Sidelines with John Clay

Marques Bolden’s injury, plus more Big Blue Links

Duke center Marques Bolden (20) and Virginia State’s Matt Murphy (42) vie for a second half rebound during an exhibition game last week.
Duke center Marques Bolden (20) and Virginia State’s Matt Murphy (42) vie for a second half rebound during an exhibition game last week. Raleigh News & Observer

Big Blue Links for Tuesday:

Now Duke’s Marques Bolden is injured. College Basketball Talk reports, “Duke, the preseason favorite, now has a trio of highly-touted freshman on the sidelines due to injuries with only days remaining before the start of the 2016-17 season. Marques Bolden, who missed Saturday’s exhibition win against Division II Augustana, has suffered a lower-leg injury and will be re-evaluated at the start of next week, the team announced on Monday.”

Bolden will miss the first two games, says AP.

Mark Stoops remains upbeat despite difficult defeat. “I’m jacked up and ready to go. I really am,” Stoops said of UK’s next game at Tennessee, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. “I’m not going to lie. It’s a hard locker room after that game, of course it is. It’s not an easy Sunday. That’s it, 24 hours, man, I’m juiced up and ready to go.”

A second guess of late UK play-calling vs. Georgia isn’t fair. Mark Story of the Herald-Leader writes, “21. Benny Snell. Heard some second-guessing of Kentucky for having its star freshman running back carry twice (for two yards) from the Wildcat formation after the Cats had 1st-and-goal at the Georgia 9-yard-line trailing 24-21 late Saturday night. 20. UK football history. If your memory of controversial late-game Kentucky play calling is long enough, there was a certain irony to questions about UK’s strategy.”

Tennessee focusing on Kentucky, not SEC race. Jesse Simonton of SEC County reports, “What a difference just one week makes. After inexplicably losing at South Carolina on Oct. 29, Tennessee’s SEC East hopes appeared on thin ice. Sitting at 2-3 in conference play, the Volunteers needed to win out — home against Kentucky and Missouri before the season finale at Vanderbilt — and get some serious help to book a ticket back to Atlanta for the first time 2007. Well, everything came up aces on Saturday.”

As Kentucky’s youth movement continues, so does an old argument. I wrote, “Path 1: Recruit the best basketball player possible and ride the rocket as far as possible. If it’s a one-year wonder, so be it. To win an NCAA title, talent trumps all. That’s the ticket. Path 2: Recruit the basketball player tracked for the long haul. Continuity is the key. To win an NCAA title, experience trumps all. That’s the ticket. We know Kentucky’s path; same as it ever was, at least since John Calipari arrived on campus.”

Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo has a big personality. Myron Medcalf of writes, “One crushing handshake from Adebayo proves his nickname fits. His mother, Marilyn Blount, called him “Bam” after a 1-year-old Adebayo flipped a coffee table while watching ‘The Flintstones.’ His talent and brawn carried him to the top of the recruiting rankings and NBA draft boards. His eclectic nature, however, made him the gravitational force who has already captured the heart of Big Blue Nation as the team’s new big man and even bigger personality.”

Jay Bilas says Kentucky reaped nothing from win over Asbury, but rewards will come later. Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader reports, “The big question about Kentucky’s team this season revolves around defense and whether the Cats will protect the rim like its best teams of late. There’s no question that Kentucky is the class of the Southeastern Conference. Kentucky got nothing out of Sunday night’s exhibition rout of Asbury. ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas made those observations Monday during an hourlong teleconference previewing the upcoming 2016-17 season.”

Tennessee’s Evan Berry is out for the season. Rhiannon Potkey of the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports, “Another week, another season-ending injury for the Tennessee football team. Junior safety and kick returner Evan Berry will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a knee injury in Tennessee’s homecoming win over Tennessee Tech, Vols coach Butch Jones announced on Monday. Berry averaged 32.9 yards on kickoff returns this season, which ranks second in the nation. He returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown two weeks ago against South Carolina.”

Lamar Jackson now the enormous Heisman favorite. Steve Jones of the Courier-Journal reports, “Oddsmakers have been calling Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson the clear favorite for the Heisman Trophy for weeks, but now it’s reaching ridiculous levels. Following his latest seven-touchdown, national player of the week performance against Boston College, Jackson’s odds to win the Heisman have been shortened from 1-3 to 1-30 by the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. We repeat: 1-30.”

Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio is out. Josh McPherson of the Miami Herald reports, “Luke Del Rio will not take the field Saturday against South Carolina -- and possibly for the rest of the season. Coach Jim McElwain announced Monday that the redshirt sophomore quarterback injured his shoulder during Florida’s 31-10 loss to Arkansas and will be out of commission for the foreseeable future. “

South Carolina winning the East is possible and unlikely. David Caravello of the Charleston Post and Courier writes, “Shreveport, Birmingham, Memphis — they’re all among the potential postseason destinations for a South Carolina football program just one victory from bowl eligibility, with a game against an FCS opponent still remaining next week. But what about Atlanta? No, not the Peach Bowl, which this year is a semifinal in the College Football Playoff. But the SEC Championship Game remains a mathematically possible, if quite remote, prospect for a Gamecocks squad which is still, somehow, alive in the SEC East race with one conference game to go.”

With Chad Kelly out, all options on table for Ole Miss quarterback. Parrish Alford of the NE Mississippi Daily Journal reports, “The only certainly for the Ole Miss quarterback situation as the Rebels travel to face No. 10 Texas A&M is that Chad Kelly will not play. After that it could be wide receiver Markell Pack, tight end Evan Engram or offensive tackle Jeremy Liggins. It could very well be redshirt freshman Jason Pellerin who actually signed to play the position. It could also be freshman Shea Patterson, the No. 1-ranked quarterback in the 2016 recruiting class.”

Rick Barnes is bringing back the candy-stripped warmups at Tennessee.

Kentucky game-by-game total offense







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South Carolina















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