SEC coaching rumors all over the place

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Old-fashioned ladies bridge clubs have nothing on football fans in the rumor business.

Last weekend, when I was in Atlanta for the Southeastern Conference Championship game, the first thing I heard in the Atlanta airport was LSU fans discussing who their next coach would be. Up until the game ended Saturday, the sure thing was that LSU Coach Les Miles was already signed by Michigan.

Even the ESPN announcers said it was a “done deal.” The coaching move by Miles would have been natural, since he had played at Michigan and had later been on their coaching staff.

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Rumors even had South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier landing in Baton Rouge and talking to the LSU administration. It was being said that Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville had signed at Arkansas, replacing Coach Houston Nutt, who had already signed at Ole Miss.

Reliable sources said that a plane had flown to Auburn, then to duck hunting territory in Arkansas. The plane then went to the area of Fayetteville, Arkansas, then back to Auburn.

And now some words about the Ole Miss coaching situation. I talked to the Ole Miss sports information director (not to name drop, but I knew him from time in the Ole Miss press box when I was observing officials for the SEC) and he assured me that Ole Miss had never even talked to Coach Nutt prior to Coach Orgeron’s departure. The SID didn’t even wink.

Of course, the rumor mill had it that Southern Mississippi had already signed Tyrone Nix to fill Coach Jeff Bower’s slot. That, also, did not happen. Coach Nix turned down Southern. (Unless that is also a rumor.)

The MPSA All-Star football game was played Friday night in Clinton. The South team, coached and led by Lamar Academy coaches and players, included two Trinity players, along with some players from Huntington and State Class AA Champion Centreville.

Trinity quarterback Parker Brumfield saw action at quarterback, as well as on the kickoff team for the South. Though he completed none of his three passes (one was dropped and another was ‘thrown away’ to avoid a huge loss) Brumfield played well.

It should be noted that the South’s starting quarterback, top receiver, and head coach were all from Lamar Academy. Trinity’s Jordan Vance was in the South’s defense when they stopped the North during a crucial goal line stand.

I watched the last few minutes of Friday’s MHSAA (public schools) Class 5A Championship game between South Panola and George County on television.

In the fourth quarter, with South Panola holding a 28 – 14 lead, Panola’s best player broke free for what would have been a game-cinching touchdown. Before crossing the goal line, the player strutted, drawing a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct. To add insult to injury, while strutting the player dropped the ball before crossing the goal line.

George County recovered the ball and had control with a first down on their own 35-yard line. They went in to score, pulling to within 28 – 21.

George County then recovered the on sides kick, and were only a non-call for defensive pass interference away from maybe a tie or win.

The youngster whose gaff could have cost his team their championship and 75-game winning streak rightfully won Most Valuable Player honors, but “showing out” clearly does not get it done. Coaches know it, but the regular fan does not realize that these players are still just kids.

Next week, just in time for the first bowl games, I will write a fan’s reminder about football official’s game duties.

And, That’s Official

Al Graning writes a weekly column for The Democrat. He can be reached at