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VOL. 128 | NO. 194 | Friday, October 04, 2013

College Football Notebook

DON WADE | Special to The Daily News

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College football is played from coast to coast in this great land, but it’s still a small world. The proof? When USC fired head coach Lane Kiffin, who had bolted Tennessee for Southern Cal, assistant Ed Orgeron (Ole Miss head coach from 2005 to 2007) became USC’s interim coach.

Orgeron, by the way, immediately scored points with players by returning sweets to the training table.

“Feed a lineman a cookie, he’s happy,” Orgeron said.

Orgeron went 10-25 at Ole Miss. In his first practice this week at USC, Orgeron said he didn’t know if he would ever be a head coach again – “This is my shot, our shot” – and said he had learned a few things since his Ole Miss days.

“I didn’t take my shirt off today,” he said, referring to his first team meeting with the Rebels.

The University of Memphis returns to action after a bye week this Saturday, Oct. 5, with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium against American Athletic Conference foe Central Florida. The Tigers are 1-2 after beating Arkansas State.

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

The Knights, 3-1, gave No. 13 South Carolina a scare before falling, 28-25. UCF beat the Tigers here last year, 35-17, when both schools were still in Conference USA. But Tigers coach Justin Fuente said progress was made in that game, progress he hopes will allow his team to compete from the first play this time around.

“I felt like a switch went on for us from a physical standpoint,” Fuente said. “I felt like we were at least trying to compete, to match the physical level of another physical football program. In the middle of the game, while we made mistakes and while they made plays and they beat us, I felt like we had taken a step forward even though it was a small one. … I even said on the headset in the middle of the game, ‘Our guys are starting to figure it out.’”

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier may have needed a little assistance in calming down after that close game with UCF. In his coach’s TV show, taped after the game, Spurrier slurs some words and many observers have speculated that he was, in fact, inebriated. The show aired just once before being pulled.

Asked if he was impaired while doing the show, Spurrier said, “I hope not.” He went on to say, “Whether or not I have a few beers after every game for the past 29 years, I don’t think I need to get into all that. Most coaches that I know, we probably do have a few beers after ballgames after building up all week and so forth. But that was a draining day, and I got too negative,” he said in explaining why the show did not air again.

Tennessee coach Butch Jones is trying to take an offensive approach to defending what is becoming a progressively frustrating season for the Vols (3-2, 0-1). Last week, UT barely held off South Alabama – not to be confused with Regular Alabama—in a 31-24 game, and this week, No. 6 Georgia (3-1, 2-0) comes calling.

So, Jones opened the week with this: “There is an inordinate amount of positive things going on in our football program right now. I think in the world that we live in right now, everyone wants to focus on negativity, but let’s focus on positives. I call it ‘Positive Monday.’”

There’s not much positive spin to be applied to UT’s offense. The Vols are averaging 369.4 yards per game, last in the SEC. Their 154 passing yards per game also ranks last and they’ve thrown league-high eight interceptions.

Junior Justin Worley, who was booed at Neyland Stadium last week, will again start at quarterback before the home crowd.

“I will always have his back, and the entire offensive line will have his back,” said lineman James Stone. “We have confidence in him.”

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