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Three & Out appears every Sunday to recap the week that was in the SEC. In our Week 7 edition, we discuss Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, the injury to Marcus Lattimore and the revitalized Auburn defense. Three & Out is still in full support of the "Mathieu For Heisman" campaign.
FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU. FOOL ME TWICE, SHAME ON ME
By just looking at the box score, the Georgia-Vanderbilt game was one that probably stands out. New head coach James Franklin has the Commodores going in the right direction, and playing a Georgia team that will likely wind up in Atlanta to the wire is just another sign that the program is waking up.
But a game that should be viewed as a solid road win for Georgia and a moral victory for Vanderbilt was marred by an ugly postgame shouting match between Franklin and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.
I'm not going to give Franklin a pass, because I'm sure he is at fault too, but Grantham needs to grow up.
If you recall, Grantham is the same guy that was heavily criticized last season for giving the choke sign to Florida kicker Chas Henry shortly before Henry booted the game-winning field goal in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
First and foremost, coaches are paid to win games, and I get that. But they're also paid to be role models and leaders of young men. Giving the choke signal to an opponent and publicly jawing with fellow coaches doesn't make you a leader. It makes you a child.
Grantham is a good defensive coordinator and he certainly has the Bulldogs going in the right direction, but there's a fine line between being fiery and acting like a fool. Grantham doesn't appear to know where that line is.
When South Carolina named Connor Shaw its starting quarterback and subsequently dismissed senior Stephen Garcia one week later, it was clear that the Gamecocks path to Atlanta was going to run through sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore
Lattimore suffered a knee injury in South Carolina's 14-12 win over Mississippi State. Initial reports suggest that it's a knee sprain, although Lattimore was seen with a large brace and crutches after the game. Head coach Steve Spurrier doesn't seem too optimistic.
"He could be out a while," said Spurrier following the game.
I'm not going to be Captain Obvious and tell you how much of an impact Lattimore's absence would have on the Gamecock offense. You already know that. But if he is out for a while - as Spurrier suggests - is South Carolina even the SEC East favorite anymore?
I say no. South Carolina sans Lattimore is as big of a question mark as any in a league full of them, Florida's offense is abysmal, Tennessee is without the SEC's best quarterback for a significant amount of time, and Vandy is Vandy. Considering Georgia has a cake walk of a schedule left, I'd say it's Georgia's to lose at this point, even though the Bulldogs don't have the tiebreaker with the Gamecocks.
FROM OUT OF NOWHERE
Auburn's much-maligned defense has, all of the sudden turned a corner in October. The Tigers gave up 289 total yards to South Carolina and held Marcus Lattimore to 66 yards rushing to open the month. Last week, the Tigers looked fairly decent against Arkansas, despite giving up 438 yards in a 38-14 loss. The defense routinely held the Hogs in check in the second half, but a 92-yard touchdown run by Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams and an offense that was stuck in neutral did the Tigers in.
On Saturday against Florida, Auburn's defense looked like the Tigers of the mid-2000s.
Yes, I just got through writing that the Florida offense is abysmal. That's still as true now as it was three paragraphs ago, but Auburn allowed only 194 yards to Florida. Last month, Auburn would have given that up to an eighth grade team in one quarter.
Now sitting at 5-2 and with games against Ole Miss and Samford still on the schedule, the Tigers are looking at a minimum of a 7-5 record. The way that the SEC is shaping up in 2011, that should place the Tigers in no worse than the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
How many people thought that was possible before the season started?
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 16, 2011
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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