How more NCAA investigations are coming?

Five more buring questions before Alabama and Mississippi State step to the podium to begin SEC Media Days on Wednesday:

1. How many more NCAA investigations are coming? We told you yesterday morning that it appeared that the NCAA had gotten fed up with the level of improper contact between players and agents and had decided to crack down. Investigators have been to North Carolina asking about DT Marvin Austin and RB/WR Greg Little. They have also been to South Carolina to ask questions of reserve tight end Weslye Saunders.

Now add the University of Florida to that growing list. Florida became aware of allegations that junior center Maurkice Pouncey accepted a cash payment from an agent between the SEC championship game and the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati in January. Pouncey has already left school and was a first-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

If the charge is proven then Pouncey was ineligible for the Sugar Bowl and Florida would likely have to vacate the 51-24 win over Cincinnati. No big deal you say? Well, for the guys whose last game as a Florida player was the Sugar Bowl, and that list includes Tim Tebow, I would think it would be a really big deal.

Stewart Mandel of SI.com reports that this could be just the beginning of an NCAA crackdown on agents:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/stewart_mandel/07/19/ncaa.agents/index.html

Let’s just take the Pouncey situation. If you’re Florida you hope that it’s not true. But if it is true, the question I have is this: Maurkice Pouncey has been waiting his whole life to get paid to be a professional athlete. And he deserves every penny he gets. But is it so difficult to wait one more month until after you’ve played your last game and turned pro? Do you know, or care,  how many people you’re going to hurt if you get caught?

Or am I just being naive to think that an athlete should ever care about anybody other than himself and his family?

And do you think you’re not going to get caught? The NCAA apparently got involved at North Carolina because of some of stuff that Austin wrote on Twitter. Please.

 

2. Can Mark Ingram repeat as the Heisman Trophy winner? Ingram had a phenomenal sophomore season with 1,658 yards on 271 carries. Only Tennessee’s Montario Hardesty (with 282 carries) toted the rock more times than Ingram did in 2009. But I don’t see Ingram getting that many carries this season. Two reasons why:

 No. 1. Ingram’s backup, sophomore Trent Richardson, is a very, very good player who would be starting for every other team in America with the possible exception of Pittsburgh, where they have Dion Lewis. Richardson has another gear and I expect him to improve on his 145 carries from a year ago  (He averaged 5.1 yards per carry).

No. 2. It was clear during my visit to Alabama in the spring that the coaching staff feels confident enough with quarterback Greg McElroy to let him take more shots down the field. The coaches have also decided that No. 8 (Julio Jones) is going to get the ball in his hands more than last season, when injuries limited him to 43 catches.

In other words, Alabama’s offense will be even better in 2010 because it won’t have to lean on Ingram so much.

Archie Griffin of Ohio State (1974-75) is the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner. That will still be the case after the 2010 season.

 

3. Is Auburn’s offense really going to be that good? Well, let’s take a look at that. Gus Malzahn has upgraded the quarterback position with Cameron Newton, a great athlete who will bring a running dimension to this version of the spread. Remember that Malzahn’s offense is run first and when he’s had a mobile quarterback, like he did at Tulsa with David Johnson, this offense can do some special things.

Auburn will certainly miss Ben Tate at running back but it opens the door for Mario Fannin to be a star. Fannin can run it and catch it. If Onterio McCalebb can stay healthy he can be a highlight machine because of his speed. Did we mention that freshman Michael Dyer has a chance to be special?

Auburn has one of the best receivers in the league in Darvin Adams (60 catches, 997 yards) and a star on the rise in Terrell Zachery (26 catches, 477 yards. And I think this is going to be a good year for Emory Blake and former baseball player DeAngelo Benton.

Auburn has four returning starters on the offensive line who have combined for 109 career starts.

Put it all together and it’s hard to see how this collection of players will not be pretty good.

4. Will the combination of new O-Line coach Shawn Elliott and high profile freshman running back Marcus Lattimore finally give South Carolina a respectable running game? While the focus of Steve Spurrier’s struggling offense has been on the quarterback position, the facts are that Spurrier hasn’t had a quality offensive line or a big-time running back since he got to Columbia five years ago.

Elliott came from Appalachian State, where he has been since his days as a player for the Mountaineers. He coached defense and tight ends in Boone before taking over the offensive line in 2001. Appalachian State won three straight Division I-AA national championships (2005-2007) so he obviously was doing something right.

Elliott’s job was not made easier last week when it was announced that offensive tackle Quintin Richardson was going to have surgery on his left shoulder. Richardson started five games and played in eight last season. His status for this season has not been determined.

South Carolina finished last in the SEC in rushing in 2009 (121.23 yards per game). The Gamecocks recruited only one running back because Lattimore was THE  guy. How much will he play in South Carolina’s opener with Southern Miss on Sept. 2? More importantly, how much will he play in the Sept. 11 home game with Georgia?

 

5. Will Jordan Jefferson remain LSU’s starting quarterback for the entire season? During the spring I was getting phone calls that Jefferson, a rising junior, might be challenged for his starting job by junior Jarrett Lee. (That came as surprise because Lee, you’ll recall, was a Pick Six machine in 2008).

 It was clear last season that the LSU coaching staff didn’t quite trust Jefferson to turn him loose to run the entire playbook. There were numerous games last season when Jefferson was clearly kept under wraps so as not to make too many mistakes. And Jefferson’s cause was not helped by the fact that LSU simply could not run the football last season, finishing 11th in the SEC just ahead of South Carolina.

But Jefferson’s raw numbers weren’t all that bad. He finished fifth in the SEC in passing effiency, completing 61 percent of his throws for 2,166 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions. But his totals should have been better given LSU’s inability to run the ball.

Now LSU is bringing Jefferson to SEC Media Days on Friday. Is this an effort to say “This is our starting quarterback” and to give Jefferson a boost of confidence? I applaud LSU for bringing Jefferson. He is the guy people want to talk to because he is such a key to LSU’s success this season.

Please follow me on Twitter;

www.twitter.com/MrCFB

171 comments Add your comment

grvt

July 20th, 2010
8:32 am

TheTaxJacket

July 20th, 2010
8:35 am

**** NESBITT FOR HEISMEN ****

(((( 45 – 42 ))))

Too Easy

July 20th, 2010
8:38 am

Hope taxjackette does math better than spelling.

Atlanta Jackets

July 20th, 2010
8:46 am

Read this mutters: You stink. LOL!

Boogers are Salty

July 20th, 2010
8:49 am

Got a feeling alabama’s gonna suck this year, just a feeling though.

RxDawg

July 20th, 2010
8:50 am

1. I’m a little torn about this. If it’s true, then they obviously broke the rules and that can not be alowed. However, I’m one of those that thinks that maybe it should’t really be against the rules. In other words, I think it’s time for a concise and equal increase in “scholarship” monies paid out to the football players that everyone else is making millions off of. It can be done in a way that wont tarnish the game and could actually increase the graduation rate and keep some players in school their whole career.

2. Maybe, but he probably wont. I know Alabama fans will balk at this, but Ingram is a very good running back, not a great running back. He just happens to play for the BCS championship team. On another note, if your No 2 point becomes true than Bama will not repeat as champions. If they try to get cute, and move away from what is working (taking it right to opposing teams and wearing them down) then they will lose some games. That said, I don’t see Bama changing. Why should they? If it ain’t broke…

3. Offense isn’t really the question to be answered over at Auburn though is it?

4. USC has more potential then usual this year. I too will be interested to see Lattimore play.

5. I haven’t seen Jefferson play as much as LSU fans. But what little I did see he seemed like a very capable QB. Lack of a running game is a surefire way to make most QB’s look very bad. UGA had a zero running game the first half of the season, and it’s a big reason I think a lot of “fans” give Joe Cox a hard time for his performance. If Jefferson doesn’t work out, I think I’d wipe the slate clean and try out whatever new guys LSU has in the waiting.

kaput

July 20th, 2010
8:57 am

Apparently, Pouncey will hold some kind of press conference today to clear his name. He has already provided bank statements, phone records and other documentation that shows where he got his financial backing and that information clears him of any wrongdoing.

I am glad the NCAA is looking into it, hopefully they’ll be consistent and fair and not try to make examples out of people.

DOUBLE G

July 20th, 2010
9:03 am

Tony, fix your headline!

War Eagles may be primed on offense. But what about the “D”?

And NCAA needs to find a way to crack down on agents and runners trying to collar “da playas”. The smell coming out of it is really bad.

Les

July 20th, 2010
9:04 am

Here we go again with the Alabama lovefest, based on hot air.

No, uh, Trent Richardson wouldn’t be starting at RB at Georgia, hello.

Ealey got 5.7 ypc as a a freshman, Richardson got 5.1.

Don’t think Richardson got 155 td’s and 8100 yards rushing in high school either like Ealey.

No one would be starting at Georgia EXCEPT Ealey.

Ealey’s averaging more ypc than Herschel Walker.

Ealey blew away Ingram & Richardson’s freshman stats. 5.7 vs. 5.1 ypc. They’re decent backs, but they are not Washaun Ealey.

Scout says Ealey, not Richardson, will have a breakout year this year, and Phil Steele says Ealey is on the Heisman watch list.

Ok, let’s practice again, 5.7 ypc is better than 5.1 ypc. Got it?

dagnabit

July 20th, 2010
9:04 am

I think you are absolutely right about Auburn. Other teams beware.

bo

July 20th, 2010
9:05 am

Alabama will lose games this year. One or two losses and they will appear fairly ordinary. any, anytime a writer starts telling us someone’s back-up is better than everyone else’s starter, I get a little skeptical.

Same can be said for the superlatives given the the true Fr RB at SCU. Unless he’s another HW, let him break into the season a little before claiming he’s a world beater.

Jeff

July 20th, 2010
9:05 am

Florida will be fine. They’re in the NCAA’s pocket. Folks will just look the other way.

Sam Robards, Dawg Fan

July 20th, 2010
9:07 am

1. The NCAA is clearly bringing down the hammer on the agent issue, which I think is good because I was afraid that they would get weak-kneed after the crackdown at Southern Cal. That being said, if Pouncey did the crime, UF vacates the game. ‘Nuff said.

2. It possible that Ingram could repeat as the Heisman winner, but not probable … or even likely. In addition to the reasons you mentioned, in two of Bama’s biggest games last year, Tennessee and Auburn, Ingram didn’t do JACK. I think he capped at 50 yards in each game. So he’s not the unstoppable juggernaut he was made out to be last year.

3. Auburn is a lot like Arkansas. They’ll have a good offense, but their defense last year was worse than ours. Also, unlike us with our new DC, they didn’t actively do anything to fix it. So, until I see otherwise, Auburn isn’t challenging for the West and neither is Arkansas.

4. Based on past history, I still don’t see South Carolina having any semblance of a decent running game this year.

5. I think Jefferson will remain LSU’s quarterback if only because they remember the Peach Bowl against GA Tech and know what he’s capable of on the field. All they know of Lee on the field is that he throws a lotta touchdowns … to the other team.

Eddie

July 20th, 2010
9:10 am

Auburn’s offense will be pretty good. Gus is a good coach. But if you stop their run, they can’t do much.

South Carolina, hard to see them improving their running game drastically. Expect moderate improvement. Spurrier has proven he’s not a good coach anymore–Spurrier’s alread in retirement mode–has been for last 9 years—too much golf, too little work. Spurrier loves to throw the ball, get vertical, been his achilles heel. Just doesn’t have the coaches, or athletes, to compete with the Georgia’s of the SEC. He’s like 2-7 against Richt. No contest.

Tim

July 20th, 2010
9:10 am

Isn’t AU’s Cameron Newton the player that Florida kicked off their team for stealing a laptop computer? If so, how many times has a SEC team picked up a player that was kicked off the team for a violation like that?

H-Back

July 20th, 2010
9:17 am

Auburn’s offense should be good if Newton steps up. Tigers’ problem is Ted “Leaky” Roof and the D.

Nachos

July 20th, 2010
9:17 am

Everyone hating on Bama….

Love it.

Just shows we are back and own all you mutts, barners, and redneck vols.

Rog

July 20th, 2010
9:18 am

Ingram won’t repeat as Heisman, that’s absurd. He didn’t even earn it. Gerhart or Keenum should have gotten it–they blew away Ingram. But since Ingram’s TEAM did good, he got an unearned gift. Won’t happen again, was just a kind gesture, from a defense that was good, just like when Tebow won.

Alabama won’t win more than 9 games this year, if you look at what Saban does after he wins a National Camnpionship, it’s like 3 loss years the next season. So, Alabama goes 9-3, doesn’t play in the SEC Championship, no Alabama player will even be in the conversation this year. No one in the SEC repeats as National Champs, ok, maybe what, every 25 or 30 years? Alabama will not be a factor in 2010. They just lost 9 players on defense, they’re done. They got embarrased by a fresh QB in the Natl Champ. Almost lost to 4 teams last year, very, very lucky. Really not that good.

Miles

July 20th, 2010
9:23 am

Remember, Maurkice Pouncey was attending UF on an athletic scholarship, not an academic one. Thus, it’s ok for him to accept money whenever he chooses because ethical decisions are beyond his scope of intellectual prowess.

Call IT

July 20th, 2010
9:24 am

Ugh excuse me Rog, but Tebow did earn the Heisman since he by far plays with more heart and passion than any player in college football.

Plus, he is a great role model for kids and a true leader with CLASS!

Enough Said!

CW

July 20th, 2010
9:24 am

Maybe they should go back and look at garrison hearst. I mean, he came from the poorest county in jawja and was driving a 15k car back in the 90’s. Yeah sure there was nothing shady going on.

Will

July 20th, 2010
9:24 am

This may come as a shock to all but W. Ealey will have more yards rushing than Richardson or Ingram. Everyone at UGA is saying he is the real deal and will get more carries this year than Moreno did in 08′. I predict Ealey will touch it 25 times a game and rush for 1800. Hell, he’s going to have 200 against the chickens.

RxDawg

July 20th, 2010
9:26 am

Les – loving the homerism.

Rog “They got embarrased by a fresh QB in the Natl Champ.” – Umm, Bama won that game pretty handidly but w/e. “Really not that good.” Umm, they only went undefeated and won the SEC and BCS championship. Ok, I’m done defending Bama…like they need it anyways.
Also, Spiller should of been more considered as well.

Mack

July 20th, 2010
9:29 am

Of course ealey will have more yards. You think richt is dumb enough to put it in the air with a inexperienced qb with a slow arm? Uga will be so one dimensional this year. Poor aj.

Mel Gibson is innocent

July 20th, 2010
9:37 am

6. Will Georgia EVER play game that doesn’t start at 12:00 or 12:30pm?

SecGuy

July 20th, 2010
9:45 am

If South Carolina is ever going to make a move, this is the year. The experience is there. Spurrier will go back to calling the plays this year and that’s where he earned the ‘Evil Genius’ nickname. As a Bama fan, I don’t like the idea of facing his play calling with a green secondary. I think they will beat Georgia and possibly Bama this year. As for Ingram and the Heisman, who cares? Bama had never had a Heisman winner before last year and I never lost a wink of sleep over it. Let the games begin.

Colin

July 20th, 2010
9:49 am

How more brown cow?

I also think it’s great that LSU is bringing Jefferson to the SEC Media Days. I don’t think LSU can go all the way with serious questions about who will start at quarterback. I think Miles is making the right decision here.

ugahater

July 20th, 2010
10:00 am

Isn’t it funny that what amounts to an illegitimate championship,
(the BCS title), can be taken away based on illegitimate wins?

Just kidding.

Yes, Newton is that former gator. He transferred to Blinn, has grown up, and will play for Auburn. He will complete that offense.
Darvin Adams, btw, is THE best receiver in the SEC. Best on the stat sheet, anyway. Look it up!

uga will lose, lose, lose this year. This will be Richt’s hot seat season by Halloween. 5 losses, minimum.

Les

July 20th, 2010
10:10 am

Ealey’s 5.7 ypc fresh vs. 5.1 ypc Ingram or Richard’s fresh is Homerism? Nice, I see we have some really smart people here. Sorry those stats don’t sit well with you guys, but feel free to revel in your “Alabama rocks” dream, while “homers” like me, Scout and Phil Steele, ALL say Washaun Ealey will have a breakout season or should be on the Heisman watch list.

Rizzo

July 20th, 2010
10:12 am

Ealey will get 20 touches, bout 6 yards a tote, over 14 games, bout 1700 yards in 2010. Not too bad there. Remember, Coach Richt is 40-3 when he gets a 100 yard rusher, so his most productive back will be touching that ball 20 times a game. King’s pretty good too.

Goin Long

July 20th, 2010
10:14 am

Ealey & King have been the best duo over the last 5 games in the SEC. Getting about 225 yards rushing a game together. Unstoppable. Ingram & who?

DP

July 20th, 2010
10:23 am

Les, if yards per carry are so important to you, how come you don’t mention that Ingram averaged 6.1 last year versus 5.7 for Ealey?

RxDawg, if Ingram isn’t a great back, how many great backs has Georgia had since Herschel? Tell me about the ones who were better than Ingram.

And Tony, you’re really going out on a limb to pick any one player in the country and say he won’t win the Heisman. Heisman voters will raise the bar for Ingram. He would have to blow away everybody else and probably have to rush for 2000 yards for the voters not to pick somebody else. That’s obviously not going to happen with Ingram sharing carries with Richardson and given that Saban pulls his front line guys early in blowout games instead of padding their stats.

Rog

July 20th, 2010
10:25 am

Ingram got the Heisman as the sentimental favorite, because he was the first Alabama guy to win it. It wasn’t “earned”, tons of guys had better stats, but he just “won the hearts” of the voters.

And of course, most journalists last year & this year are Bama homers, as we all know. Bama is the flavor of the week.

Les

July 20th, 2010
10:28 am

You compare apples to apples. Freshman year to freshman year to see where a guy’s at, development wise.

Ealey is ahead of both Ingram & Richardson’s 5.1 ypc freshman, as he finished at 5.7 as a freshman.

Ealey will get better each year. He’ll probably be at 6.5 or 7 yards a carry this year, he has a lot of explosion runs.

Why are you trying to compare a Sophmore to a freshman and act like that’s a real comaprison?

K City

July 20th, 2010
10:32 am

Richt really has no choice this year except to run the ball a LOT because of his inexperience at QB. 2010 will be Ealey’s best chance at winning the Heisman for that reason. In 2011, the offense will be more run/pass balanced and experienced.

But with an O-Line with the nation’s #1 most experienced at 155 starts, and a guy who outran Ingram as a freshman, you’ve got to pound the ball about 40 times a game.

Uncle DJ

July 20th, 2010
10:35 am

King/Ealey is da best RB duo in da buz. Check da stats over last few games for da truth.

DP

July 20th, 2010
10:39 am

Les, you said Ingram and Richardson were “decent backs” but not as good as Ealey. Now you’re acknowledging Ingram is better than Ealey but it’s because he’s a year older?

Get back to us when Ealey averages 6.5 or 7 yards per carry this year. He didn’t even play the first 4 games last year and his high ypc were largely a function of the Tennessee Tech and Georgia Tech games. Let’s see how he does against good SEC defenses when they’re stacked up to stop the run.

DP

July 20th, 2010
10:41 am

Reminder to Delusional Dawg fans, your team was 7-5 last year, was stomped by Florida, lost at home to Kentucky, played a horrible Texas A&M team in a bowl game in Shreveport. Keep things in perspective.

RxDawg

July 20th, 2010
10:42 am

DP
-Knowshon was/is better.
-Garrison Hearst was better.
-Robert Edwards (pre injury) was better IMO.
-Possibly Rodney Hampton, but I’ll call that one debatable.
-Unlike my “pal” Les, I’m not ready to anoint Ealy yet…but I agree there is potential.

Now that’s just UGA post Herschel like you asked. Other more recent SEC backs that I think are better than Ingram are Darren McFaden, Cadilac Williams and (maybe) Ronnie Brown, Fred Taylor, and your very own Sean Alexander. Thats just off the top of my head.

By the way, I’m really not trying to knock Ingram. He’s awesome and I’d let him START for the Dawgs right now.

POAD

July 20th, 2010
10:50 am

Ingram was not the best back last year. Bama got a gift. The White kid from Stanford was a better back.

Gatorzone

July 20th, 2010
10:50 am

RX, you are making too much sense on here today. Shouldn’t we get started with the tech/uga pissing contest by now?

DP

July 20th, 2010
10:51 am

RxDawg, Knowshon was better than Ingram? You’re talking about “Big Game” Knowshon, the guy who took himself out of the game every time he had 2 or 3 carries in a row?

How2fish

July 20th, 2010
10:51 am

NCAA is getting tough and its time..hope UF doesn’t have to void that win, this was one player doing something beyond the rules..a coach has a better shot at stopping kids from drinking than taking 100k from a sports agents..its purely the kids fault not the Gator program’s they won that game as a team damn shame if one player had that taken away from them..and I’m a OLD school gator hater..but that would be B.S for certain and for sure.

jumbeauxtiger

July 20th, 2010
10:52 am

Ealey is the best running back ever in college football.

Here are just some of the former stars he is better than:

Hershel Walker
Ricky Williams
Marcus Allen
Bo Jackson
Archie Griffin
Barry Sanders
Billy Sims
Earl Campbell
Mark Ingram
Tony Dorsett
Charles White
Reggie Bush
Johnny Rodgers

Does anyone else agree with Les and I?

jumbeauxtiger

July 20th, 2010
10:53 am

Oops, Ingram is a current star.

Gatorzone

July 20th, 2010
10:55 am

I look for Bama to lose 2 games this year. Realistically, going undefeated 2 years in a row will be impossible. Last year they had hardly any injuries and were lucky on a couple of occasions. This year will be tough to repeat all of the chips falling into place. Preseason hype, injuries and the second half of the season having 6 games in a row of teams coming off of a bye will lead to a couple of defeats. Probably from teams no one expects.

Les

July 20th, 2010
10:58 am

Saban’s better than:

Bear Bryant, John Wooden

Sure he is. Ha ha.

Gen Neyland

July 20th, 2010
11:00 am

For Ealey to be considered a serious contender for the Heisman, he’ll need not fumble his chances away, ala Kentucky-UGA for example. That won’t earn the hardware, guys…I’m thinking Ingram lost it what, once last year. Twice maybe. Gotta do all the right things right when the chips are on the line. Ingram did much more, more often than not…

Will

July 20th, 2010
11:03 am

I respect Phil Steele a lot. If he says Ealey is good enough to be on the Heisman watchlist, I’m going with that.

It is true, Ealey is outgaining Herschel Walker’s ypc average so far in college. And it’s also true that Ealey did break Herschel’s TD record in high school also. In fact, Ealey has the state record. Not too bad, to be mentioned with Herschel Walker. Also, I checked it, Ealey’s 5.7 ypc freshman stats did beat out both Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson’s freshman ypc average. WOW!

jumbeauxtiger

July 20th, 2010
11:05 am

Gatorzone,

Bama went undefeated in the regular season in 2008 and 2009 so it’s not impossible that they won’t go undefeated this fall.

Championship teams all have some luck. In the 2008 national championship season for the Gators, they blocked a fg by South Carolina at the end of the game or otherwise would have lost and would not have played for the BCS title.

LSU certainly had some luck go their way in 2007.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC