Saturdays in Athens
13th November 2021
Welcome to our weekly round up of life in the Southeastern Conference.
This week we are in a state of shock as the Gators fire Grantham – but keep Mullen, Mike Leach is in search of kickers – and lots of them, and the Grove is the place to be this weekend – Hotty Toddy!
Here are this weeks headlines…Let’s get started y’all!
Gators Clean House
Last week I talked about how unhappy Dan Mullen was after his team’s defeat to Georgia. Well, take that feeling and dial it up to ten as nobody – not even South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer – envisaged the Gamecocks’ systematic dismantling of the Gators. Leading 30-10 at half time, South Carolina would win the game 40-17, resulting in the Gamecocks biggest ever win over Florida. So if Gator fans thought last week was bad, things were about to get a whole to worse. Post game, Mullen let it be known that his team had to overcome some significant obstacles, including an outbreak of flu. Mullen told reporters immediately after the game,
“Well we had a lot, we had anywhere from 20 to 30 guys missing practice every day this week. I give some guys credit. I mean Emory Jones tested positive for the flu this morning,”
But Gator Nation wasn’t having this as an excuse for what is quite possibly the shock result of the season. No surprise then that Mullen came under extreme pressure immediately – and by Sunday had made changes to his coaching staff.
The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman was first to report that the Gators had parted ways with defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and offensive line coach John Hevesy. On Monday’s press conference, Dan Mullen had this to say about the changes,
“my responsibility as Head Coach is to do what’s best and what I feel best for the Florida Gators and that comes ahead of it all.
It was really a tough decision to make.
I looked at how we played Saturday and there were some things that built up to it. We weren’t where we needed to be…In every season our goal is to win a Championship.
One of the ways you look to see if it has been a successful season is to ask if you are better at the end of the year than you were at the beginning of the year.
Looking at where we are right now, we’re not better than we were earlier in the year. In fact we’re worse”.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, Mullen also went on to say that quarterback Anthony Richardson missed Saturday’s game with a knee injury. How did that injury occur? Wait for it… Dancing in the team hotel. Pretty sure Mullen and the Gators are wishing the end of the season comes quicker.
Question is, will Dan Mullen be there to see the end of the season?
The eagle eyed (or awake) amongst you noticed last week that my much promised update on the case of Jeremy “Jezz” Pruitt vs the University of Tennessee was missing. And hands up, yes there was no update.
And why I hear you say?
Well, because there is no update. Pruitt’s self imposed deadline for the University to respond to his claims has come and gone with not a peep from either side. What does this mean? I am no lawyer (clearly) but in the absence of some wailing and gnashing of teeth from Pruitt’s lawyers this suggest some talks have taken place. Maybe yes. Maybe. No.
I know y’all were desperate for an update. This is all I got folks.
But in other news the Tennessee Vols are turning into a real good team under Josh Heupel. Jeremy who, Vols fans cry? Indeed.
Kickers, Mongol Warriors And Pineapple On Pizza
Mike Leach was none too happy with his Special Teams unit on Monday. Okay, let me be more specific – Mike Leach was not happy with his kickers.
In the aftermath of the defeat to Arkansas – ironically won by an Arkansas last gasp field goal, but almost certainly due to a lot of failed Bulldogs kicking – Mike Leach announced he was holding open tryouts for walk-on kickers that next day.
And Head Coach Leach was not kidding. He did. And Kickers turned up. This is what Leach had to say on Monday,
“you know we have had quite a few people reach out to us”.
Leach went on,
“we want to have a pile of kickers that we will cultivate and develop. Over the years most of my kickers have been walk on guys who have developed and improved to the point where they become the starting kicker.
I also had a situation where the walk on kicker played ahead of the scholarship kicker and I will do that again without any hesitation”.
Asked if his comments after the game Saturday would impact the confidence of the two kickers on the roster, Leach was characteristically blunt,
“I don’t know what it did but the thing is that there’s a ball and you kick it and it really doesn’t matter if a bunch of seven year old’s are watching or if five million mongol warriors on horses getting ready to shoot their bows and arrows at you because you should approach the ball and kick it. It’s as simple as that.
But I do want to have that depth.”
Fast forward to mid week and the SEC Head Coaches mid-week call and we were back to asking Leach his view on life’s great imponderables. This week Mississippi State Head Coach was asked his thoughts on pineapple on pizza. Mike Leach is not a fan,
“I think it’s a terrible idea. I think it’s like a bad mixed metaphor. Pineapple does not belong – I don’t like pineapple. But it doesn’t belong on pizza”.
And there you have it. Another week in the life of Mike Leach.
Hotty Toddy, Gosh Almighty!
Hotty Toddy, gosh almighty, who the hell are we, hey!
Hotty Toddy is the Ole Miss team cheer without any real meaning, but sets Ole Miss fans apart from any other fan base in US sports. You can always tell an Ole Miss fan from a mile away with that distinctive Hotty Toddy cheer. Include singer Katy Perry in that group…
This week, in what is likely to be the game of the day, the 7-3 Texas Aggies ride into Oxford, Mississippi to meet the also 7-3 Ole Miss Rebels. The Grove will be jumping.
And to help crank up the volume, ESPN’s College Gameday will be in the Grove to capture the pre game excitement.
Speaking of College Gameday and the Grove, who could forget the last time that the Gameday travelling circus rolled into Vaught Hemingway?
In one of College Gameday’s most memorable scenes, Lee Corso faced off to Katy Perry in the Grove back in 2014. The game was a huge clash against the Alabama Crimson Tide with the Gameday Crew decked out in bow ties especially for the occasion.
Wh could forget the show end where Lee Corso picked the Crimson Tide to win with Katy Perry throwing corndogs and tearing the Big Al head from Corso. it was pure entertainment and complete chaos. You can see the end to the show in the video, below.
Little did we know that there was far more excitement to come in the game when the Ole Miss Rebels would come from behind to beat the #3 ranked Alabama 20-17 in a thrilling finish 4th quarter finish.
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin would love a similar outcome against Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies. So much so that he has already sent out the “Kiffin signal” to Katy Perry to come back onto Gameday to repeat her good luck. Will Katy “Hotty Toddy”…? Well let’s see.
A GLASWEGIAN LIVING IN LONDON, GEORGE IS A COLLEGE FOOTBALL FAN WHO FOLLOWS THE ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE. HE PROVIDES CFB CONTENT FOR THE TOUCHDOWN AND IS ONE THIRD OF THE COLLEGE CHAPS PODCAST.