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A brief snapshot on what's going on this off-season in the nations' best football conference.
Chavis making an impression in Baton Rouge
LSU's defense was bad last season. Real bad. The Tigers finished up the season 9th in the SEC in total defense giving up 325 yards per game; and were also 9th in scoring defense, allowing 24.2 points per game. For LSU, a team that's stacked full of five-star athletes, that's simply unacceptable.
Enter John Chavis.
Chavis joins the Tigers staff after 20 years as an assistant under former Tennessee head coach Phil Fulmer, including the last 14 seasons as the Vols defensive coordinator. From the looks of it, he's making quite an impression on the Tigers.
The players have responded positively to Chavis' smash-mouth style this spring. The hard-nosed defense that made the Vols defense so tough in years past, will likely resurrect the dormant defense that LSU boasted last season. If he's successful, look out SEC West. With the natural talent littered throughout the Tigers roster, just a decent defense will go a long way towards a Tiger return to the Georgia Dome in 2009.
Offense optional at G-Day
If you're like me and have had a craving for college football ever since the final gun went off in Miami in early January at the BCS National Championship Game, then you probably watched Georgia's annual G-Day game on Saturday on ESPN. One thing is apparent – Georgia needs a little more on offense.
The Georgia offense was held to only one touchdown in the annual spring game held at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., a 20-yard scamper by Carlton Thomas with nine seconds remaining in the game.
The lack of offense is a bit alarming for Georgia. The Bulldogs defense gave up an average of 24.5 points per game during an injury-riddled 2008 which has carried itself into spring practice this season. They obviously came out with a chip on their shoulder, wanting to prove that their poor performances in 2008 were fluky. It's hard to say whether that was accomplished since defenses typically are ahead of offenses during the spring.
Joe Cox has the quarterback spot all-but wrapped up. The fifth-year senior wasn't spectacular on Saturday, but he didn't make mistakes. Cox finished the day 9-for-16 for 105 yards and zero touchdowns or interceptions.
The battle to replace Knowshon Moreno, however, is far from settled. Thomas led all rushers with 59 yards on eight carries and the one touchdown. Sophomore Caleb King, who's expected to battle with Thomas and the injured Richard Samuel, managed only 22 yards on the afternoon. The spot is still likely Samuel's to lose once he returns after spring practice, but Thomas' emergence this spring has certainly opened some eyes for the Bulldogs.
Iron Bowl moved to Friday
College football's biggest rivalry, the annual Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama, is on the move. CBS Sports has announced that it will televise the 2009 and 2010 Iron Bowls, and that the games will be played on the Friday after Thanksgiving in each of the next two seasons.
The 2009 battle between the intra-state rivals will take place on Friday, Nov. 27 at 2:30 p.m. ET at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. The 2010 time is TBD, and will be played on Nov. 26 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Alabama dominated Auburn in last year's Iron Bowl, pulling away in the second half to cruise to a 36-0 win, ending Auburn's streak of six straight wins vs. the Tide and showing former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville the door. Despite the shutout loss last season, Auburn has still owned the Tide of late, winning seven of the last 10 meetings between the two schools.
It's not unusual for CBS to broadcast SEC games on the day after Thanksgiving. The network, which is the exclusive national network broadcaster of SEC football, has shown the annual "Battle for the Golden Boot" between Arkansas and LSU on the day after Thanksgiving for the last 13 seasons. The networks' decision to move the Iron Bowl means that Arkansas and LSU will play on the Saturday after Thanksgiving at least for the next two seasons.
Barrett Sallee blogs about the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editors Note: Barrett Sallee will be blogging live from the press box at Jordan-Hare Stadium at 2:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 18 at during Auburn's annual A-Day game presented by the U.S. Navy.
Three & Out Archive:
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 12, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 9, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 3, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 30, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 26, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 18, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 15, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 11, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 7, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 3, 2009
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – February 28, 2009