Sidelines with John Clay

While Kentucky waits on Xavier Peters decision, Tennessee gets good transfer news

Eddie Gran expects to use a lot of players in UK’s opener

Kentucky football offensive coordinator Eddie Gran talks about Saturday’s season-opening game against the Toledo Rockets at Kroger Field.
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Kentucky football offensive coordinator Eddie Gran talks about Saturday’s season-opening game against the Toledo Rockets at Kroger Field.

Wednesday college football links:

Alabama has suspended its top two running backs. Najee Harris and Brian Robinson will sit out the first half of the Crimson Tide’s opener against Duke at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The duo reportedly missed a team function. Nick Saban has also reportedly suspended a couple more players for Saturday.

A Michigan transfer will play right away at Tennessee. While Kentucky awaits word on its Florida State transfer Xavier Peters, Tennessee learned Tuesday that Aubrey Solomon will be eligible to play this season after moving on from Michigan. Solomon is projected to be a starter on Jeremy Pruitt’s defensive line.

The Georgia-Vanderbilt game is a hot ticket. Really. According to the AJC, Saturday night’s Bulldogs-Commodores matchup in Nashville has the highest ticket resale price of any game in the nation. Part of that may have to do with the multitude of Georgia fans trying to get in Vandy’s smallish stadium.

Auburn opens the season Saturday against star quarterback Justin Herbert and Oregon. The Tigers will start true freshman Bo Nix at quarterback, but that doesn’t mean Auburn will pull in the reins on the rookie. “I don’t think going against one of the top teams in the country you can just be conservative,” Malzahn said. “I think there is a fine line to try to put Bo Nix in comfortable situations. We are going to have to be balanced to try and win against one of the top teams in the country.”

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks is firing back at his critics. Franks threw two interceptions, including a puzzling throw late in the Gators’ 24-20 win over Miami last Saturday. “I’m worried about winning,” he told the Gainesville Sun. “We won. I don’t know everybody else’s opinion on how I played. I’m worried about my coach’s opinion, and I got a good response. That’s what I’m worried about. And on to the next game.”

Southern Miss is among those selling beer and wine at football games this season. UK opened the 2017 season at Hattiesburg with a 24-17 win over the Golden Eagles. According to the school, it is now one of 60 schools nationally offering beer and light wine at games.

Ole Miss will debut a pair of new coordinators on Saturday when the Rebels play at Memphis. Former West Virginia/Michigan/Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez leads the Ole Miss offense. Former San Jose State/Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre now leads the Mississippi defense. Rodriguez is making $900,000; MacIntrye is making $1.1 million.

SEC offensive coordinators for 2019

SEC defensive coordinators for 2019

Tennessee needs to dismiss Bryce Thompson, writes John Adams in the Knoxville News-Sentinel. The cornerback was arrested over the weekend and suspended indefinitely.

Texas A&M will see a familiar face Thursday night. Former Aggies offensive coordinator Jake Spavital is now head coach at Texas State, A&M’s opponent for the season opener. The 34-year-old Spavital is the second-youngest head coach in FBS, behind only 33-year-old Kent State coach Sean Lewis.

Tavien Feaster is still feeling his way at South Carolina. The running back transfer from Clemson will see his first action on Saturday when the Gamecocks play North Carolina in Charlotte. Feaster rushed for 1,330 yards in three seasons with the other school in South Carolina.

Missouri is moving the site of its future Arkansas game. Citing small crowds the last two times the two teams have played at Mizzou, Missouri is moving the 2020 game to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. The Tigers have not played at Arrowhead since 2015.

Southern Cal quarterback Jack Sears is leaving the program after losing out in the competition to be the Trojans’ starter. USC head coach Clay Helton named JT Daniels as the stater for Southern Cal’s opener Saturday against Fresno State.

TCU does not have a quarterback, writes Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “TCU coach Gary Patterson named his starting quarterback, and when he said the No. 2 is his sixth man and will play in the first quarter that’s all you need to know how he feels about the most important position on his team. GP has a starting quarterback in name only.”

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John Clay is a sports columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader. A native of Central Kentucky, he covered UK football from 1987 until being named sports columnist in 2000. He has covered 20 Final Fours and 37 consecutive Kentucky Derbys.
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