Sidelines with John Clay

Mark Stoops’ record in one-score games, plus more Big Blue Links

Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops directs a practice during the team’s spring drills in March.
Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops directs a practice during the team’s spring drills in March. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Wednesday:

Mark Stoops last in SEC in one-score games. Jon Solomon of CBS sports did a survey of how Power 5 coach has done in games decided by one score. Stoops’ 5-7 record ranks last among the 12 SEC coaches with experience. Georgia’s Kirby Smart and Missouri’s Barry Odom are first-year head coaches.

Southern Miss’ receiving corp taking shape. Patrick Magee of the Biloxi Sun Herald reports, “After losing the top two receivers from a year ago, the biggest task for new Southern Miss offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson and his staff is putting together a dependable receiving corps for senior starting quarterback Nick Mullens. USM head coach Jay Hopson left Tuesday morning’s practice fairly upbeat about what he’s seen out of the receivers so far.”

Enes Kanter is in the middle of a political fight that has cost him the support of his family. My column: “Now, however, here in the real world of international affairs, Kanter is in the middle of a much more serious political fight, one that has not only cost him a spot on his homeland’s national team but, just this week, the support of his own family, which has publicly disavowed him.”

Transfer Greg Hart wants to show UK has more than one tight end, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. “He’s been a really big role model,” Conrad said recently of Hart, the transfer from Nebraska who had to sit out last season. “Even though I played last year and he was watching, it still felt like he was the veteran to me. … I learned a lot from him.”

Patrick Towles dedicates season to Harambe. Andy Hutchins of Sports Blog Nation reports, “Since his untimely death earlier this summer, Harambe the gorilla has become somewhat notorious on the Internet. So much so, in fact, that Boston College quarterback Patrick Towles has won Twitter’s heart, or something, by mentioning on Instagram that he will dedicate his 2016 season to Harambe. “

Landon Young is making an early push. Alex Forkner of the Cats Pause reports, “It was a given that Young, rated the No. 6 offensive tackle in the 2016 class by 247Sports, would be a factor at some point this season considering how shallow the Cats’ are at both tackle spots. Kyle Meadows returns at right tackle, where he started nine games in 2015. On the opposite side, former walk-on Cole Mosier is listed No. 1 on the depth chart ahead of transfer Tate Leavitt, rated the fifth-best JUCO tackle in the country last year.”

Clock is ticking on UK’s 2014 football recruiting class. Rick Bozich of WDRB writes, “A closer look at the numbers shows that most of the 10 players from the 2014 class who have left Kentucky have landed at places like Akron (lineman Josh Krok), Miami of Ohio (lineman Jarrett LaRubbio), Lackawanna College (receiver Thaddeus Snodgrass), Texas State (receiver T.V. Williams) and Bowling Green (linebacker Dorian Hendrix). Translation: They weren’t good enough, likely overhyped by the recruiting services.”

LSU loses two defensive linemen for the season. Ross Dellenger of The Advocate reports, “More details emerged Tuesday morning about a pair of LSU defensive linemen who sustained injuries on Sunday. Defensive end Christian LaCouture and outside linebacker/end Isaiah Washington have been ruled out for the season, a source confirmed to The Advocate. LaCouture, a senior, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during a non-contact drill Sunday, and Washington, a sophomore, suffered serious ligament damage as well.”

The dark side of South Carolina’s high-tempo offense. Ben Breiner of The State reports, “South Carolina football’s offensive buzzword all offseason has been tempo. Get faster, go faster, adapt to the modern standard for style of game. It should yield something good down the road, but the transition isn’t always the most fun.”

Georgia’s Jacob Eason has shoulder examined. Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph reports, “Georgia freshman quarterback Jacob Eason didn’t appear to be at full strength for Tuesday’s practice. Eason received a rub-down on his right shoulder during the first few periods of practice and was having trouble with his accuracy on a couple of passes. At times, he was throwing short-to-intermediate passes with a staffer off to the side instead of rotating in drills with teammates Brice Ramsey and Greyson Lambert.”

Tennessee is building with foundation basketball players. Grant Ramey of the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports, “Tennessee signed four players from North Carolina — forwards Grant Williams, John Fulkerson and Jalen Johnson and guard Kwe Parker. In-state point guard Jordan Bone (Nashville) was the first to commit and former Carter High School standout Jordan Bowden finished the freshman class as a spring signing. The one-and-done environment at Kentucky, led by coach John Calipari, is the exception to the rule in the SEC.”

SEC football television schedule for first weekend

Thursday, Sept. 1

  • 7:30 - Appalachian State at Tennessee (SEC)
  • 8:00 - South Carolina at Vanderbilt (SEC)

Saturday, Sept. 3

  • 12:00 - South Alabama at Mississippi State (SEC)
  • 3:30 - LSU vs. Wisconsin in Green Bay (ABC)
  • 3:30 - UCLA at Texas A&M (CBS)
  • 4:00 - Louisiana Tech at Arkansas (SEC)
  • 5:30 - North Carolina vs. Georgia in Atlanta (ESPN)
  • 7:30 - Southern Miss at Kentucky (ESPNU)
  • 7:30 - UMass at Florida (SEC)
  • 8:00 - USC vs. Alabama in Arlington (ABC)
  • 9:00 - Clemson at Auburn (ESPN)

Monday, Sept. 5

  • 8:00 - Ole Miss vs. Florida State in Orlando (ESPN)
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