SEC buzz: Updates from around the conference

Compiled by Ray Cox

THE SCOOP

Steve Spurrier seems in midseason form at South Carolina, confirming after Wednesday’s morning practice that All-American defensive end Jadaveon Clowney will play in the opener against North Carolina and that Flowery Branch’s Connor Shaw remains his No. 1 quarterback.

“All communication problems have been solved,” Spurrier said of Clowney. “He’s back on the team in good standing. Bruce (Ellington) is still hurt. Bruce has a lingering hamstring that prevents him (from practicing). He hasn’t done anything for a good week now.”

Spurrier is upbeat about both quarterbacks. “(Shaw and Dylan Thompson) are ready to play. We’ll try to find a way to get them both in there, but Connor Shaw is the starter. Dylan is going to play. We’re still working on that two-quarterback system offense. We’re thinking about it.”

WHAT TO WATCH

  • Vanderbilt has signed a three-game series with Western Kentucky that includes the first visit of an SEC school to Houchens-L.T. Smith Stadium, the Hilltoppers' home field in Bowling Green, Ky., on Sept. 4, 2016. Western Kentucky and Bobby Petrino, if he remains at the school that long as coach, will play in Nashville, Tenn., on Sept. 12, 2015 and Nov. 4, 2017.
  • Ole Miss' projected starting cornerbacks Charles Sawyer (two offseason surgeries) and Senquez Golson (hamstring) have been out of practice while they are recovering.
  • Alabama sophomore receiver Amari Cooper (foot sprain) will miss a few practices and is listed as day-to-day. He had three touchdowns in last week's scrimmage.
  • LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson has slimmed from 330-plus pounds as a freshman to about 295 and is frustrating offensive line teammates with his speed. He said he dropped the weight after being chided by his mother for having "Dunlop Disease" because his gut was spilling over his belt.

QUOTABLE

“He’s been a great resource for me, to be able to watch him really have the success he’s had. I’ll tell you this, there’s nobody more deserving than Erik Spoelstra. The work that he’s done, he’s always tried to be different, always has tried to stay one step ahead of the game.” — Tennessee coach Butch Jones on the Miami Heat coach, who spent the day with the Volunteers, and the players wore “Championship Wednesday” T-shirts with logos imprinted of both the Vols and the Heat.

BY THE NUMBERS

7

SEC teams in the Sports Illustrated Top 25 released Wednesday, including Alabama (1), Texas A&M (3*-asterisk because the Aggies won’t be if Johnny Manziel is suspended), South Carolina (6), Florida (9), Georgia (12), LSU (14) and Vanderbilt (23).

15

Sports Illustrated covers that have featured Alabama since Nick Saban arrived as coach, including this year’s preview that has the Crimson Tide’s T.J. Yeldon featured. (It is one of six regional covers). The past five Alabama players have all been running backs. Yeldon told the Anniston Star what his goal is: “Wherever I was going to go (to college), I was going to be the best back that has ever come through that college.”