Sidelines with John Clay

Big Blue Links: News from SEC Spring Meetings

In this Oct. 24, 2015, file photo, Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze watches his team warmup before an NCAA college football game against Texas A&M in Oxford, Miss. Speaking at the Southeastern Conference’s annual meetings Tuesday, May 31, 2016, Freeze delivered a lengthy, prepared statement and then took several questions about violations involving first-round NFL draft pick Laremy Tunsil.
In this Oct. 24, 2015, file photo, Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze watches his team warmup before an NCAA college football game against Texas A&M in Oxford, Miss. Speaking at the Southeastern Conference’s annual meetings Tuesday, May 31, 2016, Freeze delivered a lengthy, prepared statement and then took several questions about violations involving first-round NFL draft pick Laremy Tunsil. Associated Press

Big Blue Links for Wednesday:

Hugh Freeze says there is a difference between recruiting mistakes and cheating, reports Daniel Pauling of the Clarion-Ledger. ““To me, there is a difference in making a mistake and a willful attempt to circumvent rules to try and gain an advantage,” Freeze told reporters Tuesday afternoon at the Southeastern Conference spring meetings in Destin, Florida. “We’ve owned these mistakes and, for each of these, have taken action with self-imposed penalties that have been punitive.”

South Carolina linebacker Skai Moore to miss season with neck injury, reports Josh Kendall of The State. “Senior linebacker Skai Moore, South Carolina’s leading tackler each of the last three seasons, will miss the 2016 season with a herniated disc in his neck. Moore, a 6-foot-2, 218-pound Cooper City, Fla., native, will have surgery Friday in Charlotte and will undergo a Level 1 fusion, Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp said Tuesday. The procedure requires Moore to avoid contact for six months, but a full recovery is expected. “

SEC shoots down rumors Auburn will move to East, reports Matthew Stevens of the Montgomery Advertiser. “Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey doesn’t want to hear any further talk about realignment with any schools. And this means you especially, Gus Malzahn. “

Should UK stay the course with baseball coach Gary Henderson? asks my column. “Henderson is 258-199 with two NCAA tourney appearances in his eight years as head coach. He’s 105-134 in SEC play, including 72-77 over his last five years. His teams have been competitive, but this is the second straight year the Cats are sitting out the postseason. “

UK baseball might need a change, writes Derek Terry of Cats Illustrated. “The 2016 season followed an unfavorable trend under Henderson. Kentucky was 22-9 on April 10 after beating Alabama to win its fourth straight SEC series of the season. Not only was Kentucky a lock for the postseason at that point, it was also in the top 25 and the idea of hosting a regional wasn’t far-fetched.”

Rick Pitino thinks his Cards could mirror his ’96 UK title team, reports Gary Graves of the AP. “(By) no means do I say we have that type of talent,” he said. “But we have that type of length, that type of quickness, that type of athleticism, so we are going to play like that team.”

South Carolina guard Marcus Stroman is transferring, reports David Cloninger of The State. “South Carolina’s roster isn’t done changing. Rising junior point guard Marcus Stroman won’t return to the Gamecocks, a USC spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday. According to coach Frank Martin, Stroman is seeking more playing time. “

Alabama women’s basketball is returning to Coleman Coliseum, reports the Tuscaloosa News. “The University of Alabama has confirmed that its women’s basketball team is returning to Coleman Coliseum starting with the 2016-17 season. The Tuscaloosa News first reported the move on Monday. The women’s team was moved out of Coleman Coliseum late in the 2010-11 season following renovations made to the smaller venue of Foster Auditorium.”

Auburn running back Roc Thomas granted release, reports Michael Niziolek of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. “Thomas was named Auburn’s starter last year prior to its season-opener against Louisville. The running back didn’t even make it through the first quarter before injuring his ankle and never made it back into rotation. “

Butch Jones won’t compare Tennessee with Baylor, reports Dustin Dopirak of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “I’m not into comparisons,” Jones said Tuesday in a wide-ranging press conference at the SEC spring meetings. “All I can speak on is the University of Tennessee. I feel strongly as does everyone in our organization that we’ve done the right things. I’m proud of the culture that we’ve built. We’ve tried to do everything the right way from everyone in our organization. I feel strongly about what we have at the University of Tennessee, what we’ve build and what we will continue to build as well.”

SEC wants underclassmen to have longer to gauge NFL interest, reports David Paschall of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “I do think it’s alarming how many underclassmen are coming out and not getting drafted,” Georgia first-year coach Kirby Smart told reporters Tuesday as the SEC spring meetings kicked off in Destin, Fla. “Is it because they get bad information? I don’t know.”

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