Monthly Archives: July 2011

The New Faces of the Bama Backfield

Dee Hart will be an exciting player to watch in 2012 (Photo by Scout.com)

This fall, the Alabama Crimson Tide will look to make some new faces into household names.  The Tide lost Dee Hart earlier in the summer to a torn ACL that he suffered during 7-on-7.  Hart’s role in this year’s offense, although we won’t know until next season, is believed to have been the Tide’s “factor-back” that teams like Florida (Percy Harvin) and Kentucky (Randall Cobb) have had in the previous few seasons.  With a year of learning the playbook, studying film, and working in the weight room, Hart figures to play a big role in the 2012 Tide offense.

Lacy has experience the Tide backfield needed. (Photo by T.G. Paschal/BamaOnline.com)

The Tide took another hit this week with the loss of Eddie Lacy.  Lacy apparently tore a pectoral muscle, which likely happened during a recent weightlifting session.  Lacy was expected to see the field more than initially expected this season after the loss of Hart.  He spent the last two seasons playing behind Heisman winner Mark Ingram, as well as one of this year’s Heisman hopefuls in Trent Richardson.  Lacy is currently expected to miss the entire 2011 season, as first reported here at The Basement Dweller.

Jalston Fowler will see his share of carries this season. (Photo by Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images)

 

The Tide will possibly be relying on sophomore Jalston Fowler to take over at the #2 slot on the depth chart, hoping he will continue to run the ball with the toughness he showed during his brief time on the field in 2010.  Fowler is like a wrecking ball on cleats.  Standing only 6’1″, but weighing in at a slim 246 lbs., Fowler is a down-hill runner much like that of Richardson, but packs a little more of a punch in the trenches.  With the combined power of Richardson and Fowler in the Tide backfield, opposing defenses won’t get much of a chance to rest.

Blake Sims' will play an integral part in the 2011 Tide offense.

The Tide’s only other viable option at running back at this time is redshirt freshman Blake Sims.  On paper, Sims would probably draw much comparison to the aforementioned Randall Cobb.  He played quarterback in high school, however was expected to see some time at running back and wide receiver this season.  Many think that Sims’ main role will be as the Tide’s “Wild Tide” quarterback.  Sims was a fairly accurate passer at Gainesville High School (Ga.), but was very exciting to watch when leaving the pocket, averaging 7.5 yards per carry.  Look for Sims’ role to expand in the backfield a little more in 2011.

-Chris

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Garcia Expected to be Reinstated as Soon as Monday

Wadn't me

USC quarterback Stephen Garcia is expected to be reinstated sometime this week, possibly as early as Monday, reports CBS Sports.  Garcia was suspended in April following an “alcohol-fueled outburst at a life skills seminar”, which has to be top 5  places to have an alcohol-fueled outburst.  With camp starting next week, Coach Steve Spurrier is pleased with the changes he has seen in the Gamecock signal caller, saying, “He’s showing a commitment we’ve never seen before”.

I suppose this news was expected, but must still be a sweet sound in the ears around Columbia.  The Cocks are expected to be formidable this year.  Excitement and expectation is higher than it has been in recent memory.  Even better news is his QB coach, G. A. Mangus, could also be reinstated next week.  Garcia gets help with his footwork, and maybe he can give Mangus a few tips on holding his liquor.  Win-Win.

-Jeff

Nutt’s Comments Add Drama to this Year’s Egg Bowl

Nutt and Mullen will meet on November 26

Dan Mullen has been very outspoken since his arrival in Starkville.  Now, Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt is firing back.  At a kickoff dinner earlier this week, Coach Nutt apologized for last year’s 4-8 season that saw the Rebels go 0-5 against divisional opponents.  He also took the time to sneak in a few blows directed at that OTHER team in Mississippi.

Nutt proudly stated that his 2011 recruiting class was “the best in the state…the best.”  Rivals.com rated Nutt’s class as 19th best, while Mullen’s haul was ranked 44th.  With such a large gap in the rankings, it will be interesting to see what each class can accomplish.  You know those MSU recruits will have that quote stapled on their lockers for all 4 years.

Nutt also took offense to the recently released video by MSU that features the Egg Bowl Trophy and titled, “Golden Days: A Day in the Life of the Egg Bowl Trophy.”  Nutt brought up the 2008 Egg Bowl that saw Ole Miss blast the Dawgs 45-0, saying “Nobody had to carry around the trophy and show everybody.”

The recent comments definitely add a little more drama to this year’s Egg Bowl and, in my opinion, it’s the best thing for this rivalry.  Everyone in Mississippi knows about the importance of this game…now it’s time for people outside the state to start paying attention.

– Darrin

We Don’t Get No Respect: The Plight of the 2011 Auburn Tigers

Will Michael Dyer be able to fill the void left by Cam Newton?

It’s hard to imagine being in the position that the 2011 Auburn Tigers find themselves in heading into the 2011 season.  They are the defending National Champions, one of their players won the Heisman trophy and they dominated last years SEC Championship game in a way that hadn’t really been done before.  And yet, they are widely considered to be, at best, the fourth best team in their division.  Not their conference, their DIVISION.  It’s not very often that a team can win a National Championship and claim the (as Bill Simmons puts it) “nobody believes in us!!” factor.  Yet here they sit. . . .underdogs.

Auburn fans everywhere are up in arms about the lack of respect that their team is getting heading into the season.  I’ve heard anything from “we deserve to be in the top 10” to “we should be #1 until someone takes it from us”.  And honestly, only one of those claims is ridiculous.  Take, for example, the Alabama team from last year.  They were coming off a National Championship, had a Heisman Trophy winner, and had won comfortably in the SEC Championship game.  They were far and away the preseason pick to win the National Championship the following year, and even after an early loss to South Carolina they were still considered dark horses to make it the NC game until their loss to LSU.

What is it about this Auburn team that leads the entire nation to write them off just one season after they won it all?  Let’s look at some factors:

  1. They lost their Heisman winning quarterback Cam Newton to the NFL. Auburn fans will often site the losses that Alabama has coming into this season and question why they are deserving of high praise while the Tigers are brushed aside.  Make no mistake: no loss endured by the Tide is as significant as the loss of Cam Newton.
  2. They lost the heart and soul of their defense, Nick Fairley.
  3. They lost four senior offensive linemen.  In a conference that prides itself on stellar defense, the loss of experienced offensive linemen cannot be understated.

While there are plenty of reasons for the Auburn faithful to worry, there are some reasons for optimism as well. For one, they return what should be one of the better running games in the conference in Michael Dyer and Onterrio McCalebb, and while their offensive line is fairly inexperienced, it isn’t necessarily young.

All in all, the Tigers are sure to see a drop from their surprising 2010 season.  Unless there is a player hiding on the depth chart with the level of athleticism that Cam Newton had, it may be a tough year for the Tigers in what should be an absolutely loaded SEC West.  While I think that Auburn is being undervalued to a degree, I still have a hard time seeing them finishing ahead of Arkansas, Alabama or LSU in the division in 2011.

Rodney Dangerfield made the phrase “I don’t get no respect” famous but the 2011 Auburn Tigers are the ones shouting it from the mountain tops.  And they may have a point.

-Sadler

BREAKING NEWS: Eddie Lacy Injures Pectoral

Eddie Lacy (photo from Wikipedia)

Breaking news from Tuscaloosa tonight, as a source has confirmed that Eddie Lacy has injured a pectoral muscle.  It was originally believed that Lacy may have torn the muscle and would miss a significant amount of time.  According to a source close to the program, Lacy will be out 5-6 weeks with this injury.  Lacy is likely to be held out of the Kent State game in hopes that he will be ready to go the following week when the Tide travels to Happy Valley for their non-conference clash with Penn State.  Check back with The Basement Dweller for updates.

-Chris

Butch Davis gets fired, makes Butch Davis face UPDATE

Reports have been made that North Carolina head football coach Butch Davis has been fired.  Details are not available as of yet, stay tuned.  Possible next jobs, mascot at either MSU or UGA?It’s OK Butch, somebody will hire you!  Cheer up!……or don’t.

UPDATE: According to CBS Sports UNC’s Athletic Director, Dick Baddour, has also stepped down.  He will however still assist with the hiring of the interim head coach and remain under contract till June 2012.

Virginia Tech Agrees That Vegetables Make Poor Football Players

We hope no one gets seriously injured this season.

The brilliant minds at Virginia Tech have decided that life-long debilitating brain injury is a bad thing and that helmets should be tested to see how well they prevent such injuries.  Amazing that it took this long for someone to think to test something meant to keep people alive and well, but better late than never I guess.

In May, researchers at Virginia Tech released the results of a study conducted to rate the protective capabilities of many different helmets available on the market.  Based on scientific testing, they devised a ranking system from “NR” (not recommended) to “5-star” (top).  These results have been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication by the Annals of Biomedical Engineering, which basically means that they know what they are talking about.

Test these in the SEC, where they hit harder.

The testing revealed only one 5-star helmet and five received the 4-star rating.   If you want to read more about the ratings system and testing procedures then click here [link].

The flip side is that some helmets were ranked poorly, with several popular models ranked low.  The Adams A2000 Pro Elite received a NR rank, and the Riddell VSR 4 model was given only 1-star.  The disturbing part about this is that the VSR 4 has been Riddell’s best selling helmet for years, it is the most popular helmet in the NFL and is also widely used in NCAA football programs.  Shortly after the study was published, Riddell advised against using the VSR 4 model, and was subsequently made unavailable for purchase.  Virginia Tech has said that it will remove all VSR 4 helmets for the 2011 season, and I hope all programs follow suit.  Replacing the helmets will be costly, but that pales in comparison to the risk of brain injury–injuries that the better-ranked helmets help reduce.

So, this turned out a little more informative and a little less entertaining than originally meant.  I promise all future articles will be less professional and silliness will reign.

-Jeff