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Tag:Dee Hart
Posted on: March 8, 2012 1:40 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Alabama

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Alabama.

Spring Practice Starts: March 9

Spring Game: April 14

Returning starters: 7 offensive, 4 defensive, 2 specialists

Three Things To Look For:

1. Motivation level at low Tide? Ask Nick Saban what the difference was between his 2009 and 2011 national titlists on one side and his 2010 disappointments on the other (for a given definition of "disappointment," of course), and he'll tell you that the former teams were driven, focused squads that put everything into their practice time, and the latter was a little too happy with the previous year's championship. We'd argue the bigger difference was the mile-deep rivers of experience that flowed through the Tide defense in '09 and '11, rivers that helped convert Saban's frightening stockpile of talent into two of the better defensive units in college football history ... but that's neither here nor there, really, since that talent is still there in abundance. Even if the experience isn't, if the Tide adopt the work ethic of their recent champions, there's no reason they can't at least approach their success, too. Spring will give us our first glance if that's the case or not. 

2. How well are the defensive holes being plugged? Of course, no matter how many four- and five-star studs are waiting in the wings, losing Mark Barron, Dont'a Hightower, Courtney Upshaw, Dre Kirkpatrick, Josh Chapman, DeQuan Menzie and Jerrell Harris is still losing Mark Barron, Dont'a Hightower, Courtney Upshaw, Dre Kirkpatrick, Josh Chapman, DeQuan Menzie and Jerrell Harris; the Tide have their work cut for them. It's time to see if Jesse Williams can fill Chapman's shoes, Adrian Hubbard Upshaw's, Trey DePriest Hightower's, etc. The spotlight will be particularly bright on the secondary, where even the return of Robert Lester may not be able to mask losing players --and leaders -- the caliber of Barron and Kirkpatrick.

3. Is T.J. Yeldon the real deal at running back? While owning the nation's No. 1 recruiting class gives Alabama fans plenty of options when it comes to their favorite newcomer, there's probably an especially soft spot in the heart of the Tide faithful -- and a diamond-hard one in the chest of your average Auburn fan -- for early-enrolling freshman running back Yeldon, a five-star recruit who committed to Auburn early and stuck with the Tigers until mere days were left before his enrollment ... whereupon he switched to the Tide. The neutral observer might not blame him, given the opportunity presented to him: with Trent Richardson on his way to the NFL, de facto starter Eddie Lacy out for spring following surgery for turf toe, and one-time star recruit Dee Hart coming back from an ACL tear in spring 2011, it's possible Yeldon could exit spring as the Tide's No. 1 tailback. And given that the last two guys to hold that honor both wound up attending the Heisman Trophy presentation before their careers were out, that would be a very, very nice place to be.

To check in on the rest of the SEC and other BCS conferences, check out the Spring Practice Schedule

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Posted on: September 30, 2011 4:20 pm
 

SEC RapidReport Roundup: It's all on Lattimore

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Running down everything you need to know from the current news in the SEC, courtesy of our CBSSports.com RapidReporters (and others).



SOUTH CAROLINA. It doesn't seem possible that Marcus Lattimore could take on even more of a burden for the Gamecock offense, but that's how things look as his team prepares for Saturday's visit from Auburn. Lattimore's top two backups are both doubtful for the game with injuries; Kenny Miles is struggling with a sprained wrist, third-stringer Eric Baker might miss the game as well, and freshman Shon Carson tore his ACL in mid-September. Freshman Brandon Wilds could be the only scholarship running back available for Steve Spurrier other than Lattimore, but even if Baker is healthy, the junior has just five carries combined the previous three seasons.

Lattimore already leads the nation in rushing attempts with a whopping 26.75 per game. But given the problems Carolina must deal with when either anyone other then Lattimore rushes the ball or Stephen Garcia drops back to pass, that workload doesn't seem likely at all to decrease this week.

In other Gamecock news, true freshman receiver Damiere Byrd will make his long-awaited debut this week after all. His four-game NCAA suspension has been served, but in midweek Spurrier said he hadn't been "cleared" just yet. Now he has.

AUBURN. If the Gamecocks start to feel sorry for themselves, though, all they'll have to do is look to the opposite sideline this week. After already losing receiver Trovon Reed to a shoulder injury for this week and possibly longer, the Tigers also confirmed this week that defensive end Dee Ford will miss the remainder of the season with a herniated disk. Though technically a backup, Ford was the only junior in the entire Tiger defensive line's two-deep; his spot in the rotation will be filled by two players with a combined 23 career snaps.

It's those kinds of defensive issues that have forced Gene Chizik and Gus Malzahn to slow down Malzahn's preferred up-tempo style during his Auburn tenure; the Tigers have averaged only one more play per-game under Malzahn than they did in the 12 seasons before his arrival.

OLE MISS. Things in Oxford are ugly off the field, with the Ole Miss chancellor himself writing open letters in response to anonymous "threats" and the Rebel community seemingly divided over the status of athletic director Pete Boone and coach Houston Nutt. But they might be even uglier on it right now, which is why Randall Mackey seems set to become the Rebels' third starter under center in five games as the Rebels travel to take on Fresno State.

And speaking of ugly, more than a few wags on Twitter had something to say about Nutt's decision to wear a flat-brimmed blue baseball cap during his team's loss to Georgia. He explained himself in straightforward fashion this week: he wanted to protect his face from the sun, and he couldn't wear both his preferred straw hat and a headset at the same time. Works for us.



ARKANSAS. Even after losing Tenarius Wright for 4-to-6 weeks, there is some good news for the Hogs on the injury front. Senior corner Isaac Madison is expected to play against Texas A&M after leaving the Alabama game with an injury, and running back Broderick Green has made startling progress from the ACL tear suffered during spring practice--so much progress that Green is already practicing and is now expected before the season's end, possibly as soon as this week.

On the downside, defensive coordinator Willy Robinson is less-than-thrilled with the performance of senior safety Tramain Thomas at the moment. "I'm not going to sit down there and allow what was going on during the course of the game to continue, so I made a switch there," Robinson said of pulling Thomas against Alabama. "This week he knows he's under fire, and he'd better give us better effort."

ELSEWHERE: Nick Saban said five-star running back recruit Dee Hart has made substantial progress since preseason ACL surgery, but remains highly likely to redshirt ... Vanderbilt starting linebacker Tristan Strong will miss the rest of the 2011 season after tearing an ACL against South Carolina. He was third on the team in tackles ...

Georgia
linebacker Christian Robinson is expecting to play "15-20 plays" in his return from injury. His partner in rehab? None other than Barbara Dooley, who Robinson promised he'd wear Derek Dooley-style orange pants if his Dawgs beat Derek's Vols later this season ... After initially asking to leave the team, Bulldog backup running back Ken Malcome changed his mind and rejoined the squad on Thursday ...

Tennessee freshman running back and returner Devrin Young is set to make his season debut after missing the Volunteers' first three games with a broken collarbone ... Fans at the Vols' game against Buffalo will be able to wave pink shakers in exhcnage for a donation to breast cancer research ... Mississippi State isn't unhappy with defensive tackles Fletcher Cox and Josh Boyd, but would like to see more production from them all the same ... Why, yes, Kentucky offensive coordinator Randy Sanders is "frustrated" with his team's offensive struggles. We doubt you're surprised.

Posted on: July 6, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 5:08 pm
 

Tide five-star RB Dee Hart tears ACL

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If there's any team in the country that could withstand losing a consensus five-star running back to injury, it's probably Alabama; having a potential Heisman candidate in Trent Richardson and a backup in Eddie Lacy who only averaged 7.2 yards-per-carry a year ago can give a team a lot of leeway.

But unfortunately for the Tide and incoming freshman back Dee Hart, it looks like Alabama will need it. Hart is reportedly scheduled for 8 a.m. surgery tomorrow to repair a torn ACL suffered during a 7-on-7 drill. Hart is expected to be out for 7-10 months, putting his 2012 spring camp participation in jeopardy as well as the certain loss of the 2011 season.

A consensus prep All-American and the U.S. Army All-American Bowl MVP, Hart was one of the brightest jewels in the Tide's typically star-studded 2011 class. After enrolling early, Hart enjoyed a productive spring, scored on a 17-yard touchdown run in the Tide's Crimson-White game and served as the team's primary punt returner in that game. Though facing an uphill battle to unseat Lacy as the Tide's regular backup, Hart was expected to play a big role on special teams and could have featured as a third-down, change-of-pace back.

But for now, all of that will have to wait as Hart rehabs and prepares for a 2012 comeback. As for the Tide, as long as Richardson and/or Lacy remain healthy, they'll be fine. If they don't, well, maybe we'll find out there's not quite as much leeway as we think.


Posted on: March 21, 2011 4:01 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Alabama

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at Alabama , who starts spring practice today .

Spring Practice Question: Does Alabama have the offense to win another national championship? Or, alternatively, do they really need one?

As spring practice opens today in Tuscaloosa, most eyes are going to be on the revamped Tide offense, and with good reason; with no Greg McElroy, no Mark Ingram, and no Julio Jones, the Alabama attack is going to undergo a more thorough overhaul than any it's undergone since Jones and Ingram burst onto the scene in 2008.

But it's also because there's not a lot for most eyes to see on the Tide defense. With 9 or 10 starters back from a unit already ranked fifth in the nation in total defense, including the entirety of the Tide's linebacking and secondary groups with those including All-American safety Mark Barron and potential All-American linebacker Dont'a Hightower , on paper this will certainly be one of the FBS's best defenses. And the Tide may look even better on the field than they do on paper; after last year's (relative) 10-3 disappointment and occasional backbreaking defensive letdowns (as vs. Auburn and LSU), there's little doubt Nick Saban is going to be at his most firebreathingly intense (and most scrupulously detailed) this offseason.

In short, the defensive show put on this spring isn't likely to be any different from what Tide observers already saw prior to the Tide's undefeated regular seasons in 2008 and 2009. The offense, on the other hand, has several issues to resolve:

Quarterback: Certainly the most high-profile of those issues, the starting quarterback job will be contested this spring by sophomore A.J. McCarron and redshirt freshman Phillip Sims. McCarron boasts the advantages of an extra year in Jim McElwain's offense and a modicum of playing time in 2010 (that's him at right in the Tide's laugher against Duke), but in the end Saban seems likely to select whichever quarterback can be safer with the ball. Opposite that defense, playmaking ability may come second in importance to not-turnover-making ability. That goes double considering the ...

Offensive line: One of college football's biggest mysteries during the 2010 season was why a previously dominant rushing attack featuring a Heisman Trophy winner at tailback and an offensive line loaded with both talent and experience wound up seventh in the SEC in total rushing in conference games. Don't expect Saban to let it happen again, Ingram or no Ingram, with new line coach Jeff Stoutland lighting a fire under talents like former five-star tackle D.J. Fluker, All-SEC guard Barrett Jones, and veteran center William Vlachos. Still, Tide fans will no doubt want to be reassured that numbers like the 2.3 yards per-carry Alabama averaged in their three losses a year ago are a thing of the past.

More SEC
Receivers: Of McElroy, Ingram, and Jones, it's easy to see how McElroy (with the McCarron-Sims duo) and Ingram (with Trent Richardson) might be replaced. With Jones, it's a different story, as projected starting seniors Darius Hanks and Marquis Maze have--to this point in their careers--been more steady possession types than Jones-style uber-athletic gamebreakers. Again, the Tide likely won't need a Jones-style gamebreaker if the defense and running game return to their 2009 form, but it will nonetheless bear close watching to see if Hanks and Maze (or fellow senior Brandon Gibson or sophomore Kenny Bell or anyone else) can add at least a little explosiveness to the passing game.

The running backs aren't nearly as much of a question mark; after biding his time for two years alongside Ingram, Richardson should be ready to fully establish himself one of the SEC's best, and even if he's not (or struggles with injuries), powerful sophomore Eddie Lacy or true freshman (and spring enrollee) Dee Hart should be able to pick up the slack. Pair them with the defense described above, and it's easy to see the Tide making a run at yet another national title if the line can get back to its road-grading ways and the passing attack can be simply competent.

How big an "if" is that? We'll start to find out these next few weeks, and there's no doubt plenty of observers across the SEC (and maybe the country) hoping it proves bigger than we expect it to be.

Posted on: January 9, 2011 9:56 am
Edited on: January 9, 2011 10:34 am
 

2011 Army All-American Bowl Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

SAN ANTONIO, Tex. – The trophy was raised, the confetti was falling and the hollering from the East squad was energetic.

At that moment, it seemed that the Army All-American Bowl week was over. For the players meandering around the Alamodome floor however, the experiences and friendships developed in San Antonio would prevent the game from ever ending.

“I met a lot of great players from all over, from the east and the west team,” West cornerback De’Anthony Thomas said. “This game, to me, was about friendship. A lot of us are going to the next level and we’ll be competing against each other.”

To a man, from the 5-foot-9 Thomas to the 6-foot-6 Antonio Richardson, players gushed with how they would cherish the memories they made and the bonds they formed.

“Overall, I’m proud of my team, I built a lot of relationships this week,” Richardson said. “I’m sorry I have to leave, it’s almost like these guys are my family now. I’m going to miss these guys.”

Louisville commit Teddy Bridgewater also grasped that the week was more about football, about more than a win or a loss. Standing off to the side as his teammates celebrated their victory, Bridgewater talked at length with an army corporal.

“It’s a privilege, not everyone gets to wear their flag on their jersey and play for their country. This past week has been indescribable,” he said. “It opened my eyes to the world, I sat down and talked with my soldiers and they told me how life is in the army. I was asking them questions. You know you have to have that heart and that courage to be able to put your life on the line each and every day. I just want to say thank you to the soldiers.”

Timing Down Pat

Bridgewater also made a memory on the field, scoring the East’s first points of the game and turning the momentum of the ball game around with a perfectly lofted 22 yard fade to Miles Shuler.

“It was third down and cover zero,” Bridgewater said of the play. “We ran a vertical switch. That’s a hard play to stop when you’re in man coverage. The wide receiver did a good job of selling the out route and converting it into a vertical. Our timing was down pat, we worked on that pass in practice and executed it in the game.”

Developing timing is difficult as is for quarterbacks but Bridgewater was able to overcome that and more during a frustrating week of practice.

“It’s very hard, especially for me, because during the week I was suffering from a groin injury,” he said. “For some reason, every time a game comes around I don’t feel any injury. I was limited in practice to throwing and the little throwing I did, it paid off out here.”

Of course, having so many four and five-star guys to throw to wasn’t a bad perk.

 “To be able to throw to different receivers from across the country, with different speeds, different sizes and with some of the best hands in the country, that’s a privilege,” he said. “We only had four days to really get the timing down but it was something special.”

Hart Rolls Into History

Demetrius ‘Dee’ Hart was going to make headlines no matter what he did in the game on Saturday. As one of the best backs in the nation, his commitment would be him talking the talk. On the field, his performance allowed him to walk the walk as Hart became the first player to eclipse 100 yards rushing in Army All-American Bowl history.

“It’s an honor and I am just humbled by it,” Hart said. “The other guys upfront just went out and did their job which helped me get my yardage. I couldn’t have done it without them. To be the first 100-yard rusher in Bowl history is great and, again, I’m just humbled when you think of the players like Adrian Petersen that have played in this game.

“It’s been an amazing week and this is a great, great way to end it.”

As a result of his efforts, Hart was named Army Bowl MVP. Most of his yardage came on one play, a 69 yard scamper along the numbers before finally being tackled.

“Yeah I thought I was going to (score),” he said with a large grin. “We were trying to set it up, we were running up and coach was like, do we have anybody that can run around the edge? Everybody was looking around and I was like, ‘I’ll get it.’ So he said, ‘Dee go in.’

“When I got it, there was one guy up front and I felt like we were one-on-one so you’ve just got to tackle me and he didn’t. So I got into the second level and saw (Nickolas) Brassell. I thought he was going to block the guy but he was running with me trying to celebrate (laughs).”

Notes:

Hart’s 69-yard run was the third-longest since at least 2004. … The win propelled the East to a 6-5 lead over the West all-time. … Saturday’s attendance of 37,893 was a new Army All-American Bowl record. … The final score of 13-10 made the game the lowest-scoring game. … The East set a Bowl record with 12 sacks. … The East outrushed the West 169 yards to -20 while  the West out-passed the East 164 yards to 90.

Posted on: January 3, 2011 10:56 am
 

Dee Hart decommits as sharks circle Rodriguez

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The writing may not be on the wall yet for Rich Rodriguez, but by this point, the guy on the ladder with the black paintbrush in his hands may as well get to work whether Dave Brandon has told him to or not.

An utterly miserable weekend for the Wolverine head coach wrapped up yesterday with the news that the jewel of Rodriguez's 2011 recruiting class, running back Demetrius Hart, had decided to back out of his commitment to Michigan. (Though Hart maybe hasn't made it officially official yet, it's hardly any kind of a secret at this stage.) Multiple credible reports state that Hart will be pledging to Alabama instead at this week's U.S. Army All-American game.

Keep in mind that Hart isn't just the highest-ranked prospect in this year's Wolverine; he's a top-100 recruit to mutliple recruiting services (though Maxpreps' Tom Lemming is less enthused , and ranks Hart as just the No. 11 running back, behind another Michigan commit, Justice Hayes), a consensus four-star recruit, and the potential answer at a position where the Wolverines received adequate-at-best production this season. In other words, he might also have been the best, most important recruit of Rodriguez's entire tenure ... and now he's gone. (Dee-committed, we might say.)

But it wouldn't be accurate to say Hart's departure is the final nail in the coffin. More likely, it's the latest, maybe clearest sign we've gotten that that nail has already been driven in. Yesterday we saw a coach who led his team onto the field for a bowl game the night before leave for another program the very next day; if we see the same tonight and tomorrow with Jim Harbaugh, though, it won't come as nearly as much of a shock as it did with Randy Edsall.




Posted on: December 3, 2010 3:46 pm
 

Josh Groban to RichRod: Quit playing Josh Groban

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's possibly the least surprising development in the history of unsurprising developments that Michigan' s rival fans have had a field day today with the news that at last night's team banquet, Rich Rodriguez both quoted and then played a Josh Groban ballad named "You Raise Me Up" which might be charitably described as "unbearably sappy."

But you'd think that if anyone would be in RichRod's corner, it would be Groban himself, who would have to be flattered that a professional in such a rough-and-tumble field as football coaching would still be able to find solace and inspiration in his work. Right?

Wrong. So, so wrong :


That's right: even Josh Groban (and yes, that's the real him ) is embarrassed for RichRod that he's stooped to employing Josh Groban. Even Josh Groban has a better handle on appropriate musical selections for a football banquet. This is not a ringing endorsement for RichRod maintaining the full respect of his dwindling Michigan fanbase, we're guessing.

Then again, if this is all a clever ploy to distract the rest of us from the real news concerning Michigan today -- that the Wolverines' top recruit, running back Dee Hart , is likely decommitting -- then well-played, Mr. Rodriguez, sir. Bette Midler says well done.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com