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4 Downs: Random news/notes around the SEC

 

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1ST DOWN: ALABAMA DL IN TROUBLE 

 

Alabama defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand was arrested on DUI early Saturday morning and released on bond, according to Aaron Suttles of TideSports.com. Nick Saban released a statement calling the behavior, "not acceptable," and that the program is still collecting information that will determine its discipline decision. 

 

Hand was widely considered one of the best prospects in the nation in 2014 and this seemed like it would be his breakout year. He played well in rotational duty last year and with all the losses from that unit, Hand was expected to get a pretty sizable role. One would think the discipline is most likely to at least be a game, meaning this key piece of the defense would miss the epic showdown with Florida State. 

 

2ND DOWN: LSU CLOSING CAMP 

 

LSU announced that the entirety of its preseason practice will be closed to the media. I'm very much anti-grandstanding when it comes to what the media does and doesn't get, but here's the deal. When it comes to access to trivial things like letting reporters see otherwise fruitless position drills every so often, the program literally gains nothing. 

 

Let me use Alabama as an example. They allow reporters to see the first couple of periods of a few practices per week -- basically enough to see who is participating and who isn't -- and they lead them out. The reporters get some news to report but the team is at no risk of its opponents learning anything it shouldn't about game plan, etc. 

 

When you do what LSU is doing, you give reporters A) reason to believe you're hiding something, B) more time to dig around parts of your program that you probably don't want dug into, and C) grounds to waste your time at the podium with basic questions like injury updates and such, when otherwise you could be answering the questions about specific stories reporters are writing and be done with your media engagement earlier. Plus, the brand new head coach is opening himself up to petty scrutiny. The whole thing is hair-brained, really. This is a very, very simple thing that so many programs botch. It amazes me. 

 

3RD DOWN: MSU POISED TO BEAT BAMA? 

 

We've come to develop a pretty fun game here in the college football prognostication universe: finding Alabama's one loss. If the recent run of success for Alabama has proven anything, it's that Alabama is going to be right in the thick of the national championship race, if not winning it, but it's almost certain to lose a game somewhere along the way. When will that L come? 

 

Might that L come here in Starkville? 

 

Bill Bender of Sporting News put out his projections for the SEC (MSU finishing 5th in the West, Bama over Georgia in the Dome) but identified MSU as the sleeper team in the West. He pointed out that MSU has yet to beat Alabama in the Dan Mullen era and wonders if that could come this year in what he sees as a trap game spot for Alabama. I'm interested to hear what y'all have to say about that, so tweet at me (@Brett_Hudson, and follow me while you're at it) or comment on this blog post with your reaction to that thought. 

 

4TH DOWN: RANDOM THOUGHT ON TEXAS A&M 

 

I'm far from a recruiting expert, but it's hard for me to imagine very many schools with a very obvious coach on a fiery hot seat recruiting the way it is. I mean, the athletic director said -- on national radio and national television, simultaneously, in impressive fashion -- that Kevin Sumlin has to win to keep his job. That's not keeping people from signing up to a coaching staff that is basically on a series of coin flips from keeping or losing their jobs. 

 

A pair of wide receivers committed to the Ags yesterday, pushing their class to 14th in the nation according to 247 thanks to the Nos. 6, 8 and 12 prospects in the state of Texas signing on. Now, in fairness, all but one of those commits are from Texas, so it's possible some of those guys were going to A&M under any coaching staff, but I still find it impressive that the staff can recruit at this level with the biggest of clouds over their heads.

 

 

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