Do you have a comment? E-mail me.
Three & Out returns to give you a periodic look at what's going on this spring in the SEC. In today's edition, we take a look at the quarterback battle on the Plains, the Alabama secondary and legal trouble in the Classic City.
QB BATTLE TAKING SHAPE ON THE PLAINS
When Cameron Newton announced that he was transferring to Auburn from Blinn College for the 2010 season, the general consensus was that, at some point before the start of the season, he would be named the starting quarterback. While that hasn't happened just yet, it certainly appears to be more and more likely as the Tigers progress through spring practice.
Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn has made it a point this spring to give quarterbacks Cameron Newton, Neil Caudle, Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley equal reps. Saturday's 70-play scrimmage at Jordan-Hare Stadium was a departure from the norm.
According to players after the closed scrimmage, Newton took the snaps on five drives, which was more than the other three quarterbacks. The 6-foot-6, 247-pound Newton threw a touchdown pass, but lost a fumble. After the practice, Malzahn said that there is a good chance that he will have his quarterback rotation set this week.
The Gene Chizik regime is virtually the polar opposite of Tommy Tuberville's in regards to the flow of information. Chizik typically likes to keep things in house, so when Newton gets the majority of the snaps and Malzahn says that he's close to narrowing the field, it isn't that difficult to read between the lines.
In reality, the "QB battle" at Auburn this spring was about as much of a question as the one going on in Alabama. What's that you say? There is no QB battle at Alabama? Exactly.
Newton is the guy. Unless he sneezes and throws his back out Sammy Sosa-style, he will be taking the snaps when the Tigers open up with Arkansas State on Sept. 4.
SABAN'S SECONDARY SUFFERS A SETBACK
There's little doubt that Alabama will be the pre-season No. 1 team in the country in 2010. But, that doesn't mean that the defending national champs are without question marks. With Javier Arenas, Kareem Jackson and Justin Woodall all gone, the Crimson Tide secondary is one of the biggest question marks in the SEC.
That secondary took a hit last week when junior college transfer DeQuan Menzie ruptured his Achilles tendon while playing pickup basketball. Menzie was expected to compete for one of the open defensive back spots. The injury will likely end his 2010 season before it even starts.
The absence of Menzie will put even more pressure on talented young players like Dre Kirkpatrick, B.J. Scott, Robert Lester and LSU-transfer Phelon Jones.
To compound the urgency of the situation, three of Alabama's first five games are against Penn State, Arkansas and Florida. That's a lot of bullets to dodge to open the season. If Alabama is going to be a legitimate contender in the national championship hunt, they are going to have to solve the questions in their secondary early; because this may be a year where one loss knocks you out of the BCS Championship Game.
LEGAL ISSUES MOUNTING IN ATHENS
Georgia head coach Mark Richt has dismissed sophomore linebacker Montez Robinson from the team following his arrest Sunday on simple battery/family violence charges. Robinson was booked in to Clarke County Jail, where he will remain until a bond hearing.
"Montez has not been able to conform to some conditions and stipulations that were placed on him as a result of previous off-field issues," Richt said. "I think this decision is in the best interest of everyone."
Robinson was suspended for the first two games of the 2009 season and for the bowl game vs. Texas A&M for arrests on simple battery and criminal damage charges. He played sparingly in 2009, but was expected to compete for playing time at outside linebacker for the Bulldogs in 2010.
This seems to be happening a lot this off-season in Athens.
Just last week, reports surfaced of an incident that allegedly involves Georgia football players in a taxi. According to the report, four players verbally and physically assaulted a couple on the way home from downtown Athens. Richt expects to get word on that investigation by Monday.
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger was arrested in Remerton, Ga., in March on charges of underage consumption of alcohol, possessing fake identification and disorderly conduct-obstruction. He will serve a minimum of a one-game suspension as a result of the arrest.
Legal problems seem to go in waves in Athens. Some years it seems to be quiet, while in others the Bulldogs are in contention for the Fulmer Cup. It certainly seems to be the latter this year.
Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @BarrettSallee
2010 Spring Three & Out Archive
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 5, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 31, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 28, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 24, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 21, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 18, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 15, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 11, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 5, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 2, 2010
Click Here for the off-season blog archive
Click here for the 2009 regular season Three & Out archive