Dayton Flyers announce hiring of Anthony Grant

Published: Thursday, March 30, 2017 @ 11:30 AM
Updated: Thursday, March 30, 2017 @ 12:47 PM

Anthony Grant: 5 things to know

The University of Dayton announced the hiring of Anthony Grant as the next head men’s basketball coach Thursday. Grant has spent the last two seasons in the NBA as an assistant coach with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

ARCHDEACON: Anthony Grant a ‘natural fit’ for Flyers

Grant succeeds Archie Miller, who was the head coach for six seasons before leaving for Indiana on Saturday. Grant is the 19th head coach in UD history and the seventh in the last 70 years. He is the second UD grad of the modern era to coach the Flyers. The first was his former coach, Don Donoher.

RELATED: UD will introduce Grant on Saturday

"I am honored and humbled to be the head coach at the University of Dayton," Grant said in a press release. "It's a great responsibility to take over at an institution that is so well-respected. Anyone you talk to in college basketball would say our program is a successful one, but the potential is here for so much more."

RELATED: Flyer fans grade the Grant hiring

Grant, 50, was a head coach at Virginia Commonwealth (2006-09, 76-25) and Alabama (2009-15, 117-85) earlier in his career. He was an assistant coach under current Thunder head coach Billy Donovan at Florida from 1996-2006. Grant played for the Flyers from 1983-87, scoring 902 points.

Don Donoher interviewing Anthony Grant for Don Donoher Show during 1986-1987 season.

ARCHDEACON: Final Four coach an admirer of Anthony Grant

“Anthony Grant is a proven winner with the highest integrity,” Sullivan said. “He has successful experience in coaching, recruiting and playing basketball at an elite level. I welcome Anthony to our staff and look forward to partnering with him as we continue to aggressively pursue graduating student-athletes, winning conference championships and advancing in the NCAA Tournament. He is absolutely the right coach.”  

Report card: Auburn returns to its good old ways by pounding Arkansas

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 11:14 AM

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — On Saturday night, Auburn football looked like the team it’s been for the majority of its SEC schedule — explosive on offense, efficient on defense, and relentless against lesser-quality competition.

Arkansas felt the full brunt of that, especially in the second half of Auburn’s 52-20 road win in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks hung around early, but a fantastic third quarter turned what would’ve been more frustrations for Auburn’s fan base into a much-needed return to form.

Gus Malzahn’s team looked like the one that rocketed up to the top 10 earlier this season. While there was still room for improvement heading into a bye week, the Tigers put together a complete performance they can be proud of against a desperate host at rock bottom.

MORE:  Auburn football ends second-half woes with beatdown at Arkansas

Let’s recap what Auburn brought to the table Saturday against Arkansas with the weekly SEC Country report card. As always, the rubric calls for an A-plus on a nearly flawless performance, C for an average game, and F for a complete failure.

Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham actually was a running threat against Arkansas. (Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics)

Quarterbacks: A-minus

It wasn’t the cleanest game from Jarrett Stidham, but it was mighty effective. He went 19-for-28 through the air and had another 200-yard performance. While he threw an interception that could’ve become a total disaster, Stidham delivered a few perfect passes, including a third-down conversion to Darius Slayton in the huge third quarter. He also kept the ball on zone reads, which included an early touchdown run.

When Malik Willis came into the game, he was able to showcase his dynamic rushing skills yet again. He went 48 yards on his first snap and added 14 more later in the drive. Willis also found the end zone on a fly sweep to Devan Barrett. Getting that experience on the road in an SEC game will be vital for Willis, and it paired well with an improved performance from Stidham and the passing attack as a whole.

Running backs: A

Save for an ultra-close goal line stand and a couple of busted plays, Kerryon Johnson had a solid night against Arkansas and found the end zone once more. But the real story of the evening was Kamryn Pettway, who averaged 8.2 yards per carry and scored 3 touchdowns in his first big game against a Power 5 opponent in a year.

Pettway ran harder, bounced off a few defenders and got back into his groove with the trio of touchdowns. While he’s still not 100 percent, he looked more like what Auburn got from him last year. If he can keep this up with Johnson, watch out.

Auburn receiver Ryan Davis did it all Saturday for the Tigers. (Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics)

Wide receivers: A-minus

Slayton missed a few catchable balls, and Will Hastings wasn’t very effective in a return to his home state. The positives, though, definitely outweighed the negatives for this unit. Ryan Davis got back to his normal usage rate, catching 8 balls for 63 yards and making some impressive plays after the grabs. He also had Auburn’s longest play of the game — a touchdown pass to Slayton.

Auburn went to its receivers more frequently than it did last week against LSU, and they were able to showcase some of their skills on much-needed short and intermediate routes. The Tigers will still want more out of a few players, including Nate Craig-Myers, so this unit is still a work in progress heading into the bye week.

Offensive line: A

Stidham was never sacked, and Auburn only allowed two of its 77 plays to be stopped behind the line of scrimmage. Combine that with 345 rushing yards on 47 carries, and you’ve got the formula for a fantastic night on the offensive line. Without Casey Dunn and Mike Horton, this unit produced above expectations.

Auburn’s only real negative on the offensive line was yet another injury, this time to right tackle Darius James in the fourth quarter. While X-rays came back negative for James, that’s another blow to a unit that has to keep changing its looks. The leadership of Austin Golson and Braden Smith will be key down the stretch.

Auburn defensive tackle Andrew Williams was one of several linemen to make big plays Saturday. (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)

Defensive line: A-plus

Arkansas quarterback Cole Kelley didn’t have much time to do anything Saturday night against Auburn. The Tigers had 6 sacks, and all but one of them came from the defensive line. Jeff Holland had another standout performance in a huge junior season, as he came up with 1.5 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. Nick Coe and Dontavius Russell each had 6 tackles and made impressive plays all around the pocket.

Auburn’s great work on the defensive line didn’t just stop with the first team, either.  Freshmen Big Kat Bryant and T.D. Moultry were involved in sacks, and Moultry got on the field earlier than expected. That constant pressure was outstanding for this defensive line, especially after a couple of quiet weeks in the stat sheets.

Linebackers: A

Auburn’s linebackers felt closer to a full squad again Saturday night as Tre’ Williams came back from injury. Deshaun Davis and Darrell Williams both shook off minor injuries from last week to contribute in big ways. Darrell Williams tied for the team lead in tackles and came up with a big fumble recovery on special teams.

Arkansas was able to gash Auburn’s defense for big plays a few times due to some misfits and a couple of lapses in communication. But Arkansas averaged less than 5 yards per snap, and the linebackers played a big part in that.

MORE:  What Gus Malzahn said after Auburn’s 52-20 road win at Arkansas

Secondary: B-plus

As a whole, the Auburn secondary can feel like it did a good job, especially considering it was down two starters — safety Tray Matthews and cornerback Javaris Davis. Kelley only threw for 163 yards, but some of them came on big plays in which the secondary left him with big pockets.

There were bright spots, though. Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis each came up with crucial pass breakups, Stephen Roberts slammed the door on a couple of Arkansas drives, and Jordyn Peters delivered in a big spot as a freshman with key snaps at dime back. While the big plays still need to be cut down for this unit, it was a good response after a couple of disappointing weeks by its standards.

Special teams: C-minus

Williams made something big happen on an Auburn punt, but the Tigers nearly had a disaster of their own on the first punt of the game. The kick coverage team had its own major mishap when Arkansas ran one back for 100 yards and a touchdown. Auburn’s own kicker and punter delivered decently enough. However, this unit needs some bye week work after back-to-back games of allowing long touchdowns.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn improved to 4-1 against Arkansas coach Bret Bielema on Saturday. (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)

Coaching: A-minus

Auburn’s coaching staff had some odd decisions in the first half — the Tigers accepted a holding penalty instead of a first-down sack only to see Arkansas convert quickly, and they also called timeout late in the second quarter before a field goal, but didn’t do anything with the ball. Those moves weren’t damaging, ultimately, in a 32-point win.

Malzahn said he stressed the importance of avoiding its usual third-quarter slump, and his team responded with a 28-point outburst. The offensive play calling was balanced and explosive, taking full advantage of a bad Arkansas team. Defensively, Auburn’s first-teamers held their opponents out of the end zone again. Quirks aside, this was exactly what this staff needed.

Grading the SEC quarterbacks in Week 8: Drew Lock carves up Idaho

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 11:14 AM

When a team lights up the scoreboard to the tune of 51 points before halftime, chances are the quarterback had a decent day. That was the case for Missouri’s Drew Lock in a  68-21 romp against Idaho.

Mississippi State and LSU also had solid outings from its quarterbacks, while Ole Miss, Kentucky and Tennessee were far less fortunate.

Here is a grade for each of the SEC’s quarterbacks for Week 8:

Drew Lock, Missouri: A-plus

Stats: 23-for-33 passing for 467 yards, 6 TDs, INT

Drew Lock made Missouri’s Homecoming a memorable one with a big day against Idaho. He tossed 6 touchdown passes, 3 of which went to Albert Okwuegbunam, as the Tigers roared to 51 first-half points en route to a blowout victory.

Nick Fitzgerald/Keytaon Thompson, Mississippi State: A-plus

Stats: Fitzgerald — 18-for-26 passing for 155 yards, TD; 12 rushes for 115 yards, 2 TDs; Thompson — 1-for-1 passing for 4 yards; 4 rushes for 65 yards, 2 TDs

Nick Fitzgerald was at the heart of Mississippi State’s emphatic win over Kentucky, piling up 270 total yards and 3 touchdowns. Keytaon Thompson came off the bench to rush for 2 more scores, making it a long day for Kentucky’s defense.

Danny Etling, LSU: B

Stats: 9-for-13 passing for 200 yards, 2 TDs

Derrius Guice stole all the headlines, but Danny Etling was very efficient in LSU’s road win at Ole Miss. His 60-yard scoring strike to Foster Moreau in the fourth quarter effectively put the game out of reach. All in all, it’s a nice confidence booster in advance of the Alabama game.

Jalen Hurts/Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama: B

Stats: Hurts — 13-for-21 passing for 198 yards, TD; Tagovailoa — 9-for-12 passing for 134 yards, TD, INT; 4 rushes for 36 yards, TD

Alabama rolled past Tennessee, and the quarterbacks had a hand in making sure there was plenty of cigar smoke in Tuscaloosa. Jalen Hurts didn’t rush the ball, but he threw for nearly 200 yards and a score before making way for Tua Tagovailoa. The freshman threw a pick-6, but responded with a 60-yard touchdown pass to Henry Ruggs III to finish off a 45-7 win.

Jarrett Stidham/Malik Willis, Auburn: B-minus

Stats: Stidham — 19-for-28 passing for 218 yards, INT; 4 rushes for 49 yards, TD; Willis — 1-for-1 passing for 4 yards, TD; 2 rushes for 62 yards

Jarrett Stidham was efficient enough, but didn’t throw a touchdown pass and had a takeaway on an interception. He did run for a score, however. Malik Willis completed his only throw for a touchdown while picking up 62 rushing yards on just 2 carries.

Cole Kelley, Arkansas: D

Stats: 15-for-26 passing for 163 yards

Cole Kelley was sacked 6 times and lost 2 fumbles in a rough outing against Auburn. It was only his second career start, and he was working behind what has been a pretty poor offensive line. Still, he didn’t do much in a 52-20 defeat.

Stephen Johnson, Kentucky: D

Stats: 13-for-28 passing for 117 yards, 2 INT; 9 rushes for 54 yards

Stephen Johnson had a rough afternoon in Starkville, as the Mississippi State defense held him under 50 percent for completions and picked him off twice. On the day, Kentucky was held to only 260 yards of offense and crossed midfield only three times.

Shea Patterson/Jordan Ta’amu, Ole Miss: D-minus

Stats: Patterson — 10-for-23 passing for 116 yards, 3 INT; Ta’amu — 7-for-11 passing for 78 yards

Shea Patterson had a day to forget in the loss to LSU. He threw 3 interceptions and picked up a sprained right knee in the process. Jordan Ta’amu was a bright spot, sparking a scoring drive in relief of Patterson. As poorly as the defense fared against the run, the Rebels would have needed an ‘A’ game from Patterson to stay in this game.

Jarrett Guarantano, Tennessee: F

Stats: 9-for-16 passing for 44 yards, INT

Jarrett Guarantano made his first road start at Alabama on Saturday, and it didn’t go all that well. He was sacked 4 times and served up an interception as the Volunteers struggled to move the ball against the Crimson Tide. After the game, he promised “a magical 35 days” to end the season. He’s going to need to develop a bit more to make good on that.

Tennessee CB commit Tanner Ingle impresses with another strong Friday night performance

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 11:14 AM

Each week, we spotlight the performances of Tennessee recruits in the Class of 2018, and how they fared with their respective high school teams. In this edition, we look at commits cornerback Tanner Ingle and quarterback Michael Penix, and offensive lineman target Jerome Carvin.

Tanner Ingle

Tennessee will graduate three cornerbacks this season in Justin Martin, Emmanuel Moseley and Shaq Wiggins, meaning the Vols need to find reinforcements in the secondary quickly.

Ingle is someone Tennessee might be counting on in a hurry next season. He plays cornerback for Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Fla.

The Panthers have a 6-2 record after a 31-10 win over Olympia on Friday night.

Ingle had quite the game with 5 tackles, 2 for a loss and a pass breakup.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound cornerback will have chances to push for playing time next season. The Vols will need him to come in and at least provide depth.

Michael Penix

This is the third consecutive week Penix has been featured in this space. He has deserved it every week.

Penix completed 14 of 20 passes for 241 yards and 4 touchdowns for Tampa Bay Tech.

Penix continues to deflect praise. Instead, he likes to talk about his offensive line.

“It always starts with the O-line which helps everyone else make plays,” Penix said. “We always believe them and trust them. The coaches had good play calling and we executed the way we needed to. It felt good.”

Jerome Carvin

Carvin isn’t a Tennessee commit, but the Vols are likely leading for the tackle.

He has helped lead Cordova High School to one of its best season of all time. The Wolves hold a 7-2 record with one game left in the regular season.

Cordova won Friday night against Arlington High School 72-63. The game didn’t even go into overtime.

Carvin told SEC County in September he wants to commit to a team where he has a chance to play as a freshman. The Vols are recruiting Carvin as a right tackle.

ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit slots TCU at No. 4 following blowout victory over Kansas

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 11:09 AM

The nation’s top teams took care of business over the weekend and that means not much changes in regards to the college football pecking order.

Alabama, Penn State and Georgia all cruised to victories, as did TCU, which keeps the Horned Frogs firmly in place at No. 4 in ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit’s top four.

The Horned Frogs welcomed Kansas to Fort Worth over the weekend and promptly put forth their most dominating display of the season. TCU overwhelmed the Jayhawks from start to finish and once the final seconds ticked off the clock, Kansas remained scoreless with just 21 total yards of offense in a 43-0 Horned Frogs blowout victory.

As a result, TCU improved to 7-0 on the season and remains unblemished in Big 12 play entering the final five-game stretch. More notably, after concluding the 2016 season at 6-7, TCU has already surpassed last season’s win total and is projected to add at least four more to its resume, per ESPN’s FPI.

With its College Football Playoff aspirations well within its own control, TCU simply has to continue doing what it’s done to this point — winning.

That task begins next weekend on the road against an Iowa State Cyclones club that’s now enjoying it’s best start since 2002 at 5-2, courtesy of a three-game winning streak. Big 12 battles with Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Baylor will then wrap of the regular season and if TCU gets its way, the Horned Frogs will still be within Herstreit’s top four when that time comes.