories from around SEC Country.

Can anyone in the SEC beat Alabama?

Chris Low and Edward Aschoff are split on the answer.

Unique event offers tips on how to throw the best football party in the world

Only one thing can improve on football Saturday in the South -- food.

Top freshman tailback switches to defense

Amid a growing list of injuries to the Auburn defense, one of the top performing freshmen on the team volunteered to help in any way he could.

College football countdown | No. 17: LSU

LSU has to solve its continued issues on the offensive side of the ball.

Vols linemen want to walk out winners

When Tennessee offensive line coach Don Mahoney entered his unit’s meeting room last December, he felt like the newest member of an old club.


“Some of the best defensive coordinators have been at places a pretty long time, so I don’t think that’s abnormal,” Saban said of Smart’s longevity. “Kirby has done a fantastic job here. The way we played defense the last five years is proof in the pudding. Those things don’t happen by accident. They happen for a reason.”

Smart not only knows his Xs and Os, he knows how to teach players what it takes to play a certain position.

He works with the inside linebackers for the Crimson Tide, but coached defensive backs and running backs in his career.

“He has the leadership and development of players being able to implement the system when the game comes to prepare the players to execute the plan to be successful,” Saban said. “Those things are examples of what an outstanding coach can do, and Kirby has certainly done that and proven he can do it. I think his energy and enthusiasm has always been at a high level, and he’s been able to sustain that with the players.”

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 19, 2013 and 12 days until kickoff back, work week. Start it off right with six cold, butt-slapping college football stories from around SEC Country.

Top Louisiana prospects come away impressed after visit to Alabama

An impressive contingent of some of the top players from the state of Louisiana took a trip to Tuscaloosa over the weekend for an unofficial visit that included watching the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide scrimmaging in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday.

Coach: UT offense needs to find playmakers

On Saturday night, Butch Jones promised that he was leaving Neyland Stadium and heading immediately to the film room to break down the evening’s open practice and scrimmage. A day later, he offered some conclusions.

Ex-Marine ruled ineligible this season by NCAA

If someone needed another reason to hate on the NCAA, they got a doozy over the weekend.

Nick Marshall's 'unique' strengths provide Auburn options, better understanding at quarterback

"We do understand what Nick can do," Gus Malzahn says. "We think he’s got a lot more upside, that he’ll get better and more comfortable with everything. He’s got some ability to make plays when things break down.

LSU's Les Miles high on QB Zach Mettenberger after weekend scrimmage

"He's getting so many reps throwing the football that his accuracy is so much better, his instincts are sound."


The typical fan knee-jerk reaction…opposing fans, I mean…is when a player gets in trouble, he should be kicked off the team immediately. Of course it is, because in the fan’s mind that makes beating the team you hate that much easier.

But the job of a coach is more difficult than that. The job of the coach in these situations is to do what is in the best interest of your team, while at the same time doing what is in the best interest of the young man who, to his parents, you swore you would lead and take care of.

Geno Smith is barely a sophomore. Demetruce McNeal would have been a senior. One is still learning, the other a seasoned veteran.

Both should know better, and with the opportunity to don a jersey and play a game in front of thousands, with the possibility of taking their craft to the next level for a big pay day, the typical fan can’t understand why young men such as these would make such stupid decisions and put that opportunity at risk.

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 16, 2013 and 15 days until bammer football! Friday! Only two more weekends until a date with the Hokies in the ATL. Start the weekend off right with these fresh, full flavored college football stories from around SEC Country.

Fowler working at 2 positions

Jalston Fowler is in position to accomplish something rare in this day and age of specialization.

Trenton Brown makes UF teammates feel small

At 6-foot-3, 302 pounds, Florida center Jonotthan Harrison is a big man. Until he stands next to offensive tackle Trenton Brown.

Eddie George: Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon has 'all the ability'

The 1995 Heisman trophy winner says Yeldon's confidence is only growing.

Tigers' Dee Ford sidelined with injury

Defensive end Dee Ford, the only proven pass rusher on the Auburn defense, is injured and expected to miss more practice time but Tigers coach Gus Malzahn is optimistic he will be able to play the first game against Washington State.

Wiedmer: Can clothes fashion Vols into winners?

Tennessee assistant coach Willie Martinez was on the Georgia sideline that November day in 2007 when the Bulldogs first broke out the black jerseys. And crushed Auburn 45-20.


On offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio - "I don't think that I've seen anybody more dedicated, more determined, work harder". The more Saban talks about Arie's improved mobility, the more it sounds like the Killer Kouandjio Bookends is about to happen. The staff plans on sticking with the new offensive line arrangement (Austin Shepherd at left guard/Arie at right tackle) in the scrimmage, and will make a determination on the arrangement they want depending on the results.

On the tight end group - Brian Vogler and Jalston Fowler both were called out and complimented as being "pretty good and pretty consistent." It sounds like the guys behind that have been a bit more uneven . Look for Brandon Green to come in as a snow plow on goal line situations. O.J. Howard is still learning the system, and it sounds like it is slowing him down a bit.

On the best and worst things that have happened in camp - Saban doesn't have time for this question, but he does have time to spend three minutes not answering it.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 15, 2013 and 16 days until Alabama football down and counting off six college football stories from around SEC Country.

Listening to football practice

One of those freshmen who coach Nick Saban already considers an impact player is Dee Liner of Muscle Shoals.

Gene Stallings says he will believe Johnny Manziel 'didn't receive any money' 'until told otherwise'

"What I really hope is that he signed those autographs thinking they went to people that were fans of his and didn't receive any money. That's what I'm going to believe until I'm told otherwise."

Yeldon running toward lofty goals

Alabama sophomore running back T.J. Yeldon stated a basic goal for his career.

Gus Malzahn awards 3 Auburn walk-ons with scholarships

Two in-state players were awarded scholarships during the Tigers' annual "Rookie Night' festivities on campus.

Mark Richt happier with second UGA scrimmage

Sophomore tailback Todd Gurley had two rushing touchdowns and 72 receiving yards Wednesday night as Georgia conducted its second preseason scrimmage inside Sanford Stadium.


This is an interesting test case because it involves a white guy from a privileged background who is alleged to have profited from his autograph. For years, black athletes from poor backgrounds have been penalized when they were found to have taken a free lunch or swapped a conference championship ring for tattoos.

But here is Johnny Football, allegedly signing memorabilia so he can get some new rims for the Mercedes given him by mommy and daddy.

In other words, could there be different justice for Johnny Manziel and Terrelle Pryor?

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 14, 2013 and 17 days until kickass this: Six fresh college football stories from around the country on the Wednesday edition of the Morning Six Pack.

Alabama looking for the right mix on its offensive line, Nick Saban says

Tide coach explains why Arie Kouandjio and Austin Shepherd have traded places and why tackle Brandon Greene is working with the tight ends.

Herbstreit, Musburger say LSU will be Tide's toughest obstacle

Don't sleep on LSU. Kirk Herbstreit is going against the notion that Texas A&M is Alabama's biggest SEC obstacle to winning a third straight national title, saying the Tigers will be the Crimson Tide's greatest challenge.

Former UF linebacker Peterson joins Florida's staff

Mike Peterson, who was an all-state player at Sante Fe High, has returned to UF to finish the final two classes he needs for his undergraduate degree in sociology.

Vols hurting in secondary

Injuries and depth issues in the secondary are forcing Tennessee to rely on freshman cornerbacks.

Former NCAA target Dez Bryant has mixed feelings about Johnny Manziel case

Bryant, who was suspended for a year for lying to NCAA investigators about an incident that wasn't a violation, says he hopes Manziel isn't suspended, but he'll still be mad.


“Depending on how that thing goes, the teams still standing out the Pac-12 could have a shot,” Herbstreit said about the Ducks and Cardinal, which both won BCS bowls last season. “I think ... with Braxton Miller, Ohio State offensively should be really, really talented this year. I think a lot of freshmen are going to participate, and they seem to be the team to beat in the Big Ten.”

Within the SEC, Herbstreit said he felt strongly about LSU’s chances even before the eligibility of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel came into question. The NCAA is investigating Manziel for allegedly accepting cash in exchange for autographing helmets and pictures.

“Before that, there was so much talk about A&M and Alabama ... I think people are sleeping a little bit on LSU,” he said. “I think this is the type of team that (LSU coach) Les Miles really likes where you have a quarterback (Zach Mettenberger) now with a year under his belt.”

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 13, 2013 and 18 days!’re gaining on it, football fans. One day and one cold, fresh six pack a day. Six from around SEC Country.

SEC announces bowl tie-ins for 2014

The Southeastern Conference on Monday announced several agreements with bowl games beginning in 2014, the first season of college football's four-team playoff.

Could Jadeveon Clowney miss the opener, or is Steve Spurrier just sending a message?

"If (Clowney's shoulder) doesn't come around real soon, we may play without him the first game."

Report: Johnny Manziel signed more than 4,400 items for brokers

ESPN's Outside the Lines is reporting two additional signing sessions for Johnny Manziel, bringing the total to six signings for three brothers in less than a month.

Muschamp sees Gators develop depth across offensive line

Florida coach Will Muschamp is finding no shortage of options to fill his offensive line through 12 practices of camp.

UT Vols' receivers trying to fight through training camp 'wall'

Tennessee's young group of wide receivers hit its first wall of preseason training camp last week.


As for his own performance, McCarron is not satisfied with his training camp preparation. He expects to fine-tune his game over the next two weeks.

“I’m pushing every day,” McCarron said. “Any of the coaches will tell you. I’m the hardest person on myself. I always push for perfection. I don’t focus on one thing.”

But among the various little things McCarron is focusing on is his lower body mechanics in order to take his game to the next level. Better footwork should improve his deep ball, he said.

“You start with the big picture first and do it right to give yourself a chance,” offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier said. “You have to take care of the football and make good decisions. Then the smaller things are what you care about. As you grow, it becomes about technique.”

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 12, 2013 and 19 days until kickoff, it’s Monday again. It’s back to school and back to another six cool, fresh college football stories from around SEC Country.

Really, Brando?

On Sunday, CBS host and troll extraordinaire Tim Brando revealed his top ten picks for the upcoming college football season.

Healthy Thompson ready to compete

Most college football players dread the mid-August dog days, with no games to look forward to after long, hot practices. Not Colin Thompson.

Former NCAA enforcement official says A&M should hold Manziel out if investigation lingers

"A&M will not play Johnny Manziel if there's any question that he could be ineligible."

Alabama WR Amari Cooper hasn't slowed down since breakout freshman season

The Crimson Tide sophomore says he's eight pounds heavier and faster than he was as a freshman.

NCAA questions Mississippi State's Chris Jones on Ole Miss recruitment

The NCAA has questioned Chris Jones, a 2013 Mississippi State signee, on the subject of his recruitment by Ole Miss.


Johnny Manziel lawyered up this week, making it a virtual certainty the Texas A&M quarterback won’t become the second back-to-back Heisman Trophy winner in history.

It’s not as if the kid doesn’t need and deserve an attorney. Lord knows with the NCAA’s record of unconscionable investigative tactics, Manziel needs legal advice as much as a quarterback needs a solid offensive line.

Manziel took to Twitter like Michael Phelps took to water. He tweeted pictures of himself at a casino. He tweeted his desire to get out of College Station, Texas.

Johnny Manziel, “Johnny Football” as he’s known, has 471,602 Twitter followers which makes him an Internet rock star. It’s loud in Johnny’s world — very, very loud.

Manziel managed to slip out of his Twitter blunders like he’s able to avoid direct hits — it’s an art.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 9, 2013 and 22 days until kickass, and thank GOD it’s only three weeks until the threepeat quest begins! For now, start the weekend off right with six cool ones from around SEC Country.

Saban addresses players dealing with autograph seekers

Alabama football coach Nick Saban said Thursday night that there are compliance, coaching and team leadership avenues in place when it comes to his players and autograph seekers.

Vogler taking over at tight end

Brian Vogler is replacing a cornerstone of the Alabama football team's offense.

Replacements more than fill-ins

Some might say it's fitting to call them Florida's replacement players, career back-ups who have been called on to be fill-ins for three key starters while they are away.

Injuries to defensive line could block UT pass rush

Tennessee already is encountering a couple of obstacles in its attempt to revitalize a pass rush that has been dormant for several years.

Malzahn not pleased with effort during first two-a-day practice

The first two-a-day practice of preseason camp Thursday didn't feature the effort and focus Auburn coach Gus Malzahn is expecting from his squad. So the Tigers had to regroup before they took the field again Thursday afternoon.


I’m not suggesting that Saban should ditch the run because his formula for success is championship proven. In his first season in 2007, the Tide threw for 979 more passing yards than rushing yards, but finished 7-6 with the school’s all-time leading passer, John Parker Wilson, taking the snaps.

Two years later, Mark Ingram ran for 1,658 yards by himself to win the Heisman Trophy as Alabama punched out an enforcing 601 rushing attempts for 3,011 yards to go undefeated and win it all.

Alabama passed the ball just 346 times in 2009. However, McCarron will be Saban’s first three-year starter at quarterback at Alabama. He’s not only the most reliable player on offense, but the most confident one, too.

We all know McCarron is a team player, but it’s time for him to be the main difference in whether Alabama wins or loses week after week. That’s how one becomes the best player on the field.

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 8, 2013 and 23 days until kickoff Thursday! Cool off early with six clear, fresh college football stories from around SEC Country.

Schools respond to Jadeveon Clowney, Teddy Bridgewater, Braxton Miller autograph allegations

South Carolina, Louisville and Ohio State all report no violations with autographs.

'This offense can be very explosive ... It can be the best,' says Alabama WR Kenny Bell

The Crimson Tide veteran is one of nine scholarship receivers vying for playing time.

Pease: Gators 'more reactionary' on offense

The Florida offensive coordinator said Wednesday there are some obvious signs the Gators have developed a better feel for the offense going into Year 2.

Auburn's Jay Prosch draws strength from family, faith, mother's example to overcome trying 2012

Prosch, whose mother, Iris, lost her battle with brain cancer two days after Auburn's season-opener last fall, relied on his sisters and his faith to help heal the pain of her death and emerge as a team leader during the offseason.

Alabama notebook: Saban calls in motivational backup

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban is a father, so he has seen this too often.


Yeldon is soft-spoken, anyway and doesn’t like being the center of attention — unless he’s carrying the ball weaving through the defense.

“He’s a great kid,” offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier said. “He’s on the quiet side. He’s a great football player and a great person, and a joy to be around every day.”

Teammates also appreciate Yeldon’s approach. Tight end Brian Vogler trained with him in the offseason and saw the workout intensity and the fun person off the field.

“On the field, he’s the same way he is around here. ... In interviews, he’s quiet,” Vogler said. “He just wants to do his job. Do his job plus more. He wants to help people out. Off the field, he’s a funny guy. We hung out a lot in the spring. He jokes around with everybody, and he’s fun to be around.”

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 7, 2013 and 24 days until Alabama football Hump Day edition of the Morning Six Pack, with six cool, clear and crisp college football stories from around SEC Country.

Alabama Crimson Tide's Nick Saban pleased after first day of pads

Alabama’s top-ranked football team worked indoors for two hours Tuesday afternoon, the team’s first practice in full pads.

Auburn installs temporary wire structure for fans to roll at Toomer's Corner

The wires form a "V" at the intersection, where Auburn fans father to roll the corner with toilet paper following football wins[Snort].

Burton likes versatile role

Trey Burton's versatility finds him in several positions. He's listed as a fullback, but is known to play all over the field.

Alabama notebook: Bell coming back after broken leg

Kenny Bell is still cautious after five days of training camp, but he's making progress on his injured leg from last season.

Reuben Foster doesn't look like a freshman? Yes he does, Alabama's C.J. Mosley says

"You know freshmen always come in running around everywhere," Mosley says. "We've just got to make sure that we keep them calm and make sure they don't get to down on themselves, because this system is hard to learn."


The guys in charge might pretend to be pained, but nobody gets too worked up about amateur stuff like eligibility any more, least of all the kids on whose backs the empire rests. They, too, can see college football for what it's become: the NFL's de facto minor league. It's great to have rowers, field hockey players and cheerleaders who will become engineers, accountants and marketing reps in the future.

They make for good commercials, and a good front for a non-profit like the NCAA, but they don't make any money. They're the farthest thing, in truth, regarding what college sports is really about.

Instead, it's about kids like Manziel — and Newton and Terrelle Pryor, too — and keeping their sense of entitlement in check long enough to make a few dollars off their talent before they get theirs. If nothing else, Manziel already looks like one of those guys who's going to make the higher-ups earn every penny — plus more than their fair share of heartburn in the bargain.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 6, 2013 and 25 days until Atlanta Tuesday edition of the morning six pack, with new college football stories from around SEC Country.

Alabama secures QB for 2015 recruiting class

Ricky Town of Ventura, Calif., committed to the Alabama football team Monday for the 2015 recruiting class, according various recruiting services.

Tennessee Vols' Carter hopes to help young unit

Watch Tennessee’s wide receivers in any practice drill, and you’ll probably hear Jacob Carter’s voice.

Auburn DC Ellis Johnson pushes players into 'mental overload'

"A lot of times when the defense can’t hit without pads, one thing you like to do is really put your focus on install," Johnson says. The Tigers will don full pads for the first time Wednesday.

Norwood coming back strong for final year

Kevin Norwood walked into the first post-practice interview of training camp and faced the obvious question.

Georgia's Sheldon Dawson appreciates starting role

It’s a different world for Sheldon Dawson in Georgia’s secondary.


"Considering Texas A&M were among the Top 5 favorites to win the BCS with Manziel playing, there is no doubt that this investigation has forced us to close down those odds, along with win totals, conference odds and pretty much anything that involves the Aggies or Manziel until we have more information," Kevin Bradley, the sports book manager at Bovada, said in a statement as reported by USA Today and CBS Sports.

"If he does in fact get suspended by the NCAA and is not starting against Alabama, the Aggies will move from getting only 4.5 points to at least two touchdown underdogs in that game. It will also impact the spreads on their whole schedule moving their win total from 9.5 to 7.5 and their BCS Championship Odds from 12-1 to 33-1, if not higher. Ohio State's Braxton Miller who was at 13-2 odds to win the Heisman will now be the new front-runner with odds of under 5-1."

Sportsline is also reporting Bovada is also offering odds on whether Johnny Manziel will play in Texas A&M's first game. As of Monday afternoon, "No" was the odds-on favorite at 1-3. A "Yes" wager is currently set at 2-1.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 5, 2013 and 26 days until bammer football Monday. You again. Well, start the week off right—six college football stories from our favorite conference.

In first look at many freshmen, Foster stands out, and so does Foster

This is the No. 1 signing class in the nation in 2013, and it shows. Many of the players in this group look more like juniors than freshmen.

Opportunity knocks for backup Brown

Four years ago, Mack Brown was thought to be the savior of Florida's running back position. Nowadays, he's the forgotten man.

Georgia looking for third-team tailback

As long as Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall stay healthy, the Georgia Bulldogs should be set at tailback through the next two seasons.

Coordinators meet the press: Tide offense possesses plenty of weapons

Media day with the Alabama football team is a special opportunity because it's the only guaranteed time of year when the offensive and defensive coordinators are available to speak with the media.

Kirby Smart says Alabama's 2012 defense was 'not exactly up to par'

Though the Crimson Tide ranked No. 1 in rush defense, total defense and scoring defense, Smart says the unit can be better.


Athletes being asked for their signatures on items is obviously not uncommon, and many of those items eventually wind up on eBay. But the amount of Johnny Football product that flooded the memorabilia market overall following the BCS title game was overwhelming, memorabilia dealers told “Outside the Lines.” Two of the leading autograph authentication companies, PSA/DNA and JSA, have authenticated many of the items. Officials with both companies told ESPN that they guarantee the signatures, some with inscriptions like “Gig ‘Em” and “Heisman ’12″. Online verification databases show a single lot of 999 signed Manziel photos numbered sequentially. JSA authenticated 248 items and 376 items that came in in two batches that also are numbered sequentially. Insiders say this indicates the signings were done in large quantities intended for wholesale.

We’ve seen the NCAA screw up investigations before, and nothing is ever a slam dunk with the NCAA. Cam Newton’s father admitted openly to the NCAA that he shopped his son to Mississippi State for the sum of $200,000, yet the governing organization accepted his word that despite standing to gain an enormous profit elsewhere, somehow the greedy father elected to let Cam go to Auburn for nothing, having never stepped a foot on campus prior. Oh, and Cam knew nothing about the arrangement. Riiight.

But this situation appears more difficult for the tip-toe artist to wiggle out of unscathed. An issue much bigger than just attention seeking Tweets, or news of being kicked out of frat parties…or worse yet, the Manning Quarterback Camp… this one may grant Johnny Football his wish, as cited from one of his earliest scathing Tweets: “To get out of College Station.”

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Friday, August 2, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 2, 2013 and 29 days until kickoff Friday, sports fans! Start your weekend right with these six college football stories from around the country.

CBS' Gary Danielson: Up-tempo 'has gotten way too much credit,' cites Aggies win over Alabama

"I have to admit I am more old-school on this than probably everybody else. Speeding up play and tempo has gotten too much credit for why teams are doing well."

Tide expands football facilities

The Alabama football team's rebuilt and expanded facilities opened for business when the players reported for camp Thursday.

Franklin named captain, must win role

James Franklin opens fall camp as Missouri's starting quarterback and one of the captains, too.

Five teams to break into top 25 Coaches Poll by November

Several teams will start outside of a national ranking but quickly move into the top 25.

Murphy ready to fill in at QB

Florida coaches expect quarterback Jeff Driskel to recover in time from his recent appendectomy to start the Aug. 31 opener against Toledo.


“Your players’ commitment to a standard of excellence to be prepared, to have the passion toward the commitment and the standard to be prepared, to give the effort, play with the kind of toughness, have the discipline, execute every play in the game like it has a history of its own is very important,” Saban said.

New starters are sought at a few positions, specifically on the offensive and defensive lines, and development of depth is needed.

And then a team’s identity must be forged. The toughness to carry through hard times of a season forms now in the summer heat of camp.

“That’s what we’re trying to get our players to buy into so they’re going to put themselves in a position to play those plays in what will most certainly be a competitive season and a challenging season against some great football teams.”

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Morning Six Pack: August 1, 2013 and 30 days until kickoff’s right. Only 30 days left until Ahh. For this morning’s, Ahh, check out these six college football stories.

Tide needs kicker, long snapper to step up

The Alabama football team needs a new starting kicker and long snapper, but the rest of the productive special teams return this year.

Five burning questions as Alabama prepares for the start of preseason camp

Talking offensive line, running backs, defensive backs and more on the eve of preseason camp.

Vols scramble for quarterback

Butch Jones doesn’t relish the prospect of a prolonged competition to determine his starting quarterback.

Penn State transfer rule to expire

The NCAA rule connected to Penn State's sanctions that had the earliest impact on the football program is set to expire Thursday.

Details of QB's last days revealed

A former Division II college football star who disappeared in the Michigan wilderness during an impromptu late-evening fishing trip had a number of alcoholic drinks on the day he died and told relatives in two final frantic phone calls that he believed he was being followed, according to police reports.


The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Matthews learned through working from Joeckel, but most of his tips came from his father. Bruce Matthews was elected into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2007 after a 19-year career with the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans.

Bruce has three sons who have suited up for the Aggies — Kevin was the starting center in 2008-09 and Mike played in seven games last season as a true freshmen.

“My dad is my biggest fan, and I really appreciate all the things he does for me,” Jake said. “He was a great player, and I would love to do half the things that he did. He was one of a kind, and I’m just really thankful to have him in my life. He’s like a second coach when I go home or if I’m worried about something or I don’t understand something.”

Bruce Matthews played every position on the offensive line during his time in the NFL, and he earned 14 Pro Bowl invitations. He retired in 2001 after playing in 296 career games, which was a league record at that time for a position player.

Jake occasionally has experienced the pressure of living up to his father but said it hasn’t been too bad.

“I’m trying to go out there and do my own thing and be the best player I can be,” he said. “It was fun, though, growing up around football your whole life. Going to games all the time will be something I’ll always remember.”

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