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  1. 2018 Opponent Preview: Ole Miss South Carolina has beaten the Rebels the last two times they've played. Down in the Grove of Oxford in November, the Land Sharks will look to turn the series around. armchairallamericans.com OPPONENT: Ole Miss Rebels WHEN: Saturday, November 3, 2018 at TBD WHERE: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, MS ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: South Carolina is 7-8 (Won last two) LAST MEETING: September 24, 2009 – South Carolina defeated the Rebels in Columbia, 16-10. Ole Miss was ranked #4 in the country at the time. 2017 RECORD: 6-6 overall; 3-5 in SEC (#6 in West) Head Coach… Matt Luke is going into his second season as the coach of the Rebels since former coach Hugh Freeze was fired. Luke walked-on at Ole Miss in 1995 as a center. He played there for four years and graduated in 1999. His father and older brother both played at Ole Miss as well. He came onto staff as a co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach under Freeze in 2012. He led the Rebels to a 6-6 season in 2017 that included a win over archrival, Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. Returning Starters… OFFENSE (8) WR, AJ Brown (6-1, 225) Junior WR, DaMarkus Lodge (6-2, 199) Senior WR, DK Metcalf (6-4, 225) Sophomore TE, Dawson Knox (6-4, 250) Junior C, Sean Rawlings (6-5, 294) Senior LG, Javon Patterson (6-3, 314) Junior RT, Alex Givens (6-7, 300) Junior LT, Greg Little (6-6, 325) Junior DEFENSE (7) DT, Josiah Coatney (6-4, 302) Junior NT, Benito Jones (6-2, 315) Sophomore MLB, Detric Bing-Dukes (6-1, 254) Senior CB, Myles Hartsfield (5-11, 199) Junior CB, Ken Webster (5-11, 194) Senior ROV, Zedrick Woods (5-11, 201) Senior FS, Jaylon Jones (5-11, 186) Junior How did they fare in 2017? Ole Miss finished last season with a .500 record but could not attend a bowl game and no matter the results of this season, the end will be the same due to their two-year bowl ban. They won their first two games of the season at home but got destroyed their next three games which were all on the road. They lost to Cal, Alabama and Auburn by a combined score of 137-42. Their three league wins came against Vanderbilt (57-35), Kentucky (37-34), and Mississippi State (31-28). Best Returning Player… WR, AJ Brown (6-1, 225) Junior In 2017, Brown caught 75 passes for 1252 yards and 11 touchdowns Given a 143.9 passer rating when targeted by Pro Football Focus (+53.5 higher than NCAA average) According to Austin Gayle of PFF, Brown averaged 8.27 yards after the catch per reception on non-screen passes; averaged 6.25 receptions and 104.4 yards per game across 12 games played with 15+ offensive snaps in 2017 Overall Outlook… With the postseason being no option, the Rebels will be playing for pride and a couple guys will be playing for their shot at the NFL. Make no mistake about it though, there is a lot of talent on this team. Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, left tackle Greg Little and one of the better receivers in the country in AJ Brown headline the offense. The defense doesn’t have any household names as of yet but they return their entire secondary from a year ago. It’s tough to tell what will come of this season for Ole Miss but Matt Luke will have this team ready to compete in every game and they will not be an easy out for anybody. 2018 SEASON PROJECTION: 7-5 (3-5 in SEC)
  2. 2018 Opponent Preview: Tennessee South Carolina closes out November by hosting Tennessee, led by first year head coach Jeremy Pruitt. August 09, 2018 armchairallamericans.com OPPONENT: Tennessee Volunteers WHEN: Saturday, October 27, 2018 at TBD WHERE: Williams-Brice Stadium (Columbia, SC) ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: Tennessee leads 25-9-2 LAST MEETING: October 14, 2017 – South Carolina beat Tennessee in Knoxville, TN 15-9. 2017 RECORD: 4-8 (0-8) Head Coach… Jeremy Pruitt begins his first season as Tennessee head coach after the Butch Jones experience took a turn for the worst in Knoxville. Pruitt will look to re-energize the UT program and return them to national prominence. Pruitt falls from the Nick Saban coaching tree, having spent his collegiate playing days at Alabama and working under Saban at Alabama as a defensive coordinator. Returning Starters … OFFENSE (5) OL Drew Richmond (6-3, 309) Junior WR Brandon Johnson (6-2, 193) Junior WR Marquez Callaway (6-2, 190) Junior C Ryan Johnson (6-6, 300) Sophomore LT Trey Smith (6-6, 320) Sophomore DEFENSE (6) DE Kyle Phillips (6-4, 263) Senior DE Jonathan Kongbo (6-6, 275) Senior WLB Quart’e Sapp (6-2, 222) Junior MLB Daniel Bituli (6-3, 240) Junior SS Nigel Warrior (6-0, 194) Junior FS Micah Abernathy (6-0, 203) Senior How did they fare in 2017? Tennessee began the year with a thrilling 42-41 win over Georgia Tech on Labor Day a year ago. After starting the season 2-0, not much good happened after that. The Butch Jones experience finally crumbled and the Volunteers finished the season without a single SEC win. Jones was let go late in the year and the Vols finished 2017 with a disappointing home loss to their in-state rival, Vanderbilt. Best Returning Player… Overall Outlook… The Jeremy Pruitt era begins in Knoxville as the Volunteers look to rebound from a rocky 2017. Pruitt has already began to put his stamp on the UT program, giving Vols fans a breath of fresh from the disastrous Butch Jones campaign. While coaching will be much improved, the Volunteers roster still doesn’t appear to be top of the line. The biggest question falls at quarterback, where Stanford transfer Keller Christ and returning sophomore Jarrett Guarantano will fight for the starting job. Overall, year one for Jeremy Pruitt will be an adjustment period for the Volunteers. There is skepticism from some pundits about his abilities to be a head coach and run a big time organization like Tennessee. That being said, Tennessee should be improved from a year ago and will challenge for a bowl berth. 2018 SEASON PROJECTION: 5-7 (2-6)
  3. 2018 Opponent Preview: Texas A&M Since joining the SEC in 2012, the Aggies and Gamecocks have faced off four times - the Aggies have won all four meetings. USC looks to change their fortunes in 2018 August 07, 2018 armchairallamericans.com OPPONENT: Texas A&M Aggies WHEN: Saturday, October 13, 2018 at TBD WHERE: Williams-Brice Stadium (Columbia, SC) ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: South Carolina is 0-4 LAST MEETING: September 30, 2017 – Texas A&M defeated the Gamecocks 24-17 in College Station for their fourth straight win. 2017 RECORD: 7-6 overall; 4-4 in SEC (Tied for #4 in West) Head Coach… The Aggies parted ways with Kevin Sumlin after the 2017 season and brought in former Florida State head coach, Jimbo Fisher, on a 10-year, $75 million contract. In his time with the Seminoles, Fisher had an overall record of 83-23 before leaving the program prior the their last regular season game. Fisher won a National Championship with Florida State back in 2013 and finished with a 14-0 record. He also took the ‘Noles to the playoffs in 2014 but we’re soundly defeated by the Oregon Ducks, 59-20. Returning Starters… OFFENSE (8) *QB, Nick Starkel (6-3, 218) Sophomore *QB, Kellen Mond (6-2, 210) Sophomore RB, Trayveon Williams (5-9, 200) Junior WR, Jhamon Ausbon (6-2, 220) Sophomore C, Colton Prater (6-4, 300) Junior RG, Erik McCoy (6-4, 315) Junior LG, Keaton Sutherland (6-5, 315) Senior RT, Carson Green (6-6, 300) Sophomore DEFENSE (8) NG, Kingsley Keke (6-4, 305) Senior DE, Landis Durham (6-3, 255) Senior LB, Tyrel Dodson (6-2, 242) Junior LB, Otaro Alaka (6-3, 240) Senior LB, Anthony Hines (6-3, 230) Sophomore CB, Debione Renfro (6-2, 193) Sophomore CB, Charles Oliver (6-2, 202) Junior FS, Derrick Tucker (6-1, 200) Sophomore In 2012, Kevin Sumlin’s first season as head coach, the Aggies went 11-2. Their records between 2013-2017 got progressively stagnant or worse (9-4; 8-5; 8-5; 8-5; 7-6 in 2017). Last season A&M averaged 32.7 points per game and 407 yards per game while giving up 30.7 points per game and 408 yards per game on defense. The season started off on a rough note against UCLA where they held a 38-10 lead over the Bruins at halftime, just to implode in the second half and lose 45-44. The Aggies followed up the loss with four straight victories before losing to Alabama 27-19 in a hard-fought home game. They started the 2017 season with a 4-2 record and finished with a 3-3 record in the last six games. Texas A&M went into the Belk Bowl against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and ended up losing a shootout, 55-52. Best Returning Player… WLB, Tyrel Dodson (6-2, 242) Junior In 2017, Dodson recorded 105 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss, eight pass break-ups, three interceptions and four quarterback hurries Made the 2018 Bronko Nagurski Award watch list (best defensive player); was left off the Dick Butkus Award watch list (best linebacker) Overall Outlook… Look for 2018 to be a re-tooling type of year for the Aggies. Jimbo Fisher ran a pro-style offense at Florida State and it is yet to be known if he will adopt a new offensive style or retain the one he knows. He has a lot of returning starters from last year’s team but it was a team that ran a spread offense under Kevin Sumlin. If Fisher sticks with the pro-style offense, it will be a big learning curve for the Aggies and may result in a bit of a rough season for College Station. I think Fisher will eventually make A&M a contender in the SEC-West but to expect that in year one is a bit premature. 2018 SEASON PROJECTION: 6-6 (3-5 in SEC)
  4. USA Today releases 2018 SEC power rankings July 31, 2018 College football is almost here. In celebration, USA TODAY Sports is getting you ready for the 2018 season by ranking the teams in each of the five major conferences in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The rankings end with the Southeastern Conference, home to three teams set to contend for the national championship: Alabama, Georgia and Auburn. The SEC seems to lack the same level of depth we’ve seen in the past, however. FBS head coaches will get their say Thursday with the release of the preseason Amway Coaches Poll for 2018. Here’s guessing that poll, much like this list, will start with the Crimson Tide. 1. Alabama The most prolific dynasty in college football’s modern era reloads for another title run. There’s likely a new quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, along with the annual remaking of a depth chart dinged by NFL departures. That’s nothing new. The Tide are the best team in the SEC and, depending on how you feel about Clemson, no worse than No. 2 in the entire FBS. 2. Georgia Georgia should cruise to an East Division title without breaking much of a sweat, which speaks to the Bulldogs’ talent level and says a little something about the competition they’ll face in division play. There are a few big names to replace: Nick Chubb and Sony Michel at running back and Roquan Smith at linebacker, to name three. But this remains an elite team with designs on making a return trip to the College Football Playoff. 3. Auburn Auburn is getting overlooked amid all the talk of the preordained early December matchup between Alabama and Georgia. I mean, didn’t the Tigers win the West Division last fall? Auburn has a Heisman Trophy contender in quarterback Jarrett Stidham to go ample talent and depth on both sides of the ball, with the biggest question mark found along a rebuilt offensive front. One more question: Can the Tigers take down Washington in the opener? 4. Mississippi State First-year coach Joe Moorhead inherits a fantastic situation from his predecessor, Dan Mullen. Now let’s see how quickly the Bulldogs can grasp his offensive style. If healthy at quarterback, MSU should be viewed as the best team in the SEC’s second tier — not up to the same level as the Tide, Bulldogs and Tigers, but more than talented enough to win nine games and secure a solid spot in the Top 25. 5. South Carolina Like Mississippi State, the Gamecocks are a threat to win nine games and earn a national ranking. On paper, however, South Carolina lags behind Georgia in the East Division. This could still end up being a very good team. Everyone is high on quarterback Jake Bentley, who seems ready to take the next step, and the healthy return of receiver Deebo Samuel will beef up the Gamecocks’ offense and return game. And who knows? Maybe USC knocks off Georgia at home on Sept. 8 and rides that tiebreaker to a division title. It’s not a ridiculous scenario. Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher. (Photo: Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports) 6. Texas A&M Dial back the expectations a touch heading into Jimbo Fisher’s first season: A&M is going to be good but not that good, if that makes any sense. It’s tough sledding in the SEC West Division, where a logjam of teams come in behind the Tide and Tigers, and the Aggies are firmly among the group battling for eight or more wins behind that top pair. Fisher’s biggest wins in 2018 might come on the recruiting trail, where he’s continued to add depth and talent to program with goals of one day soon — maybe as soon as 2019 — being more than just a September contender. 7. LSU I’m not alone in thinking a six-win season for LSU is as likely as a division title. That’s concerning. Calling this a make-or-break year for Ed Orgeron seems premature; that lies one year down the road, unless things completely run off the rails in 2018. But it’s hard to ignore the preseason expectations: LSU is pegged as an SEC West afterthought. Maybe that changes with a new offensive coordinator and a new quarterback in Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow. 8. Florida It’s too easy to forget amid last year’s disaster that Florida’ 2017 collapse came on the heels of back-to-back East Division championships. In other words, Dan Mullen isn’t taking on some grand rebuilding project — even if it’ll take some time for the new staff to catch up with the rival Bulldogs. UF won’t be a national factor in 2018 nor even more than just a thorn in the side of the SEC’s best, but this is a clear bowl team with a ceiling as high as second place in the East. 9. Missouri I’m not the only one in wait-and-see mode with Missouri after a 2017 season that ended with a winning record yet included no victories against meaningful competition. On the other hand, I’m not in the group that wonders about the health of Missouri’s offensive under new coordinator Derek Dooley, since this offense should be able to run itself. The problem for Missouri? The projected improvements seen from Florida and Tennessee will make wins even harder to come by. 10. Tennessee I’m higher on Florida than I am on Tennessee, largely due to the idea that the Volunteers’ reclamation project will demand a little more elbow grease than the task ahead for Mullen and his staff. Predicting which program will be in better shape in five years is an interesting barroom question — though not relevant when it comes to 2018. There’s no reason as of yet to wonder about Jeremy Pruitt, who at least represents a drastic change, but I don’t think it’s fair to shoulder his debut season with expectations beyond making a bowl game and playing better football in November than September. 11. Kentucky Much like Missouri, the Wildcats will need to piece together six or more wins against what should be a more competitive East Division. That the conference slate begins with Florida, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Texas A&M is also a little concerning. But Kentucky has one of the nation’s most overlooked players in running back Benny Snell and brings back a heavy amount of experience on defense, so it’s fair to expect another bowl trip for Mark Stoops. 12. Mississippi Two things to like: an easy stretch of out-of-conference games and the potential explosiveness of coordinator Phil Longo’s offense. The Rebels will be fun to watch, at least. One thing to really not like: a defense that gave up a hair under 35 points per game in 2017 and doesn’t seem set to do much better this fall. Let’s meet in the middle and peg the Rebels to occupy the same ground as during a year ago, which is somewhere around five or six wins. 13. Arkansas Chad Morris showed at SMU an ability to build a winning culture from scratch. In comparison, doing the same at Arkansas should be easy. Well, maybe not easy, per se. But there are some pieces in place to keep the Razorbacks in the mix for the postseason off a four-win end to Bret Bielema’s tenure, not to mention a friendly non-conference schedule that could have Arkansas within a win of bowl eligibility heading into November. Still, I’d pick the Razorbacks to come up short of six wins in Morris’ debut. 14. Vanderbilt The early over-under for Vanderbilt’s win total is at 4.5, which seems fair. The Commodores could surprise and eke out six wins, though that would take three wins in SEC play — that road trip to Notre Dame on Sept. 15 smells like a clear loss. The Commodores could also revert back to being the whipping boy in the East Division, should Florida and Tennessee hit the ground running.
  5. 2018 Opponent Preview: Kentucky armchairallamericans.com Kentucky has won four straight against the Gamecocks and will look to increase that number in 2018. South Carolina will need to kill some demons to reclaim the series July 31, 2018 OPPONENT: Kentucky Wildcats WHEN: Saturday, September 29, 2018 at TBD WHERE:Kroger Field in Lexington, KY ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: South Carolina is 17-11-1 LAST MEETING: September 16, 2017 – Kentucky defeated South Carolina 23-13 in Williams Brice Stadium for their fourth straight win in the series 2017 RECORD: 7-6 overall; 4-4 in SEC (Tied for 3rd in East) Head Coach… Mark Stoops is going into his sixth year with the Wildcats and currently holds a 26-36 overall record; 12-32 in the SEC, 0-2 in bowl games, and 2-12 against Top 25 opponents. He has led Kentucky to back-to-back winning seasons (16-17) for the first time since the 2008-2009 seasons. All four of those years they went 7-6. In 2018, Stoops has 15 starters returning from his 2017 bowl team, including stand-out talents like Benny Snell, Mike Edwards, Josh Allen and Derrick Baity. Stoops will look to get Kentucky to their third straight bowl appearance and potentially the most wins Kentucky football has had since 2007 when they won eight games and were ranked as high as number eight in the country. Returning Starters… OFFENSE (7) *RB, Benny Snell (5-11, 223) Junior WR, Tavin Richardson (6-3, 207) Junior TE, CJ Conrad (6-5, 252) Senior C, Drake Jackson (6-2, 303) Sophomore RG, Jervontius Stallings (6-3, 305) Senior *LG, Logan Stenberg (6-6, 320) Junior RT, George Asafo-Adjei (6-5, 215) Senior DEFENSE (8) DE, Joshua Paschal (6-3, 285) Sophomore DT, Phil Hoskins (6-5, 306) Senior *LB, Josh Allen (6-5, 252) Senior LB, Jordan Jones (6-2, 218) Senior CB, Lonnie Johnson (6-3, 206) Sophomore *CB, Derrick Baity (6-3, 188) Senior SS, Darius West (6-2, 210) Senior *FS, Mike Edwards (6-0, 201) Senior How did they fare in 2017? Kentucky is coming off of their second straight winning season (7-6) under Mark Stoops. They lost a tough game against the Northwestern Wildcats in the Music City Bowl by a score of 24-23. This team returns a lot of talented veterans on defense and majority of their starters on offense as well from last year’s team. Their leading tackler last season was their Safety, Mike Edwards, who totaled 97 tackles, one sack, three tackles-for-loss, seven pass break-ups, four interceptions and one quarterback hurry. The Wildcats started 3-0 last year that included their fourth straight victory over the Gamecocks. They had the chance to finally beat Florida for the first time in 31 years (November 15, 1986) but only put 10 guys on the field in the waning moments that kept the Gators game-winning drive alive. After a 5-1 start, though, Kentucky stumbled down the stretch going 2-4 with wins against Tennessee, 29-26, and Vanderbilt, 44-21. Best Returning Player… RB, Benny Snell (5-11, 223) Junior In 2017, Snell rushed for 1,371 yards on 262 carries and scored 19 rushing touchdowns. He also hauled in 10 receptions for 72 yards. According to Pro Football Focus, Snell forced 44 missed tackles in 2017 (also forced 44 missed tackles in 2016) which was 14 more than the next running back in the SEC — Damien Harris of Alabama and Aeris Williams of Mississippi State both forced 30 missing tackles He has a career 1,638 yards after contact in just two seasons with the Wildcats (884 in 2017; 754 in 2016) Voted to the Preseason All-SEC First Team for the 2018 season along with Damien Harris Overall Outlook… With all the experienced talent returning in 2018, the Wildcats have a chance to have their best season of the past decade. They haven’t won more than seven games since 2007 when they won eight games in back-to-back years under head coach Rich Brooks. There is enough talent on this team to compete with the majority of their schedule and they will be driven to extend their unpredictable run against the Gamecocks. While there is great talent in spots on this team, the depth isn’t there. Kentucky is starting a new quarterback this year as well so there will be some growing pains in that area. Ultimately, this team can compete and will be a tough out for every team they play; but they’ve had talent before and couldn’t get over the seven win hump. The possibility for eight wins is there in the regular season but it won’t come without an upset or two. 2018 SEASON PROJECTION: 8-4 (with a win against Florida)
  6. SEC 2018 Conference Championship Odds: Who Will Win, Best Value, Top Longshot July 29, 2018 The latest SEC Conference Championship Odds are out from the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. Who’ll win, what’s the best long shot and what’s the best value? SEC Alabama 5/8 Georgia 5/2 Auburn 7/1 Mississippi State 12/1 Florida 18/1 LSU 18/1 Missouri 20/1 South Carolina 30/1 Texas A&M 30/1 Tennessee 100/1 Arkansas 300/1 Kentucky 300/1 Vanderbilt 500/1 RELATED CFN Preview 2018: SEC Preview The Right Play Alabama: There’s no value with the 5/8 odds, and it’s a boring pick and a boring way to go through the investing life, but the right answer is the right answer. Not only is this the best team in the SEC – and probably college football – but the schedule works out well with three of the four conference games against teams that didn’t go bowling last season, and LSU the one truly dangerous showdown. There’s no Georgia, no Florida, no South Carolina, and the Auburn date is at home. The Best Value South Carolina: It’s all about the SEC opener against Georgia on September 8th. If the Gamecocks can pull that off at home, the 30/1 odds will drop through the floor like a rock. The Florida game is on the road, but there’s no Alabama, LSU or Auburn to face from the West, and the SEC road games against Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Ole Miss are as easy as it gets in this league. Stay Away From … Mississippi State: At only 12/1, there’s no real value in a very good team with a new head coach, a star quarterback coming off a major injury, and with a schedule that includes road games at Alabama and LSU. If the Bulldogs were big underdogs – like more than 30/1 – maybe they’d be a fun flier, but this isn’t the year they’re winning the West. The Top Longshot Tennessee: The Vols are miles away from being back to the national championship level the fan base thinks they should be at, but at 100/1 the odds are fantastic in a maybe-just-maybe sort of way. They get Florida at home, and the annual date against Alabama is in Knoxville, too. They have to go to Georgia and South Carolina, but if Jeremy Pruitt can get the lines together in a hurry, and if there’s some semblance of an offense, maybe-just … nah. But at 100/1 …
  7. The SEC vote is in: Here’s where Gamecocks expected to finish in 2018 July 20, 2018 South Carolina finished second in the SEC East last season, and the media members who cover the conference think they’ll do it again this year. The league released its official media preseason predictions Friday morning, compiled from the just completed SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame, and the Gamecocks were picked to finished just behind defending conference champion Georgia in their division. Alabama, the defending national champion, was the media’s pick to win the overall conference crown this year. SEC Media Predictions (First place votes in parenthesis) SEC East Georgia (271) 1,977 South Carolina (8) 1,535 Florida (4) 1,441 Missouri 1,057 Kentucky (1) 874 Tennessee (1) 704 Vanderbilt 392 SEC West Alabama (263) 1,971 Auburn (19) 1,664 Mississippi State (2) 1,239 Texas A&M 1,091 LSU 1,025 Ole Miss 578 Arkansas 412 SEC Champion Alabama (193) Georgia (69) Auburn (14) South Carolina (4) Florida (2) Mississippi State (1) Missouri (1)
  8. #SEC Media Days 2018: Mason thinks best is ahead for Vanderbilt (AUDIO) JULY 19, 2018 BY PHIL KORNBLUT Derek Mason likes his team and the additions he made to his staff USC has what appears to be a favorable SEC schedule for 2018. The Gamecocks will host Georgia, Texas A&M, Missouri and Tennessee and will travel to Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Florida. We’re previewing the Gamecocks’ SEC opponents from Media Days 2018 in Atlanta. Here’s a look at Vanderbilt which just finished out of the bowl picture last season with a 5-7 record. Head Coach: Derek Mason (5th season, 18-31, 6-26 SEC) 2017 record: 5-7 SEC record: 1-7 Postseason: None Returning Starters: 8 offense 4 defense 0 specialist Top returners on offense: QB Kyle Shurmur (2823-26-10); WR Kalija Lipscomb (37-610-8) Top returners on defense: SAF LaDarius Wiley (88 TT 5 PBU), LB Charles Wright (43 TT, 10.5 TFL, 9 SKS) The USC game: September 22nd in Nashville Mason gives his preview of the Commodores
  9. SEC coach on USC assistant: ‘He’ll be a coordinator and head coach in this league’ July 19, 2018 LinkedIn Google+ Pinterest Reddit Print Order Reprint of this Story Gus Malzahn gave Bobby Bentley his first big break with an SEC program. Now the Auburn coach sees bigger things for South Carolina’s running backs coach. “He’ll be a coordinator and head coach in this league,” Malzahn said at SEC Media Days. Bentley was brought on by Malzahn as an analyst in 2014. After two years, Bentley made the jump to position coach at USC. But that was after a dominant run as a high school coach at Byrnes, where he built a dynasty and won for consecutive state titles. It was that high school background that first connected the two men, as Byrnes faced Malzahn’s Springdale team in 7-on-7 events. “We just developed a good relationship and I just felt like he had a good chance of being a big-time coach in college,” Malzahn said. “When I first got here in 2013, I really tried to make an effort to get more good guys in college football. He was one of the guys that I felt real strong about could get to college football and be successful. That would get to college football, make a difference in kids’ lives. Take the business side out.” Bentley had been head coach at Presbyterian for two seasons, and then returned to Byrnes as offensive coordinator and then a short stint as head coach. This season, USC returns a deep and experienced backfield looking for better production. With Bentley living in Auburn, it meant his son Jake, now South Carolina’s quarterback, was playing out his high school football career in town. Jake Bentley jumped to the college level, eschewing his senior year, so he, like his father, went right from Auburn to the Gamecocks. “Jake, he’s a phenomenal player,” Malzahn said. “Very proud to watch him and that he’s successful. Read more here: https://www.thestate.com/sports/college/university-of-south-carolina/usc-football/article215156115.html#storylink=cpy
  10. #SEC Media Days 2018: Will Pruitt be the answer at Tennessee? (AUDIO) JULY 18, 2018 BY PHIL KORNBLUT Jeremy Pruitt is charged with bringing stability and winning back to Tennessee USC has what appears to be a favorable SEC schedule for 2018. The Gamecocks will host Georgia, Texas A&M, Missouri and Tennessee and will travel to Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Florida. We’re previewing the Gamecocks’ SEC opponents from Media Days 2018 in Atlanta. Here’s a look at Tennessee which turned to defensive guru Jeremy Pruitt, who has five national championship rings, in the hopes he can restore the program to its former glory. Head Coach: Jeremy Pruitt (1st season, 1st season as a head coach) 2017 record: 4-8 SEC record: 0-8 Postseason: None Returning Starters: 6 offense 7 defense 0 specialist Top returners on offense: QB Jarrett Guarantano (997-4-2), RB Ty Chandler (305-2); WR Brandon Johnson (37-482-1) Top returners on defense: LB Daniel Bituli (90 TT 3 TFL) The USC game: October 27th in Columbia Pruitt gives his preview of the Vols
  11. #SEC Media Days 2018: Saban talks, people listen (AUDIO) JULY 18, 2018 BY PHIL KORNBLUT Nick Saban is not sure about his starting quarterback at this point Our purpose this week at SEC Media Days is to bring you content from the coaches who will face USC this season. But, we do make exceptions, as we did with Chad Morris. So, Alabama’s Nick Saban held court today and whenever he speaks, it’s worth a listen. And, he does face The Citadel in late November. Head Coach: Nick Saban (12th season, 132-20, 75-13 SEC) 2017 record: 13-1 SEC record: 7-1 Postseason: Won Sugar Bowl, won CFP NC game Returning Starters: 7 offense 3 defense 2 specialist Top returners on offense: QB Jalen Hurts (2081-17-1), RB Damien Harris (1000-11), WR Jerry Jeudy (14-264-2) Top returners on defense: DL Raekwon Davis (69 TT, 10 TFL, 8 SKS), DE Anfernee Jennings (41 TT, 6 TFL, 1 SKS) Saban gives his preview of the Crimson Tide
  12. #SEC Media Days 2018: Odom sees progress being made at Mizzou (AUDIO) JULY 18, 2018 BY PHIL KORNBLUT Missouri’s Barry Odom loves what is happening around his program USC has what appears to be a favorable SEC schedule for 2018. The Gamecocks will host Georgia, Texas A&M, Missouri and Tennessee and will travel to Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Florida. We’re previewing the Gamecocks’ SEC opponents from Media Days 2018 in Atlanta. Here’s a look at Missouri which is coming off its first winning season in three years. Head Coach: Barry Odom (1st season, 1st season as a head coach) 2017 record: 7-6 SEC record: 4-4 Postseason: Lost in Texas Bowl Returning Starters: 9 offense 6 defense 2 specialist Top returners on offense: QB Drew Lock (3964-44-13), RB Larry Rountree (703-6), WR Johnathon Johnson (41-724-6) Top returners on defense: LB Cale Garrett (105 TT, 10 TFL, 3 SKS), DT Terry Beckner (38 TT, 11 TFL, 7 SKS) The USC game: October 6th in Columbia Odom gives his preview of the Tigers
  13. #SEC Media Days 2018: Mullen hopes to return Florida to lofty status (AUDIO) JULY 17, 2018 BY PHIL KORNBLUT Dan Mullen is chomping at the bit to make Florida a winner again USC has what appears to be a favorable SEC schedule for 2018. The Gamecocks will host Georgia, Texas A&M, Missouri and Tennessee and will travel to Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Florida. We’re previewing the Gamecocks’ SEC opponents from Media Days 2018 in Atlanta. Here’s a look at Florida with Dan Mullen returning as head coach to a program he served as offensive coordinator on two national championship teams. Head Coach: Dan Mullen (1st season, 69-46, 33-39 SEC at Mississippi State) 2017 record: 4-7 SEC record: 3-5 Postseason: None Returning Starters: 10 offense 9 defense 1 specialist Top returners on offense: QB Feleipe Franks (1438-9-8), RB Lamical Perine (562-8), WR Tyrie Cleveland (22-410-2) Top returners on defense: LB David Reese (102 TT, 10 TL), DL CeCe Jefferson (47 TT, 13.5 TL, 4.5 SKS) The USC game: November 10th in Gainesville Mullen gives his preview of the Gators
  14. #SEC Media Days 2018: Luke steering Rebels thru troubled times (AUDIO) JULY 17, 2018 BY PHIL KORNBLUT Ole Miss coach Matt Luke has to coach team thru a probation period USC has what appears to be a favorable SEC schedule for 2018. The Gamecocks will host Georgia, Texas A&M, Missouri and Tennessee and will travel to Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Florida. We’re previewing the Gamecocks’ SEC opponents from Media Days 2018 in Atlanta. Here’s a look at Ole Miss where Matt Luke was promoted from interim status after last season and faces an NCAA post-season ban in 2018 following a school enforced ban last season. Head Coach: Matt Luke (2nd season, 6-6, 3-5 SEC) 2017 record: 6-6 SEC record: 3-5 Postseason: None Returning Starters: 8 offense 7 defense 0 specialist Top returners on offense: QB Jordan Ta’amu (1682-11-4); RB D’Vaughn Pennamon (217-2); WR AJ Brown (75-1252-11) Top returners on defense: DT Josiah Coatney (65 TT, 8 TL, 3.5 SKS) The USC game: November 3rd in Oxford Luke gives his preview of the Rebels
  15. #SEC Media Days 2018: Can Georgia repeat as SEC champs? (AUDIO) JULY 17, 2018 BY PHIL KORNBLUT Georgia’s Kirby Smart was last season’s SEC Coach of the Year USC has what appears to be a favorable SEC schedule for 2018. The Gamecocks will host Georgia, Texas A&M, Missouri and Tennessee and will travel to Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Florida. We’re previewing the Gamecocks’ SEC opponents from Media Days 2018 in Atlanta. Here’s a look at Georgia, last season’s SEC champion and loser to Alabama in the CFP National Championship Game. Head Coach: Kirby Smart (3rd season, 21-7, 11-5 SEC) 2017 record: 13-2 SEC record: 7-1 Postseason: Defeated Auburn in SEC title game, defeated Oklahoma in Rose Bowl, lost to Alabama in CFP NC Game Returning Starters: 8 offense 4 defense 1 specialist Top returners on offense: QB Jake Fromm (2615-24-7); RB D’Andre Swift (618-3); WR Terry Godwin (38-639-6) Top returners on defense: CB JR Reed (79 TT 2 INT) LB D’Andre Walker (40 TT, 13.5 TL, 5.5 SKS) The USC game: September 8th in Columbia Smart gives his preview of the Bulldogs
  16. #SEC Media Days 2018: Morris takes offensive genuis to Arkansas (AUDIO) JULY 17, 2018 BY PHIL KORNBLUT Chad Morris continues his climb up the coaching ladder at Arkansas Arkansas is not on USC’s schedule this season but Chad Morris is still a well known figure in the Palmetto State despite having left Clemson for SMU after the 2014 season. Now, he is the first year head coach at Arkansas and he made his inaugural appearance at SEC Media Days Tuesday. So, we thought it appropriate we bring you his thoughts on his new program. Head Coach: Chad Morris (1st season, 14-22 at SMU) 2017 record: 4-8 SEC record: 1-7 Postseason: None Returning Starters: 9 offense 8 defense 2 specialist Top returners on offense: QB Cole Kelley (1038-8-4); RB Devwah Whaley (559-7); WR Jonathan Nance (37-539-5) Top returners on defense: LB DeJon Harris (115 TT, 8.5 TL, 3.5 SKS) Morris gives his preview of the Razorbacks
  17. Kentucky coach: ‘I don’t need South Carolina to motivate me’ July 16, 2018 ATLANTA - Mark Stoops knew the question was coming on Monday. Kentucky’s head football coach has had to answer it several years running. In fact, Wildcats coaches dating back to Jerry Claiborne have had to answer it. “How critical is it to the program to finally get over the hump with Florida?” a reporter asked during the first day of SEC Media Days on Monday at the College Football Hall of Fame. “I always look forward to that annual question here,” Stoops replied. “I’m not blaming you. I’m going to get it a thousand times between now and that game. You can’t hide from the elephant in the room. It’s been a long time. We need to beat Florida, but we need to beat a lot of teams on our schedule.” The Gators have beaten Kentucky 31 consecutive times, dating back to 1986, but at least the Wildcats head coach can sooth himself by thinking about his winning streak against South Carolina. He got a chance to do that later in his media appearance when he was asked if his team feels overlooked when it hears the Gamecocks being lauded in the preseason despite losing four in a row to Kentucky. ATLANTA Mark Stoops knew the question was coming on Monday. Kentucky’s head football coach has had to answer it several years running. In fact, Wildcats coaches dating back to Jerry Claiborne have had to answer it. “How critical is it to the program to finally get over the hump with Florida?” a reporter asked during the first day of SEC Media Days on Monday at the College Football Hall of Fame. “I always look forward to that annual question here,” Stoops replied. “I’m not blaming you. I’m going to get it a thousand times between now and that game. You can’t hide from the elephant in the room. It’s been a long time. We need to beat Florida, but we need to beat a lot of teams on our schedule.” The Gators have beaten Kentucky 31 consecutive times, dating back to 1986, but at least the Wildcats head coach can sooth himself by thinking about his winning streak against South Carolina. He got a chance to do that later in his media appearance when he was asked if his team feels overlooked when it hears the Gamecocks being lauded in the preseason despite losing four in a row to Kentucky. THE STATE
  18. FeatheredCock

    CFN Preview 2018: SEC Preview

    CFN Preview 2018: SEC Preview July 16, 2018 You just knew this was coming. Going into last season, you could see the perfect storm brewing that was going to leave a whole slew of coaching changes in its aftermath, and that’s exactly what happened. And why? Because it’s really, really, really frustrating to be an SEC program in the time of Alabama under Nick Saban. Georgia was, technically, the SEC’s best team by winning the conference championship. Auburn, was, technically, the SEC West’s best team by winning the division and going on to lose to Georgia in the SEC Championship. And none of that mattered, because Alabama won the national title. So when a national title-caliber program like Florida wins 19 games in two years and has nothing big to show for it, of course it’s easy to dump a Jim McElwain when the team goes 4-7 – partly because the program lost to Alabama twice in a row in SEC Championships. Tennessee has to play Alabama every year, and it keeps losing to Alabama every year. When a monster of a program like that wins nine games two years in a row, and then can’t score a touchdown for an embarrassing stretch in a 4-8 season – on top of not beating the Tide – of course the fan base is going to want a coaching change. Texas A&M won a lot of games since joining the SEC, but it was never good enough to live up the expectations after shocking Bama in Kevin Sumlin’s first season. And now, even guys who have had success and deserve far more respect – Ed Orgeron at LSU and Gus Malzahn at Auburn – are each a 7-5 season away from potentially being gone, and why? Alabama keeps on rolling. So now it’s up to the conference teams to pivot. If and when Saban retires, Alabama will get the A list of A lister head coaching prospects to take his place, but still, it’s up to the rest of the SEC to try doing more to make it a more even conference. That’s where the new guys come in. Tennessee might have rolled the dice on a defensive coaching star in Jeremy Pruitt – hoping to get the next Kirby Smart – but the rest of the league is trying to figure it all out with offense, offense, offense. How is Texas A&M combating the Alabama problem? It got a national title head coach in Jimbo Fisher, gave him a massive contract, and for all intents and purposes, is playing the long game to be ready to pounce the second the Tide slips and/or Saban is done. How are Arkansas and Mississippi State trying to adjust? They went after two high-powered offensive minds in Chad Morris and Joe Moorhead, respectively, looking to bomb their way into that one big season that overcomes any deficiencies. Florida will win with its D, but new head man Dan Mullen is coming in to pump up a sluggish O. Missouri has the attack to still wing it around – although, not as much this year with offensive coordinator Josh Heupel gone to UCF – Ole Miss will bomb away early and often, and even South Carolina has more of a dangerous attack for SEC teams to worry about. From LSU (Joe Burrow) to Ole Miss (Jordan Ta’amu) to Auburn (Jarrett Stidham) to South Carolina (Jake Bentley) to Missouri (Drew Lock) to Vanderbilt (Kyle Shurmur), the quarterbacks are there who can wing it around, with the trend to crank up the offensive side in the hopes of finding the right mix on the right day to get by anyone in the conference at any time. But Georgia and Alabama have amazing quarterback situations, too. It’s going to be a transitional season with a lot of excitement, a lot of new coaches getting free passes for a year, and a lot of hope for so many fan bases dreaming of having the guy running the show who can make their program special. And then they have to hope that Alabama finally implodes. SEC Team That Will Surprise FLORIDA GATORS It might have been a disastrous 4-7 season with little offense, less fun, and a hurricane issue to deal with, but it could’ve been a whole lot worse. Had there not been the amazing last-second bomb to beat Tennessee, and had the 28-27 win over Kentucky had that one break to go the other way – to be fair, Florida always beats UK because those breaks never, ever go the other way – it could’ve and probably should’ve been a 2-9 season. Consider it a step back to take a massive leap forward now that the program has Dan Mullen. The defense has the talent across the board to be fantastic, the running game should be solid, and the receiving corps is good as long as the quarterback situation is okay. Don’t be totally and completely shocked if the program makes it three trips to the SEC Championship in four years if it beats … SEC Team That Will Disappoint GEORGIA BULLDOGS It’s all relative for a program that’s now hovering around the national-title-or-bust level. 

Georgia caught a break last season thanks to a bad SEC East and – this worked the other way, too; more on that in a moment – not having to play Alabama in the SEC Championship. Obviously, the Bulldogs were and are amazing, and obviously, there but for the grace of a big play they could’ve won the national championship. But lose two games this season, and they’re not going to the CFP again unless everything falls their way. At South Carolina, at LSU, Florida in Jacksonville, and Auburn. Drop two of those four – or just one and the SEC Championship – and all of the preseason hopes and expectations are dashed. NEXT: Game of the Year, Hot Seat Coaches, Top Unknown Players & More Game Of The Year AUBURN AT ALABAMA, NOV. 24 Alabama and Georgia don’t play each other, and while Auburn and the Bulldogs go at it again like they did last year, that’s not likely going to be as large as yet another massive Iron Bowl. Of course, Auburn’s win over the Tide last season didn’t turn out to make a difference on the national scene, and if anything, it was a decent break for Bama to lose and not face Georgia in the SEC Championship. But this time around, the Tigers should be able to really and truly make or break the 2018 college football season with that trip to Georgia a few weeks before going to Tuscaloosa on November 24th. 5 Big-Time Players Who Deserve A Bigger Spotlight Five players who have been a bit under the radar on a national level, but should rise up and be among the season’s best players. 1. LB K’Lavon Chaisson, Soph. LSU 2. DE Landis Durham, Sr. Texas A&M 3. S Mike Edwards, Sr. Kentucky 4. LB Terez Hall, Sr. Missouri 5. LB De’Jon Harris, Jr. Arkansas 5 SEC Coaches On The Hot Seat Usually, the idea of a Hot Seat should be defined by who’s under the most pressure and not just who’s going to get fired, but it’s the SEC – everyone’s under ridiculous levels of pressure. Nick Saban has to win a national title or his season is a failure. Texas A&M fans would like Jimbo Fisher to somehow win three CFP Championships this year, and all of the other new head coaches are supposed to start winning RIGHT NOW. These five, they have to win, and they’re on a hot seat because they’ll get fired if they have a losing season. Giving the new guys a free pass for now … 1. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt 2. Mark Stoops, Kentucky 3. Barry Odom, Missouri 4. Ed Orgeron, LSU 5. Gus Malzahn, Auburn 5 Non-Conference Games That SEC Teams Had Better Take Very, Very Seriously As always, the SEC will take a beating for late season scrimmages like Alabama facing Citadel, Auburn playing Liberty, Florida taking on Idaho and South Carolina dealing with UT-Chattanooga, and as always, it won’t be fair. Almost everyone has a brutal non-conference game to face including Texas A&M vs. Clemson, LSU vs. Miami, and Auburn against Washington. These five are games under the radar that everyone will assume the SEC will win, but … be careful. 1. Marshall at South Carolina, Sept. 15 2. Central Michigan at Kentucky, Sept. 1
3. Wyoming at Missouri, Sept. 8
4. North Texas at Arkansas. Sept. 15 5. Louisiana Tech at Mississippi State, Nov. 3 5 Best Pro Prospects 1. WR AJ Brown, Jr. Ole Miss 2. CB Greedy Williams, Soph. LSU 3. OT Greg Little, Jr. Ole Miss 4. LB Josh Allen, Sr. Kentucky 5. OT Jonah Williams, Jr. Alabama 5 Biggest Shoes To Fill 1. LB Monty Rice for Roquan Smith, Georgia 2. S Deionte Thompson for Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama 3. RB Kam Martin for Kerryon Johnson, Auburn 4. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire for Derrius Guice, LSU 5. WR Cam Buckley for Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
  19. #SEC Media Days 2018: Texas A&M to see Tigers and Gamecocks (AUDIO) JULY 16, 2018 BY PHIL KORNBLUT Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher at his first SEC Media Days USC has what appears to be a favorable SEC schedule for 2018. The Gamecocks will host Georgia, Texas A&M, Missouri and Tennessee and will travel to Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Florida. We’re previewing the Gamecocks’ SEC opponents from Media Days 2018 in Atlanta. Here’s a look at Texas A&M, which also is a Clemson opponent. Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher (1st season, career 83-23) 2017 record: 5-6 (at Florida State) ACC finish: 3-5 Postseason: Resigned prior to team’s bowl game Returning Starters: 7 offense 8 defense 1 specialist Top returners on offense: QB Nick Starkel (1793-14-6); RB Trayveon Williams (798-8); WR Jhamon Ausbon (50-5710-3) Top returners on defense: LB Tyrel Dodson (105 TT 11 TFL, 5.5 SKS); DL Landis Durham (56 TT, 12 TFL, 10.5 SKS) Fisher gives his preview of the Aggies
  20. #SEC Media Days 2018: Kentucky looking for break through season (AUDIO) JULY 16, 2018 BY PHIL KORNBLUT Kentucky’s Mark Stoops is looking for his first big season USC has what appears to be a favorable SEC schedule for 2018. The Gamecocks will host Georgia, Texas A&M, Missouri and Tennessee and will travel to Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Florida. We’re previewing the Gamecocks’ SEC opponents from Media Days 2018 in Atlanta. Here’s a look at Kentucky which owns a four game winning streak against USC. Head Coach: Mark Stoops (6th season, 26-36) 2017 record: 7-6 SEC finish: 4-4 Postseason: Lost to Northwestern in Music City Bowl Returning Starters: 8 offense 9 defense 0 specialist Top returners on offense: RB Benny Snell (1333-19); WR Tavin Richardson (27-371-1) Top returners on defense: SAF Mike Edwards (97 TT, 4 INT); LB Josh Allen (65 TT 9.5 TL, 7 SKS) Stoops gives his preview of the Wildcats
  21. FeatheredCock

    SEC Takeover Schedule Set

    SEC Takeover Schedule Set July 13, 2018 Teams Take Center Stage for SEC Network Takeover July 23 – August 5 For the fourth consecutive year, SEC Network is turning the keys over to the teams, as all 14 Southeastern Conference schools will schedule network programming for a two-week stretch this summer. Beginning Monday, July 23, each school will exclusively program a full 24 hours on SEC Network with their picks of classic games, films, ESPN originals, school-produced content and more. South Carolina has been assigned Tuesday, July 31 as its day to "take over" the SEC Network, with 24 hours of Gamecock programming. See the attached release for more information
  22. https://collegefootballnews.com/2018...s-preview-20186. Will Muschamp, South CarolinaHis teams are tough, they fight, and they’re able to stay in games, but can he take South Carolina to an SEC East championship level? He had one fantastic 11-2 season at Florida back in 2012, but until his offenses can start doing more, there’s a ceiling on how good his teams will be. That attack might just show up this year.
  23. SEC Media Day Participants Announced July 11, 2018 Trio to Travel to Atlanta on Thursday, July 19 COLUMBIA, S.C. (July 11, 2018) – University of South Carolina Football will be represented by quarterback Jake Bentley, wide receiver/kick returner Deebo Samuel and defensive end D.J. Wonnum at the 2018 SEC Football Kickoff Media Days presented by Regions Bank, next week in Atlanta, it was announced today. Gamecocks’ Head Coach Will Muschamp and the trio of standouts will be at the Omni Hotel and the College Football Hall of Fame for the annual event on Thursday, July 19. JAKE BENTLEY QB | 6-4 | 224 | JR | 2L Opelika, Ala. (Opelika) 2018 Outback Bowl MVP 2017 Team Captain 2017 Leadership Award - Offense 2017 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll 2017 Carolina Male New Student-Athlete of the Year 2017 Joe Morrison Offensive Player of the Spring 2016 Steve Wadiak Co-Most Valuable Player 16-17 First-Year SEC Honor Roll Junior signal-caller who has started each of the last 20 games... owns a 13-7 record as a starter... ranks 10th incompletions (370), second in completion percentage (63.3), 11th in passing yards (4,214) and 11th in passing touchdowns (27) in school history... needs seven victories to become the sixth quarterback to win 20 games at Carolina, joining Connor Shaw (27), Todd Ellis (24), Garry Harper (20), Stephen Garcia (20) and Steve Taneyhill (20)... named the 2017-18 winner of the SEC Sportsmanship Award for the compassion he showed following the Gamecocks’ thrilling win over Tennessee. DEEBO SAMUEL WR | 6-0 | 210 | SR | 3L Inman, S.C. (Chapman) 2016 Steve Wadiak Co-Most Valuable Player 2016 Steve Spurrier Most Valuable Player - Offense 2016 Most Explosive Player - Offense 2016 Joe Morrison Offensive Player of the Spring 2015 Spring Big Plays Award – Offense One of the most electrifying players in college football, the talented wide receiver and kick returner is an all-conference and All-America candidate in his final campaign... named to Athlon Sports’ 2018 pre-season first-team All-SEC unit as both a wide receiver and kick returner... owns 86 career receptions for 1,194 yards... has scored 15 career touchdowns - seven on the ground, five receiving and three via kickoff return... has also thrown one touchdown pass... is the school’s record-holder in kick returns for touchdowns... has played in 18 games over the past three seasons with 16 career starts... was limited in the spring due to injuries. D.J. WONNUM DL | 6-5 | 258 | JR | 2L Stone Mountain, Ga. (Stephenson) 2018 Rex Enright Co-Defensive Player of the Spring 2017 Team Captain 2017 Most Productive Player - Defense 2017 Strength & Conditioning Award 2017 Rex Enright Defensive Player of the Spring 2016 Athlon’s SEC All-Freshman Second Team 16-17 First-Year SEC Honor Roll Junior defensive lineman who is a candidate for All-SEC recognition after a breakout season in 2017... named to Athlon Sports’ 2018 pre-season third-team All-SEC unit... a two-time SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week selection... one of just three sophomores who have been named a permanent team captain in school history... has played in all 26 games over the past two seasons making 13 starts... owns 16.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks
  24. Three keys for South Carolina to win the SEC East in 2018 July 05, 2018 Coming off of a 9-4 season that included an Outback Bowl victory over the Michigan Wolverines, 26-19, the Gamecocks are looking to continue their upward trajectory in 2018. There are still unknowns about this team going into fall camp. However, there are also quite a few signs that point in the Garnet and Black’s favor. With Georgia losing over 30 players from a National Championship runner-up team, they seem primed to take a step back this year. Florida and Tennessee are both coming off of four-win seasons and coaching staff turnovers in the off-season. Missouri has Drew Lock but he lost his top wide receiver from last year and also his offensive coordinator, Josh Heupel. Kentucky still has Benny Snell Jr. at running back and Josh Allen at linebacker but not much else. Vanderbilt has one of better and more experienced quarterbacks in the league in Kyle Shurmur but they will be hurt from the departure of Ralph Webb and Oren Burks in their respective positions. The SEC East has arguably been “down” the past couple of seasons but looks to be improving. Still, the upcoming football season looks to hold some exciting potential for Will Muschamp and staff. South Carolina hasn’t won the SEC East since 2010. They ended up getting pummeled by Auburn in the Championship game though, losing 56-17 at the hands of Cam Newton and the Tigers. With Georgia recruiting at a high level plus Florida and Tennessee improving, this upcoming season could be the Gamecocks best chance to reach Atlanta since 2010. Here are my three keys to South Carolina winning the SEC East in 2018: 1. Jump on Georgia early The last two years, Georgia and South Carolina have met in November and October. That’s about halfway through the regular season. Most years, the two teams would meet in an early September game. In 2018, it’s back to the typical time of year for this inter-conference rivalry. The Bulldogs will visit Williams-Brice in the second week of the season for a 3:30 kickoff on CBS. There’s no doubt UGA is the pre-season favorite to win the East. However, this is a huge opportunity for the Gamecocks to get a head start in the division race. A win over the Dawgs would virtually give South Carolina a two-game lead in the division due to the fact that they would own the tiebreaker if each team ended conference play with only one loss. With great players like Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Isaiah Wynn, Roquan Smith and many others no longer in Athens, Georgia will be without a lot of greatly talented experience. Since the game is as early as it is in the season, a more experienced South Carolina team at home should have an edge in this matchup. No Hayden Hurst will hurt but the Gamecocks do get back Deebo Samuel who had vaulted into the Heisman discussion last season after just two games before getting injured. This game could ultimately be the deciding factor in who gets to represent the East division in Atlanta this year. 2. Develop a consistent running game The Gamecocks have not had a consistently successful running attack since Mike Davis left the program. The past couple seasons have been ‘by committee’ in the backfield and not in a good way. In 2016, South Carolina had 12 different players attempt at least one rush on the season for a combined average of just 3.7 yards per carry and a total of 1,747 yards rushing on the year (134.4 per game). Last season saw only 10 different Gamecocks attempt a rush. They had a combined average of 3.9 yards per carry and a total of 1,588 total yards rushing for the season (122.2 per game). Five different players carried the ball at least 41 times last year, four of which were running backs with the other being Jake Bentley. The running backs had a total of EIGHT rushing touchdowns and 1,405 total yards rushing (4.7 yards per carry). Bentley alone had SIX rushing touchdowns. All five of the leading rushers from last year’s team return in 2018. In order for the Gamecocks to really push for an East division title, one of them needs to step up and stand out. Rico Dowdle is the most explosive of the returning backs but has dealt with a couple injuries. Ty’Son Williams is the most physical. AJ Turner is the most consistent. Mon Denson has made the most of his attempts but is clearly the fourth best of this bunch. A new, fast-paced, up-tempo offense will change the look of the offense. This should force at least one of these guys to create some separation from the others. Without a consistent running attack, the Gamecocks offense will never reach its full potential. If not fixed, it could ultimately cost them a chance to play for an SEC Championship. 3. Avoid the injury bug The 2017 season yielded some painful (no pun intended) injuries for the Gamecocks as a whole. Deebo Samuel was lost for the year in the third game against Kentucky with a broken leg. The next week, Bryson Allen-Williams was ruled out for the season with a shoulder injury. Two starting offensive linemen in Cory Helms and Zack Bailey missed multiple games each with various injuries. KC Crosby suffered the same injury as Deebo vs Arkansas and then just another week later, Rico Dowdle also went down with the exact same injury. Some other notable players who missed time due to injuries were Terry Googer, Jamyest Williams, Shi Smith and DJ Smith. Going into 2018, South Carolina has talent at every position. However, some is inexperienced and there isn’t a great amount of depth at any position besides wide receiver. The Gamecocks have to stay healthy to compete for a trip to Atlanta. While the schedule is manageable, the injury bug is one thing that will certainly undo Carolina’s chances.
  25. Georgia QB Jake Fromm's Injury Diagnosed as Broken Hand July 05, 2018 Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm reportedly suffered a broken left hand Monday in a "freak" accident at a lake, according to Trent Smallwood of Rivals.com. As noted by Jeff Sentell of DawgNation.com, the break was in his non-throwing hand. Per that report: "The event took place during a boating incident. The exact details of the event could not be specifically confirmed other than a tow rope got away while dragging another rider and Fromm put his hand up to shield himself from the rope." Sentell added that Fromm will "only need a few weeks to heal" and "should be ready to go for the start of fall camp." Head coach Kirby Smart confirmed the injury, per ESPN.com's Chris Low. It's Fromm's second offseason injury. Last month, he got a fishing lure lodged in his leg. "Well, I was fishing, and it was getting dark," he said of that accident, per Jay Clemons of 11Alive.com. "My buddy and I were fishing at the top of the water. ... He tried to set the lure, and the lure came flying back at me, and it gets stuck in my leg. The rest is pretty much history." Fromm, 19, took over as Georgia's starting quarterback last season after Jacob Eason suffered an injury in Week 1. He promptly led the Bulldogs to the College Football Playoff National Championship, throwing for 2,615 yards, 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing 62.2 percent of his passes. He also rushed for 79 yards and another three scores. Georgia, led by a stout defense and a devastating run game, didn't need Fromm to play hero ball, and he managed the offense ably in the team's 13-2 season. While they fell short against Alabama in the title game, it was still a superb season for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs aren't exactly wanting for options at the position, however, as 5-star recruit Justin Fields—the No. 2 overall prospect in the class of 2018, per 247Sports.com—is waiting in the wings. The dual-threat Fields was expected to play some role for the Bulldogs in the 2018 season, and perhaps even win the job over Fromm, though the incumbent isn't worried that the quarterback competition will affect the locker room. "It's part of the team aspect that's out there," Fromm said, per David Paschall of the Times Free Press. "Obviously you're buddies with guys in your room, because you see them every day and you're with them every day. We're also competing for a job and competing the best way we can. The main goal is to help the team the best way we possibly can." https://syndication.bleacherreport.com/amp/2784539-georgia-qb-jake-fromms-injury-reportedly-diagnosed-as-broken-hand.amp.html

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