Sprints Hopes Its 'Refresh' Doesn't Gouge Your Eyes Out // 11.03.09

Yeah, we look a little bit different this morning. Can you guess what we did? Just what they're calling a "visual refresh," which we are assured is not a redesign.

Team Speed Kills Now at 9 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. CT. Still working out a few of the details, but at the least we'll have resident LSU fan froberts on to discuss the Saban Bowl and we'll unveil the SEC Power Poll. We'll also talk about the situation at Georgia. We'll try to be fair, and the Georgia fans among you are welcome to call in; the number will be available on the TalkShoe window and we'll also be better this week about announcing it on-air.

BRANDON SPIKES

Brandon Spikes suspended
But then you knew that. So on to the reactions and other bits from the Web.

Spikes apologizes

I accept responsibility for my actions and I accept the consequences of my actions. I would like to apologize to my team and the coaching staff and Washaun Ealey. Football is a very physical and emotional game, but there is no excuse for my actions.

OBH: Not enough
Orange and Blue Hue suggests that the suspension for Spikes should have gone beyond the Vanderbilt game to include a team that has a chance, however slight, of actually giving the Gators a game.

Vince also points out that this could have fiscal ramifications for Spikes.

Scouts will question Spikes’ character at the NFL Combine, an issue that not only didn’t pop up last year, but was actually considered one of his strong points a year ago. His draft stock could slip out of the first round as teams who want to shore up their defense, but who also want high-character guys, will look elsewhere. He could lose millions in money that he could have used to support his family.

Given how ugly some plays in the NFL get on a fairly regular basis, I'm not sure on that one. But it can't possibly help.

The Florida defense is not overly concerned
After all, they're just losing the team leader in tackl-- What do you mean Ryan Stamper is the team leader in tackles?

"The whole defense is comfortable with Stamper," defensive coordinator Charlie Strong said. "So guys know if Spikes isn't there, you always have Stamper."

So if for some reason fans were worried about the offensive powerhouse that is Vanderbilt, it should be okay in the end.

SABAN BOWL III

Is it still the Saban Bowl?
Estes says no, pointing out that virtually all of Saban's LSU players have moved on.

There is no question LSU fans would love to knock Saban's team off the perch this year.

But when would that not be true against any unbeaten, top-three Alabama team?

True enough. But you have to believe that it's a bit sweeter with the coach that left them walking the other sideline.

Les Miles says things he's rarely said before
After having gotten some attention for largely avoiding the words "Alabama" and "Saban," Les Miles finally let both cross his lips this week.

"Alabama is a very, very good football team," he said to open his news conference. "Coach Saban's done a very good job there. They've gotten better every time we've seen them on film. I think this team that we play is very talented, very well coached. There are no weaknesses. This will be a great challenge for our football team. Our football team will look forward to that. We'll look forward to that matchup."

He has, to my knowledge, used "Alabama" on at least one occasion before. Of course, it was preceded by a word we generally don't use on this blog ...

Not that that's stopped them
Over at Roll Bama Roll, outsidethesidelines take a look at the Tide's red-zone issues.

In the last three games, McElroy is 0-10 passing in the red zone, and the "best" passing play we've had in that stretch is the short gain he had on the scramble where he was ultimately lit up against Ole Miss. What can you say? It's not rocket science... you can either move the ball by throwing it or running it, and if you are completely and totally unable to throw, well that really narrows your options then doesn't it?

So of course they've thrown the ball a lot in the red zone.

The LSU offense: Less inept
I hope the conclusion that passing might be the best way forward means LSU has to become a finesse team. Because I don't know if I could live in that reality.

GEORGIAPOCALYPSE

Doug's sober assessment
Doug at Hey Jenny Slater sums up the Georgia situation thusly:

The black pants and helmets were lipstick on a pig, a neon sign hanging over the heads of our coaches indicating they're officially out of ideas. ...

Last year Richt suffered the worst blowout loss he'd experienced as Georgia's coach (the 49-10 loss to Florida); in the past month alone, he's now suffered the second and third worst (the 45-19 loss to Tennessee and this past Saturday's, respectively). Is that not enough proof of a program in decline, of problems that go beyond the simple hands-off "stay the course" fix?

Worth the read. Georgia bloggers appear to be asking harder and harder questions as the season goes on.

Some are even coming up to the edge of the term 'hot seat' -- for next year
The Senator:

As you can probably guess, Willie Martinez’ fate was a constant topic of conversation this past week.  And one sobering comment that I got from someone who certainly is in a position to know is that Mark Richt is described as being "fanatically loyal" to his coordinators.

Now that doesn’t mean that changes aren’t necessarily coming after the end of the season, or that Richt isn’t doing some soul-searching this week.  But I feel confident in saying that of the vast majority of people who follow the program and saw the Florida game as Martinez’ death knell, Mark Richt isn’t one of them. ...

I don’t think anyone in his or her right mind seriously believes Richt’s job is in jeopardy after this season, even if the program finishes with an unprecedented number of losses in the Richt era and even if Richt refuses to make any staffing changes in the wake of that result.  But I also don’t think that Evans lets Richt have more than one season to turn things around in a major way if Richt elects to stand pat.

This is a tough situation for someone as loyal as Richt. Like the Senator points out, firing a coordinator would mean that the new coordinator would have to have the ability to choose whether to retain assistants from the old staff, and almost certainly wouldn't in most cases. It's not just getting rid of a coordinator and costing him a job; it's letting go of several people who all have families to feed. Sometimes, that decision has to be made for the good of a program. No one should believe it's an easy one.

But even those who are hesitant to fire folks are coming around
MaconDawg, who wasn't even campaigning to fire Dennis Felton(!), has joined the movement to remove Willie Martinez.

But the defense that trotted onto the field at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on Saturday played like a troupe of hungover circus makaks for most of the first quarter, setting the tone for the rest of the day. The fact that they turned in this effort with a week off to prepare only makes it more obvious that Willie Martinez is no longer capable of effectively leading our defense.

But his players all wore black helmets too!

Joe Cox is still the man at Georgia
Richt declines to call a quarterback audible because there are goals left to meet this season. Like playing in the Music City Bowl, I presume.

It was unanimous among our staff that Joe gives us the best chance to win and that's where our focus needs to be. There's still a lot of football left this season. We tell our players to finish the drill and we are committed to doing that this week and each week the remainder of the season.

Logan Gray will get "some playing time this week at quarterback." Those last two words are important, as his football duty this year has been largely confined to fair-catching kicks.

A.J. Green out against Tennessee Tech
The diagnosis: A pulmonary contusion.

What goes around, comes around
You almost get some sympathy for FCS schools who accept payouts to help their athletics department budget. Even a critic of FCS scheduling like myself is tempted to say it's not that bad when you read of Tennessee Tech, this weekend's opponent for Georgia:

Last year, coach Watson Brown used the payout money from playing Louisville and Western Michigan to buy headsets for the coaching staff. Some of the other money bought a video editing system that the entire department uses.

Then you get to this:

The benefits do not stop there. From its budget infused with the Georgia payout, Tennessee Tech paid Pikeville College, an NAIA school in Kentucky, $22,500 to be its own sacrificial lamb. The Golden Eagles beat Pikeville 51-10 in September.

Why not?

OTHER NEWS

Florida finally starts running plays under center
Even if, in at least one instance, it was by mistake.

Zac Etheride on track for 'a full recovery'
But no word on his football future.

Mac is back
Mackenzi Adams will be the new starting quarterback for the Dores and Larry Smith will miss the rest of the season, per Bobby Johnson.

Did he get a phone call from Urban Meyer?
Nu'Keese Richardson and the Vols are having "an issue," per Lane Kiffin.

Savion Frazier out for the season for Tennessee
Torn ACL

Tennessee now weighing black jerseys in basketball
Why not?

Here's a place they might be able to get some cheap
Now that the black jerseys have been used, Tennessee tries to figure out what to do with them.

It's basketball season in Nashville
And they're excited about defeating North Carolina in a "secret" scrimmage. Odd sport, basketball.

Our best to Chance Veazey
He's a Georgia baseball player recovering from a serious back injury.

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