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Gators Lose LB Jenkins To The NFL

mrsec-breaking-newsFlorida had the nation’s fifth-best defense in 2012.  But come 2013, only four starters look to be returning.

Oft-injured Gator linebacker Jelani Jenkins has announced that he will leave Gainesville for the NFL as a junior this offseason.  He joins fellow juniors Matt Elam,  Sharrif Floyd and Jordan Reed as early departees from Florida.

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Wow Sunday Headlines 1/6/2012

Ole Miss beat Pittsburgh 38-17 Saturday in the BBVA Compass Bowl
Texas A&M beat Oklahoma 41-13 Friday night in the Cotton Bowl
The SEC is currently 5-3 in bowl games this postseason
Six LSU juniors will forego their senior season to enter the NFL draft with defensive end Barkevious Mingo the latest to decide Friday night
Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones and Florida tight end Jordan Reed are leaving school early to enter NFL draft
Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray has signed with an agent, ending any chance of his return to school for his senior season
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Moving Day In The SEC; Draft Declarations, Curfew Violations, Coaches And Players Coming And Going

Moving-VanSEC Players

1. Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones makes it official – he’s leaving school for the NFL draft.  Mel Kiper: “If the medical stuff checks out fine, he’s a top-five pick, maybe the No. 1 pick overall.”

2. With Jones departing, Georgia also announced Friday 13 early enrollees.

3. As we noted Friday, running back Spencer Ware and punter Brad Wing leaving LSU for the draft.  Then Friday night, they were joined by defensive end Barkevious Mingo. That’s now six juniors at LSU leaving early for the draft – never had more than three before.

4. Florida tight end Jordan Reed joining teammates Matt Elam and Sharrif Floyd – he’ll enter the 2013 NFL draft. Had signed with Urban Meyer to be a spread option quarterback.

5. Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray has signed with an agent - ending any chance of coming back for a senior season.

6. Two Alabama players sent home for curfew violations.  Freshman linebacker Ryan Anderson hasn’t played this year.  Dillon Lee, another freshman linebacker, has played sparingly.

7. South Carolina basketball player LaShay Page declared academically ineligible for the rest of the season. Had started every game he played for the Gamecocks.

SEC Coaches

8, Mississippi State defensive coordinator Chris Wilson expected to join Georgia’s staff as defensive line coach. Friday morning, Dan Mullen had announced the promotion of co-defensive coordinator Geoff Collins to full-time play-caller. Hiring may not be announced by Georgia until next week. 

9, Gus Malzahn has completed his coaching staff at Auburn by hiring former Arkansas recruiting coordinator Tim Horton to coach tight ends.

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UK’s Benton Avoids Suspension; SEC Needs To Be More Consistent

University of Kentucky safety Mikie Benton has avoided a suspension for what appeared to be a helmet-to-helmet hit leveled against Florida tight end Jordan Reed on Saturday.  As the league usually doles out its punishments on Monday, we sent a note to SEC associate commissioner Charles Bloom about the matter Monday afternoon.  We requested an explanation of why Benton’s hit — unlike similar hits from Ole Miss’ Trae Elston and South Carolina’s DJ Swearinger — didn’t earn the player a week on the bench.

Late yesterday afternoon, Bloom was kind enough to send along this official statement:

 

“At the 1:09 mark of the 2nd quarter, Florida’s Jordan Reed catches a pass at the Kentucky 34-yard line and the ensuing tackle by UK defensive back Mikie Benton draws a 15-yard penalty for initiating contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless player with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder.   In a required video review by the conference (NCAA Rule 9-6-2), it was determined the officials call on the field was correct, and this was a Targeting foul with contact above the shoulders and the penalty was properly enforced.  Based on the fact that the major impact of the blow was initially to the shoulder area of the receiver, this act does not warrant additional actions from the conference office.”

 

Now let’s go to the video tape:

 

Florida's Jordan Reed makes the great catch and loses his helmet

 

So does the league’s response make sense?  Technically, it appears so…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benton is clearly targeting Reed high in the photo above.  But…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When contact is made, it’s made with Benton’s facemask and the crown of his helmet leading into Reed’s neck and shoulder area.  So no, this was not a crown-of-the-helmet hit on another player’s helmet.  But it could have been.  Easily.

If the powers-that-be in the SEC and college football want to truly protect players from injuries — and themselves from potential lawsuits — they need to change the culture, so to speak.  In suspending Carolina’s Swearinger for a head-to-head hit on a UAB receiver, the SEC cited the hit as “a flagrant and dangerous act.”  Fine, we agree.

But in the case of Benton, Reed’s head moved to the left and not to the right.  Had Reed simply moved a few inches in the other direction, then Benton’s helmet would have cracked him dead-on.  And, most likely, Benton would have been handed a sit-down notice from Mike Slive and the league office.  Instead, he walks.

Look, this isn’t about Benton.  It’s about consistency.  Many fans suggested that the SEC wouldn’t suspend a player from a good team when Ole Miss’ Elston was benched.  The next week a South Carolina starter was suspended and we heard from a few: “Well, it’s still not someone from Alabama or LSU.”  (Tell that to Les Miles.)  Conspiracy theorists will always believe that the league office takes care of some schools and not others (which is rather ridiculous since the league office works for all 14 schools and it’s doubtful that 13 of them would happily bow before another).

We ourselves have stated that these calls are very subjective.  What I see as “a flagrant and dangerous act” might differ from what you see as “a flagrant and dangerous act.”  Ditto the folks in the SEC office.  This can all be rectified rather simply, however.

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Writer: A&M Mascot Nervous About UT Fans

In his weekly “Back Nine” column, it appears Pat Dooley of The Gainesville Sun went somewhere you don’t often see writers go in the daily newspaper biz.  Now maybe we’ve misinterpreted this one or perhaps we’re missing something that should be obvious to us, but read this paragraph and see what sticks out to you:

“There’s no truth to the rumor A&M decided not to join the SEC when the Aggies found out Jordan Reed might return punts for the Gators this year.  That’s scarey.  Other reasons Texas A&M as worried about the SEC — the mascot Reveille was getting nervous around Tennessee fans; they missed the chances to tackle to Tim Tebow; they didn’t want to play against their future bosses (Vanderbilt); any conference that celebrates with cow bells, toilet paper and a crowing rooster may not be for them.  Go ahead and send me your best ones.”

Did you see that?  After the Jordan Reed comment.  And just before the Tim Tebow bit.

Did Dooley just make a beastiality joke about A&M’s collie mascot being nervous around Tennessee fans?  Or are we missing something?  Maybe our minds are just in the gutter, but that sure seems to be a beastiality joke aimed at Vol fans… in a daily newspaper.

As folks who often find ourselves on the receiving end of hate-mails from Tennessee fans, we’ve got a pretty good idea as to what might be landing in Dooley’s email box today.

(SIDENOTE — Why is Dooley writing about A&M not entering the SEC?)

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SEC Headlines 8/14/2011

1. Expansion, realignment and a mini-playoff format for college football?

2. Pat Forde: “Texas A&M could shove the entire nation into another round of mercenary mergers and acquisitions.”

3. Clay Travis: “Florida State and Clemson will not be added to the SEC.”

4. Mike Bianchi: “1. FSU doesn’t want the SEC. 2. The SEC doesn’t want FSU.”

5. John Adams: “Virginia Tech would be a more likely choice.”

6. Texas lawmaker says A&M isn’t going anywhere until it appears before a state legislative committee.

7. Don’t expect the Aggies to leave the Big 12 without a fight.

8. The LSU chancellor would like some questions answered before he supports expansion.

9. Joker Phillips: “If we expand, I’m all for it.”

10. Culture and academics.  Why Oklahoma isn’t looking to the SEC.

11. Seth Emerson: (A)fter a while culture and geography will once again create factions within the conference — and probably result in breakups.

12. New York Times: (I)t is painfully obvious that no one is looking out for what is best for all of college sports.”

13. Mike Strange on Tennessee’s place in college football:  ”Clemson, more or less. Or, if you prefer, maybe Louisville, BYU or Georgia Tech.”

14. Derek Dooley likes what he saw from Tyler Bray Saturday night and his defense,too.

15. Gary Danielson: “Tennessee is going to make a vast improvement this year. That’s a team to really watch.”

16. Who won the first scrimmage for Kentucky?  Call it a draw. Coach finds a silver lining in injuries.

17. Still no sign of Duron Carter at Alabama’s camp. What were the stats from Saturday’s scrimmage? Nick Saban is keeping it secret. Running game struggled.

18. Gus Malzahn on Auburn’s quarterbacks: “We have three quality guys.” Decision doesn’t appear  imminent.

19. Still a lot of questions at quarterback for Ole Miss.

20. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen credits his strength coach for no major injuries at camp thus far.

21. Bulldogs have a potent backfield duo in Vick Ballard and LaDarius Perkins.

22. Isaiah Crowell is not the only Georgia running back banged up at the moment.

23. The Bulldogs’ Brandon Smith is creating a buzz in practice.

24. Without Knile Davis around, Arkansas explores options in the backfield. It’s a big opportunity for Ronnie Wingo.

25. Razorbacks offensive guard Grant Cooks returns to practice as Arkansas looks for the right combination along the line.

26. Steve Spurrier liked how South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw performed Saturday but he’s still Stephen Garcia’s backup.

27. 12-0 season for the Gamecocks?

28. The Florida Gators “Big 3″ fizzled last year but say they’ve learned from the experience.

29. Trey Burton adds fullback and slot receiver to his position list while tight end Jordan Reed may return some punts for the Gators

30. Will Muschamp likes the depth building along his offensive line.

31. LSU goes indoors for a scrimmage. Les Miles: “We’re not ready to play a game.”

32. Couple hundred fans show up to watch Vanderbilt practice.

33. What’s the state of college football?  Dirty but popular.

34. How to fix it.

35. Alabama’s JaMychal Green makes the most of his time on the court as Team USA beats Mexico.

36. Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins had eight points.

37. Darius Miller scores nine as USA beats Hungary.

38. Never early enough in Lexington to get a Kentucky-Vanderbilt basketball preview.

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Protecting John Brantley key to establishing passing game vs. FSU

Florida
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Florida QB John Brantley has been sacked 19 times this season, including twice against South Carolina. (AP photo)

Many problems have plagued the Florida offense this season. The Gators aren’t ranked 73rd in total offense because things are going well.

With today’s rivalry game against Florida State, though, the Gators MUST protect quarterback John Brantley. Yes, that much emphasis is needed. Here’s why:

Florida has allowed 21 sacks this year, tied for seventh in the SEC, with 19 of those on Brantley. The reasons are many, as Florida’s coaches are quick to point out. Yes, it’s the offensive line. But it’s also backs missing blocks and Brantley taking too long in the pocket.

“There’s so much involved in that, whether a guy getting open, a missed assignment, whether the offensive line or a running back who’s involved in protection, or the fullback,” coach Urban Meyer said this week. “If it was one issue, we would have corrected that issue.”

Florida has shown little signs that it has been corrected. The Gators gave up a total of three sacks in their first five games before allowing at least three in their next five. That the Gators gave up a season high four to Vanderbilt should tell you that it’s not just a problem dealing with good, blitzing defenses.

The problem for Florida against FSU is that the Seminoles are second in the country in sacks per game. They have 41 total.

Of the Gators’ three quarterbacks, this is the biggest issue for Brantley. Trey Burton runs. So does Jordan Reed, and he can throw.

Against a Florida secondary that ranks 87th in pass defense, Brantley should be able to exploit that. The Seminoles have 11 interceptions and allow 231.6 passing yards per game. The opportunity is there for Brantley to match his best passing game of the season – 248 yards vs. Kentucky – if only the Gators can keep him from getting hit.


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Gators Go Back To Work, Looking For Solutions

There was no practice, but that didn't stop Gators quarterback Jordan Reed and receiver Carl Moore from working out on their own inside The Swamp early Monday afternoon. Moore ran routes as Reed threw him passes inside the empty stadium.
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Scouting South Carolina at Florida: What to Watch for When Florida Has the Ball

South Carolina
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3. Can the Gators Run the Spread Option against the Carolina Defensive Front?

The Gators, now that they’re playing Trey Burton and Jordan Reed, have gotten back to doing what they do best–running the spread option. How will they do against us? It’s hard to say because this will be the best option attack we’ve faced so far this year, but we’ve had enough success against mobile QBs and wildcat packages to make me believe that we can slow down Florida, too.

2. The Three QB System

Due to their inability to move the ball well when John Brantley gets most of the snaps, Florida has moved to a three-QB approach, rotating Brantley, Burton, and Reed. The results, so far, have been positive for the Gators, disproving the old adage that “if you have three QBs, you have no QBs.” Steve Spurrier approves.

1. Matchup: Carolina Pass Defense vs. Florida Passing Game

One of the key’s to this game will perhaps be whether or not the Gators can take advantage of the Carolina defense’s glaring weakness, its pass defense. Florida has been more or less completely unable to consistently throw the ball downfield up until this point. What’s going to give in this game? Will the Carolina secondary finally perform well against a woeful Gators’ passing game, or will the Gators ring up some big passing yards against us, like our other opponents? The answer to that question is going to have a determining effect on this game. If we can slow down the spread option rushing attack, we can force Florida out of their comfort zone and into must-pass situations. The problem is that 3rd-and-long has been the bane of this team thus far this year. That needs to stop this weekend if we’re going to win.


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SEC Headlines – 11/8/10 Part Two

1.  Urban Meyer wants all of the Gator fans to wear blue to Saturday’s game with South Carolina.  (Maybe he should’ve leak word through Pete Thamel of The New York Times.)

2.  “Tight end” Jordan Reed enjoys being part of Florida’s quarterback rotation.

3.  Florida’s got high expectations in basketball, but Billy Donovan says, “This group hasn’t always handled expectations well.”

4.  Steve Spurrier says this weekend’s USC-UF showdown isn’t about him.  (Good luck selling that one, Coach.)

5.  Carolina will head into the week with a number of injuries.

6.  Spurrier says of the game: “Florida seems to be peaking at this time, and maybe we’re headed the other way.”

7.  Georgia — facing Auburn this weekend — would like to beat at least one ranked foe in 2010.

8.  Cam Newton and AJ Green will provide plenty of starpower.

9.  Gene Chizik says the Auburn-Georgia rivalry is “what college football is all about.”

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