SEC News & Notes

News and notes from Southeastern Conference athletics are featured.

SEC News & Notes

Baton Rouge, La.--Coach Nick Saban and the LSU Tigers have their work cut out for them this spring. With key losses at almost every position, the task of providing stability and leadership at positions such as quarterback and offensive line will not be an easy one. Expected to step into the No. 1 quarterback slot is redshirt sophomore Matt Mauck, who led LSU to a 31-20 victory over Tennessee in the SEC championship game last year after starting quarterback Rohan Davey was injured. Mauck completed only 5-15 passes during that game, but rushed for 43 yards and two TDs. Also a concern is the wide receiver position, where AP All-American junior Josh Reed was lost to the NFL. True sophomore Michael Clayton, who made the Freshman All-SEC team last year, is expected to step in at the WR position. The loss of experience on the offensive line, as well as the two top tight ends (Joe Domingeaux and Robert Royal) will be difficult to replace.

The Florida Gators have been busy in spring football drills, too, as they work to accommodate new coaches and coordinators, as well as fill critical player positions in both offense and defense. With the loss of a coach of Steve Spurrier's caliber many have suggested that the Gators are just not going to be the same. It would be unwise to discount Florida this season, though. Ron Zook, Florida's new head coach, inherited a lot of talent in Gainesville. The quarterback position is a solid one with Rex Grossman returning for another season. Wide receiver is not as solid with stars Jabar Gaffney and Reche Caldwell going pro. Eager to fill the void is returning senior Taylor Jacobs, a speedster who caught 10 passes for 170 yards in the Orange Bowl last year. WR recruit Jemalle Cornelius, who took an official visit to Auburn, could also be an impact player for the Gators this season.

The University of Georgia women's gymnastics team won the SEC Championship for the second straight year and sixth time in the past seven years. The Gym Dogs scored 197.025 to 196.925. for runnerup Alabama in the meet held last Saturday night in Birmingham. Sophomore Marline Stephens won both the SEC vault and floor exercise competitions with scores of 9.95 in both events. Suzanne Yoculan earned SEC Coach of the Year honors for the fifth time in her 19 years at Georgia. The Gym Dogs return to action April 6, when they will compete for the NCAA regional. Auburn, which tied for fifth place with Kentucky at the meet, did not qualify for regionals.

It has been a little more than two weeks since SEC Commissioner Roy Kramer announced his retirement. Names mentioned as possible replacements include Kramer's chief assistant Mark Womack, South Carolina Athletic Director Mike McGhee and Ole Miss president Robert Khayat. During his 12-year tenure as commissioner, Kramer turned the SEC into the most profitable conference in the country, with total revenues in 2000 exceeding $90 million. He also is responsible for the SEC's strong yearly representation in the Bowl Championship Series. Kramer will continue to act as commissioner until his retirement takes effect this summer.

SEC Notes: The wife of Rick Stansbury, head basketball coach at Mississippi State, is expecting a second child very soon. Stansbury, who has a three-year record of 52-42 at MSU, led the Bulldogs to the SEC Tournament title...The total attendance of 198,929 at the 2002 SEC Men's basketball Tournament at the Georgia Dome ranks as the seventh highest total in league history. Tournament history...No SEC men's basketball team advanced past the Sweet 16 this year even though the league had the top RPI. Here is now the conference fared against other leagues this season:

America East 2-0 1.000

Atlantic 10 4-0 1.000

Atlantic Coast 5-5 .500

Atlantic Sun 11-1 .917

Big 12 2-4 .333

Big East 5-6 .455

Big Sky 0-1 .000

Big South 7-0 1.000

Big Ten 4-2 .667

Big West 1-0 1.000

Colonial 1-1 .500

Conference USA 12-5 .706

Horizon League 1-0 1.000

Ivy League 0-0 .000

Metro Atlantic 0-0 .000

Mid-American 5-3 .625

Mid-Continent 3-0 1.000

Mid-Eastern 5-0 1.000

Missouri Valley 1-2 .333

Mountain West 3-0 1.000

Northeast 0-1 .000

Ohio Valley 6-0 1.000

Pacific-10 0-4 .000

Patriot 1-0 1.000

Southern 12-0 1.000

Southland 10-0 1.000

Southwestern Athletic 5-0 1.000

Sun Belt 12-2 .857

West Coast 1-1 .500

Western Athletic 5-1 .833

Independents 3-0 1.000

Non-Division I 5-0 1.000

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