Monday, April 19, 2010

Around the SEC: What Didn't Happen Over the Weekend

Tyler Russell pummels Chris Relf's starting quarterback candidacy into submission.
The once-labled "Savior" of Mississippi State football under Dan Mullen (although he briefly lost this title and was declared a solid back-up option when junior college recruit Cam Newton showed some interest in the Bulldogs) took no steps, and possibly even a backwards one or two, in the Bulldogs' spring game to show that it is he who deserves to be MSU's starter going into fall practice. Normally, I don't put any stock in stats in spring games unless those stats are truly awful and Russell's 12 of 27 for 125 yards with no TDs and two picks qualify as awful. I realize he's a redshirt freshman and still learning/growing/otherclichesusedinasentencelikethis, but one would think he'd be a little more familiar with offensive friendly numbers by now. I even had a State friend send me a text which included the dreaded word "bust" with Russell's name.

So this should be good news for Chris Relf, no? While he put up a versus-Jacksonville-State-like performance (13 of 24, 184 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT), Mullen did not declare him the starter for the fall, probably recalling some of Relf's performances against teams not named Ole Miss. So while Tyler Russell is most likely behind Relf in the quarterback pecking order, Mullen is telling him he's got a chance. It's probably not a good chance, maybe something like a gal like Lloyd Christmas and a guy like Mary Swanson getting together, but it's a chance.

Ole Miss' spring game conducted in an extremely efficient and understandable format.
Only Houston Nutt would devise a set of rules that include points being added to one team's score at the end of every quarter, quarterbacks changing teams in mid-game and a seven-on-seven scrimmage, which determined the color of the jerseys for the first home game, taking place between the 15 and 30-yard lines while the spring game was being played (that one may not have happened). Regardless of the controlled chaos, no one was injured and Nathan Stanley (11 of 16, 166 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) and Raymon Cotton (5 of 7, 178 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs) did not look awful in their quest to replace Jevan Snead and his 20 interceptions at quarterback.

Stanley is clearly the starter coming out of spring football, but Cotton, who is playing with a partially torn labrum in his shoulder, will get to see the field in certain situations, assuming his shoulder holds up. Cotton will have his shoulder examined again in a few weeks at which time it will be decided if he'll need surgery or can keep playing. If he needs surgery, junior college transfer Randall Mackey and someone named Richard Absher move up the depth chart. Let's hope that shoulder stops tearing.

Gene Chizik finds a quarterback that lives up to the mediocrity set forth by Chris Todd.
There are roughly 24,000 students eligible to play football on Auburn's campus and Chizik has managed to reduce that number all the way to four in his search for a starting quarterback. All four players (Barrett Trotter, Cam Newton, Neil Caudle and Clint Moseley) saw action during Saturday's spring game and all four did nothing to make Chizik's mind lean one way. According to the demolition expert of Iowa State football, the competition will last into fall practice. Personally, I'd like to see all four rotate throughout the season if only to make Steve Spurrier angry that someone is trying to show him up, which could then result in the first ever nine-man quarterback rotation when South Carolina takes the field.

Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson earn stupid sportswriter-created nickname.
But they will soon enough. I'm sure they'll eventually settle on something along the lines of "Thunder and Lightning" or "Heisman One and Heisman Two" (since Richardson will clearly win a Heisman before leaving Tuscaloosa according to Alabama fans. I also like the idea of SEC sponsor-generated nicknames. "Golden Flake and Texas Pete," "The Purple Pill and Bryan Sausage" and "Regions and Morgan Keegan." All solid options.). Whatever they end up being called, look for it on a t-shirt at Walmart and other carriers of non-licensed Alabama products where it will be bought in metric ton quantities.

Derek Dooley enjoys a relaxing weekend.
His top choices at starting quarterback went 30 of 66 with 2 TDs and 3 INTs and one of his starting safeties was arrested for a potpourri of offenses related to being hammered drunk at 2:00 AM in a parking lot in Knoxville. The good news for Dooley is that the arrest of safety Darren Myles will temporarily distract Vol fans from thinking about a five-win season in 2010.

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