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Ohio State’s Meyer Sidesteps Discipline (Again) And BCS Voters Should Take Note

gfx - honest opinionI don’t dislike Urban Meyer as a person.  I don’t know Urban Meyer.  He may be the best family man in America.  He might be a super-duper fellow when it comes to charity, as well.  In fact, I don’t doubt that he is.  He’s probably a good neighbor, too.

I don’t dislike Urban Meyer because he won at Florida.  I don’t dislike Urban Meyer because he left Florida.  I have no dog in such SEC fights.

What I do dislike about Urban Meyer is his split personality.  On one hand, he speaks of discipline, of recruiting good young men to represent his school, of holding players to high standards in order to grow them as young men.

On the other hand, he’d drive the getaway car for some of his thugs, punks and miscreants if it meant keeping them eligible.

He’s the exact opposite of everything he says he claims he stands for.

SEC fans know what kind of a program Meyer ran at Florida.  It was highly successful for a very brief period — the Tim Tebow period — and then it crashed down upon itself.  Meyer quit, then didn’t quit, then quit again to be with his family, then caught the first plane to Columbus when Ohio State’s last coach brought that program down on his head.  Irony: OSU has hired a guy who lets his kids get away with murder — just kidding, Aaron Hernandez was only questioned in a Gainesville shooting — to replace a guy who lost his job and landed the Ohio State on probation for letting his players do anything they liked.

 

George Bush's "Fool Me Once" Gaffe

 

What he said.

Depending on whose count you believe, 30+ Florida players were arrested during Meyer’s six-year arc at Florida.  The New York Times reported that 41 of the 121 players on UF’s 2008 BCS championship squad were arrested at Florida, after leaving Florida, or both.  That’s quite a collection of well-disciplined young men.

There have arrests at Ohio State, too.  Yeah, I know, who didn’t see that one coming?  After all, Hernandez stuck on the Gator squad despite getting into a bar fight at 17 and then being drawn into a shooting investigation.

Chris Rainey was arrested for texting his girlfriend, “It’s Time to Die, Bitch.”  Did Meyer, the father of two girls, dismiss him from the team?  Of course not.  Rainey later went to the NFL where he was cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers after a domestic violence arrest.

Janoris Jenkins was dismissed from Florida’s team when Will Muschamp took over.  A pair of arrests actually had consequences under UF’s current coach.  Jenkins — in a very damning remark — made it clear that such accountability wasn’t part of Meyer’s program (despite all of the coach’s talk).  “No doubt, if Coach Meyer were still coaching, I’d still be playing for the Gators,” Jenkins said.  “Coach Meyer knows what it takes to win.”

Indeed he does.  And he’s displaying that knowledge once again this week.

Meyer has decided not to suspend — surprise, surprise — two starters who were pitched from last weekend’s win over Michigan for fighting.  One of them left the field by throwing double birds at Wolverine fans.  Beats throwing punches, I guess.

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes:

 

Michigan Ohio State fight results in three ejections

 

Hope you stuck around until the end of that clip.  Apparently that kind of behavior is what “Law & Order” Meyer views as the proper way to carry one’s self while on scholarship as a representative of THE Ohio State University.  His decision not to dole out suspensions to Marcus Hall and Dontre Wilson couldn’t have anything to do with the Buckeyes playing Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game with a BCS title shot on the line could it?

Now, because Meyer did a year at ESPN, many in the media look the other way when it comes to the stone cold, undeniable fact that the wins on his resume are matched only by the number of arrests, ejections, and suspensions that have occurred at his programs.

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SEC Headlines 7/24/2013

headlines-wedSEC Football

1. South Carolina investigating reported contact between Jadeveon Clowney and the sports agency run by Jay-Z. Communication is not, in itself, a violation of NCAA rules.

2. Steve Spurrier:  “When the bowl game is over this coming season, he’s free to accept any amount of money anybody wants to give him. “

3. Ole Miss quarterback Barry Brunetti charged with  misdemeanor crime of drug paraphernalia back in May – not expected to miss any game time.

4. Ole Miss sophomore quarterback Maikhail Miller has decided to transfer.

5. Charges dropped against Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison but suspension stands “as of now” according to a statement from coach Will Muschamp.

6. Muschamp says Urban Meyer called him to apologize for Ohio State turning in the Gators to the NCAA (but he has also denied he was involved).  ”Urban has called and apologized for the situation.”

7. Florida coach calls himself “a Brady Hoke fan.”

8. Post-traumatic Saban disorder? Texas coach Mack Brown “ joins a distinguished list of sufferers that includes Urban Meyer, Tommy Tuberville and Phillip Fulmer.”

9. Auburn safety-linebacker Justin Garrett on the new approach under defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson: ”I really feel like we’re going to shock everybody with our new defense.”

10. Johnson on uptempo offenses: “I think in the early years with the speed-up offenses, the officials — especially in the SEC, because they didn’t see it very much — they weren’t as good with the consistency of the mechanics.”

11. Tennessee coach Butch Jones on turning around the Vols program.  ”Losing is a disease.”

12. “In the 21 years of divisional play, UT and ’Bama are 10-10-1 head-to-head. Perfect pairing.”

13. “Have you ever wondered just how good LSU football could be with a productive offense?” 

14. Georgia freshman quarterback Brice Ramsey may have a future – as a kicker.

15. Kentucky has signed contracts with an architectural firm and construction manager for the renovation of Commonwealth Stadium.

16. A mixed bag when it comes to the Mississippi State passing game.  Quarterback Tyler Russell is back but three wide receivers are gone.

New Targeting Rule

17. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray on the new targeting rule in college football: ”I can speak for all quarterbacks and say that I’m very happy for the new rule.”

18. Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson on the rule: ”I think you’re going to see knee injuries on offensive players and neck injuries on defensive players.”

19. Andy Staples: “The targeting rule almost certainly will affect a game with national championship implications this season.

20. Paralyzed former Rutgers player Eric LeGrand on the famous Jadeveon Clowney hit - “no way” it was illegal.

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Arrested UF Linebacker Gets The Taiwenese Animators Treatment

Last week at SEC Media Days, Will Muschamp said that coaches are “100% responsible” for the off-field behavior of their players.  Less than a week later, Gator linebacker Antonio Morrison was arrested for barking at a police dog.  Yes, for barking at a police dog.  And then for resisting arrest.

It was Morrison’s second arrest in five weeks.  In June he was arrested for battery after punching  a bouncer at a nightclub.

Muschamp has responded by handing the sophomore-to-be an indefinite suspension.  He will “miss at least two games to begin the season.”  So a projected starting linebacker will miss games against Toledo and Miami (FL).  In our view, that’s probably a stiffer penalty than Muschamp’s predecessor, Urban Meyer, would have handed down.

Well now the famed Taiwenese Animators have used their talents to create a computer-generated video of the dog-barking incident.  They also have a little — OK, a lot — of fun with Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel.

 

Florida Gators Antonio Morrison arrested for barking at police dog

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10 Random Observations & Opinions To Wrap Up SEC Media Days

gfx - honest opinionAnother SEC Media Days is behind us.  The 1,200 press credentials.  The Alabama fans swarming Nick Saban.  The delayed appearances by coaches.  All are in the history books until this time next year.

To wrap up the three-day event with a nice big bow, we at MrSEC.com thought we’d share 10 observations and opinions with you this morning.  Just a few honest takeaways from SEC Media Days.  Right or wrong.

In no particular order, here goes…

 

*  If I were a coach heading into the 2013 season I’d feel more comfortable with AJ McCarron or Aaron Murray running my offense than I would Johnny Manziel.

How can I say that about the electric Heisman-winner?  Easy.  He’s the guy I trust least to make it from August to January without some sort of off-the-field distraction popping up.  Not saying he’s not the most naturally gifted of the three quarterbacks.  Not saying he wasn’t the most exciting player last year.  But McCarron and Murray appear to be solid leaders who are focused on football.  Given a choice, I’d take — arguably — the most talented quarterback third.

 

*  McCarron was the big winner with the media in Birmingham, but the TV character Eddie Haskell kept coming to mind.

Hands down, Alabama’s quarterback “won the day” at SEC Media Days on Thursday.  He said exactly what most of us in the media said Manziel should have said the previous day.  Instead of falling back on his age as an excuse for poor decision-making — as Manziel did — McCarron stated that being 22 was no excuse to “act a fool.”  He spoke of his impoverished background.  He wouldn’t snitch on Manziel, but he did make it clear that he’s a totally different type of guy.  He pushed every button the media wanted pushed.

But I still kept having visions of Eddie Haskell from “Leave it to Beaver” come to mind.  Is a guy with this tattoo and this girlfriend really the wide-eyed innocent he purported himself to be?  Perhaps.  When photographed with Miss Alabama Katherine Webb he does give off a “How did I pull this off?” vibe.  Still, McCarron tweeted a not so subtle shot at Manziel on Wednesday night.  He was hanging out with A&M’s QB last Friday and this spring the two announced they wanted to vacation together in Key West or Cancun.

I don’t think he’s the 180 degree, polar opposite of Manziel.

 

*  Manziel makes Kevin Sumlin look weak.

To me, the actions of Manziel give the appearance that he’s his own boss.  Asked if he’d told Manziel to lay off Twitter, Sumlin grinned and said that maybe their “discussions” had produced a response from Manziel.  It was clear to most everyone who saw it that Sumlin felt he had put the kibosh on Manziel’s habit of tweeting.  When asked about his disappearance from Twitter, Manziel simply said “maybe he didn’t have anything interesting to say.”  There’s a pretty good gap between those reactions.

McCarron said all the right things yesterday.  He consistently mentioned Nick Saban as his mentor.  He was like a perfectly-trained robot fresh off Saban’s assembly line.  By comparison, one gets the feeling that Sumlin hasn’t — or can’t — completely reel in Manziel.

The Aggie quarterback even commented that he didn’t think his conversation with Sumlin regarding the Manning Passing Academy would leak.  Was that a suggestion that his coach leaked the talk… or that someone else spoke to the press about it?  And speaking of the Manning Camp, Sumlin stated that he learned of Manziel’s departure from the event by representatives of the camp, not from his own quarterback.

Sumlin’s clearly a tremendous coach and recruiter.  But everytime Manziel says or does something silly, it reflects back on A&M’s head coach.

 

*  Steve Spurrier has always loved to needle folks and his latest target is SEC commissioner Mike Slive.

For the second year in a row, Carolina’s head coach showed up at Media Days with his own “state of the union” speech.  For the second year in a row he made it clear — in a friendly way — that he and the league’s commissioner don’t see eye to eye on some of the biggest topics facing the league today.

The commissioner speaks of the NCAA finding a way to give athletes larger scholarships.  Spurrier reveals that every coach in the league voted to just pay the players themselves, if allowed.  Slive said there’s a review of the league’s scheduling process already underway.  Spurrier states quite loudly that the current set-up isn’t fair.

Whatever the commish seems to say these days, Spurrier either rebuts it or he exaggerates it.  At 68, Spurrier is obviously still the league’s biggest rebel.  You get the feeling he’s pretty much the same guy now that he must have been as a teenager in the 50s and 60s.  Perhaps he should try to buy Gene Chizik’s leather jacket.

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UF’s Muschamp Not Happy With Ohio State

muschamp angryFlorida coach Will Muschamp might not have former Gator coach and current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer on his Christmas card list this year.  According to Al.com, Muschamp referenced the fact that OSU reportedly turned in Florida for a recent NCAA infraction:

 

“We appreciate (them) making sure we comply with NCAA rules.  They certainly know about NCAA rules.”

 

USA Today provided a longer quote on the same subject: “In both situations were were turned in by Ohio.  We didn’t do anything wrong.  The University of Florida didn’t do anything wrong.  And so we appreciated our friend from Ohio making sure we’re compliant with NCAA rules.  They certainly know a little bit about that subject.”

Zing.  Ohio, huh?

Here’s a warning for Meyer and the Buckeyes: Don’t make Will Muschamp angry.  You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

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Urban Meyer On Aaron Hernandez: “Wrong And Irresponsible” To Blame Florida, Coach Or Staff

gfx - they said itThe investigation into the murder charge against Aaron Hernandez has put the spotlight back on his time at the University of Florida under former coach Urban Meyer.  The Ohio State coach addressed the situation, for the last time according to Pat Dooley, in a text he sent to the Gainesville Sun.

 

I just received an email from a friend where there is an accusation of multiple failed drug tests covered up by the Univ. of Florida or the coaching staff. This is absolutely not true. Hernandez was held to the same drug testing policy as every other player.

“He was an athlete at Florida 4-to-7 years ago and there are some comments being made that our not correct. Our staff, myself and our families worked very hard to mentor and guide him. Prayers and thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim. Relating or blaming these serious charges to Univ. of Florida, myself or our staff is wrong and irresponsible.”

 

Meyer says Hernandez was suspended for the 2008 opener against Hawaii because of a failed marijuana test but claims his former tight end didn’t fail another one.

He also addressed another Hernandez-related charge.  About the 2007 shooting incident in Gainesville in which several Florida players were questioned,  Meyer was told about it by an assistant coach. “I didn’t think about it again until a couple of days ago.”

Meyer’s wife and daughter recently took to Twitter to defend the coach with the coach’s daughter tweeting, “There’s this thing called self accountability. It exists, I swear. God Bless.”

Update: Reporter Kevin Brockway provides this perspective.

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Recruiting Earlier And Earlier, South Carolina Coach Spurrier Jr. Points To Urban Meyer’s Influence At Florida

gfx - they said itIf it seems like things changed in college football recruiting in recent years, it’s because they have.  No longer content to focus on the upcoming high school senior class, there’s increased media attention on younger and younger players to the point where it’s not uncommon to see junior high kids getting offers.  South Carolina recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier  Jr. says a seismic shift has occurred in recent years and points to Florida and former coach Urban Meyer for changing how the game is played.

 

 

“Seven, eight years ago, never in my life (did I) worry about a 10th grader. Ever. A coach would come in and (say), ‘Listen, I’ve got a 10th grader you need to see.’ No, I don’t. I’ll see him in two years. I don’t know where I’m going to be in two years, but I certainly am not going to evaluate this kid now. Now we’ve got guys (saying), ‘I’ve got a great eighth grader. You need to look at him.’ Well, let me see him. What number is he? Give me some tape, I’ll take it back and we’ll evaluate it. It’s changed and it’s pushed everybody back one, two, three years. Florida (with Urban Meyer) was one of the teams that started doing it. The word was out that people were offering people a lot earlier and that you need to do it, too. So that’s what we started doing.”

 

Spurrier Jr. explained why it’s so difficult to judge junior high talent.

 

“God, I don’t where I’m going to be in five years. I have a hard time with that, one. And two, you have a really hard time projecting what a kid will look like. What is he going to look like in five years? I saw a couple eighth graders that were 6-2, 210 pounds. Are you going to be 6-5 and 290? I don’t know what you’re going to look like in four or five years. That gets hard to project.

“More difficult than that, to me, is when I look at a 10th grader that I think is a really good player and now I need to project what they’ll look like. If he’s good enough to offer, I need to offer him. We have to guess what he’s going to look like in two years. But (with) an eighth grader, I’d hate to do that. I don’t want to guess what that kid’s going to look like, what he’s going to be, how fast he’ll be. That’s a long way away. I hope we don’t start offering eighth graders. I hope it doesn’t go that far. I think we’ve offered three ninth graders now (rising sophomores). That’s kind of risky, too.”

 

The Gamecocks currently have five commitments in the class of 2014 and three for the class of 2015.

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OG Dunker Transferring From Florida After Legal Woes

jessamen-dunker-florida-scooter-stolenThe brief career of former hotshot prospect Jessamen Dunker has come to an end at Florida.  The offensive guard had been suspended from the Gator squad since his arrest in January for riding a stolen motorscooter on the UF campus.

Will Muschamp announced the transfer last evening:

 

“I met with Jessamen Dunker, matter of fact about an hour before I came in here.  He’s decided to transfer.  He and I just felt like he needed a fresh start.  He felt like he needed a fresh start, and I didn’t disagree with him.  Didn’t really get into where.  We’re going to continue to work through that.  It’s his job to finish up strong academically here at Florida…

Guys get in a situation and obviously he’s got some pretty well-documented off-the-field issues, and we talked about it and he felt like he needed a fresh start and I support him.”

 

Here’s hoping the redshirt freshman can work through the legal case that’s still open against him.  Perhaps this decision was more Dunker’s than Muschamp’s, but it’s certainly fair to wonder if Dunker might still be on the Gator team if Urban Meyer were still practicing his brand of “discipline” in Gainesville.

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SEC Headlines 2/10/2013

headlines-sun1. Did you know?  Cam Cameron – the man thought to be LSU’s next offensive coordinator - was a groomsman at Les Miles’ wedding back in 1993.

2. Are Nick Saban and Urban Meyer on a collision course? “10 of Ohio State’s 24 signees came from SEC states. Meyer knows how and where to go after players that can win national titles.”

3. Only four returning receivers caught passes last season at Kentucky.  That leaves plenty of room for the incoming crop to make its mark early.

4. Behind the scenes with Tennessee coach Butch Jones and his statewide tour this week.

5. John Adams on the challenges Jones faces: “In a conference famous for defensive speed, Tennessee once was a frontrunner. It now has one of the slowest defenses in the SEC.”

6. Other big challenge at UT - donations to the athletic department fell by more than 25 percent in 2012.

7. Brice Ramsey joins a very crowded quarterback group at Georgia.  Starter Aaron Murray returns along with three backups who don’t have redshirts to burn.

8. The most talented group of new players at Auburn is along the defensive line.

9. When Auburn begins spring practice, a position to watch will be linebackers.

10. One of the Ole Miss signeees expected to see playing time fall?  Defensive tackle Herbert Moore, who proved to be one of the Rebels best recruiters in the Memphis area.

11. New receivers coach Pat Washington brings plenty of SEC experience to the Missouri coaching staff.

SEC Basketball

12. Tennessee has faced the five leading scores in the SEC its last five games.  Each of them met or exceeded their scoring average.

13. Should others in addition to Reginald Buckner been ejected from the Ole Miss-Missouri game? Has Missouri’s Alex Oriakhi replaced Marshall Henderson as the new instigator in the SEC?

14. What’s next for Ole Miss?

15. The good news for Missouri – they’re 6-0 in the SEC at home.  Bad news for the Tigers – four of the next five are on the road.  The one home game is against Florida.

16. Recovering from a high ankle sprain, Florida forward Casey Prather came off the bench Saturday to give the Gators 12 points and five rebounds. Florida at home against Kentucky Tuesday night.

17. First place in the SEC will be on the line when the Gators and Cats meet in Gainesville.

18. “There seems to be a perception that this Alabama team is underachieving…The truth is, this team is overachieving.”

19. John Calipari on Tony Barbee:  ”Tony is not a good coach, he’s a great coach.”

20. Georgia’s five-game winning streak in SEC play is the first time that’s happened to the Bulldogs since 2001.

21. Mark Bradley: “The Bulldogs won a game here Saturday in which they managed 12 baskets in 40 minutes. (That’s one hoop every 200 seconds.)”

Extras

22. Saturday’s craziest game – Notre Dame beats Louisville in five overtimes.

23. Paterno family responds to Freeh Report on Penn State – call it “total failure.”

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S Bell Picks Ohio State Over Tide, Vols

mrsec-breaking-newsFive-star safety Von Bell of Rossville, Georgia has decided to play his college football at Ohio State.  New Tennessee coach Butch Jones worked hard to flip the Chattanooga-area resident who had always been an Buckeye lean.  In the end, Jones couldn’t and that’s a hit for Tennessee.  (Ironically, ESPNU asked Derek Dooley about Bell after the young man’s announcement, but Bell’s high school coach has made it clear his star had not gotten a ton of attention from Dooley and his aides.)

Alabama also made a push to land Bell, but the Crimson Tide can afford a disappointment more easily than the Volunteers can.

Meanwhile Urban Meyer is putting together what could be the nation’s #1 class and he’s successfully coming back to the South to help do it.

Like Carl Lawson earlier, Bell handled himself well and surely won many people over with his demeanor.

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