SEC: Trey Barrow

Lunchtime links

September, 25, 2012
9/25/12
12:00
PM ET
Whoa, replacement refs, huh? All riiight. ... Well, see ya later!

 

Ranking the SEC's punters

July, 23, 2012
7/23/12
11:00
AM ET
Now that we've looked at the SEC's top kickers, we're checking out the league's top punters.

Past rankings:
Here are our top 10 SEC punters:

1. Brad Wing, Soph., LSU: He was one of the league's most entertaining people last year, and he had the left leg to back it up. The first-team All-American averaged 44.4 yards per punt last season, with a long of 73 yards, and pinned 27 kicks inside his opponents' 20-yard line. He also had 20 punts of 50 or more yards.

2. Steven Clark, Jr., Auburn: The Ray Guy finalist and the SEC coaches All-SEC selection was one of the most accurate punters in the nation last fall. Not only did he average 40.8 yards per punt, he pinned 33 of his 72 kicks inside the 20. He had a long of 58 yards and sent 13 punts 50 yards or more.

3. Dylan Breeding, Sr., Arkansas: He returns as the SEC's top statistical punter after averaging 45.3 yards per punt last fall, with a long of 70 yards. Breeding landed 16 of his 53 punts inside the 20, and had 17 punts of 50 or more yards. He ranks fifth all-time at Arkansas in punts (166), punt yardage (6,971) and punt average (42.0).

4. Tyler Campbell, Sr. Ole Miss: He ranked fifth in the SEC last season, averaging 43.6 yards per punt with a long of 73. He also had 28 of his 72 kicks drop inside the 20, and had 16 punts go for 50 or more yards. Campbell is both powerful with his kicks and very accurate, making him a big weapon for the Rebels' defense.

5. Trey Barrow, Sr., Missouri: He was a second team All-Big 12 member last season, and ranked second in the league in punting average (44.8). Barrow, who also shared place-kicking duties, had a long of 74 yards last season, pinned 10 punts inside the 20, and had 18 punts of 50 or more yards.

6. Richard Kent, Sr., Vanderbilt: He averaged 42.5 yards per punt last season, with a long of 67. He also pinned 23 punts inside the 20 and had 18 punts of 50 or more yards. He had a 41.2-yard net punting average, and has put at least one punt inside the 2o in 24 of his 25 career games.

7. Baker Swedenburg, Jr., Mississippi State: He averaged 41.8 yards per punt, with a long of 58 last season. Nineteen of his kicks dropped within the 20, and he had 14 punts of 50 or more yards. The staff expects him to be even better after having a tremendous spring in Starkville this year.

8. Ryan Epperson, Sr., Texas A&M: He averaged 41.2 yards per punt last season, and pinned 19 inside the 20. He had a long of 68 yards, and sent 10 punts 50 or more yards. He directed four punts inside the 20 against Arkansas and Texas last season.

9. Cody Mandell, Jr., Alabama: He averaged just 39.3 yards per punt, but had a long of 52 yards, pinned 11 inside the 20, and had two punts of 50 yards or more. He put a season-high five punts inside the 20 against Florida last fall. The former walk-on enters his third year as a starter this fall.

10. Kyle Christy, Soph., Florida: He became Florida's starting punter during the last seven games of the season, but the spot is now all his. He still finished with 30 punts, and averaged 40.9 yards per kick along the way, with a long of 67 yards. Ten of his kicks were downed inside the 20. In his debut against Auburn, four of his punts were downed inside the Tigers' 20.

Ranking the SEC's kickers

July, 23, 2012
7/23/12
10:00
AM ET
Now that we've ranked all 14 of the SEC's special-teams units, it's time to take a look at the league's top kickers.

Past rankings:
Here are our top 10 SEC kickers:

1. Caleb Sturgis, Sr., Florida: The Lou Groza Award finalist hit on 22 of 26 field goal attempts for a kicking percentage of 84.6 last season. He was extremely accurate, hitting 19 of 21 kicks within 50 yards, and showed off his power by hitting 3-for-5 from 50 yards and beyond, including hitting a long of 55.

2. Drew Alleman, Sr., LSU: He ranked first in the SEC and second nationally in field goal percentage after hitting 16 of 18 (88.9) field goal attempts last season, including a long of 44. He also made 62 of 63 (98.4) extra points. Alleman's solid 2011 season proved to be the most accurate year by an LSU kicker ever.

3. Zach Hocker, Jr., Arkansas: He enters his senior season holding the Arkansas record for career field goal percentage at 80.4 percent and has 222 career points. Last season, he connected on 21 of 27 (77.8) field goal attempts, including a long of 50 yards, and made 57 of 59 (96.5) extra points.

4. Jeremy Shelley, Sr., Alabama: After an average regular season, Shelley became one of Alabama's most important players in the BCS title game against LSU, as he hit 5 of 7 field goals. He finished the year hitting 21 of 27 (77.8) field goal attempts, and left last season much more confident than he entered.

5. Craig McIntosh, Sr., Kentucky: He turned out to be one of Kentucky's best offensive weapons last fall, hitting 12 of 14 (85.7) field goals, including a long of 48. The Wildcats have more optimism concerning their offense and finding individual playmakers, but McIntosh will yet again be key for Kentucky in the points department.

6. Bryson Rose, Sr., Ole Miss: While he only attempted 11 kicks last season, hitting nine of them, Rose has shown pretty solid accuracy during his career. He hit 16 of 18 field goals as a sophomore and has nailed 25 of 29 career kicks (86.2). With a new offense being installed, Rose's leg might be called even more this fall.

7. Cody Parkey, Jr., Auburn: He led the Tigers in points last season, with 80, after hitting 13 of 18 field goals and 41 of 42 extra points. Parkey needs to work on his range, as all of his field goal attempts came within 50 yards last season. He's also a Lou Groza Award watch list member for 2012.

8. Trey Barrow, Sr., Missouri: He filled in for the injured Grant Ressel last season and connected on 7 of 9 kicks (77.8), with a long of 39 yards. Barrow is the team's punter as well, but entered the spring as the starting kicker, but fell behind Andrew Baggett at times. He could rise or fall on this list depending on where he is on the place-kicking depth chart this fall.

9. Ryan Fowler, Sr., Vanderbilt: He took over the place-kicking duties halfway through the season and hit 4 of 7 field goals, including a long of 35 yards, and all 19 of his extra-point attempts. Fowler was a two-year starter before Carey Spear passed him heading into last season. Fowler was 24-for-34 on field goals during his first two years as a starter.

10. Michael Palardy, Jr., Tennessee: He was very inconsistent in 2011, but there was more of an emphasis put on special teams as a whole during spring practice at Tennessee. Last season, he hit 9 of 14 (64.3) field goals, including a long of 52. He has range to hit from deep, but has to improve his accuracy.

Top performer: Punter

May, 21, 2012
5/21/12
11:00
AM ET
Our look at the SEC's most productive returning players in 2012 continues with a look at the league's top returning punters.

Past producers:
The SEC returns seven of the top 10 punters from last season. We're going by average yardage per punt. Note: To qualify, a punter must have at least 2.5 punts per team's games played. The top punter returns, but he'll surely have some tough competition this fall.

Here's a look at the top returning punter by kick average:

Dylan Breeding, Arkansas: He averaged 45.3 yards per punt last fall, with a long of 70 yards. Breeding pinned 16 of his 53 punts inside opponents' 20-yard line and had 17 punts of 50 or more yards. Breeding has one of the best legs in the league, but is also pretty accurate. His leg became another defensive weapon for the Razorbacks and he returns as one of the school's top punters. With a new defensive coordinator and some missing defensive parts from last year, Breeding will be even more important for the Hogs when the offense falters.

The SEC returns six more of the top 10 punters:
  • Brad Wing, LSU: He averaged 44.4 yards per punt, with a long of 73 yards. He also pinned 27 kicks inside the 20-yard line and had 20 punts of 50 or more yards.
  • Tyler Campbell, Ole Miss: He averaged 43.6 yards per punt, with a long of 73. He also pinned 28 kicks inside the 2o and had 16 punts of 50 or more yards.
  • Richard Kent, Vanderbilt: He averaged 42.5 yards per punt, with a long of 67. He also pinned 23 kicks inside the 20 and had 18 punts of 50 or more yards.
  • Baker Swedenburg, Mississippi State: He averaged 41.8 yards per punt, with a long of 58. He also pinned 19 kicks inside the 20 and had 14 punts of 50 or more yards.
  • Steven Clark, Auburn: He averaged 40.8 yards per punt, with a long of 58 yards. He also pinned 33 kicks inside the 20. (Punts of 50 or more yards not available.)
  • Cody Mandell, Alabama: He averaged 39.3 yards per punt, with a long of 52 yards. He also pinned 11 kicks inside the 20 and had two punts of 50 or more yards.

Punting can be a little more predictable than place-kicking, so Breeding has a pretty good shot of retaining his crown. If Arkansas' offense didn't eat into his production last year there might not be concern of it happening again. Campbell should challenge Breeding because Ole Miss' offense is looking to install a new offense this fall, and that will take some time for players to get used to.

Obviously, Wing is someone who could push for the top average as well. He has a cannon for a leg and has pinpoint accuracy. He's also the most entertaining kicker out there.

Definitely keep an eye on Missouri's Trey Barrow. He was second in the Big 12 in punting average (44.8) and had a long of 74 yards last season. He also pinned 10 kicks inside the 20 and had 18 punts of 50 or more yards.

Florida's Kyle Christy averaged 40.9 yards per punt last year, but didn't meet the criteria of having at least 2.5 punts per his team's games. He also struggled to crack the starting lineup at first before starting the last seven games of the season. If he can start things off as the Gators' starter, he could push for the crown.

Texas A&M's Ryan Epperson could also challenge for the throne after he averaged 41.2 yards per punt and pinned 19 kicks inside the 20. He had a long of 68 yards and booted 10 punts for 50 or more yards.

Keep an eye on Joe Mansour and Jay Willmott at Kentucky, as they battle for the starting spot.

Top performer: Kicker

May, 17, 2012
5/17/12
4:15
PM ET
Our look at the SEC's most productive returning players in 2012 continues with a look at the league's top returning placekickers.

Past producers:
The SEC returns eight of the top 10 kickers from last season. We decided to go by field goals made over percentage, because a few players had higher percentages, but didn't have as many attempts. The top kicker is back, but when it comes to field-goal kicking, the crown is always always up for grabs.

Here's a look at the top returning kicker when it comes to field goals made:

Caleb Sturgis, Florida: He connected on 22 of 26 field goal attempts for a kicking percentage of 84.6 last season. He hit 19 of 21 kicks within 50 yards, and was 3-for-5 from 50 yards and beyond, including hitting a long of 55. Sturgis also nailed all 31 of his extra-point attempts. Sturgis, who was finalist for the Lou Groza Award, given annually to college football's best placekicker, did all of that after suffering a very serious back in 2010. The injury cost him the final nine games of the season. Sturgis has one of the strongest legs in the country, and really improved his accuracy in 2011. He will likely receive a few preseason accolades this fall, and should yet again be in the conversation as the nation's top kicker.

The SEC returns seven more of the top 10 kickers from 2011:
  • Zach Hocker, Arkansas: He connected on 21 of 27 (77.8) field goal attempts, including a long of 50 yards. He also hit 20 of 26 kicks from within 50 yards. He made 57 of 59 (96.5) extra points.
  • Jeremy Shelley, Alabama: He connected on 21 of 27 (77.8) field goal attempts, including a long of 44. All of his kicks came within 50 yards. He made 52 of 54 (96.3) extra points.
  • Drew Alleman, LSU: He connected on 16 of 18 (88.9) field goal attempts, including a long of 44. He also hit 16 of 17 kicks within 50 yards. He made 62 of 63 (98.4) extra points.
  • Cody Parkey, Auburn: He connected on 13 of 18 (72.2) field goals, including a long of 45. All of his attempts came within 50 yards. He made 41 of 42 (97.6) extra points.
  • Craig McIntosh, Kentucky: He connected on 12 of 14 (85.7) field goals, including a long of 48. All of his attempts came within 50 yards. He made 20 of 21 (95.1) extra points.
  • Bryson Rose, Ole Miss: He connected on 9 of 11 (81.8) field goals, including a long of 43. He also hit 9 of 10 kicks from within 50 yards. He made 20 of 21 (95.2) extra points.
  • Michael Palardy, Tennessee: He connected on 9 of 14 (64.3) field goals, including a long of 52. He also hit 8 of 12 kicks from within 50 yards. He made 25 of 26 (96.2) extra points.

Kicking is so unpredictable these days. Just look at last year's bowl season. Yuck. So it's tough to say if Sturgis will keep his crown. Hocker is someone who will definitely push for the top spot, because of all the scoring opportunities Arkansas will have. But he could also lose chances if the Hogs get in the end zone too many times.

Shelley and Alleman should also get plenty of chances to get near the end zone. Both Alabama and LSU should have improved passing games, so both offenses should move the ball well enough to satisfy their kickers.

Missouri returns Trey Barrow and Andrew Baggett this season. Barrow, who filled in nicely for the injured Grant Ressel, began the spring as a starter, but moved behind Baggett after struggling along the way. The competition should run through fall camp and should be pretty fun to watch. The winner should have more than a few chances of getting into kicking range with the Tigers' offense.

Longtime Georgia kicker Blair Walsh is gone, and while he struggled last season, he still made 21 field goals. The Bulldogs have a few options at placekicker and will take a hard look at freshmen Marshall Morgan and Collin Barber. The coaching staff has made it clear that it will work on live field-goal attempts more during the preseason than it has in the past.

Mississippi State must replace one of the league's top kickers in Derek DePasquale. Brian Egan, a former Parade All-American, looks ready to step in, so keep an eye on him this fall.

SEC weekend practice notes

March, 19, 2012
3/19/12
10:35
AM ET
Missouri was one of the first SEC schools to get football practice started this spring, so Saturday counted as a big step for the Tigers, as they went through their first spring scrimmage Saturday.

Led by seven takeaways, Missouri's defense won the scrimmage 19-7. Sophomore defensive end Kony Ealy forced two fumbles, recovering one, broke up two passes and registered a quarterback hurry. Junior linebacker Andrew Wilson also recorded an interception and recovered a fumble. Sophomore cornerback Xavier Smith and redshirt freshman corner Ernest Payton each grabbed an interception as well.

While the defense dominated Saturday's session, the offense was without a number of key players, including starting quarterback James Franklin, who is dealing with a shoulder injury, left tackle Elvis Fisher (knee), running back Henry Josey (knee), and wide receiver L'Damian Washington (hamstring).

That didn't stop the offense from getting a couple of scores, though. Junior quarterback Ashton Glaser recorded the first score of the day when he connected with senior receiver Rolandis Woodland on a fade in traffic for a 6-yard touchdown pass. Senior running back Kendial Lawrence came up with the second score with a 19-yard run. Lawrence finished the day with 12 rushes for a team-best 61 yards.

Senior Gahn McGaffie led all receivers with eight catches and 75 receiving yards, while senior T.J. Moe had five catches for 54 yards.

With Franklin out, redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser got the start and completed 10 of 25 passes for 105 yards. Berkstresser didn't turn the ball over and closed the day when he led the No. 1 offense down field against the No. 1 nickel defense for a field goal in two-minute drill work. He capped the drive with a nice 24-yard scramble to get out of bounds with less than 5 seconds left. That play set up Trey Barrow for a 33-yard field goal to close the series.

You can check out the scrimmage stats on Missouri's official website.

Florida also went through its first practice weekend. Michael DiRocco of ESPN's GatorNation has a slew of info on the Gators' first practice in pads.

One thing that sticks out in DiRocco's observation is that the quarterbacks didn't have much success throwing the ball downfield.

DiRocco writes:

"[Jeff] Driskel, Jacoby Brissett and [Tyler] Murphy had a lot of success completing passes in the 10- to 15-yard range, but were unable to get the ball down the field. Each quarterback did complete deep balls over the two days, but it was rare to see any completions of 20 or more yards that weren't sideline or seam patters. No deep ins or outs. It's understandable that they would struggle, though, because it is only the first week of practice, and the Gators' secondary is pretty good."

Obviously, that will come with more practice, but it's something to keep an eye on as the Gators progress through the spring.

Vanderbilt also went through its first weekend of spring practice. Coach James Franklin praised his players for the energy and attitude they brought to Friday's opening practice.

"I thought our energy was much better," Franklin said. "I think we’re obviously in much better shape. We had a hard time practicing like that last year. We’ve come a long way. I still have much higher expectations and I think our guys do, too. For the first day, I thought it was pretty good."

After a lengthy 11-on-11 team drill, Franklin ended practice with a series of competitive 1-on-1 tire pulls.

With depth issues at running back, wide receiver Wesley Tate got work out of the backfield Friday. He started off his career as a running back at Vandy, and will continue to work there throughout the spring.

Three quarterbacks also took snaps for the Commodores, as last year's starter Jordan Rodgers, Wyoming transfer Austyn Carta-Samuels and early enrollee Patton Robinette all shared reps. This is expected to be an intense battle for the Commodores this spring and will receive a ton of attention from Franklin.

"The area I talked to the guys about after practice is we have to do a better job throwing the ball during competitive periods," he said. "That’s something we have to talk to them about in the offseason. I don’t think we’re doing a very good job of that."

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