S doin’ media; Richt, Dooley and Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze
He had the most classic line of the event when he talked about age and Spurrier. He’s tired of Spurrier’s jabs at him. Let’s see: how many national titles has S won? That would be 3: 2003 at LSU, 2009 at ‘Bama and 2011 at ‘Bama. Spurrier? 1. And that was in 1995 at a school where you should win championships. S may very well do it again this year. I know he’d love to see Spurrier along the way. Saban was so funny. He’s got a mean sarcasm to him and I say that in a positive way. He’s just so clever and smart. He said he idolizes Spurrier, he wants to be Steve Spurrier. In other words bring it on you jerk. You and your mouth. S would like to match up football teams this year. I know he’d enjoy preparing and playing that game. He can handle Spurrier. There is no doubt about that.
S talked about Barrett Jones and what Barrett means to the program. Loves the guy. Barrett now back at center. Saban said what an amazing person he is. He really emphasized that and said moving from guard or tackle to center this year is no big deal for Barrett. Saban pretty much said Barrett will be one of the all time greats who has played for him. Compared him multiple times to All-Pro Bruce Matthews who would do anything on the field– play every position–to help his team win. S loves Barrett.
S is very pleased with where A.J. is. He said what a terrific job he did last year, particularly in the national championship game. He says A.J. is still working hard to improve on his skills and his leadership, and S thinks he’s definitely one of the league’s best and that also means one of the nation’s best. Should be an excellent year for A.J. He’s so focused that his dad wants him to even tone it down a little bit. But A.J. wants greatness. That’s admirable.
S said his running back situation is in good hands with Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon, Dee Hart and Jalston Fowler. He said it’s pretty tough to replace Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, and Eddie was slowed by turf toe last year which hampered his play, but he still was pretty effective. S expects him back at full strength. I think Yeldon’s going to be really special and also think Hart will be special. Fowler will be a solid, bruising backup with pretty deceptive speed.
S hit the nail on the head when he said once A.j. and the line get going, which they will do right away in fall workouts, it’ll make the playmakers that much better. Guys wide like Kevin Norwood and others will step up this year. Not sure what the status is on Duron Carter. Will check into that. DeAndrew White is another guy I expect to shine and those two freshmen, Chris Black being one of them and he looks fantastic, look like they’ll be playmakers. Christion Jones should be an outstanding player both as a receiver and as a kick returner.
Defense will be excellent as usual. Jesse Williams will lead the defensive front.He’s massive and talented. Could make close to the dominant impact that Mount Cody made three years ago. Linebackers and defensive backs are exceptional. C.J. Mosley, Nico Johnson and Trey DePriest all look like All-Americans and first round draft picks when they come out. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Vinnie Sunseri, and Dee Milliner lead an all-star group of safeties and defensive backs. Almost forgot about Robert Lester. Just a first round pick next year if he has another stellar year.
So there should be national championship talk again for this football team. Got the quarterback, the line and the defense. Running back should be pretty darn good once Lacy, Hart and Yeldon get a game or two under their belts. Wide receiver development will be key. But Jones, Norwood, White and the freshmen could be outstanding as the year progresses. They’ll certainly have a stud throwing to them. Of course, Michael Williams will be exceptional at tight end. Kicking game should be fine. Shelley should be good enough along with the other guy. Punting will be fine too.
Michigan to open up in Arlington, Texas at Jerry World on Sept. 1, at 8 PM ET/7CT on ABC. Going to watch Michigan first of next week in their spring game and will give a report. Going to watch Clemson as well for Auburn, so I’ll have a report on them too. Arkansas in Fayetteville Sept. 15 is key obviously, Ole Miss at home, Missouri on the road, UT on the road, State at home, LSU on the road, Nov.3, and Auburn at home on Nov. 24.
S said he likes the way this team is approaching this season more than the two other national championship teams he’s coached. Now that’s saying a lot. With leaders like Jones, McCarron, Michael Williams, Lester and Mosley among others, you’ve got some tremendous leadership and experience. The offensive line will be the best in the country without a doubt. It’s going to be another stellar year. Barring major injuries to key players, could be another national championship. Like the Tide’s chances a lot.
Mark Richt: Did a good job. Talked about kicking Isaiah Crowell off the team. He didn’t like it. Said it was not fun. But had to do it. Kid was just a major problem. Likes his football team a lot. He said 10 guys put their paperwork in for the NFL draft and nine came back to Athens. Was very high on quarterback Aaron Murray as he should be. Says the character and work ethic Murray has are second to none. Looking at a special season for Murray. Tailback will be fine with some young guys stepping in. Five-star freshman on the roster. Will probably be pretty special. Believe his name is Marshall. Sounds like he has a lot better work ethic and character than the troubled Crowell. Richt was very high on linebacker/ dend Jarvis Jones. Works extremely hard. Could have been drafted last year, probably first round, but didn’t even turn in his papers. Wanted to come back and improve and win big. He’ll be special. Led the league in sacks last year. Could be a special team. Haven’t made my final predictions yet, but like Georgia and Florida as the favorites to capture the East. Cocktail party in Jacksonville should be a classic. The winner of that game is the favorite in my opinion to win the East.
Derek Dooley: Much improved team this year. Has experience. Very good at quarterback and wide receiver. Justin Hunter coming back and Da’Rick Rogers are special players at wide out. Dooley very excited about incoming junior college wide receiver C.J. Patterson. 6.0, four-star player by Rivals. 6’4″, 205. Sounds pretty special. Running back looks pretty talented. Marlin Lane Jr. looks like a stud. Got some pretty good other backs in Rajion Neal and Devron Young. Defense looks pretty solid. John Propst of Hoover High School looks like he’ll be an impact player at linebacker. Great size and good speed in secondary. Offensive line is experienced, everybody back, and has studs. Quarterback Tyler Bray, should get good protection. Looks like a pretty solid UT team.
I think the Vols are going to be good this year. Can they win the East? They might be close, but probably not. Have to play at South Carolina and at Georgia and, of course, play the Tide at home. Think they can beat SC, but not sure about Georgia. State on the road (win), Missouri, Vandy and Kentucky at home. Those could be three wins. Vols should be much improved and have a good season. Nine wins possible.
Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss: Was impressed with Freeze. Says the Rebels don’t have the quality depth this year and not the talent that other teams have in the SEC, but he says they’ll compete hard and well for 60 minutes every game this year. I believe him. He’s been recruiting well for next year. This 2013 class is in the top 20 in the Rivals and 247 Sports rankings, so he’s making good progress. He’s going to do a great job at Ole Miss. He was the coach of Michael Oher in high school in Memphis. Oher lived with him. Oher was the subject of the movie The Blind Side, a powerful movie about a kid who came from poverty and a criminal environment in Memphis. Freeze and a Memphis family took him in and Oher proceeded to shine in high school, was an All-American at Ole Miss and now is a starter in the NFL for the Baltimore Ravens after being a first round draft pick four years ago. Freeze says he uses Oher’s example in recruiting showing high school kids what they can achieve if they work hard. He says Oher has been a great role model for recruitng. They stay in touch and are still close. Freeze had Oher live with him when Oher was in tenth grade. Freeze also didn’t shy away from the rivalry with Mississippi State. He called it a “priority,” to beat State for pride and recruiting in the state. Mullen may be in trouble with Freeze at the helm. Liked him a lot. He’s a Mississippi native and loves the state. He’s going to do well. Probably will be tough for him to win the west at any point, but maybe at some point he can get to that Alabama, LSU, Arkansas level. Look what Petrino did at Arkansas. Can be done at Ole Miss.
Will have more spring game thoughts next week. Watching Michigan, Clemson, Ole Miss, State and Florida State and Texas next week. Will give a report on each. Also will have Tennessee spring recap on Monday. Stay tuned.
S unpluggedBlog,Football / Comments (0) / make a comment