Thursday, October 12, 2017
A little more than a year after Les Miles was fired as LSU's coach after an 18-13 loss at Auburn -- Sept. 24, 2016, to be exact -- he'll be on the Tiger Stadium field in Baton Rouge on Saturday for the teams' latest matchup.
We'll have to wait and see whether Miles chews a blade of the Tiger Stadium grass, as he did from time to time in 11-plus seasons as LSU's coach, but he'll be honored on the field along with members of the 2007 team he led to the national championship.
Give LSU credit for making sure to include Miles in its 10-year anniversary celebration of the 2007 title team.
Miles, 63, still lives in Baton Rouge and continues to be supportive of the program.
"I'm buying the Tigers at home," Miles said on his Les is More podcast this week. "I'm not buying those other Tigers. Those Tigers don't count.
"I'm taking the real Tigers. I'm talking about the purple and gold, the helmets that are recognized across the country as the Tigers -- LSU Tigers."
Miles went 6-0 at home against those "other Tigers" when he coached LSU.
Georgia has started 6-0 for the fifth time since the Bulldogs began playing as many as six games a year in 1894.
The other seasons Georgia won its first six games -- 1980, 1982, 2002 and 2005 -- the Bulldogs won the SEC championship.
Nick Saban wasn't Alabama's coach in any of those seasons, but it's understandable why Georgia fans are excited about their team and its No. 4 national ranking.
It's also not surprising that Georgia Coach Kirby Smart -- a former defensive coordinator for Saban at Alabama -- is downplaying the Bulldogs' impressive start.
"We don't talk about what we're ranked," Smart said.
Senior linebacker Roquan Smith told reporters the Bulldogs don't pay attention to being 30-point favorites over Missouri this week or the team being ranked in the top five nationally.
"You see those things running across your news feed, but that's not going to change anything we do here," Smith said. "It's nice when people think very highly of you.
"But at the end of the day that stuff can go away just like that. So you just have to keep going level-headed and stay the course."
Smart used a track analogy for the Bulldogs' first goal of winning the SEC East.
"All we talk about is a race," Smart said. "The race is at the 50-meter mark. I don't know one person that ever talked about [Justin] Gatlin being ahead of [Usain] Bolt at the 50-meter mark.
"Nobody cared. They only care about where you finish, and they only care about what you do next. That's our objective -- to do what's next."
Not sure whether Smart knows Gatlin ran for Tennessee, but his point is well made.
366 and counting
Florida lost to LSU 17-16 last week, but the Gators set an NCAA record for FBS teams by scoring in their 366th consecutive game.
The Gators last were shut out in a 16-0 loss to Auburn on Oct. 29, 1988.
Prior to last week, Florida shared the national record for consecutive games scoring with Michigan, which scored in 365 games between a 20-0 loss to Iowa in 1984 and a 31-0 loss to Notre Dame in 2014.
The Gators' streak includes a 27-2 loss to Florida State in 2015 in which Florida's only score came on a safety when Seminoles quarterback Sean Maguire fumbled and recovered the ball in his own end zone.
Ole Miss officially posted its opening for a head football coach Saturday when Auburn beat the Rebels 45-23.
The post included:
"Work schedule Monday-Friday [some evenings and weekends]."
Yes, coaching in the SEC can be time-consuming.
As a state university, Ole Miss is required by law to post all job opening on its human resources website.
The timing of the posting during a loss at Auburn probably was a coincidence, though it likely didn't make Matt Luke -- the Rebels' interim coach -- feel much job security.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jarrett Guarantano will start for Tennessee against South Carolina, Vols Coach Butch Jones announced.
Guarantano will start in place of Quinten Dormady after Georgia beat Tennessee 41-0 on Sept. 30. The Vols had an open date last week.
"Quinten did some very, very good things, and like I've continued to say all year long, a lot of times the quarterback is a by-product of execution of everyone around them," Jones said. "But Jarrett's worked very hard, and he'll have that opportunity on Saturday."
Guarantano has completed 12 of 24 passes for 54 yards for 1 touchdown without an interception as Dormady's backup and is more of a running threat.
Dormady had 8 turnovers -- 6 interceptions and 2 fumbles -- in Tennessee's past four games since the Vols opened with a 42-41 double-overtime victory against Georgia Tech.
"We just felt Jarrett has earned the opportunity," Jones said. "We need to score points in this conference."
Rise and shine
LSU is playing its first day game at home this season, and that figures to be an advantage for Auburn.
Since 1960, LSU is 247-66-4 in night games at Tiger Stadium and 34-26-3 in day games.
Saturday will be the second time LSU has played in the day in its past 16 home games.
LSU Coach Ed Orgeron urged fans to get their pregame routine going a little earlier with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.
"There's a lot of things that we don't like that we have to do in life," Orgeron said. "So hopefully they can get up a little earlier, put a little something in their coffee to make them come up, and let's go."
Texas A&M is playing at Florida for the first time since Oct. 13, 1962, when the Gators beat the Aggies 42-6.
Saturday night's game also will be just the teams' fourth meeting and second since Texas A&M joined the SEC.
Florida won 20-17 at Texas A&M in 2012 in the Aggies' first SEC game.
Texas A&M's lone victory against Florida was 37-14 in the Sun Bowl to cap the 1976 season.
The Aggies last won in the state of Florida in 1944 when they beat Miami 70-14.
• Tennessee defensive end Darrell Taylor has been suspended indefinitely, Coach Butch Jones said, for undisclosed disciplinary reasons. Jones said "multiple factors have led to this decision," but GoVols247 reported Taylor had an altercation with offensive lineman Trey Smith at practice.
• Florida will wear "Swamp Green" uniforms against Texas A&M rather than the Gators' school colors of blue and orange.
• Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson has 12 rushing touchdowns this season to tie San Diego State's Rashaad Penny for the national lead. Johnson has 11 rushing touchdowns in SEC play with 5 against Missouri and 3 each against Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
SEC TOP TO BOTTOM
1(1);Alabama;6-0;Welcoming Arkansas for homecoming
2(2);Georgia;6-0;Exacted revenge at Vanderbilt
3(3);Auburn;5-1;Key matchup vs. LSU at Death Valley
4(5);Texas A&M;4-2;Mond doesn't look like true freshman
5(12);LSU;3-2;Happy to ruin Florida's homecoming
6(4);Florida;3-2;Close one goes against Gators for a change
7(6);Kentucky;5-1;Open date to get ready for Mississippi State
8(9);South Carolina;4-2;Defense got offensive against Hogs
9(8);Mississippi State;3-2;Should be able to handle BYU at home
10(10);Vanderbilt;3-3;Hopes to end 3-game skid at Ole Miss
11(11);Tennessee;3-2;QB change after being shut out by Georgia
12(13);Ole Miss;2-3;5 of next 6 games at home
13(8);Arkansas;2-3;Has lost 10 in a row to Alabama
14(14);Missouri;1-4;Showed signs of life at Kentucky
PLAYER TO WATCH
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond has come a long way since the true freshman was thrown into the fire at UCLA and completed 3 of 17 passes for 27 yards as the Bruins rallied from a 34-point deficit to beat the Aggies 45-44 in the season opener.
Mond -- forced to play at UCLA because of starter Nick Starkel's season-ending ankle injury -- has made significant progress going into Texas A&M's game at Florida on Saturday night. He is 4-1 as the Aggies' starter.
Playing No. 1 Alabama last week, Mond completed 19 of 29 passes for 237 yards.
He has completed 88 of 155 passes (56.8 percent) for 1,045 yards and 7 touchdowns, and rushed 53 times for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Auburn at LSU
WHEN 2:30 p.m. Saturday (CBS)
WHERE Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge
RECORDS LSU 4-2, 1-1 SEC. Auburn 5-1, 3-0
RANKINGS Auburn is No. 10 in the AP poll and No. 11 in the USA Today coaches poll. LSU is not ranked.
LINE Auburn by 7 points
LSU is a hard team to figure out.
Will Auburn play the Tigers who lost at home to Troy or the team that went on the road the next week to beat Florida?
LSU has lots of talent but has been battling injuries, notably star tailback Derrius Guice being slowed by a knee injury.
Guice is playing, but he's not 100 percent healthy and hasn't looked like the back who rushed for 254 yards against Arkansas last season.
Auburn has been stout on defense all season, and the offense gradually has come around with new coordinator Chip Lindsey and new quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
BY THE NUMBERS
0 -- Questions asked on Wednesday's SEC coaches teleconference. It was canceled because of technical difficulties.
1999 -- Last season Auburn won at LSU.
46 -- Consecutive extra-point attempts made by Florida kicker Eddy Pineiro before he missed in LSU's 17-16 victory over the Gators. It was the first miss of his college career.
"You don't have to get a physical rep to get a rep. You can get a leadership rep."
-- Tennessee Coach Butch Jones on players missing practice time.
"He's very mature. He's handling things the right way."
-- Georgia Coach Kirby Smart on how quarterback Jacob Eason, now healthy, has reacted to losing his starting job to Jake Fromm after suffering a knee injury in the opener.
Sports on 10/12/2017
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