Kentucky Wildcats

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LB Roland Walder to transfer from Kentucky

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Kentucky has seen the depth in its linebacking corps diminished a bit ahead of the start of summer camp.

Taking to , as all the cool kids are these days, his personal Twitter account, linebacker Roland Walder announced that “[a]fter talking with my family I will be transferring to further my education and football career somewhere else.”  To where the Dayton, Ohio, native will transfer is unknown.

A three-star member of the Wildcats’ 2016 recruiting class, Walder was rated as the No. 36 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 39 player at any position in the state of Ohio.  In addition to UK, Walder held offers from, among others, Cincinnati, Nebraska, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

As a true freshman last season, the linebacker took a redshirt.

TE Jovani Haskins leaving Miami to ‘get fresh start somewhere else’

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A month and a half or so before Mark Richt kicks off his second summer camp at Miami, attrition has again hit the Hurricanes’ roster.

The U announced via a press release Tuesday afternoon that Jovani Haskins is no longer a member of the football program.  No specific reason was given for the tight end’s move away from Coral Gables, although it appears to be a mutual decision.

“I talked to Jovani and we both felt it was in his best interests to get a fresh start somewhere else,” the head coach said in a statement. “We wish him all the best in his future plans.”

A three-star member of UM’s 2016 recruiting class, Haskins was rated as the No. 19 tight end in the country and No. 10 player at any position in the state of New Jersey.  Prior to signing with The U, Haskins also held offers from, among others, Boston College, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. He took official visits to the latter two schools before committing to Miami a few days before National Signing Day.

The 6-4, 240-pound Haskins took a redshirt his true freshman season.

Kentucky dismisses senior DE Alvonte Bell for violating team rules

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Kentucky will be without a potential starter on defense in 2017 as head coach Mark Stoops has dismissed senior defensive end Alvonte Bell for violating team rules.

Stoops confirmed the news during a Tuesday press conference, according to the Associated Press, by reportedly saying Bell is “no longer with us” as a result of violating team rules.

Bell recorded 27 tackles last season along the defensive line and made four starts at his position for the Wildcats. This isn’t his first run-in with the coaching staff however, as he was suspended last fall for one game as a result of non-specified issues.

The defensive end did return to the team down the stretch though, but underwent offseason surgery to repair his right knee after hurting it in the team’s bowl game.

The departure of Bell and Courtney Miggins means Kentucky will be looking for not one, but two new starting defensive ends in 2017.

Auburn AD banging the drum for a Tigers move to SEC East, Mizzou shift to West

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Tuesday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey laid talk of a potential Auburn move from the SEC West to the East at the feet of the media. A day later, that university’s athletic director picked up the talk and ran with it. Hard.

After months of chatter on the subject, Jay Jacobs met the issue head-on at the conference’s spring meetings Wednesday, with the AU AD banging the drum very loudly for his football team to move from the West to the East and Missouri taking their place in the division.

While it makes sense football-wise for most involved, Jacobs cited the demographics of the student population at large as one of the reasons he will push for a divisional adjustment.

“It makes more sense for Auburn from the standpoint of the demographics of our students, not our student-athletes,” the athletics boss said according to 247Sports.com‘s Brandon Marcello. “Six or eight years ago, I looked at all the demographics. Most of all our students come from Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, a few from Mississippi, very few from Louisiana.

“Since we went to the national championship twice we’ve got more geographical students from all over the place but still the majority of our students come from the southeast.”

The Opelika-Auburn News lays out the geographical argument, as it in reality relates to athletics budgets that are impacted by more than football specifically, very succinctly:

If you look at SEC universities laid out on a map, Auburn is closer to SEC East schools Georgia, Florida South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt than it is to SEC West schools such as Arkansas, LSU and Texas A&M.

Missouri is closer to all three of those schools than it is to the ones located in the Eastern Time Zone.

Jacobs is expected to broach the West-to-East subject with Sankey this week as the conference’s ADs talk shop with the commissioner, although it won’t be on the official agenda.

As for the the Iron Bowl as well as the annual matchup with the team Between The Hedges as part of any potential move? “[T]he bottom line is … we’re going to keep playing Georgia and we’re going to keep playing Alabama,” Jacobs said.

Moving to a nine-game conference schedule — and this is without even discussing eliminating divisions entirely as well — would easily facilitate an Auburn move to the East as well as limit, if not completely erase, the concerns over losing long-time rivalries across the league. Of course, we all know adding another league game will likely gain very little if any traction, at least not for the foreseeable future.

After all, you gotta continue to have those cupcakes as part of your Deep South college football diet.

SEC to enact NCAA practice policies, eliminate two-a-days

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Two-a-days in the Deep South are officially a thing of the past.

Last month, the NCAA Division I Council also voted to eliminate “multiple contact practices a day” — aka two-a-days — in summer camp.  The SEC announced Friday that the conference “will adopt recent practice recommendations set forth by the NCAA Sports Science Institute in the sport of football.”

Moving forward, and after the standard five-day acclimation period that kicks off preseason camp, any given seven-day period will have to include at least three non-contact/minimal contact practice sessions as well as one day where there is no practice, period.  Additionally, the next practice after a scrimmage will have to be one of the non-contact/minimal contact periods.  While two-a-days are no longer permitted, teams can, if they so choose, run “[a] second session of no helmet/pad activity [that] may include walk-throughs or meetings; conditioning in the second session of activity is not allowed.”

To make up for the lost practice time, teams will be allowed to start camps one week earlier than previously allowed.  That extension will “help ensure that players obtain the necessary skill set for competitive play,” the NCAA said in its release.

As for in-season practices, the biggest change is going from allowing two live-contact/tackling sessions per week to one of those plus one described as “live-contact/thud.” The standard for non-contact/minimal contact practices remains the same at three.

As for the postseason, below are the NCAA’s recommendations:

  • If there is a two week or less period of time between the final regular season game or conference championship game (for participating institutions) and the next bowl or postseason game, then in-season practice recommendations should remain in place.
  • If there is greater than two weeks between the final regular season game or conference championship game (for participating institutions) and the next bowl or postseason game, then:
  1. Up to three days may be live-contact (two of which should be live contact/thud).
  2. There must be three non-contact/minimal contact practices in a given week.
  3. The day preceding and following live contact/tackling should be non-contact/minimal contact or no football practice.
  4. One day must be no football practice.

“We believe these measures will enhance the health and safety procedures SEC universities have already established to support their football programs,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “Student-athlete well-being will always be a priority for SEC member institutions and, as the NCAA Sports Science Institute has developed and provided guidance on the structure for football practice, everyone associated with this great sport must continue to adapt to keep the game safe while played at the highest competitive level.”

The conference’s presidents and chancellors as well as its athletic director, incidentally, voted unanimously to accept the NCAA practice recommendations.