Five burning questions as we head into the weekend:
1. Can Georgia Tech even slow down Tyrod Taylor? Cameron Newton is the leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy, but if you’re looking for someone to challenge the Auburn quarterback for the prize, look no further than Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor. This guy is having an incredible season. He is second in the ACC in total offense behind N.C. State’s Russell Wilson (2,129 yards) but he leads the conference by averaging 8.48 yards per play. He is the most efficient passer in the ACC (and No. 4 nationally) with 15 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. He is responsible for 112 points, second only to Wilson. This is the guy Georgia Tech has to at least contain tonight in order to have a shot in Blacksburg.
2. How many running plays will be called for Cameron Newton on Saturday? No. 2 Auburn (9-0) faces Chattanooga at home where the No. 1 goal has to be fine tuning and getting ready for next week’s visit by Georgia. All I know is that when the Tigers played Louisiana-Monroe on Oct. 2, offensive coordinator Guz Malzahn did not call a single running play for his talented quarterback. Despite rushing for “only” 45 yards last week against Ole Miss, Newton still leads the SEC in rushing with an average of 124.67 yards per game. That number will take a hit on Saturday because Auburn will sew up the game by halftime and get the big fella some rest.
3. Can LSU put the game on Greg McElroy’s right arm? There is no big secret about what No. 10 LSU (7-1) hopes to do when No. 6 Alabama (7-1) comes to Baton Rouge on Saturday. LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis is going to commit the necessary resources to keep Alabama’s running game–led by Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson–from wearing the Tigers down. He will force Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy to throw and bet that his best defensive player, cornerback Patrick Peterson, is good enough to keep wide receiver Julio Jones in check. If it comes down to that, watch the matchup between Peterson and Jones every chance you get. Those are two first-rounders who are going to be playing against each other on Sundays.
4. Can South Carolina slow down the Arkansas passing game? I’m probably going to pick South Carolina to beat Arkansas at home on Saturday but I don’t like the matchup for the Gamecocks. No. 1, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, who needs just 551 yards to reach 3,000 yards passing again, can put up big numbers on just about anybody. South Carolina is dead last in the SEC in pass defense (259.88 yards per game). The Gamecocks will be without starting cornerback Chris Culliver (shoulder) who has been lost for the season. Arkansas will be without Greg Childs, their leading receiver (46 catches, 659 yards), due to injury. Guess the Head Ball Coach had better give it to RB Marcus Lattimore a bunch and hope for the best. Also, by the time this game is kicked off (7 p.m.), South Carolina will know if Florida has beaten Vanderbilt. If the Gators win, South Carolina knows that even if it loses to Arkansas, it can earn a trip to the SEC championship game by winning next week at Florida. I’ve seen teams let down because of a lot less.
5. Will Miami go into the tank against Maryland? The Hurricanes lost QB Jacory Harris to injury (helmet to the chin) last week and fell at Virginia. It was a bad, bad loss for Miami. Still the Hurricanes (5-3, 3-2 ACC ) can win the ACC Coastal because they have Georgia Tech (Nov. 13 in Atlanta), and Virginia Tech (Nov. 20) to play. But this team had better not look ahead because on Saturday they host Maryland (6-2, 3-1) which has suddenly jumped up and become a contender in the ACC Atlantic. Ralph Friedgen’s Terps hung 62 points on Wake Forest last week. And it looks like the Fridge has found a quarterback in freshman Danny O’Brien (13 TD, 3 INT). I’m hearing from a lot of upset Miami fans about the direction of this program. Harris will not play nor will Miami’s best running back, Damien Berry (690 yards).
Whatever happened to Warren Morris? Warren Morris was Vince Dooley’s long time trainer at the University of Georgia and will be among those honored Saturday when Georgia recognizes the national championship team of 1980. Morris and his wife Debbie sold their home in Athens and have moved to Montana. Warren is technically retired but he has come up with a new invention, The Morris Boot, that can be used treat sprained ankles and foot injuries right on the sidelines. The Boot basically allows trainers to put the injured foot into a big, form fitting plastic bag, pack it in ice and seal it. In the past trainers have just taken an Ace bandage and wrapped a bag of ice around the foot, which was kinda messy and inefficient. This allows the player to keep his shoe on, if necessary, while getting ice immediately on the foot.
It sounds really simple and looks really simple. Some of the best inventions are. Anyway, having had my fair share of sprained ankles I thought it was cool.
If you’re interested in that sort of thing go to his website at www.morristechnologies.com.
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