Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
LSU end to honor his friend
LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery sacks South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw (14) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. LSU won 23-21. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
FAYETTEVILLE It’s common for a player to honor an injured teammate by displaying his number, but LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery is doing that for South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore, who for the second year in a row has sustained a season-ending knee injury.
Montgomery, a South Carolina native and friend of Lattimore’s, will still wear No. 99, but is planning to write Lattimore’s No. 21 on the arm of his LSU jersey for the remaining games this season.
“I recognize that Sam has a care for people,” Tigers Coach Les Miles said. “He’s a guy that has a perspective that’s widespread.”
Lattimore suffered a dislocated knee in last Saturday’s victory over Tennessee.
South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier said he’s not surprised by the support for Lattimore.
“Marcus Lattimore is probably the most popular player to ever play here at South Carolina,” Spurrier said. “He’s such a wonderful young man, well respected by all his opponents.
“Usually in the game of football, there’s a little mouthing going on — ‘You can’t tackle me. You ain’t that tough’ — but I’ve never seen anybody do any trash-talking with Marcus.
“Of course, he never says anything. He just runs the ball as hard as he can every time he touches it.”
Let’s get physical
Alabama senior center Barrett Jones understands the challenge of playing LSU.
Saturday night’s game will mark the fifth time he’s faced the Tigers.
“It’ll definitely be the most physical game we play all year, without a doubt,” Barrett told AL.com. “The most physical games I’ve played in my life have been against them.
“We really respect the way they play football. They’re not really going to try to trick us. They’re going to line up and play their defense, and we’re going to line up and play our offense. That’s why we like playing them, and that’s why they like playing us.”
Wallace to start
True freshman Jonathan Wallace will be Auburn’s third starting quarterback this season when the Tigers play New Mexico State on Saturday, following sophomore Kiehl Frazier (Shiloh Christian) and junior Clint Moseley.
While Frazier (shoulder) and Moseley (ankle) have been slowed by injuries, neither has been too effective, and Coach Gene Chizik probably figures it can’t hurt to try Wallace.
How much worse could things get for the 1-7 Tigers?
Wallace played off the bench against Texas A&M last week and completed 6 of 9 passes for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns and rushed 13 times for 71 yards.
“He wasn’t nervous. He wasn’t timid with anything he did. He was very confident in himself, and we’re confident in him,” Auburn tight end C.J. Uzomah told AL.com. “We rallied around him and tried to make plays, and that’s what he did — he tried to make plays.”
All of Wallace’s 193 yards in total offense came in the second half of the Aggies’ 63-21 victory over the Tigers.
“It was really neat on the sideline to watch as he made a couple of drives happen and go down the field,” Chizik said. “It sparked some energy and some passion into our bench on both sides of the ball.”
What a Joker
Joker Phillips, who is 12-22 as Kentucky’s coach and 1-8 this season, was ready when asked about job security Monday at his weekly news conference.
“I was coming over here today and I got in the car and my seat was hot,” Phillips said. “And I looked up and I’d hit the seat warmer.”
Saban turns 61
Alabama Coach Nick Saban celebrated his 61st birthday Wednesday.
Yes, he was born on Halloween.
“My wife said, ‘Happy birthday’ this morning, and I said, ‘Oh, I forgot,’ ” Saban said. “When anything happens in football season, I don’t care what the holiday, it really is hard. ... I appreciate people calling, but it really is hard to almost acknowledge personally that something different is happening.
“Football season is not a job. It’s more a way of life in terms of what you need to do to sort of get the team ready. It takes a lot.”
Georgia players were glad the Bulldogs’ 17-9 victory over Florida last week has taken some of the heat off Coach Mark Richt.
“It was definitely a big moment for us and Coach Richt,” Georgia junior tight end Arthur Lynch told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We all see Coach Richt as a father figure.
“College football is a monopoly that we live in. It is driven by money — you can spin it how you want: NCAA this, NCAA that, TV deals, power conferences — that’s the world we live in. That being said, I don’t know many other coaches in college football who are as kind and loyal to their morals like [Richt] is.
“His base foundation, whether it’s his faith, his honesty or just basic human qualities, you can’t find anybody better than Coach Richt.”
Alabama and LSU split two games last season, but the Crimson Tide won the one that everyone remembers, beating the Tigers 21-0 in the BCS title game.
Now the Tigers get a chance to avenge that loss when they play Alabama on Saturday night.
“Everybody remembers it,” LSU junior safety Eric Reid told reporters. “We’ve been saying all year, we still have scars from last year. We use it as motivation. We were right there, and we didn’t get it. But we know if we want to get back there, we’ve got to win this one.”
“A lot of guys will be showing a lot of emotion, show their scars and the hurt that we felt in the national championship,” LSU junior defensive tackle Bennie Logan added. “You’ll definitely see it on the field.
“We really want to dominate this game.”
Missouri junior quarterback James Franklin, who has been plagued by knee and shoulder injuries, will be back in the starting lineup when the Tigers play at Florida on Saturday.
He played well off the bench last week in the Tigers’ 33-10 victory over Kentucky.
“He’s doing better now. He’s got more confidence,” Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel said. “It’s nice to get him back and competing.”
Game of the week
No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 5 LSU
7 p.m. Saturday, CBS
Arkansas fans can be grateful the Razorbacks’ game against Tulsa has an 11:20 a.m. kickoff. That way fans can be sure and catch the Alabama-LSU game several hours later. The Crimson Tide has beaten its first eight opponents by an average of 32.5 points — Ole Miss has come closest in a 33-14 loss — but finally figures to be challenged at LSU. For the Tigers to stand a realistic chance of winning, they’ll need to win the turnover battle, which likely means forcing AJ McCarron’s first interception of the season.
By the numbers
44.2 Average number of points Tennessee has allowed in its five SEC losses
33 Les Miles’ record vs. Nick Saban
18, 0 Touchdown passes and interceptions for Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron this season
Sports, Pages 23 on 11/01/2012