SouthernPigSkin Season Blog 1

September 7, 2010

Alabama Week 1 Thoughts

by Justin Davis

Now let’s just be honest. The Alabama scout team would not have even broken a sweat against the San Jose State Trojans. So let’s keep the performance of the Crimson Tide in perspective. Of course they were going to look impressive.

The stories that dominated the headlines leading up to the game was Mark Ingram’s knee and Marcel Dareus’s suspension. Apparently last Monday, Ingram injured his knee in practice and received a probe. He is listed as day to day. The media ate up what this means for Ingram’s Heisman Trophy hopes or the hopes for the Tide repeating as National Champions. Ingram is more worried about his team winning football games instead of a Heisman Trophy for himself.

Marcel Dareus found himself in the cross hairs of the NCAA “AgentGate” investigation that involved UNC DT Marvin Austin, USC TE Malcolm Sheppard and others around the SEC and ACC. Alabama learned the fate of Dareus early last week. The fate was a two game suspension and repayment of alleged received benefits. Dareus in the view of many draft experts, is a very high first round draft pick in April’s draft.

Saturday’s showdown was set with San Jose State. Who would replace Ingram and Dareus? Trent Richardson had a good day, but he was overshadowed by Eddie Lacy. Lacy spent last year running on the scout team and had alot of hype coming into the game. Lacy delivered 111 yards on 13 carries and two TD’s including a 39 yard scamper. The one mistake he made was a fumble on the goal line. Sometime with the coaches should correct this for the future.

Three candidates are vying for the spot vacated by Dareus and Darrington Sentimore, Damion Square and Undra Billingsley all played well. Damion Square may have seperated himslef from the pack early on, but Billingsley helped himself with a couple of speedy heads up plays. If Dareus does wind up leaving early for the draft the DE position is not going to be a concern.

There were two other things that were attention grabbers. Julio Jones is back to regular form. Yes as mentioned earlier it was only San Jose State, but last year Jones still struggled against lesser coverage. He finished with 6 catches for 93 yards and an amazing one handed TD grab that will probably be played on highlight reels for years to come! The second attention grabber was the play of true freshman CJ Mosely. It was widely thought that he would collect a redshirt and learn from the upper classmen on the scout team. He impressed coaches in camp and earned some playing time and was phenomenal. He led the team with 7 tackles and three pass break ups. If Mosely didn’t have “hot” hands those PBU’s might have been easy Pick 6’s.

The Tide’s trouncing also landed a commitment from the top JUCO DT in the nation. Native Australian Jesse Williams stands 6’3 and weighs in at 330 pounds. He benches 500 pounds (a dream for Cochran I’m sure) and has quick athletic feet. Williams had over 25 offers nationwide, but was very impressed with the Tide. The Tide now have 18 verbal commitments.

This team is in for a fight when Penn State rolls into T-town this weekend.

Southern PigSkin Duo Post 5- TEs

June 22, 2010

The tight end position is highly coveted among all offensive schemes. In the spread offense a big, fast, pass catching tight end is needed as an extra receiver to keep defenses honest. In the pro style, the tight end serves as an extra blocker in the run game or a huge target over the middle to help stalling drives. Either way you slice it, tight ends are a very important asset to any team and the SEC has the best of them.

1. DJ Williams- 6’2″ 251- Arkansas

While the Razorbacks have a talented triumvirate WR’s, DJ Williams is also a favorite of Ryan Mallet. Last year he caught 32 passes for 411 yards and three TD’s. While these may sound like modest numbers considering the number of passes thrown in this Razorback offense, Williams had his most productive game against South Carolina (7 catches 137 yards). This year Williams may see his role expanded as he is on NFL Scouts list of TE’s to watch.

2. Philip Lutzenkirchen- 6’4″ 250- Auburn

Philip Lutzenkirchen made the move from WR to TE in the middle of his first year at Auburn. It was a successful experiment. He caught just 5 balls for 22 yards, but that is just a blimp on the radar. Lutzenkirchen possesses WR hands and speed Lutzenkirchen should be a downfield threat for the Tigers this year.

3.DeAngelo Peterson-6’4″ 240- LSU

Peterson is another WR turned TE. He caught 5 balls for 82 yards and two touchdowns last year. He is a threat down the middle with Lafell gone. He’s your prototypical NFL H-Back.

4. Ben Cleveland- 6’4″ 256- Arkansas

When the Razorbacks line up in the two TE set, there’s a fifth receiving threat to look out for. At a hulking 6’4′” and almost 260 pounds, Ben Cleveland is hard to miss. He possesses great hands and a huge body to snag the ball in traffic. He’s played sparingly due to nagging injuries, but appears healthy this year. You can’t cover all the Razorbacks talented receiving and TE core and he maybe one of the breakaways so please don’t let his 2009 stats of 3 catches for 33 yards fool you.

5. Marcus Green- 6’1″ 235- Mississippi State

While Green is more of a fullback at his size, he made tremendous strides hauling in 27 balls for 306 yards and three TD’s. He had a breakout game against LSU where he had five receptions for 100 yards and a TD. He’s also not afraid to mix it up with DT’s and LB’s in the blocking game either. Green will help the Bulldogs in the short to intermediate pass game.


Chris Gragg- 6’3″ 235- Arkansas

While he’s behind Williams and Cleveland on the depth chart, he is described as the fastest TE on the Razorbacks roster. While we don’t wish this on anybody, Gragg is a twisted ankle or torn ACL away from greatness.

Michael Williams- 6’6″ 267- Alabama

Williams will look to crack the Tides talented TE core. He caught three balls last year, but has solid hands and a big body. He’s a great run and pass blocker since he played DE in highschool. He will be one Crimson Tide fans should keep an eye out for.

Southern PigSkin Duo Post 3

June 7, 2010

The SEC WEST Takes to the Air (PreSeason Top WR’s)

The SEC West took to the air last year, producing NCAA record numbers in the conference. This year looks to bring the same aerial display of gridiron prowess! With no further ado here’s our list of the top WR’s in the SEC West PreSeason 2010.

1. Greg Childs- Arkansas

Leading the SEC in total yards and receptions at 48 and 897 while adding 7 TD’s, Childs looks to increase that total this year. He has another year Ryan Mallet chucking the biscuit and Childs will most likely be the primary target. Happy passing Hogs!

2.Julio Jones- Alabama

A concensus Pre Season All American last year Jones had just 43 grabs, 596 yards and 4 TD’s to show for it. he was also plagued with injuries, but still managed to turn a smoke screen pass into a 73 yard TD run against LSU. A finally healthy Jones will lead a talented core of Crimson Tide WR’s.

3. Jarius Wright- Arkansas

While playing second fiddle to Childs Wright still managed to haul in 41 receptions for 681 yards and 5 TD’s! Look for Mallet to seek out Wright whenever Childs is “Hog” tied.

4. Darvin Adams- Auburn

Adams is coming off a very productive 2009 campaign that saw him compile 60 receptions for 890 yards and 10 TD’s. The question here is QB next year at the Plains.

5. Terrance Tolliver- LSU

Tolliver is a big physical WR who had 53 receptions, 735 yards and 3 TD’s while shadowing LaFell. Look for him to accept the lead role this year.

6. Marquis Maze- Alabama

Maze was a life saver for Alabama during stalled drives. He completed the year with 31 receptions for 523 yards and a pair of TD’s. A healthy Julio may draw double teams and when that happens Maze will be there to make Alabama foes pay!

7. Chad Bumphis- Mississippi St.

In the mold of Percy Harvin, Bumphis gained some recognition in Dan Mullen’s offense. As a runner he only had 73 yards and a TD, but as a receiver he had 32 receptions, 375 yards and 4TD’s. Not bad for a true frosh with Dixon the focal point of the offense.

8.  Russel Sheppard-LSU

This will be Sheppard’s breakout year. After learning all the nuances at QB, RB and WR, Sheppard will be dangerous as a slot receiver or RB. Simply put, get the ball in his hands and watch the magic!

9. Markeith Summers- Ole Miss

Summers was another guy playing second fiddle to all purpose player Dexter McCluster. Even while doing so he managed to haul in 17 grabs for 394 yards and 4 TD’s. This year looks to be all his.

10a. Darius Hanks- Alabama

When Jones and Maze were too preoccupied to answer GMAC’s call Hanks was there to clean it up. He had 17 receptions for 272 yards and 3 TDs.

10b. Rueben Randle- LSU

Loking to build on a slightly less than stellar freshman campaign, Randle has tightened up the little nuances of the game this spring. he will be building on the back of a year that saw him grab 11 balls for 173 yards and 2 TD’s. His role will also increase with the departure of LaFell.

Southern Pigskin Post 11

June 2, 2010

Alabama Recruiting Update

By Justin Davis

The past two weekends have produced significant recruitment noise with current commits and maybe future commits. The University of Alabama hosted a Nike Football Training Camp on its campus on the Saturday of May 24th. Then over the Memorial Day weekend Alabama received a visit from a huge recruit and news of an announcement from another recruit.

The Nike Football Training Camp was held on a nice Saturday afternoon on the campus of Alabama. 300 recruits from all over the Southeast flocked to the football stadium, where well over 90,000 of the Alabama faithful pack in to watch their beloved team. Two prospects stood out among the 300 and it’s no wonder that they are future bearers of Crimson and White.  Under Armour All American Safety Hasean Clinton- Dix and ESPNU150 Watchlister DJ Pettway, were the two recruits who stood out among the rest.

6’2 200 pound Hasean Clinton-Dix is a monster. He excels in coverage schemes, has great football instincts and shows great skill and speed closing on the ball. He’s a big hitter and has the frame to even grow to linebacker at the next level. He is coming off a killer junior season that saw him accumulate 93 tackles including 13 for a loss, break up 9 passes and grab 3 INTs. Clinton- Dix could very well play early and often once he steps foot on Alabama campus.

DJ Pettway is a 6′ 2.5 255 pound DE/DT. He originally started out in high school as a QB, but moved to DE and has dominated ever since. He has the size, frame and motor to play anywhere on the defensive line. He grabbed the NFTC D Lineman MVP Honor, because he did not lose a 1-on-1 battle. His junior season stats show his ability. He produced 85 tackles and 16 sacks and is looking to have an even bigger senior campaign. He will definitely fit well in the Nick Saban 3-4 scheme.

The following weekend, which was Memorial Day weekend a huge recruit paid Saban and Co. a visit. 6’3 250 pound athlete Rodney Coe toured several schools in the Southeast making a final stop in Tuscaloosa. Coe has had Alabama in his sights ever since receiving an offer back in mid March. Coe doubled as a running back and linebacker at his Edwardsville High School in Illinois. As a running back he racked up 904 yards and 14 TD’s and as a linebacker he acquired 68 tackles, 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Coe said he enjoyed his visit to T-town. Posting a 4.5 40 and benching well over 300 pounds, this kid is the making of something special and it would be great to have an athlete like him join the Alabama Crimson Tide football team.

Ohio QB and teammate of Trey DePriest has announced a June 4th date to make his decision. The likelihood of his decision being the Tide is very slim, but it doesn’t seem Tide fans should worry about Trey DePriest’s status. The two buddies have said they would want to play together at the next level, but realize that they may have part ways. We’re still crossing our fingers to grab both recruits.

Puerto Rican Boxing Post

June 1, 2010

A Pair of Puerto Rican Prospects to watch

Puerto Rico has produced numerous world class fighters and world champions. Wilfredo Benitez, Wilfredo Vazquez, Wilfredo Gomez, Juan LaPorte, Edwin Rosario, Felix Trinidad and Jose Torres are guys that come to mind when you mention Puerto Rican fighters of the past. Recently, Miguel Cotto and Kermit Cintron created quite a stir in the early parts of their respective careers. While they both are fighting and clawing to get back to the top, a pair of newer and lighter Puerto Rican pugilists are looking to etch their names into boxing history.

The son of aforementioned Wilfredo Vazquez and Roman “Rocky” Martinez are the young world champions looking to carve their legacies into boxing history forever as the best fighters ever. They both recently won world titles and are set to defend them soon. The one thing that comes with being on top, is fighting even harder to stay there.

Wilfredo Vazquez Jr, is the son of former three division champion Wilfredo Vazquez. The younger Vazquez, who got his start later in life, is also trained by his famous father. They are the third father-son combination to win a world title, but the first to do so at the same weight class. Vazquez boasts of a 19-0-1 (16Ko’s) record and the WBO super bantamweight title. With his raw, talent and father to guide him the possibilities are limitless for the young Vazquez. Perhaps unification bouts with fellow titleholders Steve Molitor or Japanese WBC boss Toshiaki Nishioka?  Or a move in weight to challenge fellow Puerto Rican titleholder Juan Manuel Lopez or Mexican IBF king Orlando Salindo? Or perhaps speculation is too soon and he needs time to develope. Only time will tell as he recovers from his first title defense over Zsolt Bedak.

Roman “Rocky” Martinez is a another young fast, hard-punching, fan friendly Puerto Rican pugilist. He boasts of a 24-0-1 (14ko’s) record. Rocky has won lesser versions of WBO title before knocking Nicky Cook unconscious with a left hook in Manchester, England to claim the linear superfeatherweight WBO title. He also currently holds the NABO superfeatherweight title. Martinez has defended his titles twice by knockout against Feider Viloria and Gonzalo Munguia.

BleacherReport Boxing Post 2

June 1, 2010

Boxing has had it’s fair share of trilogies and multi fight series that have taken the sport to new heights. The rivalries that come to mind are Ali-Frazier, Robinson-LaMotta, Holyfield-Bowe and Leonard- Duran, just to name a few. The series pushes fighters to greater depths and bring out the best in each other.

Rafael Marquez and his fellow Mexico City rival Israel Vazquez have done just that and more. They competed in a trilogy in which Vazquez took a two to one advantage, albeit not without controversy. In their third fight Marquez was penalized for a low blow and in the 12th and final round Vazquez scored a knockdown and won a razor-thin decision.

This set the stage for the fourth fight billed “Once and Four All.” The hype leading up to the fight by the Showtime announcers centered around a fifth fight should Marquez even the score.  The fighters, however, were focused on the task at hand.

The speculation of a fifth fight was not the only storyline heading int the fight. Rafael Marquez replaced longtime trainer Nacho Beristain with former Mexican world champion Daniel Zaragoza. Marquez was also expected to exhibit ring rust, considering in his last outing he stopped Jose Francisco Mendez nearly a year from the fight date. Israel Vazquez garnered concern by taking a lot of punishment in his stoppage of Angel Priolo in October. Plus Vazquez is just a year removed from surgery over his eyes.

The historic fourth fight was underway. Both fighters started by coming in and banging at each other on the inside. Marquez, showing no signs of ring rust, was the busier of the two landing good shots and immediately opening the first cut with a right hand over Vazquez’s left eye. In the second round both fighters traded well, with Vazquez landing the more telling blows. The third round began with an unintentional head butt that opened the cut over Vazquez’s right eye. He fought on bravely, but the blood pouring into is eye placed him at a huge disadvantage. After being knocked down and unable to fight off the ensuing barrage of punches, referee Raul Caiz Jr, stopped the fight.

The score is now tied at two apiece for the Mexican pugilists. These guys bring out the best in each other and have both said they are willing to wage war for a historic fifth time. Vazquez would need another surgery and time to heal the scar tissue over his eyes. The cuts have plagued him throughout this fight series with Marquez, causing more concern. If or when this fight happens, the fans will be the winners. These two guys will definitely leave everything in ring.

Southern PigSkin Post RB rankings

May 30, 2010

Ranking the top RB’s in the SEC West

by Justin Davis and Kris Brauner

1. Mark Ingram- Alabama

The Heisman Trophy and National Title winning Ingram also gained well over 1000 yards after contact! Any questions why he’s number 1?

2. Trent Richardson- Alabama

Richardson as a true freshman backed up Award winning Ingram with 751 yards on 145 attempts. He added 109 yards in the National Championship against Texas including a 49 yard TD scamper.

3.Onterio McCalebb- Auburn

Ran for 565 while backing up Tate. Will more than likely be the top back , but will have to split his carries with a freshman phenom.

4. Broderick Green- Arkansas

The 6’2 250 pound bruiser piled up 442 yards on 104 carries that were split in ’09. The USC transfer has been and will continue to be steady for the Hogs.

5. Brandon Bolden- Ole Miss

It’s tough to get recognition when you’re playing second fiddle to a guy named Dexter McCluster. How do you rack up 614 yards with a guy like him around? Easy. This kid is talented!

6. Knile Davis- Arkansas

The 6’1 200 plus sophmoe from Missouri City, Texas, will serve as the yin to Green’s yang. Barring an injury,  the change of pace back should help make Arkansas a tough team to beat this year.

7. Eddie Lacy- Alabama

This redshirt freshman is described as having the speed of Richardson and power of Ingram. Possessing 4.4 speed and not afraid to lower his shoulder to deliver a blow, Lacy has terrorized while on the scout team and during spring training. Look out below!

8. Michael Dyer- Auburn

It might be absurd to put a freshman who hasn’t played a down on this list but look at this. He was arguably the number 1 power back in the nation. He runs with 4.4 speed, plus maxes out at 320 pounds on the bench press. This could be the start of an amazing career as he racked up nearly 10,000 yards in high school!