SEC insider: Auburn moves forward with Moseley

It’s tough to tell if Clint Moseley is the answer at quarterback for Auburn.

He has played well when he has had time to throw, but Moseley spent most of Saturday afternoon dodging LSU defenders, who flew at him from every direction in a 45-10 victory.

Moseley completed 12 of his 20 attempts for 145 yards, but was sacked six times and threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown in his first career start.

And like previous starter Barrett Trotter, Moseley struggled without top receiver Emory Blake, who has missed all but one play of the past three games with an ankle injury.

“He did not panic. I’m very proud of him for that,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. “As much pressure as he was under all day long, I don’t think he panicked at all. And I think he pressed forward and kept moving and stayed positive. That was good to see from him.”

Chizik is prepared to move forward with Moseley. Trotter was effective early this season, but became more inconsistent as the schedule toughened.

The Tigers have had a tough October, with road games at South Carolina, Arkansas and LSU and at home against Florida in the past four weeks. They went 2-2 in that stretch, but scored only 57 points, an average of 14.3 per game.

Burning question

How will Justin Worley perform as Tennessee’s new starting quarterback?

Worley will become the third quarterback to start for the Volunteers this season when he takes his first snap against South Carolina on Saturday, but probably won’t make much of a difference in their output.

Even with starter Tyler Bray, who will miss the rest of the year with a thumb injury, the Volunteers struggled running the ball and remain last in the SEC at 89.4 rushing yards per game.

Coach Derek Dooley is desperate to energize Tennessee’s offense and salvage the season. Matt Simms was just 14-for-37 with three interceptions in losses to Alabama and LSU, and the Volunteers are 0-4 in the SEC.

“I just feel like for us to go out and try to win games, we are not throwing and catching the way we need to and we’re not calling the game the way we want to,” Dooley said. “We just need to make this move. It’s not something that is done on a whim. We have a lot of data to make a switch. We don’t have a lot of data on Justin.”

In focus

CoShik Williams had one of his finer games at Kentucky in the Wildcats’ victory over Jacksonville State on Saturday, but that doesn’t mean he’ll start against Mississippi State.

Williams, a junior who played at Hiram High School, took over when starting running back Raymond Sanders (Stephenson) went out with a high ankle sprain and rushed for a career-high 148 yards on 22 carries in the 38-14 victory.

Kentucky coach Joker Phillips said he’ll turn to Williams if Sanders can’t play Saturday.

“Raymond Sanders has been one of the more consistent guys,” Phillips said. “He’s kind of held [CoShik] off, but if Raymond is down, CoShik, he’s got to step up and be more consistent in his play and his practice. But he’s got a chance to be a good back. He’s been pretty durable, also, when he’s gotten a chance to play. We expect him to have a big second half of the season.”

Sanders also was injured earlier this season, giving an opportunity to freshman Josh Clemons (Whitewater). Sanders returned, and Clemons was lost for the season with a knee injury.

Williams experienced limited success last season, rushing for 95 yards and three touchdowns in a victory over Charleston Southern.

“Being out there with my teammates after practicing all week, it felt really good,” he said. “It felt good to finally run against someone else for a change. The yardage kind of shot up on me. I didn’t know I had that many. It was fun out there for me.”

Etc.

Vanderbilt’s Ryan Seymour (Camden County) was chosen the SEC’s offensive lineman of the week with seven knockdown blocks in a victory over Army. Seymour, starting at guard for the third time after starts at both tackle positions this season, didn’t allow a sack. ... Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson (Gainesville) was chosen the conference’s freshman of the week with 13 tackles in a loss to Alabama. Johnson leads all SEC freshmen with 45 tackles this season. ... Brent Brewer (Sandy Creek) has 18 tackles and has started all seven games at strong safety for Tennessee. ... Kentucky freshman receiver Demarco Robinson (M.L. King) was reinstated after serving a one-game suspension for a violation of team rules.

Quotable

“I told the team [Sunday], ‘What’s the smallest room in the world?’ Do you know? It’s a mushroom. Right? That’s what it is. The largest room in the world is the room for improvement. That’s where we are. We have to focus on the largest room in the world.” — Dooley

“One thing we know, that in those clutch times, when you have to have a play, if we get the ball anywhere near him, he’s probably going to catch it. He’s just always been that way. ... So it’s just kind of one of those things probably where you got it or you don’t got it. He’s got it.” — Chizik on tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen (Lassiter)

By the numbers

2 Rushing touchdowns allowed by Alabama this season, which leads the SEC

12 Field goals made by SEC kickers Saturday in 12 attempts

Saturday’s schedule

  • Arkansas at Vanderbilt, 12:21 p.m. (WPCH)
  • Florida vs. Georgia, 3:30 p.m. (CBS)*
  • Mississippi at Auburn, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
  • Mississippi State at Kentucky, 7 p.m. (FSSO)
  • South Carolina at Tennessee, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN)

*at Jacksonville