Posts Tagged ‘Steve Spurrier’

2009 SEC Football Power Poll: Final Season Ballot

Check out the Full Poll Results at Team Speed Kills!

Final Season Ballot

Well, it’s been a long season and all the games are in the books.  This season, I have been less than dutiful in managing to write anything about the comings and goings of college football, which is highly disappointing for me.  Of late I’ve taken a few weeks off to try and recharge myself both as a person and as a blogger—more on that later.  Either way, since all that really matters in the world of college football is where you end the season, here’s my final ballot the SEC Football Power Poll, serving as a cap to the the 2009 season.

Here they are, my darlins:

Rk. Team Comments
1. Alabama Crimson Tide The last chapter in this book was nothing but ugly, but the 13 wins before that were pretty stellar.  A well earned championship the Alabama Crimson Tide.
2. Florida Gators The Florida Gators finished strong against Cincinnati—bidding Tim Tebow a fond farewell, and possibly Urban Meyer.

Next year, however, looks awfully uncertain, not bad, just really “sketchy.

3. Ole Miss Rebels Up and down, up and down.  The Ole Miss Rebels 2009 season was the roller coaster from hell, but it was fun, and was worth the ticket.

In 2010, the Rebels have holes to fill and maybe the expectations will be a little more reasonable.

4. LSU Tigers What a difference between 2008 and 2009.  The LSU Tigers looked like a top-rate, second-rate program at times, especially on offense.

I have a feeling there will be some changes in the off-season.

5. Auburn Tigers Considering where the Auburn Tigers were this time last year, I call this one a success.

Hats off to Gene Chizik for managing to return a winning record and to avoid being lynched by the Tigers’ fans.

6.(t) Tennessee Volunteers The Tennessee Volunteers improved steadily throughout the season until injuries began exposing just how empty the cupboard was when Lane Kiffin took over.

Call me crazy, but I think the Vols overachieved this season.  Next year, however, will be much more important; setting the stage for years to come.

6.(t) Georgia Bulldogs The Georgia Bulldogs finished with a win, which is probably a good thing for Mark Richt.

The question remains, however, just how much can they reasonably improve by 2010?  I fear not enough to keep the crazies at bay.

8. Arkansas Razorbacks While there were some real bright spots here and there in 2009 for the Arkansas Razorbacks, on the whole I am not so sure that things will be much better next season for the Hogs, until they figure out who they want to be offensively and start playing just a little bit of defense.

Still, they were much better in 2009 than in 2008.

9. South Carolina Gamecocks Once again, the South Carolina Gamecocks suffered their late-season slide. Still, they beat kissing-cousin Clemson before imploding against Connecticut.

So, how many more seasons does the Ole Ball Coach hang around?  I’m thinking not that many.

10. Kentucky Wildcats While the Kentucky Wildcats lost to Clemson in the Music City Bowl, considering where the Cats were when Rich Brooks took over, I call four bowls in a row big time improvement.

As for the future, well, it’s not like Joker Phillips hasn’t already been there and done that.

11. Mississippi State Bulldogs Dan Mullen‘s Mississippi State Bulldogs were light-years better than they were under Sly Croom in 2008.  They just could never catch a break when they needed one.

Next year, however, that should start to change.

12. Vanderbilt Commodores As for the Vanderbilt Commodores, well … umm … the field looked nice this year.

The Rest of the Power Poll

Now that you have wasted your time looking at my ballot, go check out what everybody else is saying over at Team Speed Kills, where the 2009 Football Power Poll round-up is there for all to see.

Now, on to basketball season…

– So it goes…About Lawvol

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2009 SEC Preview: South Carolina

2009 SEC Football Previews | Gate 21

Steve Spurrier is set to being his fifth fall as South Carolina’s football coach. In his previous four years in Columbia, he has a record of 28-22. He’s just 15-17 in the SEC during that time. Many expected when the OBC (or Ol’ Ball Coach, as he’s called) was hired he was going to turn Carolina into a winner.

The Gamecocks have gone 6-6 and 7-6 the past two seasons. But I must admit I forgot that they actually got off to solid starts both seasons, only to collapse at the end. In 2007, Carolina was #6 in the country at 6-1, then lost at home to Vanderbilt and lost out, missing out on a bowl game. Last year, Carolina was 5-2 following road wins at Ole Miss and Kentucky.

Carolina led LSU 17-10 at half, before the Tigers rallied to a 24-17 win. They bounced back, beat Tennessee and Arkansas to get to 7-3. Good season, right? Well, Carolina lost their last three games to Florida, Clemson and Iowa in the Outback Bowl by a combined 118-30.

A solid, respectable season, turned disappointing.

Going back to the bigger picture with Spurrier and South Carolina, much of the reason for the Gamecocks’ struggles have centered around the offense. More often during his tenure at SC, Spurrier’s teams have relied on the defense to help them win games.

Now Carolina faces sort of a crossroads. While Tennessee’s hired a new coach and Vandy and Kentucky return good bits of bowl teams – and still well behind Georgia and Florida in the SEC East pecking order – the Gamecocks return just 11 starters and lose some important players. What will Spurrier be able to do with this team?

Read the rest of this entry

2009 SEC Preview: Kentucky

2009 SEC Previews | Gate 21

Three years, three bowl games, three bowl wins.

The last time Kentucky football had seen a similar stretch of success, they had Tim Couch throwing the ball all over Commonwealth Stadium in the Fun’N’Gun-on-steroids offense of Hal Mumme.

After Jared Lorenzen became the school’s all-time career passing leader and a combined 5 wins in Rich Brooks’ first two years, Andre Woodson came in and by his senior season had not only made the Wildcats a competitive team that couldn’t be taken lightly by the SEC heavyweights, but had Kentucky ranked in the top 10 in the country after knocking off top-ranked LSU.

However, the bottom fell out on the rest of that 2007 season, and after Woodson graduated, along with a trio of targets currently on NFL rosters (Keenan Burton, Steve Johnson and Jacob Tamme), many – including myself felt Kentucky was going to fall back a little bit into their normal role of fighting with Vanderbilt to stay out of the SEC East cellar.

But, despite averaging only 18 points a game in the conference, Kentucky managed six wins (the Wildcats went just 2-6 in the SEC) and capped it off by beating Conference USA champion East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl. However, with the departure of the majority of the defense Kentucky relied and the struggles of the offense, can Kentucky reach a fourth straight bowl, something they’ve never done in 120 years of playing football?

Read the rest of this entry

The Blazer Chronicles: A “Quotetastic” Look at the SEC

Well, after failing to get my Oklahoma State preview up in time for the game, and given the quick end to the BasketVols‘ run in the NCAA Tournament, I really haven’t had a lot to offer these past few days.  Of course, when you set the bar very low—which has always been the policy of Gate 21—it takes extra effort to fail in grand style.  I guess I am running behind in my running behind…

In the meantime, here’s a little something that is worth giving a look.  I’m a bit behind in getting this up, but this is pretty funny if you ask me (which I realize you didn’t).

Here is a pretty hilarious look at the various coaches of the SEC in a way that I don’t think I have ever seen before.  As always, this comes courtesy of VolzRChamps and, with a Tennessee All-Sports Update.

The Blazer Chronicles: A “Quotetastic” Look at the SEC

That Bobby Johnson quote is simply priceless…

– So it goes …About Lawvol

Video Courtesy of: VolzRChamps / You TubeBlazer Chronicles

Theories about Lane Kiffin’s jab at Urban Meyer…

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

Rusty over at RTT has offered up 5 theories for Lane Kiffin‘s (a/k/a the Blackjack General) barb to Urban Meyer yesterday.  They are worth a read.  Rusty’s theories started a rather interesting discussion on the subject.

Anyway, here are my two cents worth, which I originally posted over on RTT as a comment (with the addition of the video and image):

The comment on Meyer is simply a comment made to a closed group being taken out of context.  That is, Kiffin said “cheating” in the sense of “man, that’s some slimy stuff” but is was taken as “violation of codified NCAA and SEC rules and regulations.” In other words, he was speaking like a normal person and not like some degenerate lawyer (I can say that, I are one).

In the big picture, I think that there is a method to Kiff’s madness.  I think he realizes that the Tennessee fans need something to help rally them to “the flag,” which a little controversy will accomplish.

Furthermore, I think — rightly or wrongly — he perceives a belief among the fans that Tennessee has been the “nice guy fuddy-duddy” type for a long time and have never really stood its ground the way it could (See Charlie Brown).  I think that there is a definite feeling of this sort among many in the Big Orange fanbase.

I also think he believes that the opposite it true — that other coaches (especially Urban Meyer) have gotten used to walking on Tennessee and now feel an entitlement of sorts.  I think this is also true.  I think Kiff realizes that he has to stop that, and that the fans will gladly support him in this.

I also think — given who he has attacked and who he hasn’t (See Mark Richt, Houston Nutt, Rich Brooks, Les Miles, etc.) — that it is a calculated move to agitate those who simply cannot stand being agitated and love to agitate constantly.  Steve Spurrier was the master of this in the 1990s — and it was very effective.  Kiffin wants to try and begin to get in the heads of others who believe themselves to be mighty, but has notably spared the friendly sorts. (Oh, and for the record, Spurrier can take being agitated. In fact it often seems to make him respect others more. Plus, he was pretty affable in response to the whole recruiting test discourse.)

I think Kiff probably understands that the team might not fare well at first, but he is showing that he’s not willing to be pushed around now.  It’s the proverbial “knock me down, and I’ll get back up and say it again, so you can knock me down, so I can get up and say it again, till I get strong enough that you can no longer knock me down” approach (man what a run-on).

I also think that Kiffin is simply not the kind of guy who shirks from a challenge, and the staff he has assembled bears that out. (Compare Mr. Edward Orgeron and … the World)  Call me crazy, but he almost has me believing that he can pull it off as well.

To be able to win, you have to first believe that you can win.  To take on the invincible, you have to believe you are invincible. (See This is Sparta)

Video:  300 – “This is Sparta

Of course, I also believe that Elvis Presley is living in Vonore, Tennessee under the assumed name “Leyland T. Vegas” and that Plate Tectonics is all part of some nefarious Communist conspiracy

Viva, Baby... Viva!

Viva, Baby... Viva!

At its basic level, however, Kiffin is accomplishing something — getting the fans and team ready for a fight and getting the media interested enough to show up and document it all.

•  HT to / via:  Five theories about Lane Kiffin’s jab at Urban Meyer | Rocky Top Talk

I suppose it all comes down to Jules Winnfield / Samuel L. Jackson’s statement: “Oh, well allow me to retort…

At any rate, the conversation has been interesting over there, and is worth a look (and perhaps a comment).

Image Courtesy ofElvis Impersonators Blog

Georgia High School says “Hit the Road, Steve (Spurrier)!”

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

Apparently Steve Spurrier is just not getting along with the folks in Georgia.

One of the state of Georgia’s premier prep football programs has forbidden Steve Spurrier and South Carolina from recruiting future prospective student athletes

* * * * *

… Franklin Stephens, spoke with Spurrier late on Sunday and with assistant coach Shane Beamer on Friday about the Gamecocks collective coaching decision. It got heated to say the least acknowledged Stephens …

* * * * *

… The news hit Knoxville fast, and just as fast as it did, it found new Tennessee D-Coordinator Monte Kiffin tearing up the interstate to Tucker. Davis who was still upset, was surprised to see Kiffin at his home

• HT to / via: Spurrier – South Carolina Now Banned

Nice to see that the Full Monte was there to jump-in the gap…

It’s a Family Affair…

Well, I am beginning to think that some of my concerns about the loss of the “family” feeling at Tennessee due to the departure of the Great Punkin may have been unfounded.  It appears that Coach Kiffin is dead set on keeping the family side of Tennessee alive—albeit in a slightly different way than I envisioned.

The more I look at things the more the Tennessee Athletic Department mirrors the Soprano family…


Thus far, Coach Kiffin has been more than happy to keep it “inside the family,” hiring both his father, Monte Kiffin (longtime defensive coordinator with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) as well as his brother-in-law David Reaves (Steve Spurrier’s quarterbacks’ coach / recruiting coordinator at South Carolina).  On top of this, last week he added an additional hire off the South Carolina Gamecocks’ staff in the form of new strength and conditioning coach Mark Smith, along with new offensive line coach James Cregg, who served under the Blackjack General when Kiffin was coaching the Los Angeles Oakland Raiders, and was currently working under Raiders’ coach Tom Cable.

So, is all of this a good thing, or a bad thing?

Well, I am honestly not sure.  That said, I like the fact that Kiffin seems to have a plan about what it is he is trying to accomplish—he’s not just randomly selecting coaches that are “available.”  In fact, with the exception of the few members of Coach Fulmer’s staff that Kiffin has retained, none of the coaches he has added to his first staff have been “available,” as Tom Cable plainly noted.  It is nice to be back in the position as a program to be able to pull people away from other programs, instead of the opposite.

Furthermore, thus far the choices that Kiffin has made to assist him in his first campaign at Tennessee appear to be quality hires.  First of all there is the Full Monte, who is the “Godfather” of the Tampa 2 defense and arguably the best defensive coordinator in the toughest football league in the world.  The venerable patriarch.

Okay, I think that can work…

Then, there is Mark Smith, who was thought by many to be one of Spurrier’s indispensable aides at both Florida and with the Thunder Chickens.  In the past, it was thought that Smith would never leave Spurrier due to the fact he rejected overtures from, among others, the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Smith has been at the heart of every successful team that Spurrier has fielded.

Apparently, Smith decided that loyalty to Spurrier could not overcome the pull of “the family”…

Then there is Reaves, who was been surprisingly successful as the Head Ball Coach’s recruiting coordinator, a fact that Tennessee fans had been acutely aware of over the last few years.  Obviously, as Lane Kiffin’s brother-in-law it is hardly surprising that Reaves decided to head to more orange-tinted pastures.  Still, Spurrier has never been one to let his coaches or recruits go to others quietly.  Thus, it also appears that there is about to be a second-round of the Tennessee vs. Spurrier battles that marked the early-to-mid 1990’s—the rumblings are already out there.

Ahh, just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in…

If (and that is a big “if”) you trust the rumors, the oft maligned Ed Orgeron (currently serving as defensive line coach for the New Orleans Saints) is next up for Kiffin as he works toward filling out his staff.  Coach “O” did not exactly wow the world with his performance as head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels, but continues to be thought of as one of the premier defensive line coaches and a crackerjack recruiter.  Given that all of the rumors of Monte Kiffin joining “Kiffin the Younger,” proved accurate, it appears that the chances are good that “O” will be “hnaw-hnawing” on the sidelines in Neyland Stadium this fall.

Now whether ticking off NFL owners and other SEC coaches is a bad thing, I cannot say.  I will say that it is nice to see Lane Kiffin out using his credibility and Tennessee’s tradition to get the people he needs.  While I realize there is something to be said for extending certain courtesies to other coaches and teams, sometimes you have to simply make folks an “offer they can’t refuse” and let the chips fall where they may.  This is especially true when it comes to re-tooling a program that has bottomed-out of late.  Kiffin, responding to questions regarding his tactics, summed it quite matter-of-factly:

“I got a job to do in our athletic department and that’s to put together the best staff we can put together and the best players we can put together.  I’m not really concerned about that stuff.”

• via: GoVolsXtra

Kiffin’s coaching-coups, appear to be making a difference as well, as Tennessee has now sewn-up several choice recruits, and appears to be getting the inside track on several more.

So far, so good.  Is Kiffin going in the right direction?  I think so.  Is he destined for greatness?  Only time will tell.  Is there plenty more to be done to cement Tennessee’s position as a contender once again for the SEC?  You better believe it.  Is Kiffin done mixing it up with the other coaches across the country yet?


– Go Figure …Email lawvol

Images Courtesy of:
Information contained in this post courtesy of: Volquest.comGoVolsXtra
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