Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day September 9

A few thoughts to jump start your Tuesday morning...

One reason Kentucky is probably as confident coming to The Swamp as it has been since 2002 when the Wildcats dropped a 41-34 decision thanks to a fourth quarter interception return for a touchdown by Florida’s Keiwan Ratliff, is the play of quarterback Patrick Towles. Through two games, Towles has put up some impressive numbers – 37-60 passing for 547 yards and two touchdowns and 89 rushing yards for one touchdown – in Kentucky’s up tempo offense.

He certainly has the attention of Florida head coach Will Muschamp. Muschamp knows what the strong-armed Towles can do if he gets time to throw the football. It’s what happens if the pass rush breaks down that Muschamp seemed most concerned about at his Monday press conference.

“He can run the quarterback power and the quarterback draw as a threat to pull it down in the passing game when we lose discipline in our pass rush,” Muschamp said.

The Gators have to not only get pressure on Towles from outside rushers Dante Fowler Jr., Neiron Ball (two sacks against Eastern Michigan), Alex McCallister and Gerald Willis, but inside guys Caleb Brantley, Leon Orr and Darius Cummings are going to have to get some push up the middle.

GARCIA SEC OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK

Florida center Max Garcia was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week. Other SEC superlatives were: Maty Mauk (Missouri), Offensive Player of the Week; Cliff Coleman (Ole Miss), Defensive Player of the Week; Elliott Fry (South Carolina), Special Teams Player of the Week; Preston Smith (Mississippi State), Defensive Lineman of the Week; and Jalen Hurd (Tennessee), Freshman of the Week.

WHERE THE GATORS RANK STATISTICALLY IN THE SEC

Offense: Scoring, #1 (65.0); Rushing, #4 (259); Passing, #2 (396); Total Offense, Tie #1 (655); Third Down Conversions, Tie #5 (50%); Sacks Allowed, #1 (0-0); Red Zone, #8 (85.7%)

Defense: Scoring, #1 (0.0); Rushing, #3 (80.0); Passing, #1 (45.0); Total Defense, #1 (125.0); Turnover Margin, #1 (+5.0); Third Down Conversions, Tie #2 (21.4%); Sacks, #13 (3-18); Red Zone, #1 (0.0%)

Special Teams: Kickoff Returns, #14 (0.0); Punt Returns, #4 (19.6); Punting, #7 (41.3 net); Field Goals, Tie #1 (3-3, 100%)

AROUND THE SEC

The numbers that matter through two weeks:

#3 Alabama (2-0): Offensively, Alabama averages 7.62 yards per play, 6.0 per rush, 9.5 per pass attempt and 579 yards per game ... Quarterback Blake Sims is 35-46 for 464 passing yards, good for 10.1 per attempt and two touchdowns ... Amari Cooper has caught 25 passes for 319 yards and one touchdown. T.J. Yeldon has 30 carries for 169 yards and two touchdowns ... Defensively, Alabama is giving up only 1.77 yards per rushing attempt, 4.8 yards per play and has accumulated six sacks ... Alabama is outscoring opponents 37-11.5.

Arkansas (1-1, 0-1 SEC): The Razorbacks are outscoring opponents 47-26 while averaging a whopping 9.39 per rushing attempt ... Alex Collins has carried 23 times for 199 yards (8.65 per carry) and three touchdowns ... The Razorbacks average 8.1 yards per pass attempt ... Brandon Allen has thrown for six touchdowns ... Arkansas gives up 5.94 per play while averaging 8.88. Opponents are averaging 4.42 yards per carry and 7.7 yards per pass attempt ... Taiwan Johnson has 3.5 sacks for 27 yards in losses ... The Razorbacks are averaging 506 yards per game while allowing 408.

#5 Auburn (2-0, 1-0 SEC): Auburn is averaging 544 yards per game, 330 on the ground where the Tigers averaging 6.73 per attempt ... Cameron Artis-Payne leads the ground attack with 289 yards (6.88 per carry) and four touchdowns ... Dhaquille Williams has caught 13 balls for 214 yards and a touchdown for a passing game that averages 9.5 yards per attempt ... The Tigers allow 4.72 yards per play while averaging 7.61 ... Opponents are averaging only 2.95 yards per rush rush attempt and 6.8 per pass attempt... Jermaine Whitehead has intercepted two passes and taken one back to the house ... Auburn has won two games by an average 52-17 margin.

#6 Georgia (1-0, 0-0 SEC): The Bulldogs were off last week so their numbers stay the same – 459 yards per game and 6.95 per play with 8.0 per rush attempt and 5.0 per pass attempt. Todd Gurley has 198 rushing yards for three touchdowns and 13.2 yards per carry ... The Bulldogs are giving up 291 yards per game, 3.83 per play with 2.05 per rush and 6.2 per pass attempt ... Leonard Floyd and Amarlo Herrera each have two sacks.

KENTUCKY (2-0, 0-0 SEC): The Wildcats are outscoring opponents, 39.5-8.5 while averaging 7.35 yards per play and 529 yards per game ... The Wildcats average 5.83 per rush and 9.3 per pass attempt ... Patrick Towles is 37-60 for 547 yards and two touchdowns ... Ryan Timmons has caught 13 passes for 170 yards ... The defense allows only 4.4 yards per play, 3.43 per rushing attempt and 5.5 per pass attempt.

#10 LSU (2-0, 0-0 SEC): While outscoring two opponents by an average of 42-12, LSU is averaging 6.59 yards per play, 4.38 on the ground and an impressive 12.5 per pass attempt ... Anthony Jennings has thrown five touchdown passes without an interception ... Wide receiver Tavin Dural has six catches for 291 yards (48.5 per catch) and four touchdowns ... The defense is allowing 4.13 per play, 4.24 per rush and 4.0 per pass attempt ... LSU’s secondary has four interceptions and the Tigers have gotten to the quarterback seven times.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (2-0, 0-0 SEC): The offensive numbers are good for the Bulldogs, 6.42 per play, 4.88 per rush and 8.8 per pass attempt ... The Bulldogs are outscoring opponents, 48-17 and averaging 533 yards per game ... Dak Prescott is 30-51 for 495 yards (9.7 per attempt), good for eight touchdowns. He has run the ball for 134 yards and a touchdown ... Josh Robinson has 211 rushing yards and a touchdown ... De’Runya Wilson has caught six passes for 84 yards and three touchdowns ... Defensively, opponents average 5.47 yards per play, only 2.42 on the ground but 8.8 yards per pass attempt ... The Bulldogs are giving up 323.5 yards per game through the air ... Bernardrick McKinney has already accumulated 15 tackles.

#20 MISSOURI (2-0, 0-0 SEC): Maty Mauk is 34-54 for 503 yards (9.5 per attempt) and eight touchdowns for an offense that is averaging 447.5 yards per game and 6.39 per play ... The Tigers average 4.56 per rush attempt with Russell Hansbrough totaling 210 yards (5.53 per carry) and two touchdowns ... Bud Sasser has seven catches for 158 yards and two TDs while Darius White has seven for 152 and three scores ... The Tigers give up 386.5 yards per game, 5.56 per play. Opponents are averaging 4.3 per rush and 6.6 per pass attempt ... Markus Golden has 2.5 sacks for 26 yards in losses.

#13 OLE MISS (2-0, 1-0 SEC): The Rebels are averaging 502.5 yards per game while giving up 283 ... Ole Miss averages 6.36 per play while opponents average 4.19 ... Quarterback Bo Wallace averages an impressive 10.7 yards per pass attempt but he’s got three interceptions to go with those five touchdown passes ... Cody Core averages 24.38 yards per catch and has three touchdowns among his eight receptions ... The Rebels average a hefty 10.2 per pass attempt but a rather dismal 2.99 per rush ... Opponents are running the ball for 3.9 yards per attempt but only throwing it for 4.4 ... The Rebels have already picked off five passes ... The margin of victory through two games is 38-8.

#24 SOUTH CAROLINA (1-1, 0-1 SEC): Through two games the Gamecocks are being outscored 37.5-30.5 ... South Carolina averages 4.03 per rush while giving up 5.02 ... The passing numbers are even worse. The Gamecocks have given up 832 yards (7.8 per attempt) and have sacked opposing quarterbacks just one time ... South Carolina averages a respectable 437 yards per game but is allowing 566.5 ... Dylan Thompson is 45-78 for 632 yards (8.1 per attempt), good for five touchdowns ... Nick Jones has 10 catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns.

TENNESSEE (2-0, 0-0 SEC): Quarterback Justin Worley (46-7, 520 yards, five TDs) has a lot to do with the Vols averaging 36 points per game ... Tennessee averages 399 yards, 139 on the ground and 260 through the air ... The Vols average only 3.31 yards per running play while opponents average 3.65 ... The Vols average 6.7 per pass attempt while opponents check in at 4.7 ... The defense is giving up only 287.5 yards and 13 points per game ... Marquez North has caught eight passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns ... A.J. Johnson already has 18 tackles while Jaylen Reeves-Maybin has 16.

#7 Texas A&M (2-0, 1-0 SEC): Kenny Hill’s numbers are off the charts – 61-86 (70.9%) passing for 794 yards (9.2 per attempt) and seven touchdowns without an interception ... The Aggies are winning by an average margin of 62.5-15.5 and are outgaining opponents, 655-338 (7.4-4.76 per play) ... The A&M running game nets 5.25 per carry while giving up only 2.65 ... In the passing game, the Aggies average 9.0 per attempt while opponents are only going for 6.3 per try ... Malcome Kennedy has caught 17 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown ... Five receivers have already caught eight or more passes ... Freshman Myles Garrett has three sacks for 26 yards in losses.

Vanderbilt (0-2, 0-1 SEC): The numbers are ugly on both sides of the ball. Vandy is scoring 5.0 per game, giving up 39.0 while averaging a dismal 3.94 per play and allowing 5.31 ... In the running game, Vandy gets only 2.98 yards per rush and only 4.8 per pass attempt ... Opponents average 7.8 per pass attempt and 3.41 per running play ... The Commodores have turned the ball over eight times in two games.

Penn State’S POSTSEASON BAN LIFTED

Penn State will be able to play in a bowl game this year and will have all its scholarships available next year after the NCAA ruled sufficient progress in cleaning up the mess from the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case. After receiving the report from former Senator George Mitchell that praised Penn State for the measures it has taken to ensure nothing like this ever happens again, the NCAA lifted the bowl ban and ensured that head coach James Franklin will be able to recruit a full class. The family of former head coach Joe Paterno will continue to seek reinstatement of wins vacated by the NCAA during the time Sandusky was given access to the Penn State football facilities where he abused several boys sexually. Additionally, the NCAA forgave the $60 million fine levied against Penn State.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

After watching the video of Ray Rice knocking out his then fiancée in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino then dragging her out of the elevator and leaving her on the floor without trying to revive her, I wonder why Roger Goodell didn’t suspend him for two years instead of two games. The Baltimore Ravens are to be applauded for releasing Rice immediately ... SMU head coach June Jones resigned, citing personal reasons. Jones took the Mustangs to their only winning seasons and four bowl games since the death penalty back in the 1980s. SMU started the season 0-2 ... The Pac-12 fined Pat Haden $25,000 for going down on the field to question officials during Southern Cal’s 13-10 win over Stanford ... More troubles for Texas and Charlie Strong. Quarterback David Ash is out indefinitely with that concussion ... The comments by Citadel offensive guard Victor Hill in the Twitterverse are probably going to make it very difficult for the Division I-AA school to get paycheck games in the future. Hill said Citadel linemen used cut blocks to go for the knees of FSU defensive linemen Saturday night. Three FSU defensive linemen left the game with leg injuries.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

Is the NCAA’s undoing of the sanctions and forgiving the $60 million fine a sign that it’s penalties against Penn State were too severe or is it simply the NCAA applauding Penn State for cleaning up the Sandusky mess?

MUSIC FOR TODAY

When Pat Metheny was a freshman at the University of Miami, his musical talents were so enormous and so obvious that the school made him a professor of music before he completed his first semester. Metheny stretches the limits of jazz and remains as talented a guitar player as there is in the world. “Are You Going with Me” was originally a cut from The Pat Metheny Group’s 1981 album “Offramp.” When Pat decided to do an album with the outstanding Polish vocalist Anna Maria Jopek, lyrics were added (in Polish) to this song for the live album “Upojenie” which was released in 2002 in Europe and re-released in the US in 2008. There is some serious samba influence in this music.


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