SEC: Josh Jasper

Robinson leaves LSU for North Carolina

February, 17, 2011
LSU's special teams had few peers last season.

But the guy who oversaw the Tigers' kicking game is on his way out. Joe Robinson, LSU's special teams coordinator and defensive line assistant, has taken a job as North Carolina's defensive line coach.

"Joe Rob did a great job coaching our special teams in his three years with us," LSU coach Les Miles said. "We wish Joe and his family great success in their future endeavors."

Miles said that he will be in no hurry to find a replacement for Robinson. LSU starts spring practice on March 11.

With Robinson gone, that means the Tigers are essentially starting from scratch next season on special teams. Gone are all All-SEC place-kicker Josh Jasper and All-SEC return specialist Patrick Peterson. Punter Derek Helton, who was second in the SEC with a 45.7-yard average, was also a senior.

Newton left off FWAA All-America team

December, 11, 2010
Seven SEC players were selected to the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) All-America team, but the big news was who wasn't selected.

Auburn's Cam Newton was left off the team. Boise State's Kellen Moore was selected as the quarterback.

The SEC players making the team were South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery, Auburn offensive tackle Lee Ziemba, Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston, LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, Alabama safety Mark Barron and LSU place-kicker Josh Jasper.

SEC lunch links

November, 23, 2010
Checking in on what's making headlines around the SEC:

SEC Players of the Week

November, 22, 2010
The SEC league office has announced its top performers for Week 12:


LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson: He threw for a career-high 254 yards and one touchdown and added 45 rushing yards and another score in LSU’s 43-36 win against Ole Miss. Jefferson completed 13 of 17 passes (76.5 percent) against the Rebels in LSU’s best offensive game of the season with 470 total yards.


Arkansas linebacker Jerry Franklin: He recorded a career-high 20 tackles (eight solos) in Arkansas’ 38-31 double-overtime victory at Mississippi State. Franklin matched his career high with two tackles for loss, including a sack. His 20 tackles were the most by any player in the nation this past week.


LSU place-kicker/punter Josh Jasper: He scored 11 points, including three field goals and two extra points, in LSU’s 43-36 win against Ole Miss. On Jasper's only punt attempt, he hit a 43-yarder that started an Ole Miss drive at its own 4-yard line.


Arkansas tackle DeMarcus Love: He helped pave the way for Arkansas’ 488 yards of total offense on 61 plays, an average of 8.0 yards per play, in the Razorbacks’ 38-31 double-overtime win at MississippiState. Love was key in blocking for Knile Davis’ 187 yards rushing and Ryan Mallett’s 305 passing yards.


Tennessee end Gerald Williams: He recorded a career-high eight tackles (six solos), including a pair of tackles for loss, a sack and a quarterback pressure in Tennessee’s 24-10 win at Vanderbilt. He also blocked a Vanderbilt 45-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter.


South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore: He rushed for 102 yards on seven carries with three touchdowns in South Carolina’s 69-24 win against Troy. Lattimore has scored 19 touchdowns this season, which is one shy of the SEC freshman record held by Reggie Cobb of Tennessee (20 in 1987).

Who's fared the best against SEC foes?

November, 2, 2010
We track coaches’ records against SEC competition. Why not players?

We’re far enough into this season to take a look at who’s done what against SEC competition. Every team has played at least five conference games.

Here’s a taste:
  • The top rusher in SEC games only is Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, and his average of 149 yards per game and 13 touchdowns through six contests speak volumes about the kind of season he’s had. Last season, Alabama’s Mark Ingram averaged 127 rushing yards in nine SEC games and scored eight touchdowns, and we all know what trophy is sitting on his mantle right now.
  • Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett is the passing leader in SEC games … but barely. Mallett is averaging 287.6 passing yards per game and has thrown nine touchdown passes and four interceptions. Right on his heels is Kentucky’s Mike Hartline, who’s averaging 287 passing yards per game and has thrown 14 touchdown passes and seven interceptions (in one more game). Hartline has attempted 239 passes and is completing 62.2 percent of his passes in league games.
  • Any guesses on who’s leading the league in pass efficiency against SEC competition? Would you believe South Carolina’s Stephen Garcia? He has a 175.8 efficiency rating, and the next closest quarterback is Mallett with a 154.9 rating.
  • Of the 10 quarterbacks listed among the leaders in SEC games only, nine have thrown at least as many touchdown passes as interceptions. The only one who hasn’t is Florida’s John Brantley, who has six interceptions and two touchdown passes.
  • It’s hard to find a better freshman in the league than South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, especially when you look at just SEC statistics. Lattimore is second to Newton in rushing at 114.2 yards per game and is tied for second with Florida’s Trey Burton with 10 touchdowns.
  • The only four players among the top 10 rushers in the league averaging 6 yards or more per carry against SEC defenses are Alabama’s Trent Richardson (7.1), Newton (6.6), Auburn’s Mike Dyer (6.5) and Arkansas’ Knile Davis (6.0).
  • South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery leads all receivers with seven touchdown catches against SEC defenses. He also leads the way with an average of 122 receiving yards per game and is averaging 18.3 yards per catch. Kentucky’s Randall Cobb has 47 catches to lead all SEC receivers.
  • Defensively, Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston is No. 1 in both sacks (7) and tackles for loss (13.5) in league games. A pair of South Carolina players are Nos. 2 and 3 in sacks. Devin Taylor has 6.5 and Melvin Ingram 5.
  • The best place-kicker in league games has been LSU’s Josh Jasper, who’s 11-of-12 on field goals with a long of 51 yards.

SEC Players of the Week

September, 20, 2010
The SEC league office has announced its top performers from Week 3:


Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett: His 40-yard touchdown pass to Greg Childs in the final seconds lifted the Hogs to a 31-24 win on the road at Georgia. Mallett finished 21-of-33 for 380 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.


Auburn linebacker Josh Bynes: A big part of an Auburn defensive effort that held Clemson to 147 yards after halftime, Bynes finished with 11 total tackles, including two for loss. He also had a pass deflection.


LSU place-kicker Josh Jasper: His five field goals in the 29-7 win against Mississippi State set an LSU single-game record. Jasper connected from 51, 44, 37, 32 and 21 yards. He's now made his past seven field-goal attempts without a miss.


Vanderbilt tackle Wesley Johnson: The first-year starting left tackle contributed six knockdown blocks and played every snap. Johnson had key blocks on Warren Norman's 80-yard touchdown run and Zac Stacy's 35-yard touchdown run.


LSU tackle Drake Nevis: For the second straight week, Nevis is the recipient of this award. He had a career-high nine tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss, and also intercepted a pass that led to an LSU touchdown.


Florida linebacker Jelani Jenkins: He matched his career high with six total tackles, including his first career sack in the 31-17 win against Tennessee. For the season, Jenkins has 15 total tackles, ranking him third among all SEC freshmen.

SEC helmet stickers: Week 3

September, 19, 2010
Time to hand out our version of the game balls in SEC country.

A couple of great games highlighted the day -- Auburn’s overtime win against Clemson and Arkansas’ win in the final seconds at Georgia -- and there was also the return of a great player.

That’s where we’ll start with our Week 3 helmet stickers:

Alabama running back Mark Ingram: For a guy who had knee surgery in late August, Ingram couldn’t have looked any better. He was fabulous for the Crimson Tide in their 62-13 mauling of Duke. Ingram popped loose for 48 yards on the first offensive play of the game. He ran for 50 yards on his third carry of the game and had 119 rushing yards on five carries by halftime. He finished with 151 yards on nine carries, serving notice that he is indeed back after missing the first two games. Who knows? He might be right back in the Heisman Trophy race, too.

Vanderbilt coach Robbie Caldwell: His own team awarded him the game ball after Vanderbilt snapped its 10-game SEC losing streak with a 28-14 victory at Ole Miss. Caldwell had vowed that the Commodores would hang in there after losing 27-3 last week at home to LSU, and that’s exactly what they did. Even after Ole Miss came back to tie the game at 14-14, Vanderbilt never blinked and made every play it needed to to send the Rebels packing. Warren Norman had an 80-yard touchdown run. The offensive line paved the way for 227 rushing yards, and the defense forced three turnovers.

Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett: Forget about the big numbers for a minute. Yes, he threw three more touchdown passes and has nine in his first three games. But when the Hogs needed him Saturday, Mallett was there front and center. He engineered a three-play touchdown drive with just 47 seconds to play, which was capped by Mallett’s 40-yard touchdown pass to Greg Childs. There was never any panic in Mallett’s eyes. He just wanted the ball one more time, and he delivered in the biggest win the Hogs have had under Bobby Petrino to date.

Auburn receiver Darvin Adams: The SEC is full of outstanding receivers, and Adams is certainly one of them. Despite catching 10 touchdown passes last season, he still probably didn’t get the credit he deserved. He’ll get plenty of props after his five-catch, 118-yard performance in the 27-24 overtime win against Clemson. Adams was a big part of the Tigers’ comeback in the second half. He had four catches for 95 yards after halftime, including an 8-yard touchdown catch and another 34-yard catch that set up a touchdown.

LSU place-kicker Josh Jasper: On a night when the LSU offense couldn’t find the end zone as much as it wanted to, Jasper came on to break his own school record with five field goals in a 29-7 win over Mississippi State. He connected from 51, 44, 37, 32 and 21 yards and is now 7-of-8 on field goal attempts this season.

Five SEC kickers on Groza list

August, 23, 2010
Five of the SEC's 12 place-kickers have been named to the watch list for the 2010 Lou Groza Award, which goes annually to the top place-kicker in college football.

Making the list were:
  • Wes Byrum, Auburn
  • Josh Jasper, LSU
  • Spencer Lanning, South Carolina
  • Caleb Sturgis, Florida
  • Blair Walsh, Georgia

Picking the first-team All-SEC place-kicker this season could be a chore. Among them, Byrum, Jasper, Lanning and Walsh missed just nine field goals a year ago. Sturgis misfired on eight, but was 6-of-9 beyond 40 yards and hit a 56-yarder against Georgia, the longest field goal in the SEC last season.

SEC position rankings: Special teams

July, 29, 2010
Coaches will tell you that shoddy special teams play will lose you a game quicker than anything.

At the same time, superior special teams play can be the difference in playing to get to a nice bowl game and playing for championships.

Here’s a look at the top special teams units in the SEC heading into the 2010 season:

1. Georgia: Try finding a better place-kicker/punter combination anywhere in the country than Blair Walsh and Drew Butler. You won’t. Walsh was 20-of-22 on field goals. Butler averaged 48.1 yards a punt. The Bulldogs also led the league in net punting, and Brandon Boykin is back after tying an SEC record last season with three kickoffs returned for touchdowns. He’s not the only dangerous return man on the roster, either.

2. Florida: The Gators have consistently had the best special teams in the league since Urban Meyer arrived in 2005. That's not a coincidence. They will be right there at the top again this season. Nobody’s better than Florida at blocking kicks or covering kicks. Caleb Sturgis has unlimited range on field goals, and senior punter Chas Henry is back after averaging 43.4 yards a kick last season. Chris Rainey will see his role expand in the return game.

3. LSU: The Tigers have one of those clutch senior place-kickers that proves so valuable in the tight games. Josh Jasper was 6-of-8 on field goals over 40 yards. After missing a 52-yarder against Auburn, he connected on his last seven attempts. LSU was also first in the league in kickoff coverage and third in the league in net punting with Jasper and Derek Helton sharing those duties. Trindon Holliday is gone, but watch out for Patrick Peterson and Russell Shepard in the return game.

4. South Carolina: The Gamecocks struggled in kickoff coverage last season, but they’re strong everywhere else on special teams. It starts with senior Spencer Lanning, who handles the place-kicking and punting chores. He only missed once inside 40 yards, that lone miss coming in the first game, and he averaged 41.9 yards a punt. Stephon Gilmore will return punts, and he’s one of the most electrifying athletes in the SEC.

5. Auburn: Senior place-kicker Wes Byrum took his game to another level last season, making 15 of his 16 field goals. He doesn’t have the biggest leg in the league, but inside 45 yards he was automatic. The Tigers also return the SEC’s top kickoff returner, Demond Washington, who averaged 31.1 yards to rank sixth nationally. Washington had a 99-yard return for a touchdown. Senior Ryan Shoemaker will battle true freshman Steven Clark for the punting job. Clark was one of the top punter prospects in the country .

6. Vanderbilt: Anybody who kicks the ball to Warren Norman this season had better beware. He returned three kickoffs for touchdowns last season as a freshman on his way to leading the league in all-purpose yardage. Sophomore place-kicker Ryan Fowler made a nice recovery after a rocky start a year ago and has range up to 50 yards. The Commodores were fourth in kickoff coverage last season, but have to replace dependable punter Brett Upson.

7. Ole Miss: The first order of business is replacing place-kicker Joshua Shene, a four-year starter. Sophomore Bryson Rose and junior David Hankins both have big legs, but Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt is looking for consistency. The Rebels are strong everywhere else. Tyler Campbell was one of the best freshman punters in the country last season, averaging 44 yards a kick, and Jesse Grandy took two kickoff returns back for touchdowns.

8. Kentucky: If the Wildcats had a proven place-kicker, they’d probably be ranked several spots higher. Junior punter Ryan Tydlacka will also do the kicking this season. He tied for ninth in the league in punting last season and has excellent hang time. He hopes to give the Wildcats some consistency on field goals after Lones Seiber’s up-and-down career. Where Kentucky will be outstanding is the return game with Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb, both of whom had touchdowns last season.

9. Alabama: Just about all the key components from Alabama’s special teams units last season are gone, including All-America kicker Leigh Tiffin and record-breaking return man Javier Arenas. It looks like the Crimson Tide will have both a true freshman place-kicker (Cade Foster) and true freshman punter (Jay Williams). Alabama wasn’t particularly good in kickoff coverage last season, finishing 10th in the SEC. Julio Jones should give the Crimson Tide some pop in the return game.

10. Mississippi State: The Bulldogs still have a little battle going on as to whom will be doing their kicking and punting this season. There were times when they struggled in both departments last season and finished 11th in the league in net punting. However, junior Derek DePasquale took over the field goal duties midway through the season and ended up 10-of-12. The Bulldogs should be set in the return game with the Leon Berry-Chad Bumphis combo.

11. Tennessee: Tennessee and Arkansas were the only teams in the league to finish in the bottom four in both net punting and field goal kicking a year ago. The Vols were also next to last in kickoff coverage. Obviously, there’s a new staff in place, and Tennessee also has two new freshman kickers. More than anything, the Vols need to make a few field goals (or just keep them from being blocked), and that’s where high school All-American Michael Palardy comes in.

12. Arkansas: Inconsistency has plagued senior place-kicker Alex Tejada throughout his career, and it reared its head again this spring. The Hogs were also last in the SEC in net punting a year ago. The coverage units have improved with the addition of John L. Smith, the former Louisville and Michigan State head coach, to the staff. Dennis Johnson is one of the more dangerous return men in the league.

SEC players of the week

November, 30, 2009
The SEC league office has announced its top performers for the final week of the regular season. There were co-offensive players of the week and co-defensive linemen of the week:


Montario Hardesty, RB, Tennessee: Rushed for 179 yards on 39 carries and three touchdowns -- all career highs -- as Tennessee defeated Kentucky 30-24 in overtime.

Tim Tebow, QB, Florida: Completed 17-of-21 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 90 rushing yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns in Florida’s 37-10 win over Florida State.


Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama: Registered a team-high 12 total tackles with a sack, another half-tackle for loss and a pass deflection in Alabama’s 26-21 win at Auburn.


Josh Jasper, PK, LSU: Tied a school record with four field goals, including a 41-yarder with four seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime, in LSU’s 33-30 win over Arkansas. Jasper’s 36 yard field goal in overtime was the eventual game-winner.


Mike Pouncey, G, Florida: Graded out at 96 percent and had three knockdown blocks in Florida’s 37-10 win over Florida State. The 96 percent grade earned Pouncey a Champion’s mark at Florida, a status he has earned in each game this season.


Pernell McPhee, E, Mississippi State: Credited with five total tackles and a quarterback pressure in Mississippi State’s 41-27 win over Ole Miss. McPhee led a defensive front that held Ole Miss to just 90 yards rushing and forced four turnovers.

Ladi Ajiboye, T, South Carolina: Collected four tackles, including three solo stops, as South Carolina defeated Clemson 34-17. Ajiboye was instrumental in holding Clemson’s C.J. Spiller to just 18 yards rushing on nine carries.


Washaun Ealey, RB, Georgia: Rushed for a career-high 183 yards on 20 carries in Georgia’s 30-24 win at No. 7 Georgia Tech. Ealey had 139 of his rushing yards before the half on 12 carries.