Each week during the off-season we will be doing this feature that will simply be called “This Week In College Football”. We will cover the biggest news and stories of the past week and give some opinions and analysis. In addition to covering the weekly happenings we also do a weekly roundtable where we discuss varying topics and we give several opinions on each topic. If you haven’t read it yet then check out this weeks roundtable, it’s all about the ACC.
STEPHEN GARCIA SUSPENDED
Earlier this off-season there were rumors surrounding Garcia and just how much he partied before the Gamecocks bowl game. We didn’t address this because I’m not a big fan of spreading rumors. Well, this week Garcia and fellow QB Andrew Clifton were both suspended for the first portion of spring practice. The Charleston Post and Courier sited a source that said this was related to an incident during the team’s bowl week. If there is one thing that we know that Steve Spurrier loves, it’s a QB controversy. He practically goes out of his way to create them sometimes. I’m not and have never been a big Garcia fan but he’s still the best chance for the Gamecocks to repeat in the SEC East. I think he has all the tools to do the job and sometimes he looks like he’s turned the corner but he’s not a guy I would trust as the captain of my team. From where I sit, suspending someone for the first week of spring practice is pretty much meaningless as a punishment. But it does give Connor Shaw a chance to shine. In his first chance this spring he didn’t respond very well as he went 6 for 15 for 78 and 2 interceptions in South Carolina’s first spring scrimmage. RS Freshman Dylan Thompson did look impressive as he was 9 of 15 for 131 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. At the very least, the South Carolina QB job is something to watch. South Carolina is defending their SEC East title for the first time (ever?) and I think the only way they repeat is if Garcia is their guy and he plays better than he did last year. Georgia and Florida (and even Tennessee) are going to be better than they were last year. Garcia and Spurrier need to get their heads on straight and get on the same page if they want to repeat.
JIM TRESSEL ASKS TO SIT FOR FIVE GAMES
Last week we brought you our opinion on what Jim Tressel’s punishment should be. This week the NCAA upheld their decision to suspend Ohio State’s “Tattoo Five” for five games. After that decision, Jim Tressel asked the University to increase his suspension from two games to five. I think this is a good move by Tressel because it’s obvious that the two game suspension was laughable and the NCAA was going to do something more. Is five games going to be the right number for the NCAA? For me it’s not because it’s the wrong five games and Tressel’s punishment was worse than that of the players. Yes, the players violated NCAA rules but Tressel is the one who orchestrated the cover-up and lied to his employer and the NCAA on more than one occasion. I still think his minimum punishment is suspension for ALL Big Ten games this season. Those games mean more than the 4 non-conference games he wants to suspend himself for. If five games is the number the NCAA likes then make him sit out the first five conference games. Oh yeah, and if he’s suspended he should be suspended with no pay.
GEORGIA PICKING UP SOME MINOR VIOLATIONS
Minor violations are inevitable in college athletics. Georgia recently self-reported some back-to-back violations involving two of their 5-star recruits out of their “Dream Team” class (Isaiah Crowell and Ray Drew). Ray Drew and one of his teachers (Randy Young) arranged for two former Georgia players, David Pollack (who also has a gig with ESPN and Atlanta radio station 790 the zone) and Randall Godfrey, to be present at his announcement. He originally invited Michael Strahan (not a UGA alum) but he could not make it so they asked Pollack and Godfrey. You can get all the info here. This resulted in Georgia investigating and self-reporting five violations. Georgia claims it’s coaches had no prior knowledge and Ray Drew, a licensed minister, says the same thing. Seems like a mountain out of a mole hill to me. But none the less it resulted in a whopping five violations.
The other violation involves Isaiah Crowell, who as a result of the violation was ruled ineligible this week and then had his eligibility restored on the same day. Here’s what happened, basically Richt and Crowell were in his office (which overlooks an indoor practice field) and they looked down on the field and there were 10 guys lined up in their jersey’s in a formation. Richt and Crowell went down to the field and Crowell was given a jersey and lined up in the formation with the other 10 guys. I might be biased but this sounds pretty awesome to me and I would be shocked if other schools weren’t using similar tactics. Anyway, this was deemed to be a violation of “game day simulation” although it wasn’t at the stadium or out in public. Sounds more like “spring practice simulation”. Richt was penalized by not being able to contact recruits during the month of April. Former Georgia QB Buck Belue had a great line in his blog this week…”the report of a “rookie” left guard getting flagged for illegal motion and Sturdivant getting beat inside are untrue.”
In my book this is small potatoes compared to what you have going on up north (coaches lying and covering up violations) but it is concerning that they come so close together. You don’t want to have your program get a reputation for toeing the NCAA line (see also: Kiffin, Lane) or they will come around looking for more stuff and odds are that if they tried hard enough they could find something on pretty much every campus.
WEIS AND FLORIDA DISBANDING THEIR QB ARMY
Last year, Steve Adazzio and Urban Meyer played around with some strange things at the QB position using Jordan Reed and Trey Burton down he stretch. Burton was rumored to be possibly moving to defense but that’s not happening. Burton will play the “F” position (which is a slot receiver or TE depending on personnel groupings) and Trey Burton will be moving full-time to TE. John Brantley was listed as #1 on the depth chart this spring and hot-shot recruit Jeff Driskel and Tyler Murphy were listed behind him. I reached out to a couple of Gators bloggers via the twitterverse to see what their thoughts were on the Gators QB position this year and they had very different thoughts. I simply asked them “Who do you want as Gators QB? Brantley or Driskel?” The first response was from The Bull Gator and he tweeted “Brantley for now. See what he can do in the new offense. Give the freshmen time to learn”. Next up was Kevin Timothy. He sometimes blogs for us about the Florida Gators but he also has his own blog Gator Biz. Here is what he tweeted back to us “New offensive coordinator, new QB. I want Driskel to start. Brantley looked too confused”. It’s going to be a very interesting spring and fall in Gainesville. I personally think they will give Brantley a shot but he will eventually be replace by Driskel, who has a much higher upside.
LOGAN GRAY TO COLORADO?
We found out earlier this off-season that Georgia QB/WR/Fair Catcher Logan Gray was going to be transferring from Georgia. Gray fought for the open Georgia QB position last year but eventually lost out to RS Freshman Aaron Murray (who we later found out was pretty damn good). Gray opted to stay at Georgia after some heavy rumors of the opposite and moved to WR where he actually played pretty good despite fighting through some injuries (9 catches for 105 yards and 1 TD). Logan has graduated from Georgia but still has one year of eligibility left. Since he has graduated he is free to transfer (without sitting out) to any program that offers a graduate program that Georgia does not. Logan says that Colorado is the D1 school who has shown the most interest so far and it’s known that Logan wants to play his final year closer to his home (Missouri). Another factor here could be that Logan’s brother currently attends Colorado. Gray will be making his trip out to Boulder on April 9th to watch the Buffaloes spring game. Logan says that he is interested in several other schools but the only other one I’ve found mentioned is Southern Illinois.