Sidelines with John Clay

Brad Calipari, Hurricane Matthew and more Big Blue Links

Kentucky head coach John Calipari hugged his son Brad as UK practiced in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in March 2014.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari hugged his son Brad as UK practiced in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in March 2014. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Thursday:

Vanderbilt coach hints he may have big-play plans for Kentucky. Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader reports, “It’s been no secret Vanderbilt wants to run its offense through star playmaker Ralph Webb. Of the Commodores’ 339 plays this season, 37.8 percent have involved the junior running back in some way. But on the Southeastern Conference teleconference on Wednesday, Coach Derek Mason hinted his Vandy offense had secret weapons beyond Webb in its weekend plans for Kentucky. “

D.J. Eliot on what was learned from last year’s loss at Vanderbilt

After some time away, Brad Calipari is back at UK. Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader writes, “Don’t get Brad wrong. Brad liked being part of the Kentucky situation. Brad just needed time away to learn about himself, complete his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament and re-orient his basketball journey. At the prep school, the all-encompassing UK basketball was at a distance, psychologically as well as geographically. “

Georgia-South Carolina game won’t be moved out of Columbia. Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph reports, “It doesn’t look like there will be a change of venue. South Carolina stated that its game against Georgia will not be moved from its original location, even with Hurricane Matthew approaching the coastline. But as for when the game kicks off, that could still be up for change. “

Florida-LSU will stick to The Swamp. Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald reports, “For the time being, the Gators will be playing at The Swamp this Saturday. Despite the impending threat of Hurricane Matthew, No. 18 Florida will still host LSU on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, the school announced Wednesday afternoon. The game is still slated to kick off at noon and be televised on ESPN, but a final decision about the time of the game will be made by 1 p.m. Thursday. “

Tennessee’s offense is getting more vertical. Wes Rucker of GoVols 247 writes, “Tennessee’s offense is still centered around its running game, as one would expect with a quarterback like Joshua Dobbs and running backs like juniors Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara. But the Vols have been better at stretching the field this season, and offensive coordinator Mike DeBord said he expected to make even more explosive plays in the passing game last week at Georgia.”

NCAA proposes sweeping changes to satellite camps and early signing periods. Jeremy Crabtree of reports, “When the NCAA began its in-depth examination of the state of college football recruiting almost two years ago, the most pressing issues that needed to be addressed were a potential early signing period and satellite camps. The NCAA took big steps toward answering questions about both issues. On Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Council unveiled components of a new model for college football recruiting, proposing major cutbacks and restrictions to satellite camps and the introduction of two new early signing periods.”

Louisville football’s stadium expansion is ahead of schedule. Eric Crawford of WDRB reports, “Senior associate athletic director Mark Jurich said that the $55 million project, which will add 10,000 chairback seats and expand the football facility by an additional 100,000 square feet, will begin right after the end of this season and should be completed by the opening game of the 2018 season, currently scheduled to be on Sept. 8 against Indiana State.”

Five questions as North Carolina starts basketball practice. Andrew Carter of the Charlotte Observer asks, “1. How to fill the voids left by Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige? And their production is only part of it but let’s get that out of the way first: Johnson had an All-America season last year, averaging 17 points and 10.4 rebounds per game; Paige, meanwhile, struggled with his shot for a long stretch but still averaged 12.6 points and made clutch shots, as usual, when UNC most needed them – particularly in the NCAA tournament.”

Texas is embarrassing itself chasing after Tom Herman at expense of Charlie Strong. Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead writes, “1) Texas is starting a true freshman at QB. Going on the road to Cal and Oklahoma State and winning with a true freshman is very difficult. Cal and Oklahoma State have QBs (Davis Webb, a senior; Mason Rudolph, a junior, respectively) who have the potential to be drafted in the coming years. Those aren’t terrible losses.”

Texas president tweets support for Charlie Strong

SEC football for Oct. 7

12:00 - Auburn at Mississippi State (SEC)

12:00 - LSU at Florida (ESPN)

3:30 - Tennessee at Texas A&M (CBS)

4:00 - Vanderbilt at Kentucky (SEC)

7:00 - Alabama at Arkansas (ESPN)

7:30 - Georgia at South Carolina (SEC)

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