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Ex-Auburn Coach Dye Caught Talking About Bielema, AU’s 2012 QBs And Condi

Pat Dye is back in the news.  The ex-Auburn coach who was pilloried last month for stating that Condoleezza Rice doesn’t belong on the new college football playoff selection panel, spoke at a Tennessee booster club in Knoxville yesterday.  What he said is making headlines again.

Knoxville News Sentinel sports editor Phil Kaplan tweeted a quickie roundup of Dye’s comments:

 

dye 1

 

dye 2

 

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A zinger at Arkansas coach Bret Bielema.  A real smackdown of Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace, Auburn’s leading passers a year ago.  And another mention of Condoleezza Rice.

Interestingly, I received a phone call yesterday from someone in attendance at that meeting who told me what Dye had said.  He also told me that Dye asked that a television camera in the room be turned off, clearly not wanting his words to come back to haunt him.  In this era, Dye should have known his words would go straight to the internet.

The caller and I wondered how long it would take for Dye’s words to get out anyway.  As expected… not long.

In fairness to Dye, from what I was told, he questioned a number of people on the selection panel, not just Rice.  In mentioning Lt. Gen. Michael Gould, the former superintendent of the US Air Force Academy, Dye wondered why the former coach at Air Force — Fisher DeBerry — didn’t get the nod over a former pilot.  He wants football people on the committee.  But anyone who dares question the selection of Rice will be hammered as a sexist old coot.  And if you question others as well, that won’t make headlines.  Only the Rice stuff makes headlines.

The old coot.

Update: Gus Malzahn responds to Dye’s quarterback comments.  ”Of course I recruited all the quarterbacks here and they’re nothing but champions.”

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Frazier Moves From Auburn Quarterback To Safety

kiehl-frazierWhen Kiehl Frazier arrived on the Plains as a flashy dual-threat quarterback in 2011, we found it odd that then-offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn only used one of Frazier’s weapons — his feet.  In 13 games Frazier ran the ball 76 times but attempted just 12 passes.

In 2012, with Malzahn serving as Arkansas State’s head coach, Frazier continued to struggle with his passing back at Auburn.  He completed just 53% of his passes last year with two touchdowns and eight interceptions.

So when Malzahn returned this offseason, we had a pretty good idea that Frazier was not going to be the guy who won the Tigers’ four-man quarterback battle.  And he’s not.  In fact, he’s moving to safety.

Malzahn announced the decision after Auburn’s practice last evening.  Frazier tried to put a positive spin on the move — “I did well the first two days to put myself in a position to be the quarterback, but that’s not something that I felt like — that’s something you have to be all in, 100%” — but his high school coach suggested his former protege saw the writing on the wall.

With Frazier out of the mix, Malzahn has said that newcomers Nick Marshall and Jeremy Johnson are the leaders with sophomore Jonathan Wallace still in the mix.

As for Frazier, he’s already traded in his number 10 jersey for a number 25.  That’s quite a drastic change for the player voted USA Today’s National Offensive Player of the Year coming out of high school.

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AU’s Malzahn Happy With QB Frazier’s Improvement This Spring

gfx - they said it

This spring, junior Kiehl Frazier was locked in a quarterback battle with sophomore Jonathan Wallace.  Neither QB locked down the job and neither was particularly consistent during the Tigers’ A-Day Game.

Three more newcomers — two true freshman and a juco transfer — will be thrown into the signal-caller race this fall.

But Frazier has the most experience.  When he signed with Auburn he was viewed as the dual-threat weapon of the future in then-offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn’s system.  But in his two seasons of playing quarterback on the Plains — as a backup, a change of pace, and starter — Frazier simply hasn’t been able to throw the football with very much accuracy.  His career numbers:

 

  Comp.   Att.   Yards   Comp.%   YPA   TD   Int.
  67   128   787   52.3   6.14   2   10

 

But Malzahn — now the head coach — says he was pleased with the growth Frazier showed throughout the course of the Tigers’ spring practice:

 

“Kiehl was in this offense as a true freshman, but we weren’t able to put the whole package in with him because he wasn’t here in the spring.  He learned a new offense last year, and it was a little bit of a learning curve for him this spring in those first couple of practices.  About halfway through, it started to click, and you could see that a lot of the stuff was coming back to him.

I feel like he ended spring on a strong note, and what I mean by that was he had a good understanding of our base offense and the communication that goes along with the no-huddle aspect of it and the base reads in our passing game.”

 

Knowing the reads is obviously Step One for Frazier.  Finding the open receivers and then accurately delivering the ball are the next big steps he’ll need to master if he’s to win and keep the AU starting quarterback job in 2013.

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SEC Headlines 4/17/2013

headlines-wedSEC Football

1. How safe is your stadium?  The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security now certifying stadiums around the country – four in the SEC have qualified.

2. In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, both Alabama and Auburn evaluating stadium security plans.

3. Alabama players left the White House on Monday just minutes before it went into lockdown mode.

4. Kirby Smart’s new deal at Alabama will make him the highest paid defensive coordinator in the country.

5. Fractured fibula and torn ankle ligaments for Alabama freshman running back Derrick Henry.  Nick Saban: ”Eight weeks and he’ll be back running,” Expected to make full recovery by fall. Alabama down to three available tailbacks. 

6. It’s just Jonathan Wallace and Kiehl Frazier battling it for quarterback at Auburn for now, but they’ll be joined by three more candidates this fall.

7. Florida has filled the vacancy left when defensive line coach Bryant Young resigned.  UTEP defensive coordinator Will Choate will be special teams coordinator for the Gators.

8. Running back Marlin Lane absent again from Tennessee’s practice. Going through “sensitive situation.”

9. Bruce Feldman on Johnny Manziel: “He is a cross between a Dan Jenkins character and Vinny Chase.”

10. After spring practice, has Vanderbilt’s defensive line gone from question mark to major asset?

11. Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney sees improvement at the quarterback position: “Up until now it’s been tough for me to say anything positive about what we’ve been getting done in the passing game.”

12. A focus on red zone offense at Mississippi State.

13. Georgia coach Mark Richt on his defensive line: “I think we’re going to have at least two deep at the defensive line positions where we’re just going to keep rolling them cats in and keeping them fresh.”

14. The most common response this spring from Tennessee coach Butch Jones? “Put it on my calendar.”

15. Less than two months after suffering a stroke, Billy Cannon was back at Tiger Stadium on Saturday.

SEC/NFL Draft

16. Is Pittsburgh the NFL team most intrigued by former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray?

17. Unlike last year, Florida seems all but certain to have high round draft picks, thanks to Sharrif Floyd and Matt Elam.

18. This mock draft had Floyd going third overall - SEC with five of the top nine picks. Here’s a top 40 ranking from Sports Illustrated.

SEC Basketball

19. Arkansas forward Hunter Mickelson is transferring at the end of the spring semester, according to his father. Looking for a “better fit.”

20. Who’s leaving at Tennessee?  Vols now have five recruits in the 2013 class – just three open scholarships. Tennessee still waiting on NBA decision from Jarnell Stokes.

21. Nerlens Noel’s legacy at Kentucky?  ”Complicated, memorable and unfinished.”

22. What the Missouri basketball team ceremony revealed about the players.

23. Florida confirms center Patric Young underwent surgery to remove a bone spur in his right ankle.

24. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo wants the shot clock shortened in college basketball.

Extras

25. 85- count federal indictment unveiled Tuesday shows former Georgia coach Jim Donnan and a business partner face charges they operated a Ponzi scheme.

26. Study: College athletes respond poorly to verbally aggressive coaches.

27. Spelman College - dropping all intercollegiate sports and leaving the NCAA.

28. Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder: College athletics “in a bad place right now.”

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WOW Headlines – 4/16/13

Monday, Alabama’s national championship football team visited the White House for the third time in four years
President Obama on Alabama: “I expect I just might see these guys again before I leave.”
Alabama RB Derrick Henry will miss Saturday’s spring game after breaking his leg in a scrimmage last weekend
Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee says the quarterback race between Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace is too close to call
Mississippi State defensive coordinator Geoff Collins is being called “the Minister of Mayhem” by Bulldog players
The 50,000+ fans on hand for Kentucky’s spring game last Saturday constituted a large crowd than any that attended an actual Wildcat game last fall
Incumbent starting QB James Franklin has been Missouri’s best signal-caller in two spring scrimmages
Due to the tragedy in Boston, the SEC and ESPN postponed Tuesday’s scheduled announcement of the new SEC Network
You can follow the SEC every single day on MrSEC.com

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Auburn QB Situation Still A Tight, Two-Horse Race

kiehl-frazier-jonathan-wallaceKiehl Frazier or Jonathan Wallace?  Jonathan Wallace or Kiehl Frazier?  Down the spring backstretch they come and they’re still neck-and-neck.

Both quarterbacks have made progress assimilating — or re-assimilating — Gus Malzahn’s up-tempo offense, but neither player has taken control of the race to be Auburn’s starter this fall.  According to new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee:

 

“They’re splitting the reps right now.  Nothing will change.  One guy will do a little better one day; one the other, maybe.  They’ve been pretty even.  They’ve been great.  They’ve been competing hard.”

 

Competing hard?  Probably.  Both being “great?”  Probably not.

Regular readers of this site know that we’re not exactly fans of the two-quarterback system unless two quarterbacks with very different styles are used… with one being used as a change-of-pace guy only.  In most other cases involving two similar quarterbacks who perform at the same level, an old saying usually holds true — “Show me a team with two good quarterbacks and I’ll show you a team lacking one great quarterback.”

Here’s a comparison of Frazier and Walker from last season:

 

 Player   Class   Games   Comp.-Att.   Pct.   Yards   Yds/Att.   TD   INT   QB Rating   Rushes/Yds
  Frazier   So   9   62-116   53.4   753   6.5   2   8   99.87   42-(-35)
  Wallace   Fr   9   46-80   57.5   720   9.0   4   4   139.60   51-152

 

On paper, Wallace was clearly the better quarterback last year, albeit in a different offense.  But a deeper look inside the numbers suggests he performed best when the pressure was off.  (Who doesn’t?)

With Auburn ahead or trailing by 15 or more points, Wallace was 31-of-53 for 525 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions.  On the field when Auburn was within 14 points either way of its opponent, Wallace was 15-of-27 for 195 yard, no TDs, and one pick.  That’s quite a drop.

Frazier’s numbers were better with the pressure dialed down, too, but he had fewer of those opportunities.  With Auburn separated from it’s foe by 15 or more points, Frazier was 15-of-22 for 190 yards, no touchdowns and a pick.  When games had a 14-point spread or less, he dropped off to 47-of-94, two scores, and seven INTs.

The verdict?  While Wallace performed better than Frazier last year, his successes must be tempered by the knowledge that he got most of his work when games were already getting out of hand.  Frazier, meanwhile, saw his chances disappear as the season wore on.  He attempted just 13 passes over Auburn’s final seven games.

The wild card in this might be both quarterback’s legs.  With Malzahn running the Tiger offense in 2011, it was clear he trusted the freshman Frazier’s legs more than his arm.  Frazier threw just 12 passes for Malzahn that season… while carrying the ball 76 times for 327 yards and three scores.

So will Malzahn, back now as head coach, trust Wallace’s arm and legs?  Has he come to respect Frazier’s passing ability?  Or if neither QB looks like he’ll become a reliable passer, will he trust Frazier’s legs more than Wallace’s?

With spring practice winding down, there’s no way to tell what conclusions Malzahn and Lashlee are drawing yet.

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SEC Headlines 2/22/2013

headlines-friSEC Football

1. The $425 million renovation of Kyle Field will begin November 10th – one day after Texas A&M’s final home game this fall.  A&M president R. Bowen Loftin: “This is probably the largest project ever done at Texas A&M.”

2. Will Kyle Field surpass Neyland Stadium as the largest in the SEC?

3. Where will Josh Harvey-Clemons play for Georgia this fall?  Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham could be tipping his hand.

4. Why so many missed tackles in college football? Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson: “A lot of the missed tackling in college football today is because the game has changed. It’s faster, it’s more spread out and there are better-skilled athletes playing than when I started out coaching.”

5. When spring practice starts at Auburn, the Tigers will have just two quarterbacks on scholarship in uniform, Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace.  Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee: ”There’s two guys that are going to get a lot of opportunity in the spring.”

6. Brent Dearmon hired at Auburn, third high school coach hired for an off-the-field role on the Tigers staff. He joins former Auburn cornerback Dell McGee and Chip Lindsay who’ve accepted positions on Gus Malzahn’s staff.

7. Kentucky coach Mark Stoops has bought a home for $1.45 million.  According to the Fayette County property valuation administrator:  ”That makes it the third-highest single-family home sale in the past year.”

8. Mississippi State expects to improve its run defense in 2013.

9. Will we see top prospect Robert Nkemdiche lining up on the inside on passing downs this fall at Ole Miss? The Rebels secret to success?

10. Spring practice dates set at South Carolina. 

11. Most season-ticket holders at Missouri will pay the same price this year. No increase at Auburn this year.

12. LSU legend Billy Cannon released from a hospital on Thursday.  Had suffered a stroke earlier in the week.

NFL Scouting Combine

13. Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel is out to prove he’s worthy of the No. 1 overall selection and thinks SEC defenses helped him prepare: “SEC defensive lines are the best in the country.”

14. Could Alabama’s Chance Warmack make draft history?

15. Former Alabama center Barrett Jones is six weeks in to a four-month timetable toward full recovery.  Recovering from foot surgery.

16. Just four months removed from hip surgery, former Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen said there no “red flags” raised by teams on Thursday.

17. Former Tennessee offensive lineman Dallas Thomas is in Indianapolis but recovering from a torn labrum: “I might be injured, but I’m still the same player that I was.”

18. A hamstring injury hampered his senior season but Missouri linebacker Zaviar Gooden thinks he can run a 4.3 second 40-yard dash at the combine.  ”Yeah, it’s possible. I’ve done it before. I’ve just got to do it on the big stage.”

19. NFL combine invitees for all SEC schools over the last three years. LSU has the most – Vanderbilt the least.

NCAA Miami Investigation

20. With the formal charges made, where does Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith go from here?

21. Three former Miami assistants want their case dismissed because of mistakes by the NCAA. Update: NCAA reportedly agrees to hear the request.

22. Possible for Miami to sue the NCAA? “I think Miami would have a case.”

SEC Basketball

23. Do the recent struggles at Ole Miss spell doom for coach Andy Kennedy? Canceled his scheduled press conference Thursday.

24. Auburn-Ole Miss and Missouri-Kentucky are two bubble games to watch this weekend.

25. So who needs a win more Saturday – Missouri or Kentucky? Dick Vitale: “It’s much bigger for Kentucky.” But the Tigers are in need of a quality road win. ESPN’s GameDay will be on hand – a lonely job for the driver of the bus.

26. When it comes to fans - does Kentucky basketball equal Alabama football? “To me, they’re identical programs.”

27. Missouri’s Phil Pressey has his father to thank for making him a point guard: “My dad noticed I wasn’t growing. I wasn’t going to be a shooting guard. He said, ‘Son, you need to start passing the ball.’”

28. When Florida hosts Arkansas Saturday night, Billy Donovan wants to see more production from Patric Young. ”I would just like to see him rebound better.”

29. Nerlens Noel still the favorite to win the SEC’s Freshman of the Year honors.

30. Seth Davis on the NCAA Tournament selection process: “Regardless of what you think about the RPI, the fact is that most fans really have no clue how it is actually used.”

Extra

31. Tennessee lawmakers consider legislation that would require schools to adopt concussion p0licies.

32. New Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly hires a former Navy SEAL to be the team’s “Sports Science Coordinator.”

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Wow Evening Headlines 10/30/2012

Tennessee running back Rajion Neal is not 100% but may play Saturday against Troy
Auburn freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace will get the start this weekend against New Mexico State
Former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson is in a Louisiana jail after a judge revoked his bond in a 2011 simple battery case
With injuries and attrition, Ole Miss is down to 64 scholarship players
Missouri QB James Franklin is expected to be close to 100% versus Florida this weekend
The NCAA passed a package of sweeping changes Tuesday intended to crack down hard on rule-breaking schools and coaches
Auburn basketball player Chris Denson declared academically ineligible for the fall semester
Follow the SEC every day at MrSEC.com or by downloading our iPhone and Android apps

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Wallace To Become AU’s Third Starting QB This Season

Auburn is just an overtime win over Louisiana-Monroe from being 0-8 on the season.  Original starting quarterback Kiehl Frazier is dealing with a bum shoulder, though he’ll be listed as the Tigers backup on Saturday.  The Tigers’ second starting quarterback of the season — Clint Moseley — is questionable with an ankle injury sustained last week.

So why not go to freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace as AU’s third starting signal-caller of the season?  And that’s just what Gene Chizik says he’s going to do Saturday against New Mexico State:

 

“I think a lot of it is really just going back and reviewing how he played Saturday.  I think that was big.  It was the first time that he got an opportunity to do more than the initial role that we had planned for him in some of the Wildcat stuff with a couple of throws off of that.  We threw him in.  And, again, he’s in every meeting, he’s at every practice, and he works them.  When you watch him execute in a game with more than his role in a game as we put him in there, we just felt like he did well. I think that merited a chance to give him a starting nod.

I hate to use the word surprised, because that makes you think that I think he couldn’t do it.  I thought he was extremely poised under pressure.  I thought he made some throw under pressure that were really, really good. I thought that just handling some of the calls out there that he’s definitely had reps at, but not near enough reps that a starter would, I thought it was really impressive.”

 

Wallace was completed six passes in nine attempts for 122 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s 63-21 loss to Texas A&M.  He also rushed 13 times for 71 yards, but it should be noted that the Aggies were using quite a few backups as the game wore on.

Still, what’s Chizik got to lose at this point?  His job’s probably already beyond saving.

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AU’s Frazier Knows Why Fans Aren’t Happy

Sophomore quarterback Kiehl Frazier has gotten off to a rocky start as Auburn’s start this year.  He currently ranks as one the five worst passers in the nation in terms of passer rating.  Even his coach, Gene Chizik, said this week: “He’s go to get back there, he’s got to set his feet, he’s go to make a decision, throw the ball.”

Frazier’s unease in the pocket and his inaccuracy when he does throw the ball has naturally earned the signal-caller quite a bit of grief from fans.  He says he understands it:

 

“I don’t really take it personally.  Winning, that’s the expectation at Auburn.  And if you don’t do that, people will be talking about it…

I probably got rushed to where I needed to scramble only three times in the last four games.  (I’ve got to get better) at going through my first, second, third, fourth progression, and not just stopping at two, but going through the progression before making a decision to use my legs.”

 

The concern for Tiger fans is that previous offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn clearly had no faith in Frazier as a passer.  Now Scot Loeffler is on the scene — with a brand new system — and he’s not having much luck with Frazier’s ability to read a defense and accurately throw the ball, either.

Instead of saying, “Well, he’s only started four games,” it’s beginning to look more and more like, “Well, he’s had two year and two coaches.”  Having two different coaches and systems could be part of the problem, of course.

Either way, Frazier isn’t letting his poor start impact his confidence.  “The next four games, I won’t have seven picks,” he said yesterday.  “That’s for sure.”

He’d better hope not… or else Clint Moseley (when his shoulder is healed up) or freshman Jonathan Wallace (in the Wildcat) will start taking more and more game snaps away from him.

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