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Sprints Is Wondering What John Blake Means for the SEC and the Whitney Means for South Carolina // 10.04.10

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SECRET AGENT MEN

And now we have the Blake-SEC tie that we've been wondering about
This is why we've been keeping up with the goings-on in Chapel Hill: Because it's a small world we all live in, as Marcell Dareus illustrated when he talked to the NCAA about former UNC assistant coach John Blake. (Year2 has more on this here.)

The sources said Dareus told NCAA investigators that Blake had maintained contact with him since that recruitment, and that during the summer Blake called both Dareus and Dareus’ friend, South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders, to suggest they sign with Wichard. Both Dareus and Saunders were considered potential first-round picks entering this season.

The NCAA has been hesitant to use the death penalty since what happened to Southern Methodist, and North Carolina fans should be happy about that. Because if anyone finds out Butch Davis knew about what Blake was doing -- though that doesn't seem to be the case at this point -- the Tar Heels would probably be a target. Even with ignorance, it's going to be interesting to see what's left in Chapel Hill when the Association is done.

As for the SEC programs, it doesn't seem like there's any further damage done by this story. Dareus was cleared to return, Saunders is gone, and we all knew the reasons for both of those decisions. Not that South Carolina is in the clear yet, as we shall soon see.

Carolina March calls it 'almost ... good news'
Of course, I guess all things are relative when you're staring down the barrel of a loaded enforcement staff.

There report says nothing about Blake funneling money to either player ... and the fact Blake was touting Wichard to players at other schools backs up the idea that Blake was just out of control and not that the problem was the entire UNC program.

T.H. also has an issue with Dareus' suspension being shorter than some of the UNC players, though it's pretty clear now why that was. Plea bargains are the best way to shorten one's sentence.

Meanwhile in Columbia ...
South Carolina has started releasing documents in the Agentgate investigation, dutifully covered by Haney (with more here). Good news for South Carolina:

I found it interesting that there were at least two other students, both females if I read it correctly, staying at the hotel for $450 a month. Was that the hotel covering its rear? If so, did that work with the NCAA? Evidently not, although the documents seemed to indicate that was helpful in the reinstatement process.

Bad news for South Carolina:

About the [hotel] GM himself, Jamie Blevins, the docs say he didn't present himself in a way that the NCAA would classify as a booster. BUT it stands out that the docs say The Whitney joined The Gamecock Club in March 2010. Who made that move isn't clear. But that certainly doesn't look good for the school, or the hotel.

The biggest problem for South Carolina would seem to be that the compliance office signed off on the reduced rates. That would be where you might have "lack of institutional control" and the loss of a few scholarships.

ALABAMA 31, FLORIDA 6

Is there anyone left in the Florida backfield?
Yeah. Sort of.

Should Addazio go?
Alligator Army says the answer is yes. Florida's problems fall on offensive coordinator and former interim head coach Steve Addazio. Tim Tebow and others just managed to hide it for a year.

On Saturday, Florida plays LSU, who is 6th in total defense and 5th in scoring defense. The week after is the 22nd best scoring defense, Mississippi State. Even Georgia, poor, poor Georgia, is top-50 in scoring and total defense. I don't want to see what new and creative ways Addazio has for getting outsmarted by an opponent.

Oh, but the rest of the SEC very much wants to see what new and creative ways Addazio has for getting outsmarted by an opponent. They consider it a thing of beauty.

GEORGIAPOCALYPSE

Mark Richt wants you to support the troops
The Dawgs are now close to historically bad territory. As in, the most consecutive losses in close to 60 years. Lose this week's game against the Vols, and it'll be a five-game losing streak.

The last time it happened was 1953, when the Dogs lost their final five games. ...

"We can't sit around and cry about it," Richt said Sunday of the position in which the Bulldogs (1-4, 0-3 SEC) find themselves, "because if we do we're really going to be in trouble."

Um, Mark? I think you are already "really ... in trouble."

Because you're having to learn from Ray Goff
Paul Westerdawg has some ideas for Richt, and most of them seem sound and fairly simple.

At a minimum, Bobo should be back upstairs where he could see the entire field better...with instructions to get AJ Green the ball at least twice per offensive possession. We should make sure our best players are in the game -- like Kwame Geathers getting more snaps on defense. ...

However, it would probably be a shorter process if the [defensive] playbook wasn't 12 inches thick. These are college kids with 20 hours to learn and absorb a scheme. Right now, it looks like the only team that's confused by our defense is our own.

The problem, as Westerdawg suggests, is that none of these issues are particularly new. And if they continue to be issues, more and more fans will start wondering if the only way to change them is to change the man making the final decisions.

OTHER NEWS

'Gary, standing right here for just a minute. Okay, bring on the bus'
Les Miles wants to make it absolutely clear who made all the decisions at the end of LSU's win against Tennessee -- and he had nothing to do with it.

"Coach Crowton did," he said. "He was the play caller during that series. The calls he made in that drive (leading up to the touchdown) got us the victory. But at the back end, that has to be handled better, period. We used timeouts inappropriately (throughout the game in order to avoid delay penalties when the play clock was about to expire). We could have had timeouts on the board and moved comfortably at the end. There's work to do. I take blame, and rightfully so. It will be changed yet again."

In fact, what was Miles to do if his offensive coordinator was mismanaging things?

"The series of plays at the back end of that game was embarrassing to me," said Miles, who usually does not call plays but has veto power. [Emphasis added]

Well, yeah, I guess he could have done that.