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Sprints Is Trimming Down to Get Ready for the Season // 06.29.09

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Format tweak. Sprints will look a little different from here on out, mostly because I need more team to work on some more substantive preview posts from here on out. Once the season gets started, it will also be impossible to spend as much time as I generally do on what is a links post. Most of what will go away will be commentary; I'll do one or two major items and take care of any house-cleaning on the front page and then put a bullet-style list of other important stories and a small piece of commentary after the jump. It will not be any less exhaustive -- Sprints will still be all the news I can find that SEC fans should care about. It will just have less of my blathering about those things. If I hear protests, I might go back, but that's the plan for now.

Strength. It's summer, which means the future of your favorite team lies in the hands of its strength and conditioning coach. While waxing perhaps a little too poetic, Florida Today (and, by extension, USA Today) take a look at how the summer workout regimen has in some ways come to be about more than lifting weights.

It's when leadership is formed, as players step up to encourage teammates to work harder in the heat with games so far away.

It's also a time when the strong get stronger, when a good player can become great by adding to their speed, size and skill levels.

And there are some, um, interesting ways to get there. Among them: South Carolina's Craig Fitzgerald emphasizes ... well, it's not weight lifting.

To that end, Fitzgerald has brought in new equipment and implemented several new drills, which have threatened to turn the lifting sessions into a Strongman competition. Players flip gigantic tires weighing as much as 1,100 pounds and bang away at the tires with sledgehammers, in an exercise designed to improve core strength. ...

Assistant strength coach Dan Austin said players have broken the wooden handles on at least 10 sledgehammers, and said technique is key in the training that one visiting high school coach called unorthodox.

As a Gamecocks fan, this seems more like a great way for someone to get injured. ("Yeah, we lost Smith today; he took a slegehammer to the forehead. Probably going to be out 4-6 weeks. Or years.") On the other hand, it can't work any worse than the previous regime's approach.

Meanwhile, Myles Brand shows another kind of strength. As much as I criticize the NCAA, I wish Brand no harm. (Is it a sign of our culture that I feel the need to say that?) Pancreatic cancer is a nasty disease, and we at Team Speed Kills honestly wish Brand the best of luck in fighting it off.

Molton is out for all of 2009
Just making official what we already expected.

Contending for the Stephen Garcia Award?
If you've already been arrested for failure to appear in court, don't you think you'd keep low for a while? You wouldn't be Arkansas LB Khiry Battle, who now has added a DUI arrest to his list of achievements. Bobby Petrino now has to decide whether to give Battle a third chance or send him on his way.

LSU fans still think he bunts too much
Mainieri is the SEC baseball coach of the year, surprising no one. (HT: And The Valley Shook

Phil Steele shows the odds for a national title
Does South Carolina really need to be on the list, even at 200:1? Of course, Tennessee is at 100:1, which means they have the same odds as "the field." Who exactly is writing this list? (HT: Blutarsky)

South Carolina's always interested in once-great coaches
Officially, Phil Fulmer hasn't made a decision about his future. But he sure sounds like a guy who intends to coach again.

Kiffin breakes new ground, saying QBs important
Boy Wonder says a signal-caller could help in RECRUITING players to other positions.

"That's a knock that the receivers, the tight ends and the running backs (mention)," Kiffin said. "That's one of the few things they come up with as a negative for us.

"They're so excited about everything but they say 'Coach, who's going to throw us the ball?' It will be real critical to get a quarterback or two to help us to even go to a higher level of recruiting than what we are doing now."

Whipper snappers need to get off the NCAA's lawn
Rich Brooks -- who seems to be having pretty good success for Kentucky -- is all for tougher penalties for "secondary" violations.

"If not, it's going to force everybody to have secondary violations because there's no question they can gain a slight advantage with some of the things that are going on." ...

Kentucky is the only SEC school that reported no secondary violations since Dec. 1, 2008 to the News Sentinel. Such statistics were not available from Auburn, Alabama and Vanderbilt.

Evan Berry commits to the Vols
Eric Berry's brother. Who's 13.

Maybe college football needs a compensation czar
Track Em Tigers notes the other side of the compensation boom at places like Alabama and (they are fair about this) Auburn.

But with bigger stadiums, higher paid coaches and huge television contracts, we are running the risk of having an entire generation of kids not get the opportunity to see a game at Jordan-Hare or Bryant-Denny Stadium on a football Saturday.

Yes, we are. This has been a painful think to watch in my first sports love, Major League Baseball, a game best seen in person. With football, the situation in regards to TV watchability is not as urgent, but it's still a problem.

What if it's tied to academics, though?
Steve Spurrier will get $100,000 for a high enough APR score next year. In other words, keeping the grades up is as important as going to the Outback Bowl. And, if some analysts are to be believed, more likely.

Yes, but Coach Carter never had $3 million in guaranteed money
Kentucky DT Corey Peters has rare perspective for someone his age.

"The NFL was never really my goal," Peters said. "You hear all these young players coming up like, 'I gotta make it; I gotta make it.' I never thought like that. My goal was to be a teacher. My parents always put it in my head that football was just a game."

Expectations are high at Ole Miss
Season ticket sales are brisk, and SI is on campus for a story reportedly set for their preview issue. Generally, teams outside the Top 5 don't get that kind of treatment, so consider that.

The Mayor doesn't buy it, though
In addition to listing South Carolina and, as usual, Kansas (what did the Jayhawks do to thim, exactly?), Kyle is skeptical of the Rebels.

[...] I don’t care who’s back if Michael Oher isn’t. Houston Nutt’s club finished strong in 2008 . . . just like the Georgia Bulldogs did in 2007, complete with a January bowl win over an overhyped mid-major. (All right, technically, the Texas Tech Red Raiders aren’t a mid-major, but come on . . . if Mike Leach’s squad made the jump to the W.A.C., would anyone claim it wasn’t a legitimate fit?)

I think anyone who saw Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl and saw Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl can really draw that parallel. It was quite obvious in the Sugar Bowl that Hawaii was just not physically capable of handing Georgia, and the results were predictable. The Red Raiders, for their part, are a legitimate BCS-league team. I think Oher is a huge loss, don't get me wrong, but there were a lot more factors that went into overestimating the Dawgs last season -- at least as far as I was concerned -- than just a strong finish to 2007.

The Mayor does like Clemson(!), Michigan State and Pitt. Well, he doesn't like Clemson, per se ...

As long as he can avoid using the fire extinguisher, they might be fine
Garnet and Black Attack sees Stephen Garcia as one reason to be more optimistic about the 2009 Gamecocks.

Will Garcia be Tim Tebow this fall? Almost certainly not. But I do think we've seen indications that suggest he'll be good, perhaps the best quarterback we've had in Spurrier's time here.

Well, when you're using that bar, it's hard to argue.

The Quad puts Vanderbilt at No. 65
Defying all indications that last seaon's success was more a result of pixie dust than improved play, The New York Times' college sports blog has the Commodores bowling again.

I’m not predicting an improvement from the Commodores -- they’re not sneaking up on anyone this year -- but I do believe the team is good enough to get to six wins. My prediction: 6-6, 3-5 in the SEC. Winning three non-conference games and beating Mississippi State is a must.

'The Scents of the SEC' at Roll 'Bama Roll
My favorite has to be Georgia.

A Sea of Blue looks at 'Four Critical Questions for the 2009-2010 Season' in some other sport
What is this "basketball" of which you speak?

That didn't take long
Remember that whole "the NCAA's got nothing on me" delay on the Renardo Sidney interview, which turned out to be an "I haven't sent what I was supposed to to the NCAA" delay?

Renardo Sidney’s attorney said today that he has sent the documents the NCAA has requested to the organization and hopes interviews with the Sidney family and the NCAA will take place next week as was previously scheduled.

Funny how that works.

Paul Maguire's magical camera cart rides fading away
For those who don't like Maguire's antics, realize that his replacement will be Matt Millen. I'm speechless.

More on offensive balance
Dr. Saturday follows up on outsidethesidelines' look at run-pass numbers.

The Big XII is now trying to outdo us on legendary arrests
This is one of those stories that just keeps getting better the more you read.

Texas linebacker Sergio Kindle suffered a concussion early Wednesday when he hit his head as his car ran off the road and into a West Campus apartment. ...

He said Kindle probably was text messaging and lost control of his car.

Sometimes, it's best to let a true artist speak for himself. (HT: Burnt Orange Nation)