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Three & Out returns in 2011 to give you three SEC thoughts, news and notes. In our Week 6 wrap-up, we take a look at Arkansas’ ability to rebound from a tough loss to Alabama two weeks ago, Connor Shaw’s return to the starting quarterback role and Tennessee’s inability to run the football. Three & Out still fully supports the “Mathieu for Heisman” campaign.
GUESS WHO’S BACK? BACK AGAIN???
There’s a saying that “you don’t need a bye week before playing Alabama, you need one the week after.”
Florida proved that to be true Saturday, and Arkansas did for the first half two weeks ago against Texas A&M. Since heading into halftime against Texas A&M down 18 points, Arkansas has played six quarters of inspired football, and it has the Hogs back in the SEC West championship race.
Quarterback Tyler Wilson still didn’t get the best protection in the world, but managed to complete 24-of-36 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns, including a stretch of 19 straight completions. He did all of this despite the fact that, with the exception of Joe Adams’ 92-yard touchdown run, Auburn was able to stop the Hogs’ rushing attack for the majority of the game.
When Wilson is hot - and he’s been hot a lot lately - there isn’t a better quarterback in America. Hop aboard the Wilson Wagon.
With the loss to Alabama already on the resume, Arkansas is going to need some help to win the SEC West. Stranger things have happened, though. Don’t sleep on Arkansas. There’s an outside shot that the season finale in Baton Rouge could mean something for both teams, and we know all about the shenanigans that have taken place in the Arkansas - LSU game in the past.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
Connor Shaw hadn’t earned the trust of South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier following his disastrous first quarter to open the season against East Carolina. If he had, Shaw would have seen the field sooner and the woefully inconsistent Stephen Garcia would have gone to the bench.
Maybe Spurrier should have gambled on Shaw.
Shaw finished his first SEC game as a starting quarterback - a 54-3 win over lowly Kentucky - 26-for-39 for 311 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Yes, it was Kentucky and the Wildcats are next-level bad, but Garcia would have found a way to litter the stat sheet with incompletions and interceptions. Shaw did not.
I was prepared to write off South Carolina as a contender in the SEC East when the move was announced. The schedule down the stretch is tough and clearly Spurrier was hesitant to use Shaw, despite Garcia’s follies. But Garcia only cost the Gamecocks one conference game, and it was against a West team - so the Gamecocks still control their destiny.
If Shaw plays at a level anywhere close to the level he played at on Saturday, the Gamecocks are going to make a return trip to the Georgia Dome. With a defense like South Carolina’s, all he has to do is be responsible.
A NEW LEVEL OF BEING ONE-DIMENSIONAL
Tennessee was supposed to come into this season with the one-two punch of the underrated Tauren Poole and Rajion Neal providing a solid running game for the Vols. They have not.
On Saturday against Georgia, the Tennessee running attached reached a whole new level of bad. Try these stats on for size: 23 carries, -20 yards. -0.9 yards per carry average and a long of 11.
Sit on those numbers for a second.
Georgia’s defense is good. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the most underrated defenses in the country. But never - under and circumstance - should an SEC team be held to negative rushing yards for a game.
Head coach Derek Dooley is taking an unnecessary amount of heat for the loss to Georgia. Tennessee is supposed to be building its program back from the Lane Kiffin debacle, and Saturday’s loss doesn’t change that. But producing a rushing attack that ranks 114th out of 120 FBS teams is unacceptable at any stage of an SEC program, and if Dooley wants to avoid the hot seat next season (NEXT season, not THIS season), the Vols need to get it turned around in a hurry.
Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @BarrettSallee
2011 Three & Out Archive
Three & Out – October 9, 2011
Three & Out – October 2, 2011
Three & Out – September 25, 2011
Three & Out – September 18, 2011
Three & Out – September 11, 2011
Three & Out – September 5, 2011
Three & Out – August 29, 2011
Three & Out – August 22, 2011
Three & Out – August 15, 2011
Three & Out – August 8, 2011
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