Friday’s Five Burning Spring Ball Questions

 

 

It’s Friday and I know what you’re thinking. On a weekend that will be dominated by the NCAA basketball tournament, you need a little fix on spring football to get you to Monday. So here, at no extra charge, are Friday’s Five Burning Spring Ball Questions (P.S. If you have a burning question about spring ball, submit it here and it may get answered next Friday):

1. How badly is Steve Spurrier looking for a few good men on offense? So badly that he is starting to gaze in the direction of Ellis Johnson’s defense. Other than WR Kenny McKinley the Gamecocks really didn’t have anybody who could make big plays on offense last season. Spurrier has already called on defensive end Cliff Matthews at tight end to help with loss of Jared Cook (37 catches). Spurrier told Seth Emersen of The State Newspaper: “We’ve got to utilize all of our players, I think, better. Sometimes we’ve got guys out there that shouldn’t be out there, and we’ve got some of our most conscientious guys over there standing with me?”

Translation? The Head Ball Coach is getting tired of being mediocre on offense and his best athletes for a couple of years have been on defense. Stay tuned. This could get interesting but I still say that if the quarterback position (Stephen Garcia) plays consistently, which it never has in Spurrier’s four years at South Carolina, a lot of those problems on offense would be solved.

 

2. What is John L. Smith doing at Arkansas? Bobby Petrino had only one change on his coaching staff after year one in Fayetteville. Smith, the former head coach at Louisville and Michigan State, has come on board as special teams coach and will work with the defensive backs. Smith was fired at Michigan State after the 2006 season with a 22-26 record. Yes, there is a connection.  Petrino worked for seven seasons under Smith at Idaho, Utah State, and Louisville. They parted ways when Petrino went to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1999. When Smith went to Michigan State as head coach in 2003, Petrino left after one year as the Auburn OC and became the head coach at Louisville. Head coaches have told me that it never hurts to have a former head coach on the staff—if it’s a guy you trust not to stab you in the back. (Auburn fans may insert their comment here). He serves as an extra set of eyes on all the little things that a head coach has to be aware of.

 

3. Exactly how much does Florida plan to use John Brantley this spring? Brantley, a sophomore who threw 28 passes as a redshirt freshman, is Tim Tebow’s backup. So under normal circumstances and barring injury he wouldn’t figure to get a lot of snaps in 2009. But expect Brantley to get a lot of work this spring. Remember that in 2006, with Chris Leak as his starting quarterback, Urban Meyer made sure that freshman Tebow was involved enough in the offense so that his transition to starter in 2007 was very smooth. The same thing applies here. Scot Loeffler replaces Dan Mullen, now the head coach at Mississippi State, as quarterbacks coach. Loeffler, who spent last season working with the Detroit Lions, has extensive experience working with quarterbacks at Michigan (2002-07). In fact, Loeffler recruited Tebow for Michigan. He’ll help Tebow learn some of the subtleties he’ll need to play the position in the NFL, but it is Brantley who will benefit the most in the long term.

 

4. Can Terry Grant make a comeback at Alabama?  One of the most curious things about Alabama’s 12-2 team last season was what happened to Terry Grant. As a true freshman Grant led the Crimson Tide in rushing with 891 yards. He started nine games. I was convinced that this kid was going to be a star in 2008. But last season he fell to fourth on the depth chart behind Glen Coffee, freshman Mark Ingram and Roy Upchurch. Coffee is gone and Ingram and Upchurch return (Upchurch is still recovering from neck surgery and has not been cleared for contact. He is expected to be ready this fall). But getting back into the rotation is no sure thing for Grant because there is so much talent waiting in the wings, including incoming highly-recruited freshman Trent Richardson. I guess it’s a good problem for Alabama to have but Grant is a pretty talented guy to be sitting.

5. Who in the wide, wide world of sports put together Miami’s schedule? I don’t normally start breaking down schedules until after spring practice. But several Miami fans sent me this one and it bears discussion now. Miami, with a team full of good, young talent and a new offensive coordinator in Mark Whipple, look to be a factor in the ACC Coastal after going 12-13 in the first two seasons under Randy Shannon. But the Hurricanes could be a lot better in 2009 and go 1-3 or even 0-4 in their first four games. They are:

Sept. 7: at Florida State on Labor Day night. It’s not the Florida State of old, but neither is Miami. The two played in October the past two years but agreed to move the game up this season for TV.

Sept. 17: A Thursday night (ESPN) meeting with Georgia Tech at home. Georgia Tech ran for 472 yards against the Hurricanes to beat them last November (41-23).

Sept. 26: A trip to Virginia Tech, the defending ACC champions. Miami is 2-2 in its last four trips to Blacksburg, where the Hokies return 15 starters.

Oct. 3: A visit from Oklahoma, a consensus top three team in the preseason with QB Sam Bradford, the Heisman Trophy winner.

That’s a schedule only an athletic director could love.

 

 

113 comments Add your comment

LanierTiger

March 27th, 2009
8:33 am

Did you say the Dawgs win the NC in ‘09?

Techster

March 27th, 2009
8:49 am

0 – 4 may not happen, but I can promise you Miami won’t be 4 – 0. Tech is going to continue its rise in the ACC. Sept 17 we take the show on the road and in front of a national audition, the Robot and his boys will leave Miami with another 40 point performance.

Miami may be young and better than last year, but the growth of Tech can not be underestimated.

Only five more months...

March 27th, 2009
8:53 am

Tony:

1) Steve Spurrier is sad to watch in his declining years at a mediocore program like SC.I almost can’t bear to see his inept ,unmotivated players screw up week after excruciating week.I would like to remember him as the young firebrand coach that came in and changed the SEC (much for the better) in 1990.Nothing will take that away from the fans (especially Florida).But the fact is…South Carolina is a football wasteland.

2) Seems like Arky has a coach that is ready to step in when Petrino moves on. (Although Smith seems rather mercenary,too)

3)Scot Loeffler can teach Tebow how to be a successful pro QB. Tebow can teach Brantley how to be a successful college QB.It’s like having an extra coach with a mature,poised player like Tebow.

4) One problem with playing for a program lie Saban’s is that you may be the second or third best player at your position in the SEC…And be second or third on your own depth chart. Remember this,kiddies,when you are being sweet talked by the head coach at Big Time U. during recruitment.

5) For Miami to be Miami again,they have to play good competition,measure their shortcomings and get better. You can’t tell where you stand against Florida international…

reality check

March 27th, 2009
9:10 am

So Loeffler coached at Detroit last year. I have to confess I am confused. Is that supposed to help the Florida quarterbacks or hurt them?

GeoffDawg

March 27th, 2009
9:24 am

I’m torn about Spurrier – on the one hand, it’s fun to see someone so obnoxious stuck in college football purgatory but on the other hand, it’s also a little sad. It’s like watching Evander Holyfield taking fights against bears and ninjas just to keep his mansion and support his lacrosse team of children.

Gen Neyland

March 27th, 2009
9:24 am

One of the 5 questions doesn’t have a mention of CLK in it. I’m sure before the day’s over he’ll be a topic. Allow me to pose question #6 : Does Kiffin’s wife dress him or does he pick out his own orange tie..?

Nice

March 27th, 2009
9:29 am

Well played GeoffDawg, well played.

LSWho?

March 27th, 2009
9:31 am

Terry Grant is fast but small & not the between the tackles type back Coach Saban prefers. Unfortunately he may be behind Trent Richardson on the depth chart this fall as well. Good kid with a great heart, I hope he gets some playing time.

Big Will

March 27th, 2009
9:33 am

Hmmm. The Ol’ Ball Coach doesn’t have any offensive weapons…Could it be he no longer appeals to the HS recruit?

Kid Ray

March 27th, 2009
9:43 am

The average rising senior in HS is too young to remember the salad days of UF football under the HBC. I think the coaching graveyard that is S. Carolina football can claim another victim. It’s tough to win as the fourth best program (historically) in a six team division.

Randy

March 27th, 2009
9:50 am

On the scheduling front, look at Florida’s. It is a joke. A great team with an easy schedule. They are a lock for the championship game.

Great Googly Moogly

March 27th, 2009
9:51 am

Layla Kiffin can dress me any day…or night.

gdawginkalamazoo

March 27th, 2009
9:54 am

The evil genius has something up his sleeve. Four year dormant in the SEC he will launch his devious plan this fall. So far it has all been smoke and mirrors and poor mouthing his own team. Look out this fall SC will be the phoenix of the SEC.

John L is looking to climb every peak of the Ozark mountain range. Suprised Petrino didn’t hire Tuberville to that position.

Saban has recruited so well he won’t need Grant or the 5 guys with the same number.

Brantley might be used a lot this spring but come fall it will be all Tebow as Meyer gets him another Heisman. Look out for 6 rushing TD’s this fall Vandy. All from 5 yards or less I might add.

General, you had to go and use the K word didn’t you. Well I ain’t fallin’ for it today.

Miami, you mean Tech ran for more yards against them than they did us? Ha ha!

Okefenokee Dawg

March 27th, 2009
10:04 am

Why would a college football player want the nickname “Robot”?

Coastal

March 27th, 2009
10:09 am

South Carolina will be good as soon as I stop having a dingleberry problem.

DawgsBToothless

March 27th, 2009
10:20 am

If the answer is Garcia then the question cannot be favorable to the outlook for the HBC.

Still, they will prolly beat the mewing little dawgs.

Kiffinisaloser

March 27th, 2009
10:26 am

Even the dimmest and most zit-filled freshman slug in the UT marching band has sufficient cojones to come to Tennessee without having to ask his father to come along with him.

Mitch Cumstein

March 27th, 2009
10:26 am

Good to see the Old Ball Coach eating some humble pie. Talent rich Fla. doesen’t smile on him anymore. With that said, don’t count him out, he can make chicken salad…

SugarHillDawg

March 27th, 2009
10:26 am

Hey Laniertiger, I’m not TB but I will say that we WILL beat LSU next year. I don’t understand you LSU fans dissing us after we have beaten your eyes out the past 2 years!!!!

gte268p

March 27th, 2009
10:28 am

As far as I’ve observed, only one person has been calling Josh Nesbitt “the robot”. I’m quite confused about it, too, and wonder where it came from.

Big Will

March 27th, 2009
10:30 am

Steve Spurrier can no longer even out recruit Rich Brooks.

TommyP

March 27th, 2009
10:31 am

To answer your question on Miami’s schedule: The first 3 of those games are ACC games so the ACC put that schedule together.

The AD probably added the OU game.

Gen Neyland

March 27th, 2009
10:34 am

zoo : See, it was only a matter of time. I just provide the bait…Also, I have the Greenie Meanies advancing tonight. Tell me it’ll happen.

Kiffinisaloser

March 27th, 2009
10:34 am

Taken from an actual UT course catalogue:

Gay and lesbian studies is the examination, analysis and interpretation of the phenomenon characterized by romantic and affectional orientation by individuals for others of the same sex. It is by nature cross-disciplinary, covering a wide range of intellectual bases: literature, history, religion, psychology, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, medicine, law, fine arts, and others. At the University of Tenessee, the field is called sexual diversity studies and a colloquium is offerred in the locker room of the Big Orange Football Team where instructor Ed Orgeron removes his shirt with the intent to elicit homoerotic response from his players and provoke discussion about the role of the UT football team in promoting sexual diversity within the SEC.

dawgfacedboy

March 27th, 2009
10:37 am

Techster- Tech will continue its rise to the top of the ACC?? That shouldn’t be hard considering there is only one other team that is competitive in that conference. Va. Tech has won it how many times, 4 of the 5 years since joining the ACC? 4 of the 6? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Yeah Yeah 45-42, I get it. You have to win every once in a while. Hell, we even beat Fla every once in a while.

MinnesotaJacket

March 27th, 2009
10:38 am

Mr.College Football thanks for slipping in one ACC question…I was almost trying to figure out if it is even worth reading considering if things aren’t revolved around UGA than it will be teams UGA plays or in their division…but hey 1 out of 4 questions I guess the ACC will take what we can get from a very biased Newspaper

Kenny Powers

March 27th, 2009
10:40 am

I am have magicial powers and have been blessed by God with a cannon for an arm, a pen!s like a burmese python, and no love for the nerds at GT…you guys really need to drop the robot thing.

I can’t stand them, but UF is the team to beat.

MinnesotaJacket

March 27th, 2009
10:41 am

dawgface….just throwing it out there that the ACC has probably one of the most complete conferences this coming year, IF the ACC can have two teams step out in the limelight in could be put in comparison to the SEC BUT ONLY if two teams can step out and be the best of the conference. The ACC has vasstly improved since 2 years ago and will hopefully take the next step up this year and the year to come.

Kiffinisaloser

March 27th, 2009
10:42 am

Mini Jacket, why are you wasting time on here and not filling sandbags (or woodchippers) like the rest of your yankee bretheren?

Kenny Powers

March 27th, 2009
10:44 am

Things revolve around UGA and the SEC because they are awesome like me…not like you, being a Yankee and a Tech nerd, enjoy 45-42 while it lasts. I have special powers given to me by the great creator and I say HBC can win any time because he is evil.

Kenny Powers

March 27th, 2009
10:48 am

Kiffinisaloser is my boy, not afraid to say it like it is…YANKEE!!!! he is also blessed with special powers like me.

JC

March 27th, 2009
10:50 am

DawgFacedBoy, I’m not so sure about your comment reference GT. Tech could easily finish 3rd in the Coastal. UNC and VT are in that division and UNC may just be the best team in the ACC this year. Both VT and UNC will beat Tech.

Bo Williams

March 27th, 2009
10:50 am

Don’t pity Spurrier. If he were at UGA, he would have already won the national championship.

the real Old Gold

March 27th, 2009
10:57 am

Predictions for ‘09:

-UGA continues to be the most talented disappointment in all of college football.
-Miami continues to be a ragged crew of thUgish losers and Dolphin Stadium with 5 more fans than at a Marlin’s game (bringing the total to 15,005).
-Florida wins the SEC again because nothing has changed.
-Tech puts up 400+ yards on both UGA and Miami for the second year in a row.
-Pre-season polls mean NOTHING just like every season.

The End. THWG!

the real Old Gold

March 27th, 2009
10:59 am

correction: Miami continues to be a ragged crew of thUgish losers and *fills Dolphin Stadium……..

dawgfacedboy

March 27th, 2009
11:00 am

Minnesotta Jacket- “vastly improving” from dog$hit is still not very good.

GeoffDawg

March 27th, 2009
11:04 am

If BW weren’t a tech fan, he’s probably have a girlfriend by now.

Dawgilama Deux

March 27th, 2009
11:08 am

Yea…Those are 5 Questions that have really been burning a hole in my brain. I could think of 10 more “burning” questions. I can’t believe he’s getting paid for this.

Or mabye TB is right. Who isn’t “burning” over Alabama’s 4th string RB? John L. Smith is coaching Special Teams at Arkansas…That’s clearly something nobody cares about, nor should they. How does the backup QB for Florida make this list? Not even the Gator nation cares about this one, much less the AJC nation. And thanks, TommyP, for clarifying who setup Miami’s schedule. TB managed to point out that Miami has 3 tough conference games and a tough out of conference game in their schedule…That’s pretty typical…What’s so “burning” about that? Now, Spurrier cherry picking DB’s to make plays on offense? Not a bad storyline. Perhaps, enough so to qualify as a “burning” question.

This is worse than TB insinuating a QB battle between Murray and Cox. Haven’t always read TB. Is he always this bad?

SugarHillDawg

March 27th, 2009
11:11 am

Hey the real old and gold,how about the last prediction, UGA beats Tech handily as USUAL!!!

mark

March 27th, 2009
11:11 am

Old Gold- “all of college football”??????? PULEEZE!!!! Take a look in your own conference at the U and FSU. How many 5 star recruits do these programs pull in every year and continue to go 8-4?!?! 10 win seasons are hardly “disappointments”. Especially when you have to face Nick Saban, Steve Spurried, Les Miles, and Urban Meyer every year!!!

EW

March 27th, 2009
11:11 am

Ok, I get annoyed as much as anyone with the Tech fans on this site. I can’t go one day without some idiot throwing out a 45-42 blah blah blah. How about something with some backing or some comments that resemble the basis of a “DISCUSSION”. I mean, even GATOR fans on this site have the decency to back up their arguments (well their team backs up their argument even if they don’t). So Tony, in the interest of fairness, how about an update on what Tech is doing this off season to get better (or what they need to do)? I know UGA gets PLENTY of coverage so a little bone thrown Techs way could either add validity to the moronic posts (not likely) or prove them to be the lies I suspect. I don’t mind a friendly debate if it’s fact based, but when idiots drag you down to their level with stupid comments, they tend to beat you with experience, ya know? I am longing for some sensible conversation on this blog.

Kiffinisaloser

March 27th, 2009
11:15 am

Rocky Flop and Orgeron, a match made in…well either Key West or San Francisco.

Dawgilama Deux

March 27th, 2009
11:17 am

I hear you EW!!!

Eagle

March 27th, 2009
11:20 am

I think Terry Grant needs to transfer to Ga. Southern.

Ed

March 27th, 2009
11:25 am

It’s true as someone said earlier that SC is a football wasteland, but I think there were signs that Spurrier was losing some of his bite even before he left UF. I think he caught the SEC at a historically weak time in the early 90s. For years it was UF and UT and not much else, except for an occasional good season from Bama or Auburn. LSU had a long stretch of mediocrity and Georgia was in the midst of a 20-year drought after the Dooley era. Auburn had NCAA sanctions and coaching turmoil.

Don’t get me wrong, Spurrier is obviously a good coach, but now I wonder if he was truly GREAT or just an innovative offensive mind who took over a sleeping giant at just the right time. Miami and FSU had already ascended to the top of college football, so maybe it was a matter of time for UF in such a talent-rich state. The SEC still played I-formation, smash-mouth football when Spurrier arrived, and defenses were not ready for Fun-n’-Gun. But they wouldn’t have been ready for Miami or FSU, either. Nebraska would have owned the SEC in the 90s, even playing the familiar smash-mouth style. And UF was often only the third-best team in Florida at the same time they dominated the SEC.

Great coaches like Bear Bryant used to take programs like Kentucky and Texas A&M (back when they were losers) to the top. A truly great coach can take his and beat yours, or take yours and beat his. Spurrier’s NFL and SC stints make me wonder if he was ever as good as we thought, or just the right man for Florida at the right time in history.

Regardless, it’s fun to watch an arrogant SOB finally get his. He didn’t win with grace and dignity, and now he has to figure out how to lose with grace and dignity. The inner turmoil must be something…

GT 2009

March 27th, 2009
11:27 am

45-42 blah blah blah.

You happy?

UGA VII in '08

March 27th, 2009
11:42 am

Yes, Miami’s schedule sure is tough, but it’s nothing compared to the Might SEC. Their schedule just makes the teams beat up on each other. I mean you have Vanderbilt and Kentucky, add to that a couple Mississippis and a South Carolina. No wonder they’re called the toughest conference in the land. Whew!

38-3

March 27th, 2009
11:43 am

Yeah, I’m real happy. Still waiting on my Chick-Fil-A Bowl rings?

m

March 27th, 2009
12:06 pm

One thing is for sure…you will never see a sec team play a tough schedule like Miami is playing.

Bo Williams

March 27th, 2009
12:08 pm

UGA fans, which school in the ACC do you see as being most like UGA and why?