SEC: Terry Grant
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Terry Grant, one of the guys who's returned kickoffs for Alabama this season, isn't expected to dress and won't play Saturday against LSU.
Alabama coach Nick Saban said Grant pulled a muscle. With Grant out, that means any combination of Trent Richardson, Mike McCoy and Javier Arenas could return kickoffs for the Crimson Tide against the Tigers.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
Our weekly look at some Internal Affairs in the SEC:
1. A Grant sighting: A neck injury has left Roy Upchurch's status for Saturday's game against Mississippi State as doubtful, meaning Terry Grant may get his shot in Alabama's three-pronged running attack. Grant was the Crimson Tide's leading rusher last season with 891 yards. But he's been buried on the bench this season behind Glen Coffee, Mark Ingram and Upchurch. Alabama coach Nick Saban hopes Grant can provide some of the things Upchurch had brought to the Tide offense, namely some speed to the outside and the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Grant has carried the ball just 28 times for 77 yards this season, as Saban has opted for more physical between-the-tackles runners.
2. Sticking with the Wild-Cobb: Kentucky threw the ball all over the place the past two years with Andre' Woodson setting SEC records. The Wildcats still like to think of themselves as a pro-style offense. But for the time being, they're going with what they do best -- and that's freshman quarterback Randall Cobb lining up in the shotgun and breaking teams down with his quick feet and open-field running. It's Kentucky's version of the spread option, and it produced 226 rushing yards last week in the 42-38 loss to Georgia. Vanderbilt can expect to see more of it this Saturday, especially with the Wildcats so depleted at receiver. Cobb's a special talent, too. Once he cuts down on his mistakes, he's going to be one of those quarterbacks nobody wants to face.
3. Run Kodi run: After rushing for 158 yards last week in Auburn's 37-20 win over Tennessee-Martin, Auburn quarterback Kodi Burns knows that's not going to cut it against Georgia. He's also not likely to pass for 318 yards like he did two weeks ago in the loss to Ole Miss. The Tigers would like him to come in somewhere in the middle of those two extremes against the Bulldogs and without the three second-half interceptions he threw against Ole Miss. Burns looks much more comfortable now that it's clear that he's Auburn's quarterback. He still can't be a gun-slinger, though, whether he's running it or passing it. He carried the ball 13 times last week, which would be a bit risky if he were facing an SEC defense. The last thing the Tigers need is to get him hurt.
4. More shuffling up front: It's become a weekly routine for Georgia offensive line coach Stacy Searels: This guy moves here, and that guy moves there. The latest injury in the Bulldogs' offensive line is to right tackle Justin Anderson, who hurt his foot against Kentucky and will miss the Auburn game and possibly the Georgia Tech game. The Bulldogs are working sophomores Josh Davis and Kiante Tripp at right tackle this week in practice. Since the preseason, Tripp has moved from right tackle to left tackle to tight end and now back to right tackle again. This will be the fifth different combination the Bulldogs have used on the offensive line this season when they face Auburn on Saturday.
5. Musical quarterbacks: Nobody rotates quarterbacks on every play. That is, with the exception of Steve Spurrier. The Head Ball Coach is looking seriously at rotating Stephen Garcia and Chris Smelley on every play, or at least every few plays, this Saturday against Florida. As unconventional as it sounds, Spurrier liked the way it worked last weekend in the 34-21 win over Arkansas. It's not a strategy Spurrier plans on sticking with forever. But since Garcia and Smelley haven't been able to separate themselves, Spurrier's going to run them in and out of the game until they do. He pulled a similar stunt when he was at Florida in 1998 with Doug Johnson and Jesse Palmer.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
I'm getting ready to head to Nashville for the South Carolina-Vanderbilt game and will have updates from there before and after the game. So be sure and check back later this evening. Here's a quick glance at what else is going on around the league:
- Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour won't be intimidated by Sanford Stadium crowd. The 230-pound do-it-all quarterback will be stiff test for the Georgia defense.
- Auburn's two coordinators, Tony Franklin and Paul Rhoads, finally sign their contracts after a long delay.
- Crowded backfield isn't a problem for Alabama. Nick Saban says Terry Grant remains in the Tide's plans even though he played sparingly in the opener.
- Tennessee's Phillip Fulmer is still fuming following the Vols' season-opening loss to UCLA. Fulmer said the blame starts with him.
- Quarterback Jonathan Crompton suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter of Tennessee's loss at UCLA, Knoxville News-Sentinel beat writer Dave Hooker reports.
- Receiver Greg Childs is one of several freshmen making an impact for Arkansas. which played 13 freshmen in the opener.
- Postponing this weekend's game was the only thing that made sense after all the damage done by Hurricane Gustav, LSU officials say.
- The Gainesville Sun's Pat Dooley has a good column putting the Florida-Miami rivalry into perspective. The Gators have lost six in a row in the series.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
|J. Meric/Getty Images|
|The Gators are expecting big things from Major Wright this season.|
Now for those players in the SEC on the cusp of breaking out and becoming household names. Some of these players have already made their mark to varying degrees, while others either haven't gotten the chance or just haven't done it yet. Keep an eye on all 10 this season:
1. Major Wright, S, Florida: A punishing hitter who tied for the SEC lead in forced fumbles a year ago as a true freshman. Took his lumps along with the rest of the Gators' young secondary, but he'll be better for it this season.
2. Jeremy Jarmon, DE, Kentucky: For all intents and purposes, had a breakout season last year with nine sacks in his first full season as a starter. But with more depth and better talent around him, Jarmon will be even better in 2008.
3. Chad Jones, S, LSU: Another physical safety to watch in 2008. Jones showed his playmaking abilities in spots last season as a true freshman. At 6-foot-3 and nearly 230 pounds, he has all the tools to be a great one.
4. Tray Blackmon, LB, Auburn: A suspension his freshman season held him back, and it was an ankle injury last season. Blackman still finished seventh on the team in tackles despite playing in just nine games. This is the year he puts it all together.
5. Gerald Jones, WR, Tennessee: Was underutilized last season by the Vols as a freshman. But he's something to see in the open field, and new Tennessee offensive coordinator Dave Clawson is determined to get him the ball.
6. Al Woods, DT, LSU: Probably will back up Charles Alexander to start the season, but this is the year he puts it all together and plays like the NFL first-round draft pick he's been projected as. Think the Tigers are deep up front?
7. London Crawford, WR, Arkansas: Finally ready to live up to lofty high school credentials now that he's in Bobby Petrino's pass-happy offense. One of the Hogs' most improved players in the spring.
8. Terry Grant, RB, Alabama: Set an Alabama freshman rushing record last season with 891 yards despite being hindered by a painful sports hernia. Had offseason surgery to correct the problem and has become a more complete back.
9. Richard Murphy, RB, LSU: Even with Jacob Hester gone, the LSU backfield remains crowded. Some are fingering Keiland Williams as the breakout guy, but Murphy had the better spring with his blend of speed and pass-catching ability.
10. Mario Fannin, RB/WR, Auburn: Shoulder surgery derailed him in the spring, but the explosive Fannin is moving to the slot in Tony Franklin's spread offense. He's still going to get his touches running the ball, too.
In closing: Arkansas has a couple of tight ends to watch this season -- Andrew Davie and D.J. Willams. South Carolina tight end Jared Cook has "star" written all over him, too. Is this the year Tennessee defensive tackle Demonte Bolden puts it all together for 12 games? And for that matter, does another member of that Tennessee defensive line, senior end Robert Ayers, finally realize how good he can be?