As we strive to get mildly informed heading in to the football season, here’s part two of the names you need to know for Kentucky’s run to an SEC Championship.
Dan Mullen, Head Coach – It’s tough to be a coach in the SEC. If you aren’t exceeding expectations, you are likely to be considered on the hot seat. It’s no different for Mullen. Dan came in billed as an offensive genius – or at least a passing game genius – and has done a lot of good things in Starkville. They won 9 games in 2010, and have been consistently decent since then. Still, consistently decent doesn’t get you better than 4th in the SEC west, and if this season follows suit, expect some Bulldog fans to start asking ‘when’?
Tyler Russell, Senior QB – Currently undergoing recovery from a concussion, Russell is Mississippi State’s starting senior quarterback. With a lot of new faces in the receiving corps, a senior QB is all but necessary. Still, the offense was only able to conjure up 3 points last week against Oklahoma State – with three quarters from Russell – so it may take more than leadership to get them over the hump.
Tolando Cleveland, All Name Team nomination – Because when you have the option to take someone just one letter removed from having to cities for names, you gotta do it.
Tarvaris Jackson, back up QB for the Seattle Seahawks – There aren’t too many names to be known on the Alabama State roster, let’s be honest. Tarvaris Jackson gets the nod, because honestly, he’s not walking through that door. And because I once had him on my bench in a fantasy season, before realizing they were just going to give the ball to ADP every play.
Becky ‘Icebox’ O’Shea, Little Giants – Because adding her to their team would make them infinitely more interesting. And because Shawna Waldron hasn’t really been up to much since the little giants, beside getting kind of hot and making us all feel awkward.
Various, All Name Team nomination – This is where it gets tricky. What Alabama state lacks in talented players, it makes up for in awesome names. Cornelius Fenderson. Quinteris Toppings. Demechery Hickingbottom. All real players on their team. But I’m going to go with Sir Jackson, because I like the idea of him and Mister Cobble being alternate versions of each other from another dimension.
James Franklin, Quarterback – After an injury plagued season last year, Franklin looks to be 100% in Missouri’s second SEC season. If so, they’ve got more than a fighting chance at being not-the-worst team in the SEC… but still not much more than that. Nevertheless, Missouri rolled Murray State, 58-14, because they s’posed to be SEC.
Mary Jo Perino, Friend of the Blog – If you don’t know who Mary Jo is, get out of my life. She may no longer be a sports anchor, but she is still Twitter’s resident Missouri and Kentucky (and Brett Favre) fan. But when it comes time to throw down, we all know where her loyalties lie.
Nick Coffman, All Name Team nomination – because his name is super close to Nick Offerman, the brilliant actor and wood worker who plays Ron Swanson in Parks and Rec. “Fishing relaxes me. It’s like Yoga, except you still get to kill something.”
Jordan Matthews, Wide Receiver – Simply put, he’s a stud. First team all SEC, third team All America last year in his junior season, Matthews became Vanderbilt’s single season receiving leader last year with 1,323 total yards on 13 starts. Last week, if you were watching, you saw him throw up due to a hard hit, sit out one play and then convert a fourth down on the very next snap.
James Franklin, Head Coach – He’s kind of abrasive, says things he probably shouldn’t to the press from time to time, recruits unlike Vanderbilt has ever seen before, and is a heck of a coach. Exactly the kind of person you want leading an SEC program. When Franklin went to Vanderbilt, most weren’t counting him out, but few expected him to be able to turn a perennial cellar dweller in to a legitimate middle of the pack SEC team. It’s not clear how much longer Franklin will stay at Vandy – but until he leaves, Vandy will continue to surprise people.
Jimmy Stewart, Actor, All Name Team nomination – Jimmy Stewart plays Defensive End for Vanderbilt, but he more importantly shares the name with Jimmy Stewart the actor. I will admit to not having seen most of his films, but I did check out Mr. Smith Goes to Washington once at Maiden Alley with my dad, and I highly recommend it. If you have any disillusionment with government these days, it’s interesting to see that people have always been frustrated with the corruption in DC. Anyway, back to football.
Mark Richt, Head Coach – Is there a coach out there who is better at getting his team ranked highly in the pre-season, but never living up to the hype? You can blame the SEC I suppose. In any other league, Richt’s Georgia teams would have eventually landed in a championship game, but that doesn’t change the past. If Richt has another disappointing season, you gotta imagine he will bolt or be booted. Again – in the SEC, if you aren’t
Aaron Murray, Fifth Year QB – He’s one of those players that seems like they’ve been there forever, because he has. After redshirting his freshman season in 2009, Murray has been the starter at Georgia. Opening his senior campaign, he performed well against Clemson, despite not recording a TD and throwing one pick. With 323 yards with 20 of 29 completions though, it’s still a solid game and Murray seems poised to continue his tradition of solid QB but maybe not enough to get them over the hump. In other words, Aaron Murray is the Mark Richt of QB’s.
Rantavious Wooten, All Name Team nomination – Wooten is a pretty solid WR for the bulldogs and chipped in 46 yards last week against Clemson, but don’t expect him to light the world on fire. That being said, he shares a surname with Victor Wooten, who does an awesome rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ on the bass guitar.
Butch Jones, Head Coach – It may be unfair, but there will always be a link between Mark Stoops and Butch Jones – at least as long as they are at their respective schools. Both took over one half of the rivalry, Jones was at one point considered a candidate for the Kentucky job, both are trying to right the ships at an SEC school, and both are knocking it out of the park with recruiting. We will see how the final tally ends up, but even with last weekend’s debacle, I’m glad to be a Stoops Troop – cause being a part of the Butch Bunch just sounds gross.
AJ Johnson, Linebacker – Likely Tennessee’s best player returns as the SEC tackling leader from 2012. He averaged 11.5 tackles a game in 2012, but ultimately they still stunk. Jones looks to have Johnson anchor the defense this year, but only recorded 2 last week against Austin Peay. We’ll see how he fares against the overconfident Hilltoppers this weekend.
Anthony Kendrick, Wide Receiver – Sure he plays for Kentucky, but he gets the nod here because he is my pick for ‘WR-suddenly-turned-QB’ to lead the Wildcats to a win over Tennessee – in the unfortunate event that all four of our potential Quarterbacks miss the game taking the LSAT.