Reach me via e-mail at email@example.com or on Twitter @BarrettSallee
Three & Out appears every Wednesday in 2010 to give you three SEC thoughts, news and notes. In today's edition, we take a look at a big loss in T-Town, and the quarterback situations in Oxford and Columbia.
The big news out of Tuscaloosa this week is the heath status of running back Mark Ingram. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner will not play in the season-opener vs. San Jose State, after undergoing an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee Tuesday morning. Ingram injured the knee at practice Monday night.
It's a non-invasive procedure, so Ingram should recover fairly quickly. His absence won't make much of an impact this week against the Spartans, as Ingram likely wouldn't have played much against them anyway. Will he be 100 percent for Alabama's second game of the season vs. Penn State? Probably not. That could be a problem, considering that the Nittany Lions finished 2009 with the nation's sixth-best rushing defense.
With Ingram out, the Crimson Tide will turn to sophomore Trent Richardson as the every-down back. Richardson was impressive last season as Ingram's backup, rushing for 751 yards and eight touchdowns as a freshman. Some seem to think that's he's the more talented of the two Alabama running backs. The one knock on Richardson is that he has never had to be the every-down back and take over a game, like Ingram did several times last year, including a 246-yard performance against a stout South Carolina defense.
One thing is for certain, Ingram will definitely miss one game and possibly more. If he is still on the shelf in mid-September, his chances of repeating as the Heisman Trophy winner will be severely diminished. We'll see if Richardson and redshirt freshman Eddie Lacy can pick up the slack in Ingram's absence. With the daunting early-season schedule that Alabama faces, the youngsters might have to mature quickly in order for Alabama to get back to the BCS Championship Game.
Alabama wasn't the only recipient of bad news on Tuesday. The Ole Miss Rebels received word late Tuesday afternoon that the NCAA has denied quarterback Jeremiah Masoli's request to waive the one-year residency requirement of transfer students. As a result, Masoli will not be eligible to play in 2010 but will be eligible to play for the Rebels in 2011. Ole Miss will appeal the ruling, and expects to receive word on the appeal as early as this week.
"In its decision, the [NCAA] staff noted that the student-athlete was unable to participate at the University of Oregon based on his dismissal from the team, which is contrary to the intent of the waiver," the NCAA said in a statement. "The waiver exists to provide relief to student-athletes who transfer for academic reasons to pursue graduate studies, not to avoid disciplinary measures at the previous university."
Bravo NCAA. The rule isn't meant for a situation like Masoli's, and they reserve the right to grant waivers to players as they see fit. This particular transfer rule, in the way in which it would have applied to Masoli, is not in its true spirit.
Can you blame Masoli and Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt for trying? Absolutely not. This rule has been applied in different ways in the past, so why not give it a shot? The timing wasn't exactly ideal, considering that the Rebels have been operating under the assumption that Masoli was going to be a part of the offense for the last month.
Is it contradictory that the NCAA allows coaches to move around at will, while players are forced to sit out after a transfer? Yes, which is why there should be a stipulation that states that players can transfer and not sit out if their head coach leaves.
It really won't matter much in the grand scheme of things. Even with Masoli, the Rebels were, at best, a mid-tier bowl team. Without him, their bowl chances definitely take a hit. But with the easy early-season schedule that the Rebs have, Nathan Stanley should be able to ease back into the starting quarterback role relatively smoothly.
As it stands, the Rebels take a huge PR hit and won't get any benefit from it for at least one year. Ouch.
DO THE SHUFFLE
Steve Spurrier utilized multiple quarterbacks routinely during his run with the Florida Gators in the 90's, and it appears that he's headed down that road again in 2010 with South Carolina.
Spurrier confirmed Tuesday that junior Stephen Garcia and freshman Connor Shaw will both see action in the first half of South Carolina's season-opener Thursday night vs. Southern Miss. Spurrier also mentioned that the quarterbacks won't rotate on a series-by-series basis, and that Garcia will take the first snaps.
It's no shock that Shaw will get playing time. It's been apparent that Spurrier was leaning this way for a few weeks now. I am a bit shocked that it's come to this though. Up until mid-August, I thought that Spurrier was using this "battle" as motivation for Garcia, since his struggles last year were primarily due to an offensive line that acted more like a turnstile than a brick wall. I figured that he would have the chance to keep the spot (or at least lose it) once the season started. The move tells me that Spurrier knows that this is his best chance to win the SEC East since taking over in 2005, and is willing to pull out all the stops to get it done.
Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @BarrettSallee
Don't forget to check out "Y'all Play Nice" from CFN's Russ Mitchell and Brian Harbach every Thursday during the season.
2010 Three & Out Archive
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – September 1, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – August 25, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – August 18, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – August 11, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – August 4, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – July 28, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – July 21, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – July 14, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – July 7, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – June 30, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 21, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 14, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 11, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 8, 2010
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 2010 blog archive
Click here for the 2009 regular season Three & Out archive