7 at 7: Hurry-up, no-huddle discussion not going away (w/links)

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 19, 2014 

Auburn Football

Auburn's Gus Malzahn and Ole Miss' Hugh Freeze have been outspoken in their view that the hurry-up, no-huddle offenses they use pose no threat to the safety of defensive players.

ANTHONY HALL — Anthony Hall

AUBURN, Ala. — The debate over hurry-up, no-huddle offenses has been all the rage over the past week.

Taking our cue from that this morning, there will be no short opening for the "7 at 7." There's no time to waste.

Let's delve into the links then, shall we?

1. A lot had happened since the last time Gus Malzahn met with reporters on national signing day Feb. 5. No story has affected him more than the one noted above — the discussion surrounding whether up-tempo offenses lead to more injuries for defensive players. On Tuesday, Malzahn once again addressed these concerns, responding the way one would think: He cited that there is "zero evidence" the HUNH system he (and others) run poses any threat whatsoever. (It reminded me a bit of his SEC media days appearance last year; when first informed of these accusations, he thought it was "a joke." Of course, that later led to Arkansas coach Bret Bielema stating that he wasn't "a comedian.")

Needless to say, with Malzahn, Ole Miss' Hugh Freeze and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin championing the pace and tempo viewpoint and Bielema and Alabama coach Nick Saban on the side of slowing the game down, we could be in for one of the most entertaining SEC media days of all-time later this year.

2. Malzahn wasn't the only coach commenting on the issue Tuesday. Troy Calhoun, the Air Force coach who also serves as chairman of the NCAA Football Rules Committee, held a conference call with reporters. After stating that the rule change proposal came about "to enhance student-athlete safety" last week, Calhoun didn't seem quite as sure Tuesday, noting that he is still waiting for evidence to support this claim. If none arises, he said there's no reason to enact the rule.

3. It's been 10 days since Michael Sam publicly announced he was gay. On Tuesday, Malzahn made his first comments on the story and said Auburn would welcome a gay player. And while we're on the subject, I highly recommend checking out this in-depth piece The New York Times did on Sam's upbringing last week. Fantastic writing and reporting on one of the biggest stories in the world right now, sports or not.

4. Kalvaraz Bessent has been exonerated of all charges stemming from an arrest on Feb. 7. But he's still not in the clear with Auburn — yet. Malzahn said Tuesday that he still hasn't made a decision on whether he'll let the four-star cornerback join the program. While Bessent continues to wait for word on his future with the Tigers, another SEC defensive back will to find a new home elsewhere. Georgia dismissed the oft-troubled Josh Harvey-Clemons on Tuesday, providing no specific reason aside from the always-vague "violation of team rules" statute.

5. Moments after hearing of Harvey-Clemons' dismissal, I jokingly tweeted that "Georgia could field an incredible team of dismissed players just over the past decade. Maybe call them "The Ex-Georgia Bulldogs." Well, what do you know? My colleague Seth Emerson, who covers the Bulldogs for both the Ledger-Enquirer and The Telegraph in Macon, did a short piece on where Georgia players who left the program in the past five years (for reasons other than playing time) ended up. It's safe to say you'll recognize quite a few of the names on his list. (And if he had only gone back five more years, my tweet and his article would have aligned ever-so-perfectly ...)

6. ESPN.com's Ted Miller has a fun article looking at how coaching titles in college football have changed (and gotten progressively longer and more specific) over the years.

7. In the throes of the basketball season, we'll conclude with an NBA article for the second straight day. Here, Sports on Earth's Colin McGowan tackles the subject of Kyrie Irving. Yes, the former No. 1 overall draft pick has shined at times, winning the MVP of the All-Star Game over the weekend and in recent years capturing the Rookie of the Year and the 3-Point Shootout trophy. But how should we define him two and a half years into his pro career?

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