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Stan’s MACtastic Teleconference

Each and every Monday, Stan Parrish joins the rest of the MidAmerican Conference’s head football coaches for their weekly time with the media. As last season progressed, we heard Stan evolve a bit from happy and enthusiastic about his first head gig in years to just ready for the season to be over. This year, not quite the same, as the dramatic swing hasn’t been present thanks largely to reduced expectations and not going undefeated the season before. Happy Stan left the building in October of 2009 and he hasn’t been seen since.

On this week’s call, Coach Parrish recaps the Toledo game, looks ahead to Kent, and also touches briefly on the injury bug plaguing BSU. I’m no football coach, but traveling with only 7 offensive lineman seems like quite a precarious position to be in. Off we go…

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Stan’s MACtastic Teleconference

It’s Monday, so it’s time for the MAC Coaches Conference Call. I know you’re probably sitting there hoping Coach Parrish was fired up, took responsibility, made you want to believe things were going to change. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, and I can’t much say I blame him. Losing to EMU, breaking their losing streak, and embarrassing your fans, players, and program seems to breed a little bit of disappointment and downtroddeness judging from Coach P’s tone and outlook. Stan steps up to the mic and hits the conference call circuit today focusing on the EMU disaster as well as looking forward to Toledo, but at least ends with some complimentary things about Keith Wenning so that’s nice.

Stan’s MACtastic Teleconference

I will refrain from commenting on the abysmal failure that I witnessed on Saturday. Largely because commenting on the game itself will result in me showing my ass and blaming a gaggle of 18-22 year olds for not quite performing to the level of my liking. Or it would venture into me going ballistically batshit crazy on the coaching staff for not preparing this team to even remotely compete. Perhaps I could harp on the thousands of people in the parking lot who didn’t even bother to come inside the stadium and watch the team in person. Clearly, this gigantically huge sundae of blame has extra nuts, a side of whipped cream, hot fudge, caramel, and there’s plenty of it to go around for pretty much ever fan, participant, spectator, coach, and player for the abomination on Saturday.

Eastern Michigan week begins in earnest tomorrow here on OTP, but for now it’s the MAC teleconference. Stan sounds pretty bummed, which is welcome and expected after Saturday. Stan Parrish… you’re on the mic.

Stan’s MACtastic Teleconference

Was there a Ball State game this weekend? Hmm. Must have missed it. Oh well, I’m sure we won. No need to check the boxscores or game results. I’m sure that email from the Athletic Department has nothing to do with the stats or results from Saturday since we didn’t play. Thank the Lord for the bye week. I’m just thankful we didn’t get beat by some extremely talented team that we were overmatched against. That would totally ruin the weekend. [/sarcasm]

As it’s Monday it’s time for Coach Parrish’s MAC Teleconference, hopefully without the prank calls from last week rearing their ugly heads again. Not really sure how I expected Stan to sound, but suffice to say, he doesn’t sound like a happy camper. I’m hopeful that the drubbing from Saturday doesn’t let itself manifest into anything larger than life within this team and perspective about Iowa’s talent and skill should hopefully make the loss a little bit easier to digest. The MAC season starts Saturday, and essentially, it’s the beginning of a new season for the Cardinals. Teleconference audio from today…

Stan’s MACtastic Teleconference

It’s pretty rare that a coach gets prank called on his conference’s media teleconference. Coaches show? Ok… that I get. But the media teleconference put on by the MidAmerican Conference seems like someplace where pranking would be difficult. Unless of course there really is a write for USA Today who thinks Ball State has big balls and should allow female players in the locker room. Pranking begins at 4:18. No “Bababooey” or anything, which is a bit disappointing.

For those interested in what Stan had to say about the kicking competition, the atmosphere at Purdue and Iowa, and the injuries that BSU is dealing with, enjoy.

Rich Brooks & the SEC Teleconference

Another Wednesday and another chance to touch base with the head coaches of the SEC. First up? Big Blue head coach Rich Brooks!

Opening Statement
Well we are coming off a road win at Vandy where we played the last 30 minutes about as well as we could expect to play. Holding them to 31 yards in the 2nd half and being able to rush the ball for 308 yards on the game. Going in to Georgia we are a little more beat up than we were going in to Vandy. Randall Cobb could not practice today. I would say he’s questionable. Micah Johnson missed practice today but he should be able to go tomorrow. TC Drake remains out and Mike Hartline had surgery on his knee on Tuesday and is out for the remainder of the regular season.

I was very impressed with Georgia in the second half against Auburn. I got back in time to watch that and then obviously studied it on film. They did a great job against Auburn in their second half as well.

On whether or not if Cobb sits tomorrow, could he still play…
Well, he took some reps today but just couldn’t finish. Obviously the optimum thing is to have somebody practice everyday. With his experience and his knowledge, if he is healthy, he will play. We just don’t want to put him in a position where could risk further injury or injuring something else if he’s not full speed. So he won’t play if he’s not ready but he will play if he is ready.

On Georgia’s 3 defensive tackles and whether that will impact UK’s game plan…
Well they certainly are very impressive. Not only the tackles but the ends as well. The combination of their defensive front gives you all kinds of problems. We have to worry about defending the pass protection because they get such a push up the middle with those tackles and break free and put a lot of pressure on opposing QBs and it makes it very difficult to run the ball with those guys in the middle stuffing everything up. They’re a force to be reckoned with, there’s no question about it.

On the QB situation…
We will go with Morgan, he’ll start his 6th straight game. Fidler will be ready if needed.

On the depth of the league considering the large number of Bowl eligible teams…
I think the depth of the league has been tremendous. The difference this year is there’s more of a jumbled pack when you go down three or four teams, everyone else is kind of in a similar position.

On dealing with the injuries and the sense of accomplishment…
Well, I think the very obvious thing at least to me is that our depth is better than it has been because when you suffer the losses that we’ve suffered, whether it’s 1, 2, 3, or 4 game losses, or someone like Jeremy, someone you were kind of counting on, then the type of people we’ve been missing as well like our QB, our starting corners, Cobb and Locke, maybe Cobb for another one now. But the depth is better in that we’re at least still competitive and have a chance to win and haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth like we would have in prior years.

On how different the offense would be without Cobb…
It takes one of our most prolific playmakers out of the equation. Kick off returns, punt returns, holder on field goal, WildCobb formation guy, and leading receiver. Other than that, it doesn’t make it look much different at all.

The rest of the league’s head coaches…

  • Les Miles and his LSU Tigers will battle the Ole Miss Rebels this weekend in Oxford on the CBS 3:30 game. Miles was his usual close to the vest self, but did have some advice for those seeking a national title, saying, “There is a need for every championship team to have a great defense.”
  • Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks have a bye week this weekend and face off with Clemson in two weeks. Spurrier was complimentary about Clemson and their ACC title berth, calling them a “great team”. Interestingly enough, Spurrier was also asked a grand total of zero questions from the SEC media. According to Spurrier, “I guess there’s not a lot of interest in an open date.”
  • Urban Meyer and the Gators will battle FIU this weekend, having already completed their SEC schedule at a perfect 8-0. According to Meyer, he respects FIU, they have great athletes, and they’ll be in a Bowl in a couple years. Coachspeak? Of course.
  • Bobby Johnson and the Vanderbilt Commodores take on Tennessee to close their season on Saturday. A loss to Tennessee would put the ‘Dores at 0-8 in the conference and 2-10 overall.
  • Lane Kiffin and the Vols will look to hit Bowl eligibility this weekend against the Vandy Commodores. According to Kiffin, Vandy’s Warren Norman is on pace to have the most yards of a freshman in the SEC ever. “That’s a powerful deal,” says Kiffin.
  • Nick Saban and the Tide play host to Chattanooga this weekend on senior day at Bryant-Denny Stadium. This FCS matchup shows up this late in the season for Alabama because the Tide “had to play somebody.” Saban also refused to comment on the Florida game or the Auburn game and became a bit angry that one particular media member asked about a team not named Chattanooga.
  • Bobby Petrino and the Razorbacks play host to Mississippi State this weekend. Petrino spoke at length about the need to speed up the tempo of their offense to try and put some pressure on the MSU defense. The Bulldogs, according to Petrino, are a very challenging defense to try to gameplan for.
  • Houston Nutt and the Ole Miss Rebels take on LSU this weekend and have the arduous task of preparing for two different QBs for the Tigers, but he does expect Jefferson to play. Nutt sees LSU giving up very few explosive plays and long gains and sees a defense that is very talented, deep, strong, and fast.
  • Mark Richt and the Bulldogs battle our Kentucky Wildcats this Saturday on ESPN2. Georgia is playing without AJ Green. Richt said coaches are notorious for putting in long hours and torturing themselves through long hours and demands. This of course is relevant after Arkansas had an assistant coach rushed to the hospital this week. Richt also thinks the depth of the SEC with their 10 Bowl eligible teams is more about parity outside of Florida and Alabama.
  • Dan Mullen of Mississippi State chatted a bit about Arkansas, the Bulldogs’ opponent this weekend. Arkansas and their offense is hard to pregame for… which is ironic considering Bobby Petrino said basically the same thing about MSU’s defense. Mullen also chatted about RB Anthony Dixon and his intensity and effort so far this season. Called Dixon and his attributes “irreplaceable”.
  • Gene Chizik of the Auburn Tigers has a bye week this week and then will face Alabama to close the season before the Tide plays Florida for the SEC title. It is Chizik’s first game against Alabama. According to Chizik, “It’s big.” Thanks, coach.

Rich Brooks & the SEC Teleconference

sec_logo1Another Wednesday and another chance to catch up with the SEC Coaches as they conduct their weekly conference call. First up for us is Rich Brooks whose Wildcats travel to Vandy on Saturday with a chance to gain bowl eligibility.

Opening Statement
Well we’re gonna be a little healthier than we’ve been in recent weeks. Derrick Locke couldn’t play last week, Randall Cobb couldn’t play last week and Matt Lentz couldn’t play last week and all of them will be ready to play against Vanderbilt. Mike Hartline has been practicing and really taking meaningful snaps in practice for the first time in four games now.  He’s missed 4 straight after being hurt in the South Carolina game. It’s possible he could see action as well at quarterback. We’re a healthier group then we’ve been in recent weeks and hopefully we can get back on track in conference play on the road.

On the QB situtaion and whether he’s gone through this type of year where he’s played 4 QBs…
We have [played 4 QBs] if you count Randall Cobb in the Wildcat formation. I haven’t experienced anything like this, especially going with a true freshman for 4 straight games. It just bodes well for the future that he’s had that experience already and will continue to play the rest of this year. Even if he is not starting I’m sure he will some action. I think the depth has improved at most positions for us because several years ago we couldn’t have gone through and lost our two starting corners, our starting quarterback, our best wide receiver and our best running back and expected to win hardly any games. And now virtually all of them are back and ready for the stretch run.

On that stretch run and closing with 3 division rivals with the injuries and whether this is a test week for Hartline…
Well, he would regain his starting spot if he’s ready to go and the rust gets off. Today’s practice was better than yesterday’s practice for him throwing the football even though he did have some swelling in his knee.. Hopefully that swelling will settle down and  the rust will keep coming off and we’ll have to see how he does in game-action when he’s given that opportunity.

On the similarities between Mississippi State’s offense under Dan Mullen and Florida’s…
I think it’s quite different actually. The run game in Florida’s offense has pretty much centered around Tim Tebow. They’ve mixed in a dose of the running backs and probably more of the running backs since Tebow’s concussion. MSU’s offense is centered around the running backs and not as much of the QB’s run game.

On the evolution of Derrick Locke to a two-sport guy…
Well, he came in and his track coaches brought him into my office with some high school film. I was shocked that he hadn’t decided to take a football scholarship. Most of the people out in the Big 12 were recruiting him as a corner and he wanted to play running back. Once I told him we would certainly give him that opportunity he jumped at the chance to come out for football and come here and compete in both. Actually, this is his third year now. He couldn’t compete in track last year because he tore his knee up in his sophomore season with us. But he did set the school record in the long jump his freshman year. I think that he’s a great athlete. The speed and explosion he brings to the tailback position even though he doesn’t have the great size is something that has contributed to him being an all around player, kickoff returner, receiver, runner, and one of the better multipurpose backs in our league.

On the other experiences he’s had with two-sport guys and the pitfalls of a two-sport athlete…
I had a lot of guys at Oregon that placed in the NCAAs in the shot put, in the hurdles, in long jump, in the triple jump and the sprints as well. A couple of them were track guys who came out for football, but most of them were football guys who went out for track. Obviously the thing you have to work through is what you’re doing in the spring and making sure they get enough repetitions which usually has to happen earlier in their career because once they become veterans, they can miss some of those practices more readily as they get closer to their junior and senior year. The other thing you have to guard against like in Locke’s situation is that in football he wants to add weight and in track, they want him to strip it. So that’s a tough thing to deal with.

Brooks and the Cats take on Vandy on Saturday at 12:21.

The rest of the SEC…

  • Les Miles and the LSU Tigers play Louisiana Tech this weekend, a far cry from this past weekend and their battle with Alabama that drew the eyes of the entire nation. Miles chatted a bit about the spread, sounded optimistic about his team going forward, and like the coaches last week who loaded up on cupcakes didn’t get very many specific inquiries about this weekend’s game.
  • Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks play Florida this weekend and is quite happy with his team’s results this season. According to Spurrier, the Gators are “the best team in the country.” Spurrier is also “honored” to be part of the Under Armour Wounded Warrior game. Spurrier also “knew going into this year we weren’t going to compete for the SEC Championship. Our goal was to win more than we lose, and then win the Bowl game.”
  • Urban Meyer and the Gators will travel to Columbia for a contest against South Carolina. According to Meyer, “This is an opportunity to play in one of the great atmospheres and environments in the SEC.” Meyer was asked directly about Charlie Strong and his pursuit of a head coaching opportunity. Meyer said his coaches are hot commodities but while people are at Florida and during the season their focus is on the Gators but allowed, “Once the season is over, let’s handle this professionally.” Confirming also what most of America knew, Meyer said, “Jeff Demps is one of the fastest guys in America.”
  • Bobby Johnson and Vandy play host to Kentucky this weekend, searching for their first conference win and attempting to keep the Wildcats away from bowl eligibility. Perhaps the most humorous moment for Johnson was when he was asked about the ability of Florida on kick coverage to shut down Vandy’s Warren Norman. Johnson’s response? “They have some big fast athletes down there.” Apparently Johnson is pursuing a graduate degree himself in obviousness.
  • Lane Kiffin and the Volunteers head to Oxford this weekend as they do battle with Ole Miss. Kiffin and the Vols are looking for their 6th victory this season and bowl eligibility. Kiffin was asked about the officiating in the league… again. Kiffin had no comment… again. Most of the chatter this week was about assistant coach Ed Orgeron and his former connection to Ole Miss as their head coach. Nothing of note as Kiffin resorted to the coachspeak of “it’s just another game.”
  • Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated LSU last weekend and will travel to Starkville for Mississippi State this weekend in search of their 10th victory this season. Saban was asked about his role in The Blind Side and much like Houston Nutt last week, was very complimentary of the film, the actors, and the staff. Saban also commented that the Crimson Tide were “confused” for a large majority of the LSU game. No huddles, late substitutions, and that sped up rhythm made it challenging for the Tide.
  • Bobby Petrino and the Razorbacks have Troy on the schedule this weekend. Like Miles above, and some other coaches last week, Petrino’s time on the call was short. He gave a ton of credit to his squad for beating South Carolina this past weekend and putting the Hogs one win away from bowl eligibility.
  • Houston Nutt and the Ole Miss Rebels take on Tennessee at noon on CBS. Nutt was asked about the impact of a former coach taking on his former team. According to Nutt, “The first time it’s always a much bigger thing than you think. It’s a very different thing coming in on the visitor’s side.” When it comes to Tennessee, Nutt said the Rebels have to “harness the run and the explosive plays.”
  • Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs will follow up last weekend’s epic tilt with Tennessee Tech with a home game against Auburn. The Bulldogs, like so many other SEC teams, are trying to hit that 6th win this weekend.
  • Dan Mullen and the Bulldogs of MSU get the privilege of having Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide roll into town this weekend. MSU has to win 2 of their final 3 to reach bowl eligibility. Doable? Potentially. Easy? Hardly. The Bulldogs will need to shut down Heisman hopeful Mark Ingram this weekend, and Mullen is certainly impressed, but has a running back of his own worth celebrating in Anthony Dixon. “Dixon brings a lot in terms of what our offensive identity is.”
  • Gene Chizik and the Auburn Tigers will travel to Athens for the Georgia Bulldogs. The Tigers, already at 7-3 are more than bowl eligible. They are now trying to play their way in to a major Bowl. Their season-ending contest at Alabama means that this weekend is their best chance to pick up that 8th win. Chizik has 8 players who already have their undergrad degree, second highest in the SEC. “The thing that’s pretty incredible is that is almost all of our seniors on scholarship. It’s a credit to those guys who are able to do it in that amount of time and shows that academics are a priority here.”

Rich Brooks & the SEC Teleconference

sec_logo1Another Wednesday and another chance to catch up and hear from the coaches of the Southeastern Conference, most notably our very own Rich Brooks.

Opening Statement
We’re coming off of a tough loss to Mississippi State. Disappointing loss. We have some further injuries in that game. Derrick Locke banged his knee up and hasn’t practiced this week and is still doubtful for this game coming up. We’ve had a bout with the flu. We had 7 guys that couldn’t practice yesterday and had about 3 of them back today. It’s not the major flu, it’s just the normal flu, so that’s a good thing. We have a chance to do something that’s never been done in school history if we can win against Eastern Kentucky and that’s win 18 straight non-conference games. That’s a significant thing. We currently have the longest non-conference streak in the nation behind LSU.

Looking back at MSU and what the differences are with the Bulldogs in his tenure at UK
Well, I said we had a real disappointing loss. Unfortunately, Derrick Locke was injured with a knee in that game and is doubtful for this week. Certainly, Mississippi State, offensively, is a more productive team than the last several years. I was impressed with their offensive line play. Dixon had a very good game against us. I think they’re athletic and they have good size and speed on defense.

On slowing down Auburn’s offense
We played sounder more focused defense in that game than we have all year. Last week we played Mississippi State and a similar offense some of the same running plays and we didn’t have our fits with our linebackers and secondary. We allowed a lot of rushing yards against us in that game where we didn’t allow any big plays against Auburn. Part of that was not allowing Todd to hit the deep long balls in the passing game. I think they do so many things offensively that a lot of his big plays had come when coverage was broken down or busted by the opponent, and in that game we didn’t break any coverages, were in position, and we broke up a lot of key third down passes in that game as well. And honestly, it was a miserably cold windy night to throw the football so that probably helped defend the pass game as well.

It was a shame to see Coach Brooks only get two questions neither of which had virtually anything to do with UK and was more information trying to be gathered about opponents of other teams this weekend. For a coach with the 2nd longest non-conference win streak in the country whose team may go Bowling for the 4th consecutive year, that’s a real shame.

Around the rest of the league:

  • Steve Spurrier would love to move one of his final games to a different point in the season. He feels like the Gamecocks are going to be underdogs over their next 4 contests.
  • Urban Meyer and the Gators host Vandy this weekend and was very impressed by his team’s ability to stay focused this season. According to Meyer, Vandy’s defense is “one of the best in the conference.” He and the Gators have “zero conversations” against the SEC East anymore. Their focus is only on “winning the 9th game.”
  • Bobby Johnson of Vandy gets the joy of preparing for the #1 Florida Gators. Larry Smith, their starter, is out and Adams steps into the role as the starting Commodore QB. Injuries have taken a toll on the ‘Dores this season, and hopefully that experience gained will pay off next year.
  • Lane Kiffin and his Volunteers have the Memphis Tigers this weekend. “It’s a very big game for us,” says Kiffin. Kiffin has no comment on the new iron fist handing out suspensions and fines from the SEC Office. Against Julio Jones, Kiffin said the Vols’ primary weapon was “confusing the quarterback” while limiting him to small plays.
  • Nick Saban is half of the SEC game of the week against LSU in this year’s edition of the Saban Bowl. Said Saban, “Offensively, they’re playing their best football of the season right now.” Perhaps a nod to the lead up angle of his association with both schools, Saban was quick to point out that “the game should be about the players.” According to Saban, because of the team speed LSU excels at special teams as well.
  • Bobby Petrino and Arkansas host South Carolina this weekend and laid a beat down on EMU last weekend. The Hogs are healthy and Michael Smith is back for them. According to Petrino their offense against SC’s defense will be a “real good game.” Petrino also had no comment on the new order regarding fines and suspensions from the league office.
  • Houston Nutt and his Ole Miss Rebels host Northern Arizona this weekend. Most of Nutt’s question were about the movie The Blind Side and Nutt’s role in it. According to Nutt, “It was a very good experience. Tim McGraw, Sandra Bullock, the producers, everybody were class people. It was a very good experience.” This is what happens when you schedule Northern Arizona this late in the season.
  • Mark Richt and Bulldogs are also on the schedule patsies late in the season gravy train, as Georgia hosts Tennessee Tech this weekend. Richt thinks this year defenses are better across the board than in year’s past. Said Richt, “It seems like the offensive numbers have been tempered a bit.”
  • Dan Mullen, whose Mississippi State Bulldogs defeated the Wildcats last weekend referenced that win as something that will certainly help with his recruiting efforts. Beating a team like Kentucky, a team that has won 3 straight Bowl games, will certainly propel MSU over the top of the recruiting peak in his opinion.
  • Gene Chizik is excited to be home for the second week in a row and entertain Furman for Homecoming. Inferior opponents don’t lend themselves to a hungry media group seeking answers.

Stan’s MAC-tastic Teleconference

mac logoAnother Monday, another teleconference, for everyone’s favorite conference… the MAC! Last week’s conference call was certainly optimism filled and a nice change of pace for Coach Stan Parrish after victory #1. This week, back to the established routine of complimenting the opponent, chatting about BSU’s mistakes, and looking forward to tough upcoming games while trying his best to be somewhat positive.

Stan’s Opening Statement
“Well, we had a very hard fought down to the wire game with Ohio U, where we took the lead with 6 minutes left and they drove down and scored and stopped us at the end. Particularly on defense, our young group did very well. Offensively, we had to manufacture what we could get. Then caught them with a little bit of a razzle dazzle to take the lead.”

On the Penalties:
We had a season high 9 penalties. When you make that many mistakes and you are as youthful as we are, there’s just no way you can win.

The Reason for the Penalties:
I think a lot of it in the heat of the battle many of them were on our young players who just have to learn to play with a little bit more poise. You know, we had a touchdown called back because of a holding penalty. Just focus issues and things we have to get corrected.

Overall on Ohio:
We had a chance to beat a team that is going to contend for the MAC East. I’m still very very optimistic about this football team.

On the Similarities Between Ohio and Temple:
We played two of the very very best teams in the East right to the wire. They’re both good teams who know what they are.

On Ohio’s Kicker Matt Weller, who hit 4 field goals including a 52-yarder:
I think in the MAC there’s no one more important than your field goal or kick off guy. He’s the best I’ve seen all year. He’s a real real weapon.

On QB Tanner Justice’s play:
Well, he struggled. He plays hard. He’s a senior. Obviously some of his limitations in throwing the ball hurt us. He’s a cerebral QB who knows what to do and when to do it but not like the big arms we’ve had here. He managed the team and played hard. We had a chance to win the game with 5 minutes to go.

On the switch to midweek games:
Well, we did 4 in a row last year. We caught a break being off this week. During the week, our Sunday becomes a Tuesday. Monday becomes a Wednesday. It’s rough for the kids. We’ll get back at 4 in the morning from Northern Illinois, but we’ve got to get right into preparation for the next week’s Wednesday game. I think having a little bit of time off will really help us. These are three of the toughest games we’ll play all year. We’re certainly capable of playing in those games.

Ohio head coach Frank Solich was quick to compliment the Cards as well, saying, “It was a hard fought football game. Typical mac game that was up for grabs coming down the stretch. Thought their coaches did a great job of preparing. This team’s spirit is not broken.”

While the spirit may not be broken from Solich’s perspective, it’s becoming increasingly harder to listen to Coach Parrish compliment yet another opposing player as one of the best they’ve seen. It seems like each and every week someone puts up gigantic numbers against these Cards, and frankly, if that continues the infinitesimally small chance at an upset of one of the three remaining teams goes right out the window.

BSU has this week to gather itself, prepare, and get ready for their road date at Northern Illinois on November 12. NIU’s 5-3 record is exceptionally decieving, since their 3 losses were by a combined 12 points and against the likes of Wisconsin, Idaho, and Toledo.

Rich Brooks’ SEC Teleconference

sec_logo1Each Wednesday we bring you a recap of sorts of the SEC Teleconference, where the league’s coaches have a chance to touch base with the national media regarding a whole host of topics. Here’s Coach Brooks’ comments:

  • CRB’s Opening Statement: “We came off a win last week that we got off to a good start and then didn’t do very well particularly on offense or third down defense, but got out with a good win. In the process we lost Micah Johnson on the 7th play of the game. He hasn’t practiced at all this week but will try to go tomorrow. He may play but won’t be 100%. Trevard Lindley is still doubtful, the 4th game in a row that he’s missed. Our QB Mike Hartline is still on the sideline. We don’t know when, or if, he’ll return. This game is critical for both teams. If Mississippi State wants to be in the postseason, they need to win, and if we want to continue to make an impact in the SEC than we need to win.”
  • On preparing for MSU’s RB, Anthony Dixon: “He’s one of the best running backs in the league. He’s powerful as well as having good speed. He’s a load, and it would be helpful if we had Micah. If we don’t have him it will make the job of stopping Dixon even more difficult. It would be difficult if we had a full compliment of players.”
  • On the QB rotation of Morgan Newton and Will Fidler: “Well, it’s not going as well as I’d like or we’d be throwing the ball better. With Newton and Fidler changing off, we’ve been able to get 2 wins and with the addition of Cobb in the wildcat we’ve been able to generate just enough offense to get it done.”
  • How to counteract MSU’s defense: “They do a lot of different things on defense. They play the 4 man front, then they come in with a 3 man front, they do some zone pressures s well as man pressure. In the running game we have to get a hat on a hat, and in the passing game we have to make sure our bases are covered and we don’t turn someone loose. They’ve upgraded the skill and the athletic ability on their defense since last year. The job they did on Florida has certainly got our attention. That offense is hard to slow down and they did a great job with it.”
  • On the odds of a defensive player winning the Heisman: “I think most of the front running offensive players have to have mediocre years and I think the defensive player has to be on an outstanding team and have great numbers. It’s very hard for the defensive player to get the media consensus to win a Heisman trophy.”

Other Coaches Around the League:

  • Les Miles was certainly complimentary of the Tigers’ opponent this weekend, though it was almost funny to hear Coach Miles reference Tulane as an opponent worthy of even minor attention. Listening to Miles, you’d think Tulane wasn’t 2-5 and 0-4 in CUSA. Hat tip to Les though for recognizing the fact that this Tulane game is right between the rivalry games of Auburn and Alabama. Miles is also in favor of an early signing date, as long as it doesn’t interrupt the calendar of college football or being able to show full attention to prospects on your campus.
  • Steve Spurrier was asked quite a bit about this weekend’s Tennessee matchup and thinks Monte Kiffin is quite the coach and it isn’t a transition that’s tough to make from the NFL to college. According to Spurrier, coaching is coaching and it doesn’t matter what level you’re at. That’s of course incredibly ironic considering Spurrier’s lack of success in the NFL.
  • Urban Meyer indicated that his walking wounded defensive unit is getting itself back to full strength and it will be needed considering that this weekend’s game against Georgia is between two great programs. Meyer was exceptionally opposed to an early signing period until one of the conference coaches came up with a better plan that he supports, allowing a recruit to sign early if they take no other official visits. Jeff Demps should also be ready to go at full speed this weekend. Great news for Florida, bad news for Georgia.
  • Bobby Johnson sounded surprisingly positive and upbeat considering a.) he’s facing a Top 15 ranked Georgia Tech team this weekend, and b.) his Vanderbilt Commodores have yet to win an SEC contest. He spoke a bit about officiating and sending reviews to the conference office, making it more about learning what is allowed as opposed to pointing out mistakes to the SEC. Johnson also thinks the instant replay system “works as well as humanly possible, but people are gonna make mistakes.”
  • Lane Kiffin and his Volunteers take on South Carolina Saturday night on ESPN. Jonathon Crompton, according to Kiffin has put together “2 and a 1/2 really good games.” He also thinks there is no clear cut Heisman front runner, and if things go well for Eric Berry from this point forward, he has a shot at the stiff arming trophy. Lane Kiffin had no comment on instant replay and its use choosing to “stay away from that.”
  • Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide defeated Tennessee last weekend, and now have an open date. According to Saban, “Mentally and physically this is a good time to recharge our batteries.” Saban was asked about the officials and their mistakes, and he made reference to the SEC having the best officials of any league he’s ever worked in. Also blamed the lack of offensive prowess on the defenses the Tide has played rather than something wrong with the offense.
  • Bobby Petrino and the Razorbacks now start a four game homestand with this weekend’s battle against winless and hapless Eastern Michigan. Not a whole lot of questions for Petrino, mostly because of the lack of interest in an SEC-MAC bloodletting.
  • Houston Nutt spoke at length about D.T. Shackelford and his exceptional amount of talent and skill as a freshman. He’s battling a high ankle sprain, but is expected to soldier though it. The Rebels are at Auburn this weekend, but there were quite a few questions about Nutt taking on his former team in Arkansas last weekend… which he won.
  • Mark Richt and his Georgia Bulldogs take on the Florida Gators this weekend in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville. The Gators are coming off an open week, and Richt said his team and coaches “could use the break.” There is also nothing in A.J. Green’s game that Richt would change, but special attention is paid to making sure he’s fresh and not playing him every down. This weekend’s Florida game “means an awful lot” to Richt and his team. He specifically mentioned his own team, but additionally, the fans and recruits, since “the whole nation pays attention to this game.”
  • Dan Mullen and his Mississippi State Bulldogs battle our Kentucky Wildcats this weekend in Lexington. Mullen says the Wildcats will “create issues for us and we’ll have our hands full”. What I thought most odd was Mullen holds Kentucky up as an example of where he would like his program to be in terms of consecutive Bowl trips. In terms of the QB upheaval, Mullen is more worried about Randall Cobb than any of the QBs Kentucky may trot out.
  • Gene Chizik and the Auburn Tigers play host to Ole Miss this weekend with the opportunity to right their ship a bit after three consecutive losses to Arkansas, Kentucky, and LSU. Chizik said the players have remained positive despite the losses, as they haven’t needed any prodding or coaxing.