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Kicking Off Week 1 With a Different Look and Washaun Ealey's Arrest // 08.30.10

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Format change
Obviously, for those who read last  year, this is a little bit different way of handling Kicking Off this year. We'll do it in three or four separate posts (probably only two today), as opposed to one eight-mile-long post each Monday. Hopefully that makes it a little easier to digest. To Sprints...


Maybe they should just give the entire team Segways
Yet another Georgia player has decided that the driver's license laws of the state are completely advisory: In this case, Washaun Ealey.

Which is to some extent understandable. After all, to paraphrase Damon Evans, we all go through life and get in the car without proper identification. The hit-and-run that preceded the driving with a suspended license charge will not be quite so easy to forgive.

Nor will the fact that all this happened after Ealey's conversation with the Dawgs' director of football operations and running backs coach.

"He saw them face to face and knew he had a suspended license and said he wouldn’t drive," Richt said.

There's a suspension for at least one game with a chance to return in time for the South Carolina game "if he handles things the way he should and behaves between now and [then]," as well as the dreaded internal discipline.

Could he miss the South Carolina game as well?
My guess is "no," but the Mayor builds a case as to why it might happen if Ealey doesn't take the right steps.

Last three years: 23 arrests
And the AJC has all of them.

We've got to be in the 40s on player arrests under Meyer, right?
More arrests of players in Gainesville -- and rest assured, the freshman class has answered Mike Pouncey's challenge to prove that they are worth of being Florida Gators.

Your latest scofflaws are Matt Elam and Solomon Patton, the former having been cited by Urban Meyer last week as a freshman leader. He likely has at least one very long conversation in his future.

Elam’s mother, Addie Elam-Lewis, said she was unaware of the citation and declined comment.

College students, some useful advice: Do not try to hide things like this from your parents. Especially when you are a member of one of the highest-profile college teams in America. When the media finds out about it -- and what took them so long this time? -- your parents will know.


And yet Ealey still has better judgement than this guy
You know the cliche that "if you find yourself in a ditch, stop digging." Alas, Weslye Saunders doesn't.

Saunders surprised everyone -- including USC officials -- Friday afternoon when he called into radio station 107. 5 The Game to give a statement responding to media and fan criticism regarding the controversies surrounding him. ...

"I love the university and my coaches. Allegations of this being all about me and being a me-first guy and trying to bring the team down are false. Coach Spurrier and I are on good terms. We did have a misunderstanding, but that's all cleared up now. I couldn't have more respect for Steve Spurrier or (athletics director) Eric Hyman. I understand perception is reality and people will see what they want to from the outside. But what they see is not the case on the inside."

Really, Weslye? So, when you reportedly took a reduced rent at the Whitney, putting your eligibility and your team's chances at a good season in danger, that was all about the team? Or at least not all about you? How so?

Even if Saunders' statement was patently ludicrous, making the call was an astounding error in judgement. Especially for a guy who's already been suspended.

's this thang awn?
Your greatest hopes have been answered: Robbie Caldwell has a Twitter feed. And, yes, it's pretty much everything you would expect.

Tweeting like a bird on the twitter...just set it up! All you Commodore fans get on board! This ship is about to set sail!less than a minute ago via web


Team meet at 9:45. Game day wall-thru for Northwestern. We are excited! Team is ready to hit someone else. Have a great day!less than a minute ago via web


Coach Caldwell -- don't ever change.

Pay no attention to the actual statistics. (Actually, please don't)
In the "say what?" department:

Since moving to South Carolina, Steve Spurrier hasn't been as pass-happy as he was during his SEC championship days at Florida, and that might play into the strength of the Southern Miss defense this week.

Now, Spurrier has relied more on the ground game at South Carolina than he has in the past, but it's not exactly like he turned into Lou Holtz all of a sudden. (And this ignores the fact that Spurrier called more rushing plays than people realize in Gainesville, but we'll leave that be for now.) As Haney points out, the Gamecocks still had more passing attempts than anyone else in the SEC last year -- and yes, that includes Arkansas (440 vs. 439).

Add to that the fact that South Carolina's rushing offense was truly, truly abysmal last season, and the idea that Southern Miss' good rushing defense will help them Thursday is laughable.

There are several reasons for South Carolina to be worried about the Golden Eagles this week. But the rushing game is not one of them.

Speaking of ...
One reason to think the Gamecocks might run a little bit more: Marcus Lattimore could also start on Thursday. There's a reason Lattimore brings hope to Columbia -- he could be the second quality back the Gamecocks have had since the administration told Lou Holtz that, no, Derek Watson could not have an eighth chance. (The other was Cory Boyd, by the way.)

Could Connor Shaw start for the Gamecocks?
The split place on the depth chart isn't news at this point, but there's increasing chatter out of the Columbia media types about the possibility that Connor Shaw actually could be the first quarterback on the field against Southern Mississippi, if only symbolically.

I just tweeted that it wouldn't surprise me at all if Shaw and Lattimore started, as a symbol from the Ball Coach that this will be a "different" team. Spurrier's talked about this being a new team for the past month or two.

My guess is that even if Spurrier does this, it will only last for a series or so. Or until Shaw throws his first interception.

John Brantley's blindside
Marcus Gilbert will move to left tackle after injuries to Xavier Nixon and Matt Patchan. He'll be replaced at right tackle by Maurice Hurt. Brantley best hope that last name is a coincidence and not an omen.

File under 'No one, surprising'
Larry Smith will start at quarterback for Vanderbilt.

Dr. Saturday raises questions about the Alabama defense
And they're all legitimate questions. But one of the things that gets only glancing treatment here is that the offense shouldn't be as good, but better. The question is whether one thinks the offense is better enough to balance out the losses on defense. I think so, but it's a perfectly reasonable area about which to disagree. We should know soon enough. (And really, if you're going to give Oklahoma a high ranking after going 8-5 last year, regardless of the injury and close game situation, aren't  you already given someone a pretty good deal of credit on "ifs" and "maybes"?)

Is Joker Phillips already on the hot seat?
I kid. But Tru takes a look at how long it took the new Kentucky head coach to decide to go with Mike Hartline as starting quarterback.

And after you answer, Howie Mandel will spend five moments on the phone nodding and saying, 'Uh-huh'
Garnet And Black Attack asks "Deal or No Deal?" to SEC fans about a set of potential outcomes.

Long, white beards not recommended
Ole Miss unveils a "fan dress code" for football games. Really. (HT: Red Cup Rebellion)

But then we'd never have the 'Pine Box' and the Frank-offense
Track Em Tigers reads Bobby Bowden's book and finds out that, dadgum it, he came thisclose to taking the job in the Greater Opelika Metropolitan Area. The job eventually went to Pat Dye, Terry Bowden, Tommy Tuberville and Gene Chizik. (And Bill Oliver if you want to get really technical about it.)

It's certainly easy to imagine Bowden outlasting Dye in tenure at Auburn. By all measurements, Dye's tenure was cut way too short. There's no questioning Bowden's coaching abilities, but there's no way he puts together a record at Auburn like he had at FSU.

Perhaps not, but it's worth noting that he also might not have been involved in what lead to Dye's tenure being "cut way too short." After all, Bowden's players only got free shoes.

'For hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee'
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser's much-recommended story on the Mountain West-WAC saga presents the best summation of what's happened so far -- with the rare new details -- and also paints Karl Benson as a kind of Captain Ahab in his long-running and megalomaniacal attempts to get BYU back in his league.

It began with the WAC envisioning bringing back not only BYU -- which has yet to be been ruled out despite the defections -- but in domino-like succession San Diego State, Nevada-Las Vegas and Texas-El Paso for a 12-team league in football. ...

Benson, according to documents, was laying the groundwork for what he hoped would be the return of the Miners to the WAC after a seven-year absence. According to e-mails, he planned to talk to UTEP officials and Conference USA about a "trade" of sorts to make it happen.

Benson's avowed goal, according to memos, was UTEP's return to the WAC, where it had spent 37 years. In return, Louisiana Tech would go to C-USA, which has been its goal since leaving the Sun Belt in 2001.

According to the story, Benson eventually decided to contact Conference USA out of respect for "protocol." Why this courtesy was extended to C-USA and not the Mountain West is a perfect reasonable question, as is, "At what point in the process of reconfiguring another league do you let that league know what you're doing?"

In any case, the Advertiser points out that it's possible that C-USA, which we now know is looking at some form of partnership with the Mountain West, was where the Mountain West found out about the BYU conversation. Which violates the first rule of conference realignment: No one talks about conference realignment. At least not until you have the deal in hand. And now you know why. (HT: Mountain West Connection)

UNC could be looking at other sports in academic investigation
That, and the vaguest quote you've ever seen, courtesy of Dick Baddour:

You’ve got to keep in mind that we’re not at the end, but as I said last night, we are past the beginning. ... I don’t think we can include or exclude anything.

Another note: According to ACC Now, Butch Davis was introduced by the university to the tutor. That might help Davis some when it comes to keeping his job, but I'm not sure it helps UNC a lot when it comes to the NCAA.

The New York Times profiles the Angry Ostrich
Everyone who's read for a while knows that I like Colin Kaepernick -- my voting for Nevada in every preseason poll is essentially because of Kaepernick. But I'm apparently not quite as high on the Nevada quarterback as Benson.

"If Nevada is 4-0 and Colin puts up big numbers at the start of the year," Karl Benson, the conference commissioner, said, "he will become one of the top five Heisman Trophy candidates."

Well ... the games are against Eastern Washington, Colorado State, California and BYU. So maybe he'll get some Heisman buzz if he throws for 1,000 yards and runs for 300 or something. But top five? At Nevada? That seems a touch optimistic even for the man who thought he could recruit half the school west of the Mississippi and no one would notice.