Sunday, July 31, 2011

A good recruiting update

We don't do much recruiting news here on the Expats, because once you start it can quickly become all that you do. But here's a good primer on the top kids and the schools that may land them.

The Mobile Press-Register has been doing its top 120 for years, and it's always a fun read.

Some observations.

1. As always, the paper says the Southeast ends at Carowinds Boulevard. No N.C. kids are included, not even Keith Marshall out of the Triangle, whom many believe is the best back in the country this year.

2. More than half of this year's crop come from Florida and Georgia.

3. The scholarship offers are going out earlier and earlier, and look how often the same schools show up under dozens and dozens of prospects.

Coaches who employ the saturation bombing technique in recruiting say the kids offered always know where they stand. But that's a little self-serving, and we wonder if it's true.

After all, on two occasions last year Derek Dooley and his staff couldn't count to 11.

Auburn coaches on the other hand, showed they can go from zero to 28 in a flash.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

All Tennessee, all morning long

We're all about customer service here at the Expats. In a comment on yesterday's post, one of our many Anonymouses (Anonymi?) pointed out that we lack a resident zealot when it comes to the Vols. All too true, so in the true spirit of short-term, no-guilt rectification, we bring you the following bullet points.

* Tennessee's search for a new AD goes on, as 1) LSU pays what it takes to keep Joe Alleva (story from The Tennessean here) and 2) Rep. Heath Shuler says he's running for re-election (story from USA Today here).
* The latest on UT's case before the NCAA (story from The Chattanooga Times Free Press here.)
* Click here for a season preview -- spoiler alert, 7-5 -- from the Sporting News. (We welcome relatively level-headed prognostications; send us your links.)
* And a final note: Even if this season doesn't pan out, you can always fall back on wedded bliss: "UT Psychologists Find Thinner Wives Could Be Key To Happy Marriage." Story here.

-- RTR

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We interrupt this free-agent hysteria ...

... to bring you a couple of midweek news and notes. (We'll let the fantasy dust settle a little bit more before worrying about whether to take a late-round flier on The Big Tebowski.)

* South Carolina's QB coach suspended after he pees and gets caught. Story here.
* Florida speed-burner Jeff Demps will stick with football. Story here.
* The Big 12's commish says he doesn't think most Texas A&M fans want to make the move to the SEC. Story here.
* Speaking of the Big 12, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Mac Engel looks somewhat longingly at SEC dominance. Story here.
* Georgia's Mark Richt talks about starting the year with Boise State. Story here.
* Net assets of LSU's Tiger Athletic Foundation: a tidy $265 million. Story here.
* NCAA panel considers a "Cecil Newton" rule. Story here.
* The latest on the Alabama and T-Town Menswear connection. Story here and here.

-- RTR

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Former Butler star Frost, now at Auburn, faces surgery

Former Butler High star Kris Frost, who figured to be in the playing rotation at Auburn this season, says he will have surgery Tuesday after injuring his shoulder during a summer workout, according to The Birmingham News. rated Frost the nation's No. 2 outside linebacker in the 2011 signing class. -- Staff

Friday, July 22, 2011

And while we're on the subject of coaches . . .

For a little Eastern balance, behold Will Muschamp.

Satan, thy name is Saban

In a thoroughly enjoyable, cheap-shot column, Mark Bradley explores the mythic Nick Saban.

There are some funny lines from the AJC columnist. But check out the subsequent comments as Georgia and Alabama fans go jowl to tusk for several hundred posts.

Aw, SEC football. Near enough now to smell, and drool over.


Media Days Predicted Order of Finish

SEC Champion- Alabama (98), LSU (29), Arkansas (18), South Carolina (14), Georgia (4), Florida (2), Ole Miss (2)

First place votes in parenthesis:

Eastern Division
1. South Carolina (114)
2. Georgia (38)
3. Florida (12)
4. Tennessee (2)
5. Kentucky (1)
6. Vanderbilt

Western Division
1. Alabama (111)
2. LSU (30)
3. Arkansas (23)
4. Mississippi State (1)
5. Auburn
5. Ole Miss (2)


2011 SEC Media Days Pre-season All-SEC Team

First-Team Offense
TE, Orson Charles, Georgia
OL, Barrett Jones, Alabama
OL, Bradley Sowell, Ole Miss
OL, Cordy Glenn, Georgia
*OL, Larry Warford, Kentucky
*OL, Brandon Mosley, Auburn
C, William Vlachos, Alabama
WR, Greg Childs, Arkansas
WR, Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
QB, Aaron Murray, Georgia
RB, Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
RB, Trent Richardson, Alabama

First-Team Defense
DL, Jake Bequette, Arkansas
DL, Josh Chapman, Alabama
DL, Kentrell Lockett, Ole Miss
DL, Malik Jackson, Tennessee
LB, Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
LB, Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
LB, Danny Trevathan, Kentucky
DB, Mark Barron, Alabama
DB, Robert Lester, Alabama
DB, Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
DB, Morris Claiborne, LSU

First-Team Specialists
PK, Blair Walsh, Georgia
P, Drew Butler, Georgia
RS, Brandon Boykin, Georgia
AP, Trent Richardson, Alabama

*-indicates a tie for last or only spot on unit


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bored Game: One writer's take on Gene Chizik



SEC Media Days Stupidest Questions: Day 2

Day 2 provided a little more comedy with the questions, but there still hasn’t been anything too outrageous. I only pulled two questions from today.

            For Georgia’s opening game against Boise State in the Georgia Dome, the Bulldogs will be sporting Nike Pro Combat jerseys. Georgia head coach Mark Richt was asked about using black jerseys as a motivation tool and what his stance was on jersey changes.
            “Well, I think the jersey change is a great idea if you win, and I think it’s a bad idea if you lose,” he said.
            He also added later: “Is that thing going to help us win the game? I can promise you it won’t win the game for us because I think Boise State is going to be wearing some of theirs, too.”
            Side note: Anyone else remember Georgia’s blackout against Alabama in 2008? Didn’t work too well.

This year, the week before the Iron Bowl, Auburn plays Samford, a small school in Birmingham. Auburn head coach Gene Chizik was asked if he might look into scheduling in-state games with schools like UAB, Samford and South Alabama to keep the money in-state.
            “We’ll do what we think at the time is best for Auburn,” Chizik replied. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be something that’s in-state, but it’s good to be able to play some of the regional teams here, certainly the in-state teams.”

--Laura Owens

Is Mark Richt climbing into the toaster oven?

Mark Richt always looks cool . . . cool hair, cool tan, cool shades, cool demeanor. But no coach in the SEC, with the possible exception of the Right Reverend in Oxford, will be walking on as many coals in the coming weeks.

Yet, the AJC's Mark Bradley finds room for optimism . . . fine quarterback, fine tight end, improving defense and THE DREAM TEAM, Richt's haul of instate studs who one Bulldog senior says could include seven or eight starters. Bradley thinks Georgia will win the SEC East.


Upon closer examination: Georgia lost A.J. Green, and has no one returning who has shown the consistent ability to catch the ball, much less replace the finest receiver in UGA history.

Georgia lost its best defensive player to the NFL draft. USC transfer Jarvis Jones, the supposed answer at linebacker, is the subject of an NCAA investigation. The offensive line, mediocre when intact, is no longer intact. Meanwhile, Georgia is shedding tailbacks like a magnolia drops leaves.

Which brings us to this: UGA's first two games are against Boise State and South Carolina. Let's check back on the Dawgs going into Week 3. If the team is already relying on Dream Teamers, the Georgia season will be trending nightmarish, and Richt will be counting down the days.


SEC meetings in quotes

Thanks to summer intern and UA student Laura Owens for the dispatches from her home town of Birmingham. We'd like to augment her good work with the following: The Birmingham News' best snippets from coaches and players from Wednesday.



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

SEC Media Days Stupidest Questions: Day 1

Inevitably, when there are 100+ reporters involved in any given situation, there will be those questions that make you cringe.

Though Day 1 was pretty tame, there were some that didn't need to be asked. Here are four of the worst questions from Day 1 of the 2011 SEC Media Days:

Florida's new head coach Will Muschamp was asked what it was like to see former Florida head coach Urban Meyer's daughter as a member of the media at Media Days.
He replied, "Yeah, I think Nicki is doing an intern there with FOX, I believe. It was good to see her in one of these rooms we were in."

Muschamp, who is a former Georgia player, was also asked what it felt like to be a Georgia guy coaching at Florida.
"I'm a Florida guy," was all he said to that.

Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino was asked if he considered the 2010 season a 10- or 11-win season since Ohio State vacated the Sugar Bowl win.
"It's a 10-win season," he answered. "We were 10-3. We have every chance in the world to win that game. We got beat on the field."

This question was addressed to Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen. This question wasn't the question itself that's so ridiculous. It's the phrasing and third person referencing that made it seem awkward:
Question: If you could go back in time and talk to Dan when he took the job, what lessons that you've learned would you tell that person?
Mullen actually gave a really long answer to this one, but it started with: "You know, I don't know. I think the lessons that you learn are what makes you who you are today."

--Laura Owens

Lattimore and Jeffery ready for new year

In the 2011 pre-season, South Carolina boasts two of the top offensive players in sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore and junior wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Both players made the coaches’ All-SEC first team.
             “What we like about Alshon and Marcus is that you can brag on them, and it doesn’t affect them at all,” said head coach Steve Spurrier.
            Lattimore, whose name has already been mentioned in the Heisman race, said he embraces that opportunity.
            “I have a good shot to win it, I think,” he said. “I’ve got a great offensive line.”
            Spurrier also has confidence in his running back’s abilities.
            “All summer, I have said Marcus Lattimore is the best running back in the country,” he said.
            Coming in as a freshman, Lattimore said the biggest thing for him to work on was pass protection.
            “It was so fast. It was hard to react to it,” he said. “All the blitzes Nick Saban throws at you, it’s crazy. But I think it slows down after three or four games.”
            Jeffery said his personal goal for this year is to try for the SEC Championship again.
            “I felt great about our season, but we left a lot of things on the field,” he said. “Hopefully this year we’ll learn from our mistakes.”
            Spurrier said Jeffrey has worked a lot on his size since he got to South Carolina.
            “When he got to South Carolina, he was 245, now he’s thinned down to 230,” Spurrier said. “He’s a lot faster than he’s ever been.”
            Jeffrey said he and Lattimore get along well off the field and that Lattimore is a great teammate.
            “I don’t compete over touches,” Jeffery said. “If I ever had to choose, I’d choose Marcus to touch the ball.”

--Laura Owens

Danny Sheridan: LSU ... then Alabama

The USA Today odds maker says LSU -- by a cat's whisker over Alabama -- is the SEC's best bet for a sixth consecutive championship.

Among his other pre-season observations:

*Auburn, home to the top recruiting staff in the country, has brought in far too much talent to fall completely off the map.

*Alabama is good enough to run the table, even with middlin' quarterback play.

*Mark Richt is the most likely SEC coach to lose his job. The magic number: at least 9 wins.

*If LSU were to open with Alabama instead of Oregon, the Tigers would be favorites. By the time the two play in Tuscaloosa in late fall, who knows?

Read the rest here, courtesy of


Remember: The EXPATS return Aug. 1.

And the Bayou Bengals make three

First an announcement: We'll be gearing up the EXPATS on Aug. 1 to begin the countdown for the 2011 season. In the meantime, here's a nice little opinion piece from The Tuscaloosa News' Cecil Hurt on the latest probation for an SEC football team.

As Hurt points out, the sky didn't fall in Baton Rouge yesterday. But the NCAA gave LSU a year, and accepted the school's self-imposed penalties by docking a few scholarships. Mostly, the boys from Indy praised the school for how it handled the matter. Still, that makes three SEC schools now under NCAA watch, with major two-sport infractions against Tennessee almost certainly to come.

(Is it just my hearing aids or is the predictable cackling from Big 10 schools gone the way of the bobwhite? There's silence on the Northern Front. And for the record, the ACC's current compliance sheet is no better than the SEC's.)

Suffice to say, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive has failed in his mission to have a probation-free league. Guess the moral high ground got lost under all those trophies.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Hosts of party where Aaron Douglas died face charges

Aaron Douglas, the talented offensive lineman who battled substance-abuse problems at Tennessee and Alabama, died May 12 of an apparent overdose in Florida. Now the hosts of the party the player attended have been charged with violating underage drinking laws.

Read more here.