With a little more than a month to go before toe meets leather for the 2010 college football season, Three & Out returns to give you a periodic look at what's going on this summer in the SEC. In today's edition, we take a look at agent-gate, the Vandy coaching situation and the coaches preseason All-SEC team.
THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG
Agent-gate seems to be passing through BCS programs like a bad cold these days. It started over the weekend at North Carolina, moved southward to South Carolina and Florida, and now, it has infected Alabama.
The Alabama compliance department is currently investigating if defensive end Marcell Dareus broke NCAA rules by attending an agent-related party in Miami, Fla., earlier this summer. Since the party in question took place after the 2009 season, it's unlikely that Alabama will have to vacate any wins from their 2009 national championship season. However, Dareus' eligibility in 2010 is very much in question.
Dareus is expected to be one of the key players on the rebuilt Alabama defensive line. As a sophomore last season, he led the Crimson Tide with 6.5 sacks. His season was punctuated by being named the defensive MVP of the Tide's BCS National Championship Game win over Texas, after returning a Garrett Gilbert interception 28 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter.
The Dareus investigation comes on the heels of the related investigations involving North Carolina defensive lineman Marvin Austin and South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders. Former Florida center Maurkice Pouncey is being investigated in an unrelated agent matter.
Look folks, get used to this. Agents are everywhere in college football, and it's unlikely that agent-gate ends with Alabama. It's a sad reality of college football...but it is the reality. States have sought to crack down on unlicensed agents by passing stricter athlete-agent laws aimed at punishing agents. Other than that, there's not much that can be done to prevent this from happening. Players and agents already know that it's wrong. If the player is near the end of his college career, the only way to punish him is to get the NFL Players Association involved, and there's no way that will happen.
IN SEARCH OF AN EDGE
Bobby Johnson shocked the college football world last week by retiring as the head coach of Vanderbilt, leaving the Commodores no choice but to name an interim head coach – which they did by announcing that Robbie Caldwell will take over for the time being. Caldwell has the opportunity to get in the good graces of the Vandy brass by posting a good season in 2010. But hey, it's Vandy, so that's not likely.
So the question remains, who is going to coach Vandy?
I've heard several suggestions, ranging from the old school guys like former Tennessee head coach Phil Fulmer, to new school guys like Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach. I don't know if any of them would be right for the Vandy job. Vanderbilt simply doesn't offer the opportunity to progress. In the case of those coaches, should they take head coaching gigs, they will be looking for places where they can win big, and Vandy simply doesn't offer that.
One thing is obvious, Vandy needs to find an edge. They can't compete on a week-in, week-out basis in the SEC, so they need to find something that makes them unique.
Look no further than the triple-option.
Last season, Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson proved that the triple-option can be successful in the BCS era by winning the ACC Championship in just his second season with the Yellow Jackets. It's time for Vanderbilt to give it a shot too. Any coach in the ACC will tell you, it's difficult to prepare for the triple-option in just one week.
Johnson's successor at Navy, Ken Niumatalolo, would be a nice candidate for the position. After all, it's Vandy. If you're only throwing a 86 mph fastball, you need to develop a changeup. The triple-option is that changeup.
COACHES ALL-SEC TEAM ANNOUNCED
The SEC released the coaches preseason All-SEC team Tuesday morning. There weren't many surprises, although the wide receiver position did catch my attention.
It seems to be a natural reaction to list Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones as a first-teamer ahead of Auburn wide receiver Darvin Adams. On the field, I'd give the edge to Adams. He flourished last season in first-year offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn's run-based spread attack. Adams had a much better season in 2009, hauling in 60 passes for 997 yards and 10 touchdowns, compared to Jones' 2009 campaign where he caught 43 passes for 596 yards and four touchdowns. You could argue that Jones took over the LSU game, and without him, Alabama's perfect season may not have happened. There's probably some merit to that. But Adams took over some games too, including a 12-catch, 142-yard performance in Auburn's Outback Bowl win over Northwestern.
2010 Preseason All-SEC Coaches Team
QB -- Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
RB -- Mark Ingram, Alabama
RB -- Derrick Locke, Kentucky
WR -- A.J. Green, Georgia
WR -- Julio Jones, Alabama
TE -- D.J. Williams, Arkansas
OL -- Clint Boling, Georgia
OL -- Carl Johnson, Florida
OL -- Barrett Jones, Alabama
OL -- Lee Ziemba, Auburn
C -- Mike Pouncey, Florida
DL -- Marcell Dareus, Alabama
DL -- Jerrell Powe, Ole Miss
DL -- Cliff Matthews, South Carolina
LB -- Josh Bynes, Auburn
LB -- Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
LB -- Chris Marve, Vanderbilt
LB -- Kelvin Sheppard, LSU
DB -- Mark Barron, Alabama
DB -- Patrick Peterson, LSU
DB -- Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
DB -- Janoris Jenkins, Florida
First-team Special Teams
PK -- Blair Walsh, Georgia
P -- Drew Butler, Georgia
RS -- Warren Norman, Vanderbilt
All-purpose -- Randall Cobb, Kentucky
QB -- Greg McElroy, Alabama
RB -- Jeff Demps, Florida
RB -- Trent Richardson, Alabama
WR -- Darvin Adams, Auburn
WR -- Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
TE -- Luke Stocker, Tennessee
OL -- James Carpenter, Alabama
OL -- DeMarcus Love, Arkansas
OL -- Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State
OL -- Cordy Glenn, Georgia*
OL -- Joseph Barksdale, LSU*
C -- Ryan Pugh, Auburn
DL -- Pernell McPhee, Mississippi State
DL -- Drake Nevis, LSU
DL -- DeQuin Evans, Kentucky*
DL -- Chris Walker, Tennessee*
DL -- Ladi Ajiboye, South Carolina*
LB -- Jerry Franklin, Arkansas
LB -- A.J. Jones, Florida
LB -- Craig Stevens, Auburn
LB -- K.J. Wright, Mississippi State
DB -- Ahmad Black, Florida
DB -- Chris Culliver, South Carolina
DB -- Will Hill, Florida
DB -- Neiko Thorpe, Auburn
Second-team Special Teams
PK -- Caleb Sturgis, Florida
P -- Chas Henry, Florida
RS -- Brandon Boykin, Georgia
All-purpose -- Chris Rainey, Florida
(* - denotes ties)
Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at
2010 Offseason Three & Out Archive