The most exciting moment of this years Senior Bowl was the opening kick-off. Southeastern Louisiana's Robert Alford took the ball and shot through the middle of the kick coverage and went 85 yards before being brought down at the opposing fifteen yard line by a face mask tackle. From that point it was a pretty tough game to watch if you were tuning in to see the offenses excel.
The QBs really struggled in this game. Ryan Nassib of Syracuse went 4 for 10 with a pick. Oklahoma's Landry Jones went 3 for 9 for 16 yards. NC State's Mike Glennon was 8 of 16 for 82 yards. Tyler Wilson of Arkansas was 8 of 11 but only for 40 yards but severely underthrew Arkansas teammate Cobi Hamilton in the first half on a throw that should have been picked off. Miami of Ohio's Zac Dysert cleaned up in the two-minute drill at the end of the game to finish 10 of 16 for 93 yards and a TD but he also had an INT and a fumble (which was luckily recovered by a teammate).
The best performance by a QB was by FSU's EJ Manuel. Manuel didn't look great but he did finish 7 of 10 for 76 yards (1 INT and 1 TD). More importantly for Manuel is that he led his team on three TD drives (one of them was just under 15 yards due to the Alford return on the opening play of the game). The best play of the game from Manuel was a beautiful twenty yard TD pass to Alabama TE Michael Williams that floated right over the defender.
Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting says not to worry too much about the performance of the QBs though...
Don't jump to conclusions on these QBs based off this game. Nothing changed based off this game for them.
— Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) January 27, 2013
So who stood out in the game? BYU's Ziggy Ansah really jumped off of the TV screen. He finished with 7 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, caused a fumble and broke up a pass. Not too shabby. As a Georgia guy, I was keeping my eye on some of the Bulldogs and Cornelius Washington really had a good game. He was only credited with one tackle but he also had a sack and a forced fumble and was beating his man on a regular basis. At Georgia the last few years he's seemed a little lost in the 3-4 as he doesn't quite fit the mold of the 3-4 DE or OLB and if he gets with an NFL team as a straight up 4-3 pass rushing DE he could have a very nice career. Baccari Rambo of Georgia also had a nice interception of Ryan Nassib in the first half.
When you talk about the Senior Bowl and games of this type, the game is very important but so is the week of practice leading up to the game. For more coverage of the week leading up to the game make sure you check out Optimum Scouting as they were on-hand to cover the game.
You do not have to look far in the state of Pennsylvania to find someone who believes the NCAA is a fraud institution, incapable of managing collegiate athletics with an ounce of credibility. After the way the NCAA handled Penn State last summer, admittedly going beyond their normal reach and overstepping typical procedures to issue significant penalties against the university following the release of the Freeh Report, the NCAA was criticized not just by the Penn State faithful, but by national columnists and analysts as well.
Whether it was right or wrong for the NCAA to issue sanctions against Penn State, or whether or not the NCAA was too harsh or too lenient on Penn State remains a topic of debate for some to this day. The state of Pennsylvania is even going so far as to challenge the NCAA over the sanctions through the legal system. Time will tell how much impact that has of course. I remain somewhat skeptical myself to the level of success the state will see out of the lawsuit, but today I have a feeling they may have just picked up at least a small bit of hope.
The NCAA announced they are opening an external investigation in to their own enforcement program after uncovering some potential problems during an investigation in to the University of Miami. Simply put, the NCAA enforcement staff uncovered information illegally to be used in the investigation and they now must re-evaluate their own procedures before they can move forward with any more on the Miami case. It could be good news for Miami in the long run, although it may be premature to suggest the case will be abandoned or counted as a mistrial.
Of course, comparing the Miami and Penn State cases would be similar to comparing apples and oranges. The NCAA did not illegally obtain the information used for the Penn State case, but it did use the info without any further investigation from the NCAA's own staff. That remains the bigger issue as far as Penn State is concerned. If the lawsuit is going to have any grounds to work on, pointing out shortcomings and incompetence of the NCAA will be just that. This news related to Miami could help fuel any case presented by the NCAA when it comes to discrediting the NCAA's ethics and policies.
But I am certainly no legal expert so any lawyers or aspiring lawyers out there can feel free to chime in on this. This could all very well mean absolutely nothing in the Pennsylvania lawsuit. After all, the NCAA saw that Penn State funded an external investigation and presented it as-is. If the investigation by a former FBI director seemed credible enough for the school and the NCAA, the case could be an open-and-shut case.
If you are seeing this Miami news expecting it to lead to some cut back on Penn State sanctions, keep dreaming. I just do not see it happening. But do not let me stand here and stop you from thinking about the various possibilities.
Subscribe to the Nittany Lions Den Football Podcast on iTunes.
Subscribe to the Nittany Lions Den YouTube channel.
Get more great Penn State news and analysis over at Nittany Lions Den.
Seth MacFarlane has never been one for holding back. Family Guy, his crowning achievement, is not only the greatest adult cartoon to bless television’s airwaves over its 11 seasons and 200 episodes, the program has successfully managed to offend every race, creed and culture in the process.
Recently, however, MacFarlane really hit home.
I’m not sure how many of my fellow Florida alum caught the January 6th episode but Seth threw a zinger at us Gators.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then UF has finally made the big time.
Wait for it… and Go Gators!
Joker Phillips finished his career as the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats with a total record of 13-24 and an SEC record of just 4-20. 2012 was the worst of the three years for Phillips as his team finished in the basement of the SEC East and went just 2-10 overall and 0-8 in the SEC.
Coming into the 2012 season, the Wildcats had lost Danny Trevathan and Winston Guy Jr off their defense and looked to take a step back on that side of the football but there was hope that the offense would improve. I tabbed Kentucky at 4-8 before the season while the Kentucky faithful were looking more at 5 or 6 wins. Even with those low expectations, winning two games was too much to keep Joker around for another year.
Kentucky now turns to Mark Stoops as he takes over for Phillips. Stoops has a background as a defensive guy, as did Rich Brooks who was fairly successful before Phillips took over, who coached most recently at FSU. Stoops turns to Neal Brown to handle the offensive duties and if his tenure at Texas Tech and Troy is any indication he will be throwing the ball around a bit.
Coming into 2012, Kentucky was the 12th most experienced team in the SEC (only Auburn and Mississippi State had less experience according to Phil Steele). Despite the youth, Phil Steele still has them listed 53rd in terms of returning starters for the 2013 season.
Offensively, Kentucky has been dead last in the SEC the last two years in points scored (17.9 in 2012 and 15.8 in 2011) so it will be crucial that Brown gets these guys up to speed on his system. The Wildcats have three young QBs in Maxwell Smith, Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles and it will be interesting to watch this spring and fall to see if one of those guys takes to the new system and jumps out in front of his peers. Kentucky has talent at RB with Raymond Sanders and CoShik Williams but have struggled to keep their guys healthy. The loss of offensive lineman Larry Warford will hurt.
Defensively, Kentucky took a step back in 2012 allowing 6.3 more points per game than in 2011. They will be better on defense this season with Stoops, they almost have to be. Whether or not they are significantly better as a whole will be whether or not the offense can get going and how early in the season they can get going. The schedule, at least in the early going, is not going to be Kentucky's friend in 2013. After starting with two very winnable mid-major games they play Louisville, Florida, South Carolina and then Alabama. Ouch. Winning those first two games (against WKU with Bobby Petrino and Miami, OH) will be a big key for Stoops getting this young team to believe in 2013. Despite the tough schedule, it's impossible to believe that this team won't be better than they were last season. The question is how much better will they be?
The South Carolina Gamecocks got a big boost today as they got confirmation that four-star offensive lineman, Na'Ty Rodgers, is going to be a Gamecock.
The 6-foot-5, 295-pound prospect chose South Carolina over his other favorite, Maryland, but also had offers from Arkansas, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Carolina and Washington, among other programs.
Rodgers is the No. 19 OT in the country and No. 7 prospect in Maryland for the 2013 class, according to 247Sports.
Rodgers is South Carolina's 20th commitment of the class and fifth offensive lineman.
Here is the newest Gamecock in action:
Two years ago, I called the Notre Dame football program a moral cesspool. Two weeks ago, I wrote a story about the horrible treatment of women who have accused members of the Notre Dame football team of sexual assault, harassment and rape. These strands knotted together Wednesday in a drama that threatens to break the Internet: the incredibly bizarre, but unbelievably true, story of Fighting Irish star Manti Te’o and his fake online girlfriend.
Te’o was a campus icon: the runner-up Heisman trophy winner, and the acknowledged inspirational leader of a team that came within one game of a national championship. He also, as Deadspin.com reported in a brilliant piece of investigative journalism by Tim Burke and Jack Dickey, shared, knowingly or unknowingly, an elaborate lie with major media outlets about a girlfriend, Stanford student Lennay Kekua, who didn’t really exist.
In the last six months as Teo’s fame ballooned, America learned about the football star’s soul mate who suffered a terrible car accident and, while hospitalized, discovered that she had leukemia. Lennay, according to Te’o, would stay on the phone with him for eight hours while he slept because hearing him breathe would ease her suffering. In September, she passed away. This tragic relationship was covered in Sports Illustrated, ESPN and even The New York Times. Te’o did interviews where he choked back tears. He spoke of their time together as well as her parents. People raised thousands of dollars in her name for cancer research. Once again, she didn’t exist.
A family friend of Te’o, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, in fact created the fictitious Lennay Kekua. Today I listened to a recording of Te’o onThe Jim Rome Show, his voice quavering as he spoke about “Lennay’s death.” The only conclusion one can draw is that he was either the victim of an insanely elaborate grift whose ingenuity would humble David Mamet, or something stinks in South Bend.
Either one believes that for three years, Te’o was content with an online relationship that involved neither Skype nor Facetime and just gilded the lily about their meetings. Or this was a ruse that started before anyone knew or cared who Manti Te’o was and as he grew into a college football superstar, it spun out of control.
Te’o issued a statement within hours of the Deadspin report claiming that he was the victim of a hoax. A press conference commanded by Te'o is also forthcoming, which will probably resemble a wildlife special where a gazelle is feasted upon by a pride of lions. Maybe Te’o, a devout Mormon, wanted to find a way to disengage from a campus hook-up culture that allegedly often strays into sexual assault. But if he is hiding facts about his personal life, it’s hard to imagine the press backing off until they find out exactly what they are. If it was a hoax, then Manti Te’o, a man who would fall in love online, have a three-year long-distance relationship and nurse a young woman through leukemia without ever seeing her in person, should be put in a lab and studied for the greater good.
Yet as with the far more serious previous scandals attached to this storied program, the problem is not just the behavior of students but the moral compass on display by the adults in charge. Within hours of the story breaking online, Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick held a press conference where he backed Te’o to the hilt saying,“Every single thing about this was real to Manti. There was no suspicion. The grief was real, the affection was real, and that’s the sad nature of this cruel game.”
Swarbrick revealed that a private outside firm had been hired to investigate just who had perpetrated this “cruel game.” The athletic director even cried. His behavior only raises more important questions than anything Te’o will face tomorrow.
Why hasn’t there been any kind of privately funded, outside investigation into the alleged sexual assaults committed by members of the football team? Why was there no private, outside investigation into Coach Brian Kelly’s role in the death of team videographer Declan Sullivan? It says so much that Te’o’s bizarre soap opera has moved Swarbrick to openly weeping but he hasn’t spared one tear, let alone held one press conference, for Lizzy Seeberg, the young woman who took her own life after coming forward with allegations that a member of the team sexually assaulted her.
Swarbrick’s press conference displayed that the problem at Notre Dame is not just football players without a compass; it’s the adults without a conscience. Their credo isn’t any kind of desire for truth or justice. Instead it seems to be little more than a constant effort to protect the Fighting Irish brand, no matter who gets hurt.
Here is the South Carolina football highlights from the 2012 regular season.
It was a very, very interesting year.
Check it out:
Get more great South Carolina sports analysis over at Leftover Hot Dog.
Bobby Moynihan plays the role of Manti Te'o on the "Piers Morgan Show" on SNL.
As you would expect, the end result is amazing.
Get more great South Carolina sports analysis over at College Football Zealots.
According to many reliable reports, South Carolina defensive line coach Brad Lawing is vacating his position under Coach Steve Spurrier to become part of Will Muschamp's defensive staff at the University of Florida Gators.
Not fully sure of the reasons for the departure but on the surface it does not make a lot of sense. For Lawing, he is giving up the chance to coach Jadeveon Clowney one more season and put a stamp on his legacy as a great line coach. Not to mention, he has spent 17 total seasons in Columbia. I guess Coach Muschamp made a offer either via the money angle or the coaching responsibilites route that Lawing could not turn down.
Hate to see this and this loss stings. Not sure why but it does. I guess cause it is Lawing or because it is the Gators. Either way, hate to see this news today.
One thing is certain, the Gamecocks will not have a hard time finding someone to come in given back-to-back 11 win seasons not to mention the talent the line has already in place. Lawing was a good one and seemed to be a solid member of the staff, which again makes this so surprising, but coaching is a business. Time to begin the new chapter....
Get more great South Carolina sports analysis over at Leftover Hot Dog.
The South Carolina Gamecocks basketball team lost today versus the Vanderbilt Commodores by the score of 58-51 but there was a cool video shown at halftime.
Check out this football highlight video:
Get more great South Carolina sports analysis over at Leftover Hot Dog.