Coach Richt, consider yourself warned. Thus sayeth the Times-Union sooth.
Daily Archives: June 19, 2009
If you’re gonna give the Zooker credit for helping to bring the Gators a MNC in ’06, is it unfair to give him some credit for the player arrests afflicting the Gators’ public face these days?
Of course, Mike Bianchi and the Zooker put the question in reverse, but still…
When in doubt, blame it on the Zooker.
“I guess they have to blame it on somebody,” Ron Zook says and laughs. “So why not me? As Coach [Steve] Spurrier used to tell me, ‘I’m cheap and available.’ “
Zook, now the head football coach at the University of Illinois, was fired at UF five years ago. Imagine his surprise the other day when he turned on ESPN and a reporter was partly blaming Zook for the multiple player arrests at UF under Coach Urban Meyer.
Zook’s name indirectly got dragged into the conversation when state newspapers began adding up the number of arrests at UF and came up with an eye-opening 24 legal incidents involving Gator players in the last four seasons. When UF began getting peppered with questions by reporters, the school responded by dispersing information pointing out that more than half of the legal issues (14 of 24) came from players Meyer “did not recruit or were in his first recruiting class).”
Reporters’ translation: Zook’s guys.
“The same guys that won the national title (in 2006),” says Zook, who recruited 21 of the 22 starters on UF’s 2006 national title team.
How fitting, right? Meyer gets credit for winning a national title with Zook’s players and Zook gets blamed for clogging the criminal justice system with Meyer’s players.
Chris Brown’s comment about Auburn’s spring game in the post just below got me to thinking – dangerous, I know – about where I see things at in the conference right now. None of this is backed up mounds of data; it’s simply what pops into my head at the moment when I turn in a particular school’s direction.
So here’s my list of shallow observations for the day.
- Florida. Everything’s coming up roses – defensive depth, Tebow, the schedule. Two concerns: can they effectively replace Harvin and how likely is it that the Gators will go +22 in turnover margin again.
- Georgia. It’s all about the line play. On both sides of the ball.
- Kentucky. When this is one of the biggest stories of your offseason, that doesn’t bode well. Jeremy Jarmon’s unexpected departure doesn’t help, either.
- South Carolina. This team looks to be a mess offensively. Defensively, the ‘Cocks should be good enough to insure another mediocre season. That’s just how they drew it up when Spurrier was hired, right?
- Tennessee. Bad QB situation, thin offensive line and receiving corps. The Vols look to be relying on the running game and Eric Berry’s defense to survive. As untraditional as the offseason has been for UT, the regular season looks like it’s shaping up as the same old stuff.
- Vanderbilt. Most people think the talent base has improved, and so should Vandy’s chances this season. Me, I look at a 4-4 conference record built on a net -76.1 yards per game in SEC play last year (a number that’s worsened in each of the last three seasons, mind you) and wonder how the ‘Dores can match the ’08 win total again.
- Alabama. On paper, you have to like what you see, for the most part. It’s just weird that a Nick Saban-coached school has never enjoyed back-to-back seasons with double digit wins.
- Arkansas. Arky seems to be everybody’s darkhorse candidate for most improved in the conference, but I wonder how far the Hogs can go with that conference schedule and that defense.
- Auburn. And how far can these guys go without a decent quarterback? Well, Chizik should double his win total as a head coach, at least.
- LSU. If you’re a big believer in addition by subtraction, replacing Jarrett Lee with Jordan Jefferson may be the most significant move in the conference this season.
- Mississippi. Yeah, yeah, the stars are aligned for these guys. That’s what they said about the Nuttster’s 2007 Arkansas team, too. Look where that got him.
- Mississippi State. If you think that Tennessee will be better this year because the Vol offense is bound to improve, how is the logic for this team any different?
Overall, on paper the East looks weaker than it has in a long time. The West looks like it’s gonna be a lot of fun, though.
Your equally off-the-cuff thoughts?
Mmmm… smells good.
- Heh. Just heh.
- I’d hate to think that Junior turns out to be right about Alshon Jeffrey. (h/t CollegeFootballTalk.com)
- Mike Slive, don’t even think about going down this road. Especially not this year.
- This is the kind of information that I never would have devoted the time to gathering, but am glad to see somebody else did.
- Chris Brown walks you through what you can expect from the Auburn running game under Gus Malzahn’s tutelage. There’s a touch of déjà vu: “… And it is much as I expected: it is a smash-mouth spread operation. Indeed, the spring offense was notable for quarterback inconsistency, yes, but also for big, big plays from the running game.”
More from the ongoing annals of “It’s All Part of My Plan”, by Lane Kiffin:
Tennessee is moving forward on filling two coaching positions, men’s athletic director Mike Hamilton said Wednesday.
Hamilton said a resolution with former strength and conditioning coach Mark Smith has been reached and the process of naming his replacement is going forward.
Smith was hired in December by new football coach Lane Kiffin. In late May, however, Kiffin began the process of ousting Smith.
Smith balked at leaving because he wouldn’t be paid his salary if he resigned. He had a two-year agreement worth a total of nearly $400,000.
Hamilton confirmed UT will pay Smith the two years of compensation owed according to his memorandum of understanding for separation without cause.
“We’ll pay that over the remaining time, mitigated by any new job he should undertake,” Hamilton said.
Hard to believe that anyone would expect to be able to shitcan a guy after a mere six months without having to pay the contractual bill, but that’s UT for you these days. You know Spurrier has to be laughing his ass off about this right now.
There were some fairly scurrilous rumors being spread about why Junior wanted Smith gone, but it turns out in the end it was nothing more than that Smith wasn’t Coach O’s guy.
… But several individuals close to the program said recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron was never fully on board with Smith, and that friction ultimately came to a head. There were other factors, too, but the Orgeron factor was the defining issue in Kiffin parting ways with Smith.
It’s a reminder of how much juice Orgeron has with regard to pretty much every decision that’s made within the Tennessee program right now.
Ed Orgeron, the power behind the throne.
I’m guessing the man being discussed as Smith’s replacement knows who butters his bread.
… There’s a connection with Ausmus, too. He was Orgeron’s strength coach at Ole Miss, and Ausmus also worked with Kiffin and Orgeron at Southern California.
You cross swords with the Cajun at your peril, boys.