Sidelines with John Clay

Alabama DUI charge; Missouri’s Kim Anderson moves on; SEC links

Alabama defensive end Da’Shawn Hand was arrested on a DUI charge over the weekend.
Alabama defensive end Da’Shawn Hand was arrested on a DUI charge over the weekend. Associated Press

SEC links for Sunday:

▪ Da’Shawn Hand’s DUI arrest shouldn’t be taken lightly, writes Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News. “Two words for anyone who thinks Alabama senior Da’Shawn Hand’s DUI arrest is a laughing matter, no big deal or an excuse to launch another in an endless, mindless series of “my team is more virtuous than your team” flamefests: Philip Lutzenkirchen. “

▪ Is the SEC still the best? Does it matter? asks Guerry Clegg of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. “As often happens, Nick Saban took the seemingly benign question and remolded into one that can send a message to his team. The question, in a sit-down with ESPN’s Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland, was about coaches in other conferences claiming superiority over the SEC. They played the clips for Saban to hear.”

▪ Kim Anderson’s dream job became a nightmare, writes Vahe Gregorian of the Kansas City Star. “As he began a mini-tour of the gleaming $14 million athletic facility, the most striking visual actually was seeing the color back in Anderson’s face and weight put back on since being liberated from the debacle that theoretically was a dream job at the University of Missouri, his alma mater.”

▪ Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is focused on a leadership role, reports Logan Lowery of the NE Mississippi Daily Journal. “ Fall camp is much different for Nick Fitzgerald this year. The Mississippi State junior was battling three others last fall to be the starting quarterback in 2016 and eventually won the job. Fitzgerald started all 13 games for the Bulldogs last season which caused the other candidates to transfer.”

▪ Just who is Hugh Freeze? asks Josh Peter of the Clarion-Ledger. “But less than two weeks after he abruptly resigned as head football coach at the University of Mississippi, the narrative of the once-charmed coach has spun beyond control. Freeze, 47, was the devout Christian who beat Nick Saban and Alabama two years in a row, built a team that climbed to No. 3 in the polls and, at least in the eyes of the Ole Miss faithful, could do little wrong. A husband and father of three daughters, he often tweeted Bible verses or religious words of inspiration.”

▪ Tennessee quarterbacks are willing if it takes two, writes Mike Strange of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano both said Saturday they’d be willing to play in a two-quarterback system if necessary as Tennessee held its first day of practice for the 2017 season. Coach Butch Jones raised that possibility at SEC Media Days last month when he said both quarterbacks could play if they earned the right.”

▪ LSU opens camp with five burning questions, says Scott Rabalais of The Advocate in Baton Rouge. “1. Does Danny Etling really have to watch his back? Etling’s post-spring game back surgery is the most talked about operation in Louisiana since Operation Dynamo (Sorry, another “Dunkirk” reference, but it’s a great movie). He arrived at the SEC spring meeting in early June saying he felt great — but if that’s the case, why does Ed Orgeron invoke the name of freshman Myles Brennan every chance he gets? Brennan, who wasn’t on campus for spring practice, has been promised a chance at the starting job.”

▪ Ed Orgeron is ready for life in the fast lane, says Glenn Gulbeau of the Shreveport Times. “On Sunday, Orgeron opens his first full season as LSU’s full football coach when his Tigers report for preseason practice, which will begin Monday. The season opens on Saturday, Sept. 2, against Brigham Young University at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN. He is already 1-0 as the coach with a 29-9 upset of No. 13 Louisville in the Citrus Bowl last Dec. 31. Orgeron was 5-2 as interim coach last season with a 54-39 win over No. 22 Texas A&M two days before that car flight to Baton Rouge.”

▪ Arkansas relishing chance to butt heads, reports Bob Holt and Tom Murphy of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “They were physical,” quarterback Austin Allen said. “Those guys have been waiting about four months to get back going at each other. There’s a lot of intensity on the lines, and it’s just good for everyone to get that physicality.”

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