Monday, September 14, 2009
Auburn running game hot, Crompton not
By Chris Low
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
Who’s hot and who’s not in the SEC? It’s that time again to find out:
Auburn’s running game: Running the football at a high level is as much a part of the Auburn football program as the flight of the eagle prior to kickoff at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers have done it with the I-formation. They’ve done it with Bo Jackson, Joe Cribbs, James Brooks, Stephen Davis, Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown. Now they’re doing it with Gus Malzahn’s version of the spread offense, which proves yet again that running the spread doesn’t necessarily mean you’re slinging the ball all over the ballpark. The Tigers have rushed for 300 yards in both of their games, with Ben Tate and Onterio McCalebb each topping 100 yards. It’s the first time in Auburn history that two players have rushed for 100 yards in back-to-back games. Running Back U. is alive and well.
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow: The Man of Steel is now up to 45 career rushing touchdowns, tying him for third place all-time in the SEC with Carnell Williams, and is just four away from tying Herschel Walker for the SEC career record.
Mississippi State’s defense: Not only did the Bulldogs give up 589 yards of total offense in their 49-24 loss to Auburn, but they also didn’t make many adjustments to stop the bleeding. And that comes straight from their head coach.
Tennessee’s recruiting: The Vols got some sweet consolation from their disappointing loss to UCLA on Saturday when three ESPNU 150 prospects committed the next day – defensive line teammates Corey Miller and Brandon Willis of Duncan, S.C., and receiver/athlete DeMarco Cobbs of Tulsa, Okla.
South Carolina’s special teams: For the second straight week, the Gamecocks had their issues on special teams, giving up a kickoff return for a touchdown and having an extra point blocked against Georgia. It’s the reason they’re 1-1 right now and not 2-0.
The Gator Nation: They don’t want to just beat Lane Kiffin and the Vols. They want to punish them and make that punishment last over four long, steamy quarters. How many points will be enough? That’s hard to say, but something tells me the Gators aren’t practicing their kneel-down plays this week.
Alabama receiver Julio Jones: He wasn’t a big factor in the opener against Virginia Tech and now has a bruised knee after getting hurt on the opening drive against Florida International. Jones has just five catches, and his longest reception has gone for 16 yards.
Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran: The guy is a tackling machine. He tied a career high with 15 tackles against South Carolina and saved the game for the Bulldogs in the final seconds by tipping away Stephen Garcia’s fourth-down pass at the goal line.
Alabama’s kickoff coverage: At this rate, the Crimson Tide are going to give up more touchdowns on special teams than they do on defense. Two kickoff returns for touchdowns in two weeks? Man, I wouldn’t want to be on those units in practice this week.
Ice, Ice Baby
Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton: The Vols’ fifth-year senior quarterback has certainly been here before. After throwing five touchdown passes in the opener, Crompton reverted to his error-prone ways of a year ago in the 19-15 loss to UCLA. He made some inexplicable throws against the Bruins into coverage on plays where he had other guys running wide open. Against bona-fide defenses in game situations, Crompton simply hasn’t proven he can get it done. But he had help in stinking it up last week. The Vols didn’t do a whole lot up front offensively, and Lane Kiffin’s play-calling in the final minutes down near the goal line was about as unimaginative as it gets. Here’s the really scary part for the Vols: They will play against at least six defenses the rest of the way that are as good, if not better, than UCLA’s.