Written by Brett Holloway | 21 July 2010

mullenblWell guys, SEC Media Day is over...at least as far as everyone who blogs here is concerned. We heard from Meyer, Saban, and Mullen, so what else more could we want?

Here's some topics and what was said concerning those topics, by Dan Mullen...

On Relf: I think really after the last game of the season, Chris has been a completely different person. He’s ready to attack his future (BL). He’s worked a lot on his fundamentals in throwing the football. Really worked hard at doing that. He also worked hard at the approach of coming in and trying to spend extra time, come talk to the coaches, sit in on meetings, watch extra film, studying the game (KV). I can tell you this, I couldn’t tell you one time this off-season where I had to look at Chris Relf and say, You need to pick it up. He was the one that was winning a lot of the sprints. He’s the one that’s pushing for extra reps and everything that he did. He’s getting that demeanor that he has to be better than the other guys on the team if he’s going to be a leader (KV).

On the QB situation: With the job being wide open, there’s so many practices. They’re two young guys that are still developing. There’s a lot of developmental time between now and when we play our first game. During that time, we need to see if somebody separates themselves from the other three. We talked about two, Dylan Favre coming in, as a guy, led his team to a state championship last year, won the state championship for his team, is a great competitor, a great winner...Say Chris is our starter. If Chris goes down, Tyler Russell better be ready to play. It’s my job to make sure he has the experience and ability to go out and play quarterback for our team and make sure that he’s there for us to win games. He can’t always do that standing on the sidelines (KV). 

On new D-Cordinators Diaz & Wilson: The style they bring, very, very high-energy coaches, very intelligent coaches out there on the field. I was really pleased with their demeanor on the field. That’s the one thing you don’t always get to see in a job interview, is what the demeanor of a coach is going to be on the field. What type of teacher, what is their interaction with the players going to be. Very pleased with the things they’ve done with that. More than that, what I really like is their ability. They’re not afraid to think outside the box. They’re not afraid to try something new or something different. You know, a lot of times that leads to causing issues for offenses, very much like — like offensively, I don’t think we’re afraid to think outside the box. We’re going to be willing to try different things and be innovative if we can be on offense. Manny and Chris take that same approach to defensive football, they’re not afraid to be innovative (KV).

On going into his 2nd season, knowing what to expect: Obviously in year two, we know our players a lot better. Our players know us, our coaches, our system, our routine a lot better. You are way further ahead. This time last year, I never had the opportunity to see any of our guys play live in a football game, how their reactions are going to be when the lights come on on Saturday, how you’re going to perform. Now we know how those guys are going to be.

On the Def. Secondary: The great thing is some of those guys have played. The fact they’ve been in games now, when we bring in new guys, it adds depth to our secondary. We have a lot more depth there than we did last year at that position. We have more depth there and we have more experience there than we had this time last year, and we’re still really young. So that’s good for the future for us. But, you know, those guys, we are excited. Charles Mitchell is here with us as the leader of that whole secondary. You give me 11 Charles Mitchells on defense, we’re going to have the number one defense in the country (KV).

Saban says that the spread is effective, but that it doesn't prepare player and QB's for the NFL, Mullen says: I’m not going to knock him. I don’t know his personal record. I’ve coached the spread offense and I have a lot of more first-round quarterbacks drafted than he has in his career as a head coach. Develop them for the NFL, I don’t know. In the last six years, I’ve had two of mine get drafted in the first round- BOOM, ROASTED!!!- (That's me, not Mullen).

On the school known as TSUN (Ole Miss) and the rivalry: They’re located north of us. Just adds to our rivalry a little bit, to our kids, to make sure they understand the importance of that game. It means an awful lot to the people in the state of Mississippi. I can promise you this. I have got a lot of thanks from people in the state of Mississippi for winning that football game last year, the pride they get to carry with themselves for the next 12 months (KV).

On Dylan Favre: This is Dylan Favre demeanor. We play LSU. We lose a very close game. I pick up my phone. There’s a text message on my phone from Dylan Favre. "If I was your quarterback, I would have scored on that play." He has that swagger, that ‘it’ factor that you want in a quarterback. He carries his team to a state championship game and dominates the game on both sides of the ball. Then I get a call, he’s over in an All-Star Game. He completes his first 15 passes of a game, which is hard to do with receivers you don’t know. He just has that ‘it’ factor that he wins. Whatever he’s going to do, he wins. That’s what you’re looking for in a quarterback and that’s what we’re excited to have on our team (KV).- BTW, Tyson Lee...BOOM Roasted!

On what Dixon's absence means: When you lose an Anthony Dixon, you’re not going to replace a player like that. We’re not trying to replace him with one player saying, You’re filling his shoes. He has so many school records. That’s a bad approach to take.We’re taking our team, you build around the strengths. Players that we have on this year’s team that will create this year’s identity (KV).

And here are some comments by UF's Urban Meyer about Mullen: He was with me for 10 years or so.  Dan is one of the most intelligent people — not coaches — just intelligent people I’ve been around.  And if you ask maybe some people will look at that as outspoken, I think he just gives very direct answers and extremely well thought out answers...I think sometimes he comes across that way, but he’s just a very intelligent person and when you ask a question he’s going to answer you. I love Dan Mullen. He’s a great coach, I pull for him every Saturday except one this fall.

Your thoughts on any of this?

I know one thing I have a problem with, and that's Nick Saban. Saban has a history of pointing fingers, and dodging bullets aimed at himself or his program. The fact is, college players are drilled constantly about matters such as premature dealings with sports agents. They have seminars and compliance talks that cover these exact situations. The fact is, this one doesn't come down to dirty or under the table agents, it comes down to college kids, who get on a plane, fly down to South Beach, and party with 30-40 of the other top players in college football, at an agent's house. Simple. No doubt about it. If this kid is in college, and past his Sophomore year, he has the ability to make intelligent decisions, and this was not one. Instead, Saban blames it on the agents, who are at fault, but it takes two to tango- as it always does. So, what does Saban call these evil agents? Pimps. "The agents that do this -- and I hate to say this, but how are they any better than a pimp? I have no respect for people who do that to young people. None. How would you feel if they did it to your child?"- The fact is Nick, no one made the kid go. Marcell Dareus made the decision, and he has to live with it. And that goes for anyone at UGA, UF, UNC, South Carolina, or any future MSU player. Unacceptable! These kids are not victims. Allegations I know, yada yada yada, but allegations always arise out of 'something'. See the MSU/Pony story. pimp-gobleet

SEC News

Maurkice Pouncey continues to deny the allegations aganist him. Here's his side. Link

Slive takes a lil jab at Kiffin, I mean who hasn't, and who can blame him? Link

Chris Low ranks MSU #12 amongst SEC schools at the RB position. I disagree. I mean MSU returns Elliot, the top JUCO RB in Ballard, and one of ESPN's Top 150- Montrell Connor. We'll see Chris. Link

Vandy hires Robbie Caldwell. Link

Orlando Sentinal calls Bama the Biggest Cheaters. Link

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Written by Brett Holloway | 18 July 2010

cameron-newtonWell, today we continue our 2010 SEC Preview, with the Auburn Tigers. Gene Chizik's first year is in the books, and the naysayers like myself quickly admitted that their 2009 forecast was way off the mark. The Tigers roared out to a 5-0 start, the fan base was reassured that they had made the right hire, and the Tigers put up offensive numbers like never before. All seemed perfect until the meat of the SEC schedule rolled around, and Auburn would only find 3 more wins the rest of the way, finishing 8-5 overall and 3-5 in conference. Much of the problem last year, rested almost soley on the defense's shoulders. The Tiger offense however, doubled their 2008-09 total points scored, and had 29 scoring drives that lasted 2 minutes or less. How will the defense respond in 2010? And can the Auburn offense continue to find the endzone as consitently as they did in 2009? We'll talk about that in a sec, here's the position breakdown...

At QB: If you are an MSU fan, you don't have to look at the Auburn roster to find out who the Tiger QB will be. Cam Newton was sold on MSU for the entire recruiting season, until his father intervened, who felt Auburn was the better fit. If you don't believe me, below is a pic of Cam at the Egg Bowl in November. Anyway, Newton enrolled during the 2010 spring session, and made his first official Auburn appearance in the A-Game. Though he is facing some decent competition at the position from Sr Neil Caudle and So Barrent Trotter, I'm pretty sure Newton will be the QB that State has to worry about on Sept. 9. Newton, was the top JUCO recruit in the country, and brings with him a strong and accurate arm, along with the speed and strength needed to be a true 'spread' QB.

At RB: One name has been in the Auburn line up for 5 years now, and that's Mario Fannin. Fannin is a versatile back, who sometimes doubles as a wideout. Last season, he caught 42 passes for 413 yds and 3 TDs. Fannin has been a quality back up during his tenure on the Plains, but has yet to steal the show. Now is Fannin's best chance, considering talents such as Ben Tate are out of his way. If Fannin is unable to deliver, then there's no doubt that Mr. Arkansas, Michael Dyer, has the talent. Listed as one of the top 5 backs that 2010 had to offer, Dyer is a machine, and game-ready as a Freshman. But, Auburn fans can't overlook the contributions they got from Onterio McCalebb last year as well. The Freshman, now Sophomore, ran for 565 and 4 TDs.

At WR: Last year, many didn't know what to expect from the core, but now Chizik and Malzahn are well aware of the group's strengths. Auby returns Darvin Adams and Terrell Zachery, who brought in a combined 1,500 yds  receiving and 15 TDs. The Tigers have two other budding, young play makers in DeAngelo Benton and Emory Blake. Throw in these studs and occasional RB as a possible target, and Auby appears ready to trouble defenses once again in 2010.

On the OL: After a strong showing in 2009, the 2010 OL has even more to brag about, and that's depth. Four of the starting five linemen are Sr's, including Lee Ziemba, who is one of the best linemen in the country. Byron Isom, Ryan Pugh, and Mike Berry round out the rest, with Jr Brandon Mosley. This could be the league's best line in 2010, but 2011 calls for Auburn to restock possibly the most important group on the football field.

On the DL: Gone is DE Antonio Coleman, but the position has promise. The Tigers return Antione Carter and Mike Goggans. Carter is expected to take his play to the next level, and fill the void of Coleman's absence. So. Dee Ford and R-Fr Nosa Eguae will serve as valuable back ups, while Mike Blanc and Nick Farley will man the middle. All these guys come in at 6-3 + and weigh in at 240 +.

At LB: Auburn returns all three LBs from last year, in Craig Stevens (95 tkls), Josh Bynes (team-leading 104 tkls), and Darren Bates. Fr Jessel Curry is ahead of the game after enrolling early, and is sure to earn some major playing time. And, there is also experienced Jr Eltoro Freeman. Darren Bates will provided a little more freedom to roam the secondary on certain play calls, almost acting as a yet another safety. One things for sure, this bunch will have to QB the defense to victory, considering the experience that lies with the position, as compared to other positions on D.

At DB: Gone is play maker Walter McFadden, who lead the team with 6 picks, and the rest is 'up in the air'. Auburn's secondary will be filled with question marks, as three quality DBs fight their way back from injuries. Those three are Zac Etheridge, Mike McNeil, and Aairon Savage. Savage is apparently ready for 2010 and back to game speed, but many wonder if Zac and Mike will ever be what they were at one time. Etheridge, if my memory serves me right, was the player injured last year vs Ole Miss, who laid motionless ontop of an UM wideout for many minutes, and is awaiting medical clearance to play again. If all else fails, Auby still has there second leading INT man (lead returner) in T'Sharvan Bell, who came away with 3 takeaways in '09. All in all, Auby returns 8 starters, who are now in their 2nd year of a new system.

Special Teams: Wes Byrum returns, after a one miss 2009 (15-16), but P Clint Durst is gone. Competing for the punting duties will be Sr Ryan Shoemaker, and Fr Steven Clark. Clark, should win the job, coming in as the #4 kicker in the country, while Shoemaker has lost the job the last 2 years to Durst, a former walk on. At returner, Fannin, McCalebb, and many WRs are candidates in the return game.

Schedule: Ark State, @ MSU, Clem, USC, UL Monroe, @ UK, Ark, LSU, @ UM, Chattanooga, UGA, and @ Bama

My Thoughts: One things for sure, when you go against Gus Malzahn, your chances of winning seem to dwindle. But, if Auburn's D plays like they did last year, you might win in a shootout. Returning 8 starters on D is a questionable thing. Last year, Arkansas returned all 12 of their 2008 SEC worst on defense, for the same result in 2009...the worst once again. It makes me wonder if this 8 will provide the same results for Auby this time around, or will the experience play a major factor in making them better? Will the schedule aid Auby's chances this year, considering that the Iron Bowl is the only MAJOR game they'll face away from the Plains? Hmmmm....

My Prediction: 11-1 or 10-2. That's right, I've been saying this the whole time, and now it's on the table. Your 2010 SEC West Champs. Even though the secondary is beat up, none of the SEC opponents that Auby will face are major gun-slinging teams, with the exception of Arkansas, who is predicted to run more this year. I see a possible slip up in Starkville in the 2nd game, and I'm leaving room for another bone-headed loss. The tie-breaker will be the Iron Bowl, which sends Auburn and not rival Alabama, to Atlanta. Last year Auby missed their chances to disrupt Bama's Nat'l Championship plans, but Bama fails this time from keeping Auby out of Hotlanta. I see Cam Newton reaping in the praise of SEC writers. Maybe a SEC Newcomer of the Year award. Fannin, Dyer, and McCalebb are a strong stable of backs, along with a great bunch of WRs, and I see the D doing just enough to win a close one or two for the Tigers. Call me crazy, but at least say I have onions.

Your thoughts on Auburn? Predictions?newton

Kyle Veazy has completed his list of the top 20 people responsible for MSU's success on the football field in 2010...#1 is Chris Relf. Agree? Disagree? I do, completely.

Here's a Starkville Daily story on Zach Smith's return from an emotional injury he suffered at the hands of my wife...oops, I mean a serious injury that almost ended his playing career at MSU. For the record, she said "You're TERRIBLE!"...my wife (shaking head in disbelief).

Ole Miss' Rodney Scott arrested. "Ya down wit O.P.P.!"

Mississippi schools not expected to represent on the field in 2010. I'm actually picking USM to win the C-USA?

I'll be traveling today guys, so won't be around til late tonight, yall enjoy!

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Written by Brett Holloway | 15 July 2010

danmLot's of MSU stuff, here's the run down...

Davis Wade expansion plans are in the making. New MSU AD Scott Stricklin made his way to Kansas City last week, in order to talk about future additions with Populous, an architecture firm. Kyle Veazy from the Clarion Ledger gathered these comments from Stricklin: "Our meeting in Kansas City was more brainstorming and ideas and concepts...At the end of the day, we want to have a long-range view of what our stadium is going to look like and the steps we are going to take to get there...We're not far enough along in the process to have any of those answers... How many seats and when? A lot of that's going to be determined by what our demand is like in the next couple of years."  Stricklin hopes to have a clear idea in place by the end of the 2010-2011 season.

Veazy also chatted with Dan Mullen on his expectations for this year's football team: "I don’t know if it’s more...Our expectations never change. We’re in this to find a way to win the SEC West and get to Atlanta. That’s what you can control. You can’t control anything else. That’s going to be our goal — (those were) our expectations for last season and really, that’s our expectation for this season and will be 10 years from now when I’m the coach here."

In regard to that last comment, Brad Locke from the Daily Journal, asked Mullen about his future with MSU, and whether or not the coach might possibly leave in the future. Here's a look at what Mullen had to say: "There’s probably just as much fear that they’re going to get rid of me here in a couple of years. As you look at things as a coach, it’s a profession that has not great job security, I guess, very little job security. There’s a lot of short-lived careers. That’s really nice, but where are you going to go? I mean, we’re in the Southeastern Conference. There’s no higher level of college football out there in the nation. There’s really not many places to go from here.” What about the UF job? "I’ve been there before. We really like it here. In a lot of life, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. … I guess wherever you live in the country, there’s always positives and negatives about a lot of great things. We have so many positives going on right here, right now. You don’t really think about other things. There’s things that we have to overcome here, and there are things that are fabulous here. What you’ve got to do is try to overcome those obstacles and really enjoy what is great about Mississippi State University.” On the impact of fans: "The fans are the ones that really have changed for us. When you come up to Starkville on a Saturday and it’s an event. What they’re starting to see if everybody comes to the games, cheers for the team – good things are going to happen.”

My Thoughts: I myself was worried quite a bit when Meyer temporarily resigned at UF. Many analysts had Mullen picked out as the replacement, and I think we were very close to losing Dan the Man. ESPN called him on live TV, and put him on the spot that night, and the Maroon Nation sweated for a day. Of course, Mullen and Meyer stayed put and we are all happy. Anyway, besides UF, I can't imagine Mullen leaving MSU for the foreseeable future. Now, before I'm called a homer or delusional, let me make my point. #1 Coaches are prideful. What do I mean by that? Well, if a coach like Mullen comes to a school like State, and revives the fanbase, takes that school to bowl games, consistently fills the stadium til the need of expansion...then a little bit of pride kicks in. The coach looks around the stadium, imagines what it would still look like if he didn't step foot on campus. He sees the banners, the bowl trophies adorn his office, and that revived fanbase still as pleased as they were on day one...hard to walk away from something you built. #2 A point that I have made before on my blogs, is what Mullen said himself, "where are you going to go? I mean, we’re in the Southeastern Conference. There’s no higher level of college football out there in the nation. There’s really not many places to go from here." If Mullen does accomplish the hypothetical scenario that I mentioned at MSU, and schools come knocking on his door, I don't see him leaving the SEC. Better yet, accomplishing those things at MSU might even raise the school to a level, where Mullen wouldn't even leave for a traditional SEC Powerhouse.

Your Thoughts? Will Mullen be at MSU in 10 years?

BL also asks whether or not WR Chad Bumphis should see some time at QB? Wild Dog anyone? Link- BL has been on a roll the past 2 days, not bad.

David Climer puts Mullen at #3 amongst the SEC's top ranked coaches. Link

USA Today takes notice of Mullen. Link

As yall know by now, Phil Turner is going to Delta State, to play point guard. What a waste! I wish Turner would have taken care of his business...one of the great MSU hustlers of all time. Played with tons of heart and passion. We wish you the best Phil, just wish you were with us more.

How did I miss Vandy's head coach retiring? Goodbye, and a tip of the hat to classy Bobby Johnson. As Cleveland mentions, it's amazign that a Vandy football coach left on their own terms. The guy turned the Dores into a competitive bunch, got them to their first bowl game since '74 (I think), earned them their first ESPN Game Day visit, and hey, gave Ole Miss all the wanted EVERY year. I know at one point, he would not even let his players cuss, which is impressive. What's this mean for Vandy? Will they build on Johnson's legacy? Or will they tank? Link 

UT Police reports released concerning the bar brawl. Bad boys, bad boys...Link

Apparently Demarcus Cuz Cousins is showing out for Sacramento in his summer league scrimmages. Link

Jake at the Ole Miss Blog, says Ole Miss should be 3-0, after a win over Vandy. Link

Last but not least, talk a little bit...I know it's Friday, but it's ok...just punch the keys. I'm going to see INCEPTION tonight!  



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Written by Brett Holloway | 14 July 2010

ryanmallettIf you keep up with college football, then you know what the analysts are saying about the 2010 Arkansas Razorbacks. After an 8 win season in 2009, capped off by a Liberty Bowl victory over ECU, hopes are at a new high in Fayetteville. Bobby Petrino, now in his 3rd season at Arkansas, has created excitement easily comparable to the type of hype that Houston Nutt was able to manufacture during his tenure with the Hogs. But, with all the positivity that's being passed around, many wonder if these 2010 expectations might possibly resemble the same lofty 'pressure' that was placed on the 2009 Ole Miss Rebels. With a clear king on the throne of the SEC West over the past 2 seasons, many are thinking that Arkansas will give Bama a run for first. With that said, let's look at Arkansas 2010 team.

At QB:Without a doubt, the key to Arky's success is quality play from Ryan Mallet. The Michigan transfer racked up 3,624 yds, 30 TD's (both school records), and 7 INT's. Mallet's 2009 performance also is now in the SEC record books, marking the 3rd highest passing efficiency rating in the conference's history (152.2). The 6-7 QB missed the entire spring, recovering from surgery on a broken bone in his foot. If there is a positive side to Mallet's absence, it's the fact that all 4 backups received plenty of reps. A few even came out of the spring well complemented, including Tyler Wilson and even Petrino's son, Nick.

At RB:Gone is Michael Smith, but Petrino is happy with any of his 4 options in 2010. It appears that Ronnie Wingo and Knile Davis will be Arky's 1-2 punch, but Broderick Green and Dennis Johnson will probably see playing time as well. Wingo is much bigger than Smith was, but has the same amount of speed and big play ability. Green is the returning yardage leader, with 442 yds and 11 TD's. Johnson brings a different style to the table as more of the hard-nose runner. And as you might remember, was the only other RB besides Heisman winner Mark Ingram, to run for 100 yds vs UF last year. Rumor around Fayetteville, is that Petrino is looking to run the football a lot more in 2010.

At WR: Not many teams can brag about returning their top 4 receivers. Greg Childs, Jarius Wright, DJ Williams, and Joe Adams will be familiar targets for Mallet, and good ones at that. If you were wondering what kind of damage these guys can do, here's a glance: Childs- 898 yds, 7 TD; Wright- 681 yds, 5 TD; Williams- 411 yds, 3 TD; and Adams- 568 yds, 7 TD. Keep in mind that Williams is arguably the best tight end in the SEC, and also serves as a valuable blocker. To add to the fire, Cobi Hamilton is being regarded as a future play maker.

On the OL: The Hogs return 4 starters, in Ray Dominguez, Seth Oxner, DeMarcus Love, and Wade Grayson. Also, the coaches like Alvin Bailey and Grant Cook. Experience and chemistry in the trenches, is important in the SEC. 

On the DL: Gone are Malcom Sheppard and Adrian Davis, which were critical in keeping the SEC's worst defense's head above the water, over the last seasons. But, the Hog Staff is quite confident in the depth that returns for the 2010 season. Ends Jake Bequette (sacks leader) and Zach Stadther, and a host of interior linemen such as DD Jones, Lavunce Askew, Patrick Jones, and newcomer Bryan Jones should hold their own. There are even more quality reserves for Arkansas at the position, in Caleb Evans and Tenarius Wright.

At LB: Leading tackler and INT leader Jerry Franklin returns (94 tkl; 3 INT), along with other outside LB Freddy Burton. Many are wondering how Franklin will respond during summer camp, after a spring in which he failed to meet some expectations of the coaching staff. Bret Harris will give Franklin and Burton some rest as a quality sub. The middle is currently up for grabs between Jermaine Love, Austin Moss, and Terrell Williams.

At DB: The past 2 seasons have been nothing to brag about for the Hogs, especially in the defensive categories. In order to pull Arky up from the bottom of the barrel, the Hogs hope that someone will step up at the Safety position. Tramain Thomas and Anthony Leon seem to have missed their opportunity to start, but Rudell Crim appears to have locked up the strong side position. An experienced, and now healthy Elton Ford will pitch in at the center field position, as will Thomas and Leon. At corner, Sophomores David Gordon and Darius Winston are the probable starters, and will be backed by Ramon Broadway, Andru Stewart, and Isaac Madison. All in all, questions and youth fill this Arky secondary.

Specialist Duties: If you have won a close game over Arkansas during the past 3 seasons, you can probably thank K Alex Tejada. After a strong Freshmen season, the kicker has struggled with mid-range field goal duties, not to mention the occasional extra point miss. Many think Tejada will lose the job to one of the new Hog newcomers, that being either Zack Hocker or Eduardo Camara. There has been word that Tejada may not even have a scholarship, when summer ball rolls around. The Hocker kid, could take over punting, if Dylan Breeding does not show improvement. As far as the kick return duties, Dennis Johnson has done a decent job thus far, and some WRs (Hamilton and Wright) are also expected to help out. 

2010 Schedule: Tenn Tech, UL Monroe, @ UGA, Bama, aTm (in Arlington), @ Auby, Ole Miss, Vandy, @ USC, UTEP, @ MSU, and LSU

My Thoughts: There is no doubt that Ryan Mallet is one of the best QBs in the country, and probably the #1 NFL prospect at the position. There is no doubt that they have multiple play makers at WR and at RB. But, I just can't see them winning big games, and they are ALL big, when you have the expectations that Arky has on their shoulders this year. Mallet has shown the ability to get rattled after the defense gets a lick in, and I think that Petrino's focus on running the football more, may make Mallet feel that he needs to do MORE when the ball is in his hands. And, I don't see how the SEC's #10 Rush Offense, will all of a sudden become a game-changing force. All that, mixed in with the fact that Arky still has major questions on Special Teams, not to mention that youngsters are filling many of the positions on D, spells trouble for the Hogs.

My Predictions: I have to say 9-3 or 8-4. There are some easy wins on the schedule, but I losses to Bama, Auby, and @ USC, with MSU and UGA as toss ups. I may be way off, but I just can't see Arkansas competing with Bama for the West title. And Petrino better watch out with all these preseason expectations, it could be the beginning of the end- a few years away, if the appetites are not satisfied in Fayetteville. Nutt got fired for actually accomplishing more.

Your thoughts on Arkansas' 2010 season? Worth the hype?

In MSU news: Brad Locke asked if LSU transfer, and former MSU commit, Chris Garrett could help out at MSU eventually? Your thoughts?

David Brandt talks about Dan Mullen, on the CL- Ole Miss Blog.

Jarvis Varnado has his 2nd game with the Heat. Better stats this time.

Here's a look at the SEC's toughest Non-conference schedules.

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Written by Brett Holloway | 13 July 2010

daneggWe were gonna talk about the Arkansas Razorbacks' upcoming football season, but I decided that we must talk about another matter first. As you might already know, Chris Low's SEC Blog was taken over temporarily yesterday, in order that Mark Schlabach could post his thoughts on the Egg Bowl rivalry. If you missed the read, here's the link. That article was not my problem, but rather some comments made by The Ole Miss Blog concerning the article's contents, and some other items of expression. Read those comments below, and I'll give my arguments:

"First of all, it's apparent to me that Schlabach was assigned an Ole Miss-Mississippi State piece and he didn't feel like doing any real work. This "School up North" bit has been done about 500 times now. How about a piece on Nathan Stanley or the quarterback competition in Starkville? Secondly, as I've written before, the intensity in this rivalry game is pretty one-sided. Yes, Mississippi State wants to beat Ole Miss so bad that it feels compelled to flash the score at its spring game and use the score as a security code and make up cute little names for the Rebels, but in the end, trying to beat Ole Miss is all the Bulldogs ever have to hold onto. Once Mississippi State figures how to beat an SEC team other than Kentucky or perhaps get to a second-tier bowl game, maybe they'll realize there's more to life than the Egg Bowl. That said, I will hand it to the Bullies - they whipped Ole Miss last year. And yes, the loss did affect which January bowl game the Rebels went to. But after watching LSU tangle with Penn State on that embarrassing patch of green mud the Capital One Bowl called a field, I'd say playing the Cotton Bowl's first ever game in the new Cowboys Stadium worked out pretty well for Ole Miss. But seriously, the "School Up North" story, while entertaining, is old. When ESPN finally dedicates some web space to Ole Miss or State, something new would be refreshing."- The Ole Miss Blog

Where do I agree with the OMB? There hasn't been any quality pieces written about UM or MSU, since the Egg Bowl. There are way too many articles that cover the same ol' crap over and over again. The countdown scoreboard in the MSU locker room, the TSUN nickname, and Nutt & Mullen's jabs at each other. Besides those items, there have been no thought-provoking or original writings about either schools' future, or what to expect just yet. The fact that both teams are looking to fill major positions on the field this fall, as Jake mentioned, is worthy of a write up and debate. So I agree there, Low and others need to let the dust settle on the earlier mentioned topics until Nov. 27.

Where I disagree? Man oh man. First off, I'm going to defend my school. Especially from these comments: "the intensity in this rivalry game is pretty one-sided. Yes, Mississippi State wants to beat Ole Miss so bad that it feels compelled to flash the score at its spring game and use the score as a security code and make up cute little names for the Rebels, but in the end, trying to beat Ole Miss is all the Bulldogs ever have to hold onto. Once Mississippi State figures how to beat an SEC team other than Kentucky or perhaps get to a second-tier bowl game, maybe they'll realize there's more to life than the Egg Bowl."  (1) It must be a new fad that Ole Miss fans seem to think that only State fans care about the Egg Bowl, which is a complete JOKE. Now, I'm not saying Ole Miss doesn't have other rivals, I mean we both get up for Bama. And I'm no idiot, I know about Ole Miss and LSU's bloody past. It's just funny to me that when Ole Miss wins the Egg Bowl, a thousand hotty toddys are shouted, the bragging rights are in place for 365 days, and that used to be all we heard through an entire year of horrible baseball and basketball from the Rebels. The Rebs have improved greatly in those areas, so major props there (State has fallen off in baseball, for now). Anyway, if State wins the Egg Bowl, every Ole Miss fan drops their head leaving the stadium, and all of a sudden it's as if the game never happened, and the rivalry only mattered to the winner...which is the one left holding the Golden Egg. Pretty sure the game mattered to Ole Miss win they trounced State 45-0 in Oxford. A game that was over after the 1st quarter, but everyone stayed around for the Egg, because they knew the trophy would be carried around the entire stadium, and possibly past their section. Pretty sure it also mattered to a WINLESS (in the SEC) Rebel squad, who had completely spoiled MSU's bowl chances in 2007...up until the final 8 minutes that is (17-14). And Ole Miss fans are quite aware that it mattered this past year. As much as it hurt Ole Miss' quality of bowl, it greatly lifted the spirits of MSU, and provided some momentum for the upcoming season. Are we really gonna ignore a rivalry that divides the State, that in some cases is the deciding choice for a star recruit, and that surpasses a century? I just want to ask all Reb fans, that if the LSU match up is so important, why is it that it took decade, after decade, after decade, to name the rivalry or even come up with a trophy (finally in 2008)? And finally on the LSU subject, if your response is that you hold such a high win margin over MSU, and therefore you are just bored with us...check out your overall record vs LSU...pretty identical, and maybe LSU feels the same about you. I know one thing, I see Mullen evening those scales during his time in Starkville, in a manner that will be unable to be ignored in Oxford.

(2) "Once Mississippi State figures how to beat an SEC team other than Kentucky or perhaps get to a second-tier bowl game, maybe they'll realize there's more to life than the Egg Bowl." Hmmm...so if MSU was focused on beating other SEC teams rather than Ole Miss, then we might have Ole Miss' awesome SEC Win/Loss record over the past 5 years, and make a better bowl. Let's examine recent history, say the last 5 years...Do you know what Ole Miss' Win/Loss record is during that span...buckle up State fans, hide underneath your beds...a whopping 15-33. State is 13-35. And as far as worrying about OTHER conference foes, Ole Miss has only beaten 2 teams that State has not, LSU and UT, and State has beaten Bama (twice), which Ole Miss has not. Otherwise, Ole Miss and State have defeated the EXACT same teams...yes, Kentucky included. Sometimes Rebel fans just forget that they are just like everyone else...which means their poop stinks too. Don't get overly excited about recent success, and don't even get me started on the weakness of OM's out of conference schedule over the last 2 seasons.

The fact is, I'm a Bulldog through and through, but I'm REALISTIC. My loyalties and emotions will not change the way I tell the story, or deliver the facts. The fact that Dan Mullen is implementing the same tools that he and Urban Meyer used at Florida in order to build a championship team, and not to mention dominate rival FSU, is fine with me. MSU plays every season for the same reason OM does, and that's to win the SEC West, and hopefully the SEC. Neither team truly focuses on the other for the entire season, that's insane. Now, keeping that date circled on the calendar, as EVERY other rival school around the country does- is completely normal. It's a STATE battle. But anyway, amongst fans let the clock on the countdown scoreboard tick, let the rival chatter continue, and call em' TSUN until they beat Mullen. Afterall, we have to come up with something to call Ole Miss, because they can't even name themselves...Blues Muscicians, Black Bears, the Cardinals, etc. All joking aside, this a great rivalry, one to be proud of, and one that is not one-sided. And let's not assuage the importance and passion of the rivalry, just because one side lost.

And may Schlabach and Low lose their jobs to us...

We'll talk Arkansas tomorrow...Your opinion on this?


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Written by Brett Holloway | 08 July 2010

lebronIt's FRIDAY, and that usually means low site traffic, fewer hits, and some of you guys bolting early from work to get a jump on the weekend.

But, that does not mean that there aren't some items that we can talk about.

If you have been keeping up with it, Kyle Veazey has been making a list of the 20 most important people, that will have an effect on MSU's chances of success in 2010. At #14, he has our 2 options at place kicker, Sean Brauchle & Derek DePasquale. These guys were pretty clutch last year, and I expect them to only get better. For years it seemed that if MSU didn't break the 30 yd line, we were either going for it or punting on 4th down, but these guys have added a huge part to team's chances of staying in and winning ball games.The option to come away with points on any possession is KEY.

Brad Locke, who has moments and I mean 'moments' of quality writing, crunched some numbers and found out how much of an impact Chris Relf & Chad Bumphis had on last year's team. This stat crunch also shows how dominant of a force Dixon was last year. Pretty interesting.

Chris Low asks who has the best 3 Studs on Offense. What he calls a 3 Headed MONSTER...Bama, UK, UF, Arky, and UGA make the list. First of all Chris, UGA's and UK's QB situation are JOKES...shouldn't make the list. I know Locke, Cobb, and AJ Green are awesome, but no can-do. I'm pretty sure Relf, Bumphis, and another x-factor would have got MSU on the list.

Low also talks about Auburn's key stretch of their season...starts off in Starkville. Cowbell Hell Awaits You...But, I'm a little scared of Cam Newton.

David Brandt tells us just WHY Patrick Patterson was given the boot by Nutt.

Scout has an article on MSU's Season Ticket situation, looks like last year's total is already a pre-season target, that would be right at the 41,000 mark. Also, Scout has their weekly SEC Round Table Talk, in which they look at USC recruits eyeing UT, how a new AD might affect Richts' future, and a movie about Nick Saban.

Our LSU site, Saturday Night Slant, asks whether or not LSU should expand Death Valley, and even includes a comment or two about Ole Miss deciding not to expand. Here's Jake's side on the Ole Miss Blog.

DeMarcus Cousins is gonna get 7 Million a year...

The State gives their Top 5 SEC Defensive Players.

I know former Bulldog Jarvis Varnado will get to be in the presence of greatness, that is with Dwayne Wade and LeBron James, and almostgreatness with Bosh and Beasely...but I just think LeBron is turning into a primadonna/diva. Is it just me? I mean I'm not a NBA fan, except for the Grizz, that I see play a couple of times a year, but I'm just tired of the diva parade. And in my opinion, as someone famous has probably already expressed, James has taken himself out of  'The Jordan/Kobe Consideration'. I mean, building around yourself and attracting talent to come play with you on YOUR team, and a team you've resurrected, is a world of difference from teaming up with 2 other superstars. Miami has just bought themselves a championship, at least on paper. I just don't respect the move. Jordan and Kobe did it their way, they had help, but did it their way. Not to mention maintaining loyalties. Ohio will boo the presence they once worshipped.




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Written by Brett Holloway | 07 July 2010

bamanikeSorry for yesterday guys, now you can comment on the post...

It seemed like yesterday, that Alabama faced a goal line situation at Scott Field. After faking a hand off, John Parker Wilson turned around to find that MSU DE Titus Brown didn't buy the fake, and that his window of opportunity to get rid of the ball was closing. As the ball left his finger tips, Wilson was driven to the turf, and his floating pass made it's way towards the goal line. Three yards deep in the Student Section endzone, awaited MSU's Anthony Johnson, who intercepted the ball and returned it 103 yds for a touchdown. Cowbells rang, and many wondered if Alabama had wasted some 40 million plus dollars, on Nick Saban. 3 years, 2 SEC Western Division titles, 1 SEC Championship, and 1 Nat'l Championship later, I think the Tide is happy with their choice.

As the 2010-2011 season approaches, Bama is still forecasted to finish among the nation's elite, even with some question marks. Can the Tide repeat, even after having to replace 10 starters on defense? Will Saban have a weaker year following the Nat'l Championship season, as he did at LSU, where the defending champs finished just 9-3? All this is for us to discuss, but let's first take a look at what's in store for 2010-2011.

At QB: Bama returns Sr Greg McElroy. McElroy finished the 09-10 season 198-325 for 2,508 yds passing, 17 TD's and 4 INT's. Not a flashy guy, but you don't have to be when you consider the backfield in Tuscaloosa. During the spring, Greg admitted that his comfort and confidence levels have greatly improved. From all accounts, word is around Tuscaloosa, that McElroy will be throwing the ball more this year. This comes a year after #12 wasn't asked to do anything more than just manage the game, minimalize mistakes, and get the ball in the hands of Bama's play makers. Just in case McElroy goes down, keep in mind that QB Star Jackson has transfered to Georgia State, and that strong armed A.J. McCarron (RS Fr) is now the back up.

At RB: Does Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson ring a bell? Possibly the nation's best backfield, will be loaded once again in 2010. Ingram will be fresh off of his Heisman season, in which he racked up a school record 1,658 yds and 17 TD's. Ingram averaged 6.1 yds per carry, and Richardson averaged just over 5. Even in the shadows, Trent racked up 751 yds and 8 TD's. Bama coaches are saying that Richardson has earned more responsibility and respect, and this will probably be a 50/50 campaign. Backing this 1-2 punch up, could be Eddie Lacey (RS Fr). Don't forget about these backs' ability to catch the ball either, Ingram totaled 334 yds and 3 TD's.

At WR: Julio Jones will try to lead the Tide in catches and yards for the 3rd straight season (43 catches, 596 yds, and 4 TD's). Jones battled injuries last fall, but had a very healthy spring. McElroy will also be looking for Marquiz Maze and Darius Hanks. Maze caught 31 passes last year, good for 523 yds and 2 TD's. With all these talented WR's, Bama will have home run ball capabilities, especially when defenses get overly focused on the run game. Micheal Williams, will more than likely be Bama's TE.

On the OL: Barret Jones, William Vlachos, DJ Fluker, and James Carpenter all return. This unit will do their best to resemble the NFL caliber units that Bama has boasted during the past 2 seasons. I didn't know it, but during Saban's stay in T-Town, he has never had a QB miss a 'single' snap due to injury. I have a feeling this line will not miss a beat.

At LB: Gone is Rolando McClain, Bama's defensive QB who accounted for 105 tackles. But, Jr. Donta' Hightower is an adequate candidate to replace a player of McClain's caliber. While Hightower will man the middle position, it appears that Jerrell Harris and Chris Jordan will play the outside positions. Harris, you might remember from a few years back, was a highly rated recruit out of high school, but was suspended for 6 games last season.

At DB: The Tide will rely heavily on S Mark Barron. The centerfielder has a nose for finding the ball, and has the stats to prove it, because he is the defense's leading returning tackler (76 tkl). He also brought in 7 INT's last year. Barron will be mentoring a very young group, but a star studded group at that. How young is the secondary? Newcomers Jarrick Williams and Nick Perry are capable incoming Freshmen. So.'s Dre Kirkpatrick and BJ Scott should see playing time. There is some talk that Freshmen John Fulton and DeMarcus Milliner will contribute, and Barron's deep partner Robert Lester, is only a Sophomore. One can see why the secondary is Bama's biggest uncertainty.

On the DL: One area where Bama has some promise, lies here. Can anyone name the Def. Player of the Nat'l Championship game? That would be DE Marcell Dareus. Dareus brings a lot experience with him, thanks to playing in every game last season. Another player who can boast the same argument for 2009 and 2008 as well, is other DE Luther Davis. Josh Chapman and Kerry Murphy know the system well, but will be forced to fill the void of Terrence Cody.

Special Teams: Right now, it appears that Jay Williams will do the punting duties, and Cade Foster will handle place-kicking duties. The bad thing is, neither player brings experience to the table. Could be an unstable start, in an important aspect of the game. Keep in mind that KR/ DB Javier Arenas is gone as well, who made his mark as one of the most feared returners in the SEC.

2010 Schedule: San Jose St., Penn State, @ Duke, @ Arkansas, UF, @ USC, Ole Miss, @ UT, @ LSU, MSU, Georgia St, and Auburn

My Thoughts: This is a tough call. Bama has some holes to fill, but if there is one coach who can get the right pieces in place, its Nick Saban. With that said, I don't see Bama in the Nat'l Championship game this year. As much as Bama will benefit from having some star players in many positions, they'll suffer from the ones who are absent in the others. Special teams? Replacing McClain and Cody? Javier Arenas? Hmmm...As of right now, I see the Tide finishing either 11-1, 10-2, or 9-3. The Arkansas game could very well be an upset waiting to happen, USC may be a tougher road game than many think, and the Tides bouts with LSU and Auburn are always a toss up. I don't have Arkansas finishing 2nd or pushing the Tide for 1st as many do, but rather Auburn. I also think that the Tide's match up with LSU, could be Les Miles' job saving game. And at this point I have the UF game as a loss for Bama.

My Prediction: 10-2. I think UF and Auburn come away with W's. And with those 2 loses, Bama is kept out of Atlanta. Overall, a strong year for Bama, but no hardware except the bowl trophy. Young players this year gain valuable experience for 2011-2012, in order to make a run for the Nat'l Championship.

In MSU news: State has 7 new signees on campus. OL Dillon Day, LB/DE Corvell Harrison-Gay, DB Chris Hughes, WR Robert Johnson, DB Jamerson Love, OL Archie Muniz and OL Damien Robinson. Still awaiting: Michael Carr, Jeremy Lee, and Paul Crawford.

Your thoughts, predictions for Bama's 2010-2011 season?

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Written by Imabulldog | 04 July 2010

Where do I start?

First of all, I can't say THANK YOU enough to my long time blogging Maroon Brethren, and other SEC fans who have stopped by my site on a consistent basis. This is ALL because of you guys, and hope you keep stopping by and contributing.

For those of you who might be new to the site, or think you might stop by at certain points throughout the always entertaining SEC sports year, please feel free to introduce yourself.

About me:I'm a Meridian, MS native, currently living in Memphis, TN. My original site, allthingsmaroon.wordpress.com, was a product of desire, to provide MSU fans like myself-a platform in which we could chat about MSU and SEC news. I hope to continue blogging with that same vision, here at Bloguin. I'm not a journalist or a professional writer, nor do I claim to be. I just want to give my humble opinion on Allthingsmaroon, and on happenings around the SEC. This site in a nutshell, is MSU sporting news from a fan's perspective. I'm also a huge Cubs fan, a USA and German Soccer fan, and if I had to choose a second SEC team to pull for, it'd have to be LSU or Auburn. That's me. Enemies made already I'm sure.

So with that said, thanks again to my old friends, and hello to new ones.

Wednesday, we will start our annual 2010 SEC Previews and Predictions for each team, starting with the University of Alabama. Feel free to stop by and give your 2 cents.

Also, a big thanks to Derek, Stephen, and Ben here at Bloguin. Thanks for your time, all the heads up, and all the emails.


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