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.
NG Frazier is fitting in at Alabama
Alabama defensive line coach Bo Davis works with defensive linemen Darren Lake (95), Josh Frazier (69), Korren Kirven (85) and Brandon Ivory (99) as they go through drills during an NCAA college football practice Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/AL.com, Vasha Hunt)
Noseguard Josh Frazier, the former Springdale Har-Ber star, may play for Alabama as a true freshman this season.
Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban said Frazier rotated in with the second-teamers during fall camp and is on the roster for Saturday's opener against West Virginia in Atlanta.
SEC TOP TO BOTTOM
1;Alabama;12-2;West Virginia game looked better when it was scheduled few years back
2;Auburn;12-2;Won’t be sneaking up on anyone this season after going from worst to first
3;Georgia;8-5;Looking for payback vs Clemson after losing 38-35 last year
4;South Carolina;11-3;Ready to extend home winning streak vs Aggies
5;LSU;10-3;Miles planning to announce starting QB today
6;Florida;4-8;Ready to roll over Idaho and Paul Petrino
7;Ole Miss;8-5;Wallace SEC’s most experience QB
8;Missouri;12-2;Four non-conference games to start season
9;Mississippi State;7-6;Losing to Southern Miss would be embarrassing
10;Texas A&M;9-4;First SEC game without Johnny Football
11;Tennessee;5-7;No returning starting linemen on either side of the ball
12;Arkansas;3-9;Takes 12-game SEC losing streak into Auburn
13;Vanderbilt;9-4;James Franklin left Derek Mason tough act to follow
14;Kentucky;2-10;Stoops has recruited well, but needs more players
BY THE NUMBERS
18 — Consecutive home victories for South Carolina
10-2 — Texas A&M’s road record under Coach Kevin Sumlin
“That was the first issue we worked through when we knew LSU was coming.” — Houston Texans president Jamey Rootes on making sure there is enough beer available at NRG Stadium for Saturday’s LSU-Wisconsin game.
“Coach Roper is a real positive guy. That’s what we needed around here.” — Florida QB Jeff Driskel on new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 21 Texas A&M at No. 9 South Carolina, 5 p.m. Central today, SEC Network
Sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill will make his first start for Texas A&M in the hostile environment of Williams-Brice Stadium while the Aggies’ defense tries to slow down Gamecocks tailback Mike Davis. South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier figures to call plenty of running plays considering Texas A&M ranked last in the SEC last season in rush defense at 222.3 yards per game.
"Josh has done a really good job for us," Saban said. "He came in a little bit heavy, so we had to get some weight off of him, but he's very athletic. He's a very strong, powerful guy."
Saban said like all freshmen, Frazier has to develop the confidence to be able to play full speed on every snap.
"But he's a bright guy and we're really encouraged by the quality of player he is and the future that he has here," Saban said.
An 85-foot banner of South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier is hanging outside Williams-Brice Stadium.
South Carolina's administration decided Spurrier had earned some special recognition going into his 10th season with the Gamecocks with a 77-39 record, including 33-6 the previous three years.
"It wasn't my idea," Spurrier said at his weekly news conference. "Hopefully, we can keep winning here at Williams-Brice.
"I don't want people coming by there and throwing eggs at it or something like that, and that could happen. If we go bad, that could happen as we all know."
Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze is playing two coaches who followed him at Arkansas State. Before Freeze faces Auburn and Gus Malzahn on Nov. 1, he'll face Boise State and Bryan Harsin tonight.
"Besides the hurt that it has caused, it's been a pretty good deal for both sides," Freeze told the The Clarion-Ledger of Arkansas State's frequent coaching changes. "They've won three conference championships.
"You don't like it for the kids that don't get the continuity and that you talk to in recruiting about your core values and those things. You want to share life with those guys. That's the difficult part.
"When you win at that level, the way they have, that coach is going to be attractive to a lot of places."
There doesn't figure to be much if any redshirting going on with Tennessee's freshman class. Coach Butch Jones said the Vols may play as many as 30 true freshmen this season.
"That's just the reality of what we're going through in rebuilding this program," said Jones, who lost 12 starters and 28 lettermen from last season's 5-7 team. "I did a study of our personnel, and we only have eight players on [the] entire roster that have been in this program for three years."
Jones, in his second season at Tennessee after six seasons at Central Michigan and Cincinnati, said he's never faced a season having to play so many true freshmen.
"Our patience is going to be challenged each and every day," Jones said. "But what I do like about these players is they're very, very talented, they're very eager, and they're willing.
"They don't have any past experience, so we're bringing them up in the culture that we expect. There will be growing pains, but we're going to reap the benefits of it."
Kiss and tell
West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett, who will face Nick Saban's defense Saturday, spent time growing up around the Alabama coach.
Trickett's father, Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett, coached for Saban at LSU.
When Clint Trickett was asked by reporters this week how well he knows Saban, he grinned and said, "His daughter [Kristen] was my first kiss, back in the day.
"For clarification, we were like 6 years old. Just so everybody knows that."
Mississippi State is playing Southern Mississippi for the first time since 1990, when the Bulldogs beat the Golden Eagles 13-10.
"Our guys know how important the in-state rivalries are," Mississippi State Coach Dan Mullen said. "They know how big they are for bragging rights with their families, hometowns, high schools and the fans.
"That's what makes it fun and why I'm glad we're playing this game."
Let's get physical
LSU fullback Conner Neighbors said he's anxious to go against Wisconsin because the teams "throw all the fancy stuff out the window" and play a physical game.
"Their front seven has some big guys, and they like to hit people in the mouth just as much as we do," Neighbors told The Advocate. "It's just pure football."
Sports on 08/28/2014