Franz Beard: Thoughts of the Day



1. Nick Saban, Alabama

2. Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M

3. Kirby Smart, Georgia

4. Dan Mullen, Florida

5. Gus Malzahn, Auburn

6. Ed Orgeron, LSU

7. Will Muschamp, South Carolina

8. Mark Stoops, Kentucky

9. Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State

10. Barry Odom, Missouri

11. Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee

12, Derek Mason, Vanderbilt

13. Matt Luke, Ole Miss

14. Chad Morris, Arkansas

OPIONION: Nobody’s going to argue with the first two since they’re the only coaches in the league who have won national championships (Saban 6, 5 at Alabama; Fisher 1 at FSU). Kirby Smart is #3 because Georgia has played Alabama close the last two years, once in the national championship game in 2017 and once in last year’s SEC Championship Game. Until he wins a national championship or beats Nick Saban in a game that counts, third is probably the best he will be. Mullen belongs at #4 and could move up a spot if the Gators beat Georgia this year and make it to Atlanta.

Gus has played for a national championship and he’s beaten Alabama twice, something no other coach in the SEC can claim, so he shouldn’t be any lower than #5. Coach O has won 19 games the last two years. Will Muschamp is about right at #7. He’ll have to win more often to make it higher in the rankings … I have a hard time understanding why Joe Moorhead is ranked ahead of Barry Odom. He lost five games last year with a terrific roster Mullen left behind. At any place but Vanderbilt, Derek Mason would already be gone. You have to wonder if Ole Miss hired Rich Rodriguez as its OC because it would be easy to hand the program over to him in the event things go south with Matt Luke.


The best defensive line units in the SEC:

1. Auburn: Three starters return and they’re all good ones led by DT Derrick Brown (6-5, 325, SR), the best D-lineman in the SEC. Brown was in on 48 tackles last year with 4.5 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, six QB hurries and a forced fumble. The Tigers have outstanding DEs in Marlon Davidson (6-3, 278, SR) and Nick Coe (6-5, 282, JR). Davidson was in on 46 tackles with 3.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, three pass breakups and 11 QB hurries while Coe had 7.0 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss among his 27 tackles.

2. LSU: All three starters return for an LSU defense that figures to play at an elite level. Rashard Lawrence (6-3, 317, SR) and Glen Logan (6-4, 297, JR) started every game last year. Lawrence was in on 54 tackles with 4.0 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, three passes batted down and two QB hurries while Logan was in on 46 tackles with 4.0 sacks, 4.0 tackles for loss, one pass breakup and five QB hurries. Breiden Fehoko (6-4, 291, SR) was steady as a rock until he went down in the eight game with an injury.

3. Alabama: Alabama lost the best D-lineman in the country in Quinnen Williams and only one starter returns – Raekwon Davis (6-7, 309, SR). Nobody is shedding a tear because the backup guys are really good. Davis had 55 tackles including 15 sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss and six QB hurries. Expect LaBryan Ray (6-5, 294, JR) to play his way into an early round draft pick. Last year he had 39 tackles including 2.5 sacks and 6.0 tackles for loss.

4. Florida: The Gators should be among the nation’s leaders in sacks this year with the return of Jabari Zuniga (6-4, 257, RSR) and the addition of Louisville grad transfer Jonathan Geenard (6-4, 263, SR), who had 7.0 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss and six QB hurries last time he played in 2017. In 2018, Zuniga was in on 45 tackles with 6.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss and four QB hurries. Also returning are starters Kyree Campbell (6-3, 304) and Adam Shuler (6-4, 275, SR)

5. Georgia: Two starters return for the Bulldogs, tackles Tyler Clark (6-4, 300, SR) and Julian Rochester (6-5, 300, SR). Clark was in on 31 tackles with 1.0 sacks, 4.0 tackles for loss and three pass breakups. Rochester was in on 21 tackles with 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. The Bulldogs will rotate nine D-linemen in most games.

6. Texas A&M: The Aggies were one of the most improved teams in the nation on defense last year when they gave up only 95 rushing yards per game and had 37 sacks. Even though they return only one starter – DT Justin Madubuike (6-3, 300, JR) – enough guys got into the rotation that there shouldn’t be any dropoff. Madubuike had 5.5 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, five quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles.

7. South Carolina: South Carolina return three starters, the best of which is DT Javon Kinlaw (6-6, 305, SR), who had 4.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, five pass breakups, three QB hurries, two forced fumbles and a blocked punt. If DE D.J. Wonnum (6-5, 255, SR) can stay healthy (played only five games last year), this unit will be very, very good.

8. Kentucky: The Wildcats return two starters from last year’s defense, DE Calvin Taylor Jr. (6-9, 300, SR) and NT Quinton Bohanna (6-4, 340, JR). Taylor is the tallest D-lineman in the SEC but his productivity doesn’t doesn’t measure up to his size.

9. Missouri: The Tigers lost the interior of their 4-man front but both defensive ends return. The Tigers are looking for more productivity from Chris Turner (6-4, 255, JR), who had 24 tackles including 2.0 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss and four QB hurries.

10. Mississippi State: The front four that was so good last year will all be earning NFL paychecks in the fall. Expectations are through the roof for DE Chauncy Rivers (6-3, 275, SR), who had 7.0 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and 4.0 quarterback hurries last year in a reserve role.

11. Arkansas: The Hogs gave up 34.8 points per game last year so the entire defense has to get better, starting up front where the two tackles return. The best player on the entire defense is McTevin Agim (6-3, 279, SR), an undersized tackle who had 4.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles last year.

12. Vanderbilt: The good news is two of the three D-line starters returns for 2019. That is also the bad news because the Commodores gave up 194.69 yards per game rushing last year and the D-line accounted for only 4.0 sacks. Dayo Odeyingbo (6-6,265)

is the best of the returning D-linemen.

13. Tennessee: Think of this as a blank canvas for HBC Jeremy Pruitt, who is also the defensive coordinator even if Chris Rumph and Derrick Ansley share the title. There are no starters returning and the best of the returnees is NT Emmit Gooden (6-3, 306, SR), who had 33 tackles including 7.0 for loss last year.

14. Ole Miss: Ole Miss shifts to a 3-4 this year under new defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre. Improvement is expected, but that might be because the Rebels couldn’t be as bad as they were last year. Could they? Nose tackle Benito Jones (6-2, 315, SR) is the best player on the defense, regardless of position.

Monday: The best defensive line units in the SEC


From Stan Wilcox of the NCAA, speaking to regarding the pending notices of allegations to some high profile basketball coaches and programs:

“Those top coaches that were mentioned in the trials where the information shows what was being said was a violation of NCAA rules, yes. They will be all part of these notices of allegations.”

Mark Schlabach of ESPN on the who’s who of coaches and programs that should be shaking in their shorts about the NCAA investigations:

“During two federal criminal trials in the Southern District of New York, therealso was evidence presented or testimony from witnesses that alleged coaches at a handful of other schools, including Creighton, Kansas, Louisville, NC State and Oregon, allegedly made offers of improper payments to players and their families or were providing them with payments.

Officials at Arizona, Kansas, Louisville, NC State and USC have previously acknowledged that their men’s basketball programs are under NCAA investigation.”

From The Athletic, UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton on his rehab and recovery from a horrendous knee injury that ended his 2018 season and put his entire football future in jeopardy:

“It’s definitely something I think about, but not something I’m thinking about every day. I’m just taking it day by day, getting as strong as possible in every aspect of my body. Upper body, core, mentally, it’s important to be mentally right when I come back. It’s not something I’m trying to get ready tomorrow. It’s day by day.”


Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari signed his contract extension which will pay him $86 million over the next 10 years. If Cal elects to retire at that point – he’ll be 70 years old – he can stay on with the university in an advisory capacity at a mere $950,000 a year.

Texas A&M plans to sell beer and wine to the general public this fall at Kyle Field. This will end the time honored position of getting ripped before the game, then using the game to sober up so you can get ripped after the game.

Vanderbilt has schedule a 3-game series with SMU with SMU traveling to Vandy in 2024 and 2028 and Vandy playing at SMU in 2029.

Disgraced former Ohio State receivers coach Zach Smith claims in a podcast that former Arkansas coach Bret Beliema went down and dirty when it came to recruiting wide receiver K.J. Hill and as a result, Hill signed with the Buckeyes. Smith said, “K.J. Hill is coming for an official visit. It’s the Monday before his official visit starts that Friday. (Former Ohio State assistant) Chris Ash comes into my office and says, ‘Hey, listen to this. This is bizarre.’ He has a voicemail from Bret Bielema saying, ‘Hey Chris, Bret. Just wanted to let you know that K.J. is going to cancel his official this weekend. I just wanted to apologize but he’s not going to come.’ I remember Chris looked at me and I looked at him and we were both puzzled. I’d never heard of that. Kids cancel visits all of the time, but the head coach of the school that’s recruiting [against] you calls?”

Oregon guard Victor Bailey Jr., who averaged 7.4 points while averaging 19.1 minutes per game last season, is transferring to Tennessee where he will have to sit a season. Bailey, who has two years of eligibility remaining, shot 39.8% from the 3-point line and hit 91% of his free throws.


Justin Rose, playing in a threesome with Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth, birdied the final three holes Thursday afternoon for a 6-under par 65 to take the first round lead at the US Open at Pebble Beach. Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele, Louis Ooosthuizen and Aaron Wise were a shot behind after shooting 65s.

Brooks Koepka, who has won the last two US Opens, lost two shots on the back nine to finish at -2. Tiger Woods parred the last 11 holes to finish -1.

RANDOM THOUGHTS: Sports Illustrated’s Robert Klemko reported Thursday former Cleveland Browns/Tampa Bay Bucs tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. repeatedly watched pornography on his smart phone during team meetings and on his portable DVD player during team flights. Klemko also reports that former teammates and teammates say that Winslow “watched pornography and masturbated openly with no regard for who was in the room” on road trips and that he was caught masturbating in the locker room after hours … The Toronto Ruptures beat the Golden State Warriors, 114-110, Thursday night to win the NBA championship, ending the Warriors shot at a threepeat. The Ruptures are the first team from outside the United States to win the NBA title. Kawhi Leonard was the MVP of the finals … Florida pitcher Tyler Dyson signed a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals. Dyson was selected in the fifth round by the Nationals. Outfielder Wil Dalton signed a minor league deal with the Boston Red Sox. Dalton was an 8th-round pick.