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Sprints is Worried About the Season // 08.13.09

I'm back. The impostor has been dethroned and the rightful emperor is once again running the nation of Sprints. In all seriousness, thanks to Year2 for more than ably taking on the challenge of a daily links post while I was away. The time off has cleared my head, and I am ready for the march to the season.

Worry worry worry. By now, it should come as no surprise that your humble correspondent is one of those who believes that Ole Miss will do quite nicely, thank you. But if there is one area that I am worried about, it is not the offense so much as the defense.

And it is not heach coach Houston Nutt so much as it is defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix.

I mean Nix no ill will -- his time at South Carolina was controversial and his tenure ended not a moment too soon, but I have no desire to see the man fail at life or at his profession. So long as his defense allows one point too many against the Gamecocks Sept. 24, I wish him the best of luck with the Rebels' defense. He has to do that to make me look smarter than I really am.

But all these things being said about him have a disoncerting echo from the praise he was given for "turning around" South Carolina's defense.

Last year Nix led a defensive turnaround that saw the Rebels rise from 12th in the SEC in total defense, 11th in scoring defense, to fifth in both categories. Ole Miss was playing particularly well at the end of the season, four times holding opponents to 13 points our fewer – twice with shutouts – over the six-game win streak.

And while his first bowl game with the Gamecocks was an example of total defensive breakdown -- really, Brad Smith, we'd love to see you add to your yardage totals in your last NCAA game -- and the first postseason appearance with Oxford was far more pleasant, there are still plenty of parallels to Nix's much-hyped ability to reinvigorate the South Carolina D.

An ability that eventually fell flat.

That is not to say that it will happen at Ole Miss, or that it will derail the Rebels even if it does.

But if you want to know my real concern about Nutt's team, it's that. That, and the fact that they are spitting in the eye of history.

Meanwhile, Poseur at And The Valley Shook has worries about LSU. So I guess everyone's got something to be concerned about.

If you can't beat 'em, injure 'em
Can I have my Virginia Tech-Alabama pick back now? In all seriousness, this is a large if not insurmountable obstacle for the Hokies. Of course, as Gobbler Country points out, this isn't something new to Virginia Tech.

Obviously this is a big blow for Tech, but the same was said last year when Branden Ore was kicked off the team. [Darren] Evans came in as an unknown redshirt freshman, earned carries in the preseason and then in games showed he was capable of being the No. 1 back. Hopefully one of the three other backs will be able to do the same this year.

The Hokies have running backs. Whether any of them will be as good as Evans remains to be seen. (Gobbler Country is all over this story if you want to check them out.)

What goes around ...
Florida offensive lineman Matt Patchan

What would you say to Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin if you passed him on the street?

I probably wouldn’t say anything to him. I’ve got nothing to say to that guy. He’s a bozo.

Don't worry; it's all part of the Florida offensive line's plan.

Mr. College football talks "trap games"
His top five is a pretty good list.

Tebow wins, Berry in NYC, Snead stays home
That's the story from ESPN's Heism@n experts -- assuming the Top 5 get invited as far as Berry is concerned. If this gap mimics the real one, though, only the Big 3 might head to the festivities. Way down at the bottom is Rolando McClain. It's hard enough to imagine a DB winning -- but a LB?

Ouch. All 30 Starkville residents will soon be looking for him
Alligator Army counts down the best- and worst-case scenarios for the West teams after doing the same for the East.

An appropriate choice
Since the "offense" might not taste like an actual offense, this seems to be an apt analogy.

So now he can lose to Alabama by 40 instead of 20
B.J. Coleman will start at QB for the University of Tennessee.[para] At Chattanooga.[para] Sorry, Tennessee fans, for any cardiac episodes you might have endured. It was just too easy.