6 offensive line coaches in tough positions

According to Phil Steele, Arizona's projected starting offensive line has combined for 1 career start.  SMU's projected offensive line starters have combined for 158 starts, while Northwestern has combined for 137 starts.

Here's a list of six offensive line coaches that have their work cut off for them during August camp.  

Brandon Jones (East Carolina): The Pirates are expected to start three sophomores, a junior, and a senior that have combined for only 27 career starts.  That’s not exciting considering the schedule begins with South Carolina, Virginia Tech, UAB, and North Carolina.  Sophomore left tackle Jordan Davis will have his hands full with South Carolina’s Devin Thomas out of the gate.

Robert Anae (Arizona): Former BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae will likely start two red-shirt freshmen, a sophomore, and two juniors.  The group has a combined 1 career start.  After hosting Northern Arizona, you’ll see Arizona’s offensive line on Thursday night primetime at Oklahoma State.  Then the Wildcats get Stanford, Oregon, and travel to USC.

Louisville (Dave Borbley): In his second season at Louisville, Borbley has his work cut out for him.  The projected starters have a combined 25 career starts.  The early season schedule begins with Murray State, FIU, at Kentucky, and Marshall.  The Cardinals will also have a new quarterback, potentially a true freshman in Teddy Bridgewater.

Bob Connelly (UTEP): The Miners are expected to start four juniors and a red-shirt freshman.  The group has combined for 7 career starts.  UTEP opens against Stony Brook, at SMU, at New Mexico State.

Jeff Grimes (Auburn): Grimes decided to remain at Auburn despite talking with Texas head coach Mack Brown in the off-season about the Longhorn’s offensive line job.  He returns only one starter from a year ago.  Auburn hosts Utah State and Mississippi State, then travels to Clemson.

Ron Hudson (New Mexico): Former UL-Lafayette offensive coordinator Ron Hudson joined the New Mexico staff in the off-season.  He is expected to start three sophomores, a junior, and a senior.  The group has a combined 20 career starts.  The Lobos open against Colorado State, at Arkansas, and against Texas Tech.


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Chizik and Auburn receive championship rings

Auburn rewarded their players and staff with championship rings on Sunday night.  It appears there are three separate rings including a BCS National Championship ring, a national championship ring, and SEC championship ring.

According to NCAA bylaws, Auburn University is allowed to spend a maximum of $415 per national championship ring.

Any ring that represents a conference championship is capped at $325 per ring.

Auburn defeated South Carolina in the SEC championship game 56-17, then captured the BCS national championship with a 22-19 win over Oregon.

Auburn has also launched a new billboard campaign across the state.

See for yourself.  The message is pretty clear.


Nick Saban's 2003 defensive backs vs. 2011 defensive backs

When Nick Saban led LSU to the national championship in 2003, his defensive back starters heading into the season had combined for only 10 career starts.

Junior corner Travis Daniels and true freshman free safety LaRon Landry had never started a college game.  Junior corner Corey Webster and senior strong safety Jack Hunt had each started 5 games in their careers.

The Tigers went on the win the national championship and lead the nation in total defense (252 ypg).  LSU finished sixth in the country with 21 interceptions.  On the snap, LaRon Landry often blitzed from depth and quite frankly, scared opponent quarterbacks.

This season, Saban’s starters in the secondary will be sophomore Dee Milliner, juniors Dre Kirkpatrick and Robert Lester, and senior Mark Barron.  The four players have combined for 62 career starts, that’s 52 more than LSU’s suffocating unit in 2003.

Kirkpatrick, Lester, and Barron are each projected first-round draft selections in various 2012 mock drafts.  Basically, you wouldn’t say there is a lack of talent problem in Tuscaloosa.

LSU’s dominant unit of 2003 played against quarterbacks Eli Manning, David Greene, Jason Campbell, Chris Leak, Brodie Croyle, and Heisman Trophy winner Jason White.  This year, the Crimson Tide won’t see as impressive group of quarterbacks.  In fact, the three quarterbacks that stand out are Tyler Wilson, John Brantley, and Tyler Bray.  Alabama does not play against Aaron Murray or Stephen Garcia.

Since Saban has been the head coach of the Crimson Tide, four defensive backs have been drafted. Kareem Jackson (Round 1, 20 overall), Javier Arenas (Round 2), Marquis Johnson (Round 7), and Rashad Johnson (Round 3) all learned from Kirby Smart and Saban.

Jackson started all 16 games for the Houston Texans as a rookie.  Arenas and Rashad Johnson have each started two games in their young NFL careers.

Here is the list of defensive back signees since Saban arrived at Alabama:

2007: Tarence Farmer (Houston, TX), Kareem Jackson (Fork Union, VA), Chris Lett (Pensacola, FL), Michael Ricks (Booneville, MS)

2008: Mark Barron (Mobile, AL), Robby Green (River Ridge, LA), Alonzo Lawrence (Lucedale, MS), Robert Lester (Foley, AL), Wesley Neighbors (Huntsville, AL)

2009: Dre Kirkpatrick (Gadsden, AL), Rod Woodson (Olive Branch, MS)

2010: Deion Belue (Tuscumbia, AL), John Fulton (Manning, SC), Dequan Menzie (Wesson, MS), DeMarcus Milliner (Millbrook, AL), Nick Perry (Prattville, AL), Jarrick Williams (Eight Mile, AL)

2011: Hasean Clinton-Dix (Orlando, FL), Chris Jones (Adamsville, AL)

Alert your boss about the 2011-12 bowl schedule

The entire 2011-12 bowl schedule was finally released today and once again the BCS National Championship game will be played on January 9, just a meager 37 days after the SEC Championship game.

New Orleans will host the Sugar Bowl on January 3th and then turn around to host the BCS National Championship game on January 9th.

There are no January 1 bowl games this year since the date falls on a Sunday, an obvious NFL day.  If the NFL season is canceled, Roger Goodell could ask the Texas High School Athletic Association to play the 5A state championship game on this particular Sunday, so at least everyone gets to see some solid football.

Boy, don’t you know a lot of work is going to get done at your office on Monday, January 2nd.  Be sure to make your boss aware this coming Monday that you will not be attending work on that particular day due to contractual obligations to watch the Capital One, Outback, Gator, and Rose Bowls.

You do get the Rose (2nd), Sugar (3rd), Orange (4th), Fiesta (5th), and Cotton Bowl (6th).  Of course, all that leads us to the main event, the BCVA Compass Bowl on the 7th.  Get your tickets while they last.


Chizik shares candid comments in book about landing the Auburn job

Gene Chizik’s book, "All In: What it Takes to be the Best," will go on sale July 5.

A couple of parts have leaked including Chizik’s candid reasoning on landing the head coaching job at Auburn, despite a 5-19 record at Iowa State.

Chizik writes, “Make no mistake, I was humbled by Auburn's decision. And I knew this had to be a God appointment because this whole thing just didn't make sense otherwise. I knew God had to be behind opening this door."

In fact, Chizik had a weird feeling just before talking with Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs about the position.  He didn’t want to interview for the position unless he was truly a legitimate candidate for the job, fearing the consequences in Ames if he didn’t land the job.

Chizik admitted, "I don't know what it's like to cheat on a spouse, but on the ride over, I imagined the feeling had to be similar to what I was experiencing at that moment.”

In his two years as the head coach at Auburn, Chizik has led the Tigers to 8-5 and 14-0 records.  He recently signed a 5-year contract worth an average of $3.5 million per year.

He will receive a $100,000 bonus for 10 or more wins, $50,000 for playing in the SEC championship game, $100,000 for winning the SEC championship game, $50,000 for playing in a BCS non-national title game, $100,000 for winning a BCS non-national title game, $200,000 for playing in the BCS national title game, $400,000 for winning the national title.  He will also receive $25,000 for an APR score of above 930, $50,000 for an APR score above 950, and $75,000 for an APR score of 1000.

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