Sports, Thrill of Victory

Coaching changes and Auburn transfers highlight this week in the SEC

Former Pitt offensive coordinator Matt Canada has left for the same job at LSU. PHOTO COURTESY LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY

Here’s what’s happening in and around the Southeastern Conference in football and hoops.

Kiffin leaves Alabama

Snubbed for a number of head coaching vacancies, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin left the Crimson Tide to become the head coach at Florida Atlantic this week

Kiffin will remain in charge of the Alabama offense through the College Football Playoff, but that hasn’t stopped him from also working for FAU, where he landed a controversial first recruit days after landing his new job.

Coordinator changes at Ole Miss

Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack retired in the off-season, and the Rebels also made a change at offensive coordinator when they recently fired Dan Werner. This week, Ole Miss named replacements for each.

On the defensive side, Ole Miss went with Wesley McGriff, who’d been an assistant at Ole Miss, as well as Auburn and Vanderbilt, before.

Before that, coach Hugh Freeze tabbed Sam Houston State’s Phil Longo as his new offensive boss

Auburn assistant Wes McGriff is the new Ole Miss defensive coordinator. PHOTO COURTESY AUBURN UNIVERSITY

Auburn assistant Wes McGriff is the new Ole Miss defensive coordinator. PHOTO COURTESY AUBURN UNIVERSITY

Canada to LSU

LSU coach Ed Orgeron said he wanted to hire the best offensive coordinator in the business after the Tigers replaced theirs in mid-season, and while Kiffin—long rumored to be the target—isn’t coming to LSU, Orgeron did pretty well when he hired Pitt offensive coordinator Matt Canada. The Panthers averaged 448 yards this season, and beat Penn State and Clemson in an 8-4 campaign. 

No Citrus Bowl for Fournette

It’s not all good news in Baton Rouge. LSU junior running back Leonard Fournette, who’ll be playing in the NFL this time next year, will rest his injured ankle when the Tigers take on Louisville in the Citrus Bowl

Stidham transfers to Auburn

When quarterback Sean White’s shoulder went bad, so did Auburn’s season. Next season may bring a different set of issues for the sophomore, who’ll likely be looking up at Jared Stidham, who just announced his transfer from Baylor this week.

Though not much of a runner, Stidham was quite productive as a freshman at Baylor last season as he threw for 1,265 yards and 12 TDs against just two picks in only 109 throws. 

Wiley enrolls mid-season at Auburn

Prep basketball star Austin Wiley is enrolling early at Auburn. PHOTO COURTESY AUBURN UNIVERSITY

Prep basketball star Austin Wiley is enrolling early at Auburn. PHOTO COURTESY AUBURN UNIVERSITY

Auburn fans got a double dose of good news this week when high school center Austin Wiley, the No. 16 player in this year’s class, announced he’d graduate early from Conrad Academy in Orlando and enroll at Auburn for the spring semester. The 6-foot-11, 255-pounder played for Team USA at the U17 world championships this summer. 

POWER RANKINGS

  1. Kentucky (9-1)
  2. Florida (7-3)
  3. South Carolina (8-1)
  4. Texas A&M (7-2)
  5. Arkansas (8-1)
  6. Auburn (7-2)
  7. Georgia (6-3)
  8. Ole Miss (702(
  9. Tennessee (6-4)
  10. Alabama (5-4)
  11. Vanderbilt (5-5)
  12. LSU (7-2)
  13. Mississippi St. (6-3)
  14. Missouri (5-4)

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  1. Yante Maten, F/C, Georgia: Averaging 26.5 points, 11.6 rebounds per 70 possessions. 
  2. Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky: 25.5 points/70, 57.6 effective field goal percentage (EFG%)
  3. De’Aron Fox, PG, Kentucky: Per 70 stats: 18.4 points, 6.6 boards, 8.4 assists, 2.1 steals
  4. Sebastian Saiz, PF, Ole Miss: leads league with 338 minutes played. 
  5. Sindarius Thornwell, G, South Carolina: Gamecocks need him to return from suspension soon.
  6. Isaiah Briscoe, G, Kentucky: Back issues have improved, as has his shooting.
  7. Tyler Davis, C, TAMU: 27.2 points, 14.1 rebounds per 40 possessions.
  8. Devin Robinson, F, Florida: Most versatile player on league’s best defensive team.
  9. Robert Williams, PF, TAMU: 64.9 EFG%; freshman needs to play more than his 180 minutes. 
  10. J.J. Frazier, G: Shooting numbers are off, but 1.9 assists-to-turnovers in 290 minutes.