SEC football talk always right on time

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2000

Why the sudden surge of early Southeastern Conference football talk? Just ’cause, that’s why!

To put another spin on it — &uot;JUST&uot; cause. Now that’s the real reason; SEC&160;football is just about tops in this nation of great college football.

All the newspaper hype is dotted with names like Wayne Madkin and Romaro Miller, Mississippi State and Ole Miss quarterbacks, respectively, and highly-regarded pre-season Rebel running back Deuce McAllister. And not to forget Georgia signal-caller Quincy Carter, ranked here at the beginning tops in the league.

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In fact – and speaking of Georgia – one headline jumped out at me with &uot;It looks like Georgia’s turn in the East (SEC).&uot; The writer targeted QB Carter and a veteran defense as reason to talk Georgia Bulldogs in the same breath with the likes of Tennessee and Florida in the SEC East this fall.

But back to Madkin and Miller for a moment — Madkin’s only a junior this year, but he’s expected to use his Egg Bowl-winning performance and experience to make an All-SEC move this fall. That and his muscle (strong, rugged).

Miller of Ole Miss is expected by his coaches to also make his move this season. He’s pumped himself up with words like &uot;When I think about great quarterbacks, I think about quarterbacks who have won a championship. That’s what drives me. That’s what I’m shooting for.&uot; Nothing wrong with that attitude.

Fans in this area are also interested in the LSU Tigers, historical fall foes of the Bulldogs and Rebels. New Tiger coach Nick Saban has his work cut out, because he has to get accustomed to his players first and LSU’s rabid fans second. Not that either should be that big of a chore.

LSU has six offensive starters, five starting defenders and four vets on special teams. Josh Booty returns at quarterback and Tommy Banks at fullback, not to mention all the others.

Ole Miss has seven, six and four (offense, defense and special teams), respectively, while State returns four, three and four. Coach David Cutcliffe will be seeing what he can do at Ole Miss, Jackie Sherrill at State, Saban at LSU. I would say that all three are pretty well fortified at the QB position.

It may seem a little early for all this yakkin’, but it actually isn’t. Down, one, two, three.

Hurried Hash: Is Tiger Woods great or what! The young golf phenom is so skilled as to be unbelievable. Up to now the 24-year-old multi-millionaire is so loose and focused that it does seem almost unreal. If he can keep that kind of cool, watch out Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, David Duval and all pro golfers – Tiger’s gonna rake in nearly all the money. Golf’s a funny game, however.

…Al Jr. and Ronnie Strickland’s tribute at Laird’s Funeral Home to their dad Al Sr., who died July 18, was truly moving. To know Al Strickland was to like and respect him, and his sons remembered. One big reason was that he would take time to help young boys in their sports activities and just everyday living…Thanks, boys, for remembering your special dad in this way. I saw these attributes in your father firsthand when he worked at The Natchez Democrat.

…When Natchez’s first Little League Baseball (now Dixie Youth) All-Star team did so well that first year in 1950 in All-Star play, there were three other All-Star team members I forgot to mention last week…They were: Booty Viccinelli of Sports Center, Vic Dallalio of Pepsi Cola and Robert Dunn of Tops Grill. All three were All-Star alternates, but played, I believe against Clarksdale.