Saturdays in Athens

George Somerville. 

Saturday 21st november 2020

Welcome to our weekly round up of life in the Southeastern Conference.

Perhaps not quite as much bad news as there was last week but there’s still some negativity flying around the conference. 

First up, our favourite SEC Head Coach, Will Muschamp is no longer in charge at the Gamecocks. But on the bright side Lane Kiffin is still in the SEC and providing us with all the entertainment we need. Clipboard or no clipboard, Kiffin keeps us entertained. Sadly, there have been serious allegations levelled at the LSU football team which USA Today has uncovered. And finally I set out the defence (or should that be offense) for the case that Kyle Trask really is the only pick in town for the Heisman.

And to round up today, our SIA SEC Player of the Week might not be ho you think it is…..

Here are this weeks headlines….let’s get started y’all!

Muschamp Fired

Photo Credit: @MuschampSC Twitter Account

Columbia, SC.

In the first Power Five management change of this hugely unpredictable season, the University of South Carolina terminated Head Coach Will Muschamp’s contract on Monday.

Rumours had been rife on social media following the Gamecocks defeat to Ole Miss Saturday that USC would likely end their five year relationship with Will Muschamp. However it was 24 hours later that the University confirmed that it had terminated his contract.

Sources advise that Muschamp’s buy out clause is close to $13.2m, so in the current financially constrained environment don’t expect too many teams to go raiding piggy banks to get Muschamp in situ straight away.

However he does have a coaching CV which will get him to the top of many team’s lists when coaching jobs become available. Almost certainly Muschamp will be an attractive hire for a team looking for a defensive coordinator.

During his time at South Carolina, Muschamp became the first coach to reach bowl games in his first three seasons and went 9-4 in his second season. But in subsequent years those winning seasons slid away from Muschamp with the Gamecocks falling to to 7-6, 4-8 and 2-5 in those following seasons. In conference games Muschamp’s record was 17-22 against SEC competition.

Following the announcement of Muschamp’s departure, South Carolina AD, Ray Tanner advised that existing defensive coordinator, Mike Bobo will take over as interim Head Coach. 

Bobo, in his first year at the Gamecocks, was recruited by Muschamp after he too had been dismissed from  his role at Colorado State.

So it was an emotional Bobo who faced the media on Monday as the team prepared for this week’s upcoming  game against Missouri at Williams-Brice Stadium. Coach Bobo had this to say about his friend, Will Muschamp,

“Will is the main reason I chose South Carolina. What he represents and how he goes about his business. Being able to work with him for the first time in my coaching career, he’s very professional. The way he lets his coaches coach and treats his players. 

 

I told the players we lost our coach, we lost our leader and a friend. We definitely have a challenge in front of us as a football team and a staff, but it’s also an opportunity to play for something. It would be one thing if the season was over, but we have more opportunities to play and represent South Carolina”.

And that challenge got much greater with the news that star CB’s, Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu, safety RJ Roderick and defensive lineman Makius Scott all took the decision to opt out post Muschamp’s departure. Worse still Bobo also confirmed that the already depleted defensive line would also be missing Aaron Sterling and Brad Johnson who have picked up season ending injuries.

It’s going to be a tough end to the season in Columbia.

 #GoGamecocks

Ain't No Party Like A Lane Kiffin Party...

Oxford, MS

Let’s lighten the mood a little.

We love Lane Kiffin. Lane Kiffin loves football. 

Check out this clip from the game against South Carolina last weekend where not only does Kiffin start celebrating before the pass is made but he also joins in the 60 yard run to score the touchdown. In the process his clipboard goes flying in to the air.

However, afterwards Lane seemed insulted by the notion that he has a clipboard. He was asked about it during his weekly press conference on Monday,

“Everyone keeps saying clipboard. That’s kinda like really old. You don’t have clipboards, well I guess Gus (Malzahn) does. Most of us don’t have clipboards. Kind of like the P.E. teacher in high school. They’re call sheets.  Michael Nysewander (Ole Miss analyst) does it and he puts cardstock inside so usually you can’t throw them that far, but that thing really travelled. It was a little like harder than normal. I’ve probably done that, but it’s never gone into the stands, that’s for sure. 

 

But, I just get excited, like I said after the game, when plays work, and there are schematic plays, especially if you’re audibling at the time, and you get them in a matchup that your audibling for a reason. And then, the players make the plays. I was nervous in that game. A lot of that’s relief energy coming out. We’re not stopping them at all. Which, if you can’t stop the run, the games are scary. So, I did not like how the game was going in the third quarter. Then, we hit those couple plays and opening it up was huge.”

And of course this wasn’t the end of the excitement. Kiffin’s assistant was sent to the stands to retrieve the clipboard/ call sheets, mostly because it had all of the Ole Miss play calls on it. And yes of course, the TV crew had to go follow the assistant to reclaim the documents.

And if that wasn’t enough the now infamous call sheets are going to be auctioned off for charity. We hope that the sheets don’t give away too many Rebel secrets.

And now, as any genius marketing team would, this whole situation is now being played out on Ole Miss social media as a hype video. What else..See below.

Genius. And, yes, we love Lane Kiffin.

#HottyToddy #ComeToTheSip

Bad News In Baton Rouge

Jamie Newman
Image Credit: LSU Athletics

Baton Rouge, LA.

I hate writing about impropriety within college sports. It happens far too often with insufficient repercussions on the players, teams or schools and frankly far too many instances of issues being swept under the carpet.

So the breaking of a story by USA Today this week about sexual misconduct allegations against LSU football players was just another low moment in a long line of disappointments.

The report alleges systemic problems within the football program, with at least nine Louisiana State University football players being reported for sexual misconduct or dating violence at the school since 2016. 

The report states that in some of these cases no disciplinary action was taken. The report also suggests that in almost every case, LSU allegedly ignored school policies and law in failing to follow up.

Amongst a number of players accused is running Darrius Guice, who was drafted by the Washington Football Team, although subsequently released by the team following his arrest on multiple counts of domestic violence.

The full USA Today article can be found here.

LSU Head Coach, Ed Orgeron addressed the report and subsequent claims during his weekly press conference. Orgeron had this to say to the press,

“We need to support and protect victims of violence and sexual abuse of any kind. There is no place in our society, nor on this campus or our football program for any behavior of this type. When accusations are made, we have a legal and moral obligation to report every allegation to the university’s Title IX office so due process can be implemented. I have in the past and will continue to take appropriate action and comply with reporting protocols. I have confidence today that the university is working to address our policies when allegations arise.”

It will be interesting to see how this plays out and whether the LSU administration takes ownership of this issue now. As we know, LSU has already self sanctioned the football team due to recruitment irregularities. Whatever happens, it is more bad news and a terrible look for a team struggling in a season where it should be focusing on defending its National Championship title. It’s still too early to know if the wheels have come off Orgeron’s bus but the signs are not good at this point. 

Kyle Trask 4 Heisman

Muschamp
Photo credit: SEC Network

Gainesville, FL.

A couple of weeks ago I asked the question “was the talk of Kyle Trask having a Burrow like season just hype?”

Well now we know the answer. It’s definitely not hype my friends. Trask is the real deal.

Look at the stat above. And bear in mind Trask is playing in a SEC conference with ONLY conference games. No out of conference games. Not a cupcake in sight. And on Saturday he put up his stats without star tight end/ wide receiver, Kyle Pitts. Yes, Trask is having a season to remember.

The comparison to Burrow is a good one. At the same time point in the season Trask’s stats are on a par with Burrow last year.

Trask : 70.1% completions, 2,171 pass yards and 28-3 TD-INT

Burrow : 79.6% completions 2,157 pass yards, 25-3 TD-INT.

On The College Chaps Podcast this week we asked our guest, ex Alabama quarterback and current ESPN analyst Greg McElroy, his thoughts on the season that Trask is having. McElroy had this to say about Kyle Trask,

“I think it’s a real comparison. I mean the parallels are pretty remarkable. Statistically the parallels are quite good.

They (Florida) went three weeks without playing a game which is still crazy to me. They’ve played six games and he’s thrown 28 touchdown’s. He is beyond where Joe Burrow was at this point of last year, where Joe Burrow in a fifteen game regular season went on to  throw for 60+ touchdowns. He averaged 4 touchdowns per game. 

 

Well, Kyle Trask has played six games and has thrown for 28 touchdowns so he is well on pace of eclipsing, if he were to get 15 games, what Joe Burrow was able to accomplish last year. I think it’s been really exciting to watch him progress. 

 

 

And the amazing thing about Kyle Trask is that he was an afterthought. That’s what I love about his story, not all that unlike Mac Jones who was under recruited as well. 

 

 

Kyle Trask didn’t even start for his high school team – he was a back up quarterback. 

You guys know who the starting quarterback was in that team? It was pretty amazing, it was D’eriq King who is now the starting quarterback at Miami. 

 

 

He was the starting quarterback and Kyle Trask was the back up. So to see both those guys now, doing what they are doing at the college level is pretty remarkable. 

 

 

And Kyle Trask is a guy that didn’t play a whole lot in High School, naturally, but ever since taking over as the starting quarterback last year after the injury to Feleipe Franks – who is now at Arkansas- he’s been steady, he’s been predictable and he’s got better and better and better. And it shows you that he was never really able to work on his craft in High School and never really developed that confidence but now, that he’s playing confidently – he is certainly in the mix. 

 

 

And he has Florida playing as well, offensively as anybody. I still have some concerns about Florida’s defense – they gave up 35 again this past weekend to Arkansas and I don’t think Arkansas is a great offensive team, so I am a little worried about the defense but all things considered I think Florida is a very real contender.”

And if you still think this is a journey on the Kyle Trask hype train, then dwell on this stat. 

The last two Florida players to win a Heisman, both played at Quarterback. Both of those players, Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow are living legends in Gainesville. Including Kyle Trask, they are the only quarterbacks in Florida history to throw 25 touchdowns in a season. Trask is operating in exalted company. Get the Heisman Trophy ready…..

 #GatorChomp #GoGators #CollegeChapsPodcast

Muschamp
Ex Alabama QB & ESPN Analyst Greg McElroy talks to the College Chaps Photo credit: College Chaps Podcast

SIA: SEC Player Of The Week

Muschamp
Photo credit:AP Photo/Thomas Graning

Oxford, MS.

The previous article suggests that this week’s SEC Player of the week should be Kyle Trask. Trask is without doubt the #1 player across the SEC right now.

But aside from Trask also being last week’s player of the week and not for the first time either – there was another player that caught my eye this week. The man that caused Lane Kiffin to throw his clipboard/ call sheets in the air was Rebels quarterback, Matt Corral. 

Corral is throwing up some incredible numbers this season but is sadly doing it in a season where Kyle Trask and Alabama’s Mac Jones are throwing up greater numbers.

But this weeks performance against South Carolina, a result which claimed Muschamp’s job, is enough to get Corral the Player of the Week.

As can be seen in the previous clip, Corral is forming a lethal partnership with Elijah Moore.

In Saturday’s game against the Gamecocks, Corral and Moore connected 13 times for 225 yards and two touchdowns.

In fact, Matt Corral broke records on Saturday. With 513 passing yards (and 708 total yards of offense), Corral threw for the most yards in a single game in Rebels history.

His 19 consecutive completions against the Gamecocks is the longest streak in school history and takes the record from Eli Manning.

And with help from one of the greatest offensive minds in the game, Corral is on fire. 

Against Vanderbilt the week before, Corral became the first player in SEC history to finish a game with six tasing touchdowns and a 90% completion percentage, culminating in his first 400 yard passing game of his career.

Ole Miss are a joy to watch and Corral is at the centre of this show. A show which is not to be missed.

#Hottytoddy #ComeToTheSip

GEORGE SOMERVILLE

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WRITER

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.

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