Sidelines with John Clay

John Calipari writes another book; Florida picks a quarterback; more Big Blue Links

UK basketball coach John Calipari won Coach of the Year award and immediately gave it to Tyler Ulis during the Catspy Awards on Monday April 25, 2016 in Lexington, Ky.
UK basketball coach John Calipari won Coach of the Year award and immediately gave it to Tyler Ulis during the Catspy Awards on Monday April 25, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Friday:

John Calipari is putting out another book

Metz Camfield of reports, “His time at Kentucky has been filled with overwhelming success, and now head coach John Calipari has written a book to explain how he’s able to transform high school superstars into a cohesive, team-first unit. ‘Success is the Only Option: The Art of Coaching Extreme Talent,’ Calipari’s latest book, will be released in bookstores everywhere on Nov. 15 and is available for preorder now. For the first time, Coach Cal goes in depth in explaining his team-building methods in ways that apply to CEOs, business owners, coaches, teachers and leaders of all kinds.”

Florida names Luke Del Rio starting quarterback

Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald reports, “Jim McElwain has found his quarterback. And as has been expected since Florida’s spring game, it’s redshirt sophomore Luke Del Rio. The redshirt sophomore quarterback and son of Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio will take the opening snap against Massachusetts on Sept. 3 when the Gators ring in the 2016 season. He’ll be the Gators eighth starting quarterback since Tim Tebow’s final season in 2009.”

Auburn says there’s no rush to name a starting quarterback.

Mike Niziolek of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports, “Auburn’s priority at the start of training camp was to find a starting quarterback as quickly as possible. Camp concluded Monday with no starter and no new timeline for naming one. Coach Gus Malzahn wants to gather more information on Sean White, Jeremy Johnson and junior college transfer John Franklin III as the three quarterbacks continue to equally rotate reps with the first team.”

South Carolina’s competition comes down to gritty details

Josh Kendall of The State reports, “If South Carolina’s quarterback competition was a beauty contest, Jake Bentley would be the Gamecocks’ starter on Sept. 1. The freshman is 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and looks every bit the four-star prospect that he is. He stands two inches taller than senior Perry Orth and three inches taller than fellow freshman Brandon McIlwain – and when he steps into a throw on the practice field, it is something to see, all arc and velocity and accuracy and the promise of touchdowns to be.”

Kentucky’s tight-knit tight ends might team up on the field

Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader reports, “Not even a burrito is safe from the discourse between Kentucky’s tight ends. Good friends and now roommates C.J. Conrad and Greg Hart compete at just about everything. Golf. Basketball. Foot races. Sled races. Weight lifting. Even burritos.”

Orange you glad UK is not in Tennessee’s mess

Mark Story of the Herald-Leader writes, “At this point, surely they have installed revolving doors on the offices of all the most visible positions at the University of Tennessee. On Thursday, Tennessee Athletics Director Dave Hart announced he will retire at the end of the coming school year. In June, UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek announced he would step down this year, as well. It’s hard to imagine many major universities have gone through so much turnover in their most visible positions as Tennessee has in the past decade.”

“Alabama Dave” forced out Pat Summitt and hired Butch Jones

John Adams of the Knooxville News-Sentinel writes, “Other fans might have carried it a step further, perhaps wondering if Hart were still on the Alabama payroll, embedded in UT’s camp with the intent of ruining all things Vol or Lady Vol. Non-conspiracy theorists will see him differently. And they won’t necessarily see him as menace to Tennessee athletics. Instead, they will remember him as the man who hired football coach Butch Jones.”

UK’s offensive tackles responding to criticism

Jon Hale of the Courier-Journal reports, “After the spring game, UK head coach Mark Stoops admitted the tackles were ;struggling a little bit.’ When asked at SEC media days in July which positions needed better depth, Stoops first pointed to offensive tackle. Kentucky’s tackles took that criticism to heart.”

Southern Miss emphasizing special teams

Jason Munz of the Hattiesburg American reports, “During his playing career, Jay Hopson saw a lot of action on special teams. To that end, the first-year Southern Miss football coach places a strong emphasis on that aspect of the game. ‘I think his interest and emphasis on special teams is definitely showing so far,’ said special teams coordinator John Wozniak, who also coaches inside receivers for the Golden Eagles. ‘We're probably spending a little bit more time (on special teams) on the field and meeting-wise. That's fair to say.’

UK women’s thin roster faces non-conference schedule thick with challenges

Jennifer Smith of the H-L reports, “If Kentucky’s coach was worried about last season’s attrition or a downsized roster, Matthew Mitchell didn’t show it with the Cats’ non-conference schedule. The schedule, released on Thursday morning, includes six games against 2016 NCAA Tournament teams, including several that were ranked or receiving votes in the final top 25 polls of the season.”

Wenyen Gabriel comes to Kentucky welcoming defensive challenges

Metz Camfield reports, “In high school, many of the game’s elite players don’t even hardly need to play defense. They are so good offensively that it’s far from considered a priority. Wenyen Gabriel, to the contrary, views his defense as a badge of honor. It’s part of how he earns his time on the court and it’s one of the reasons he’s at Kentucky today. As a freshman on a team widely picked to be ranked inside the top five in the country thanks in part to a top-ranked recruiting class, Gabriel knows he will have an opportunity to earn minutes with his defense.”

Missouri’s J’Mon Moore emerges as a leader

Tod Palmer of the Kansas City Star reports, “Then-sophomore wide receiver J’Mon Moore was a starter last season and was looked at as a leader, but he really didn’t feel like one. Moore missed nearly two weeks in training camp with a separated left shoulder. It didn’t derail his climb up the depth chart, but it made it tricky to be assertive.”

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader