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  • Belles In Biz: Maddy Glab: The Sideline Belle of The VOLS

    Sep 30, 2015 CATEGORIES: Belles in Biz, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Tennessee Football

    When the “Belles In Biz” weekly feature began, I knew there were some pretty talented and successful women out there who deserved to be applauded and congratulated on their achievements. Maddy Glab of the Tennessee Volunteer athletics broadcasting team is no exception to the rule.  Maddy is an inspiration to all women involved with sports, or simply just a fan of any game.  Maddy, you make this Gridiron Belle proud and quite frankly, your achievements help get me out of bed in the morning!  Read on to be inspired by this Belle in Biz, we certainly were. Keep up the great work, Maddy!

    Name: Maddy Glab

    SEC Team: Tennessee Volunteers       

    Graduated from: Mizzou

    Name of Your Title: (University of Tennessee Athletics Broadcasting) VFL Films Multimedia Producer/On-Air Talent

    How did you get your start?

    My dad says I had an interest in sports before I could walk— and zero interest in dolls, barbies or the color pink. My apparel preference was T-shirts and gym shorts which was fitting for a girl with a dream of being the first female to play in the MLB. When that didn’t work out, my second best idea was to find a way to talk about sports for a living by being a sports broadcaster. I decided to go to Mizzou for their revered journalism school. I got involved at KOMU 8-TV, the NBC affiliate station in Columbia, Mo and started anchoring sports during my sophomore year. The rest was history.

    After I graduated, I moved to Palo Alto, CA for a job with Stanford as a producer for Cardinal Channel within their athletics department. After a year in California I got home sick for the SEC and here I am now with the most amazing job I could dream of!

    So tell us, what exactly is your role?

    My role breaks down to a little bit of everything. I – along with an amazing team at VFL Films – shoot, write, edit for all different features, segments, stories, interviews, highlights, etc. dealing with Tennessee athletics/Tennessee athletics alums (VFLs).

    I also serve as the on-air talent for Tennessee athletics – you may see me on-camera conducting one-on- one interviews, anchoring highlights and hosting. On top of that, I am the sideline reporter for SEC Network digital plus (aired on the internet) / linear games (aired on TV) for sports like women’s soccer, volleyball, and basketball. It makes for a busy life.

    Most challenging part of your job?

    Every day is a challenge to make something creative and pleasing to everyone who’s watching whether they are sports fans or not.

    Most rewarding? Getting to be a part of all the action through the games I get to cover, the interviews I get to do, the people I get to meet.

    What is the difference in football atmospheres between Mizzou and Tennessee?

    Tennessee has the history and rich traditions that give you chills.  In Knoxville, football is a way of life and I’m in awe of the fan base they have. The sports fan that I am, I feel like I’m with my people here.

    Mizzou is still trying to prove itself, but that works for Mizzou, they love that chip on their shoulder. The Tigers are the new dogs in the SEC and are doing a great job of assimilating to the SEC culture. Both atmospheres are similar this year by both trying to prove themselves. 

    What have you learned about the behind the scenes of the gridiron since you’ve been there?

    I am in awe of how hard Tennessee football works to put their program together and in a respectable way that is noticed around the country. From the coaches to the players; from the training staff to the department, they work their butts of day in and day out. It definitely makes me proud to work at UT.

    Greatest part of being on the media team?

    I think the greatest part is getting to be a part of the team. We are One Tennessee, everyone wants to be a part of something great.

    What is one thing you cannot survive without in your career?

    I can’t live without my pen and legal notepad. I’m a note taker, whether it’s writing down a catchy line that pops into my head for my next story or writing down a statistic. I’ve got to have them near me at all times. 

    What’s next?

    I want to be in this business until I retire. Well, when I retire I want to work at Wrigley Field and direct people to their seats. I hope to be with Tennessee for a good amount of time. I want my next step to be big – so in my eyes that’s working for an NFL team or at a network station as on-air talent/producer.

    Work-life balance, fact or fiction?

    FICTION. In this business it’s impossible to leave work at work. It’s hard for me to take my work hat off once I’m home. I’m always thinking of new story ideas.

    Career advice to other Belles?

    Don’t take no for an answer. There is always a way around a “no” for women to break into this business. Keep grinding, don’t ever give up and study up! Know your facts and teams so you’re able to talk the talk. Give women in sports a good name!

    Favorite part about being a SPORTS fan. I love sports. My passion for sports could light this world on fire. Sports bring people together, sports tell amazing stories, sports are our weekends. Sports make us smile, laugh, and cry. Sports will be here till the end of time.

    Favorite tailgating snack? Fiesta ranch dip – so amazing. Fiesta ranch dip seasoning packet (can find at walmart/chain grocery stores), tub of sour cream, chopped black olives, chopped green chilies, bag of cheddar cheese. Mix. Serve with tortilla chips. I could eat a whole bowl.

    Game day drink of choice?   Since I work on game days my drinks  – coffee and water. I need coffee to wake me up every day. Gotta have that water to keep you hydrated through a hot Saturday in September!

    Coach Crush?

    No crush. I’m in this industry to cover sports, not have crushes.

    To keep up with the VOLS and everything this Gridiron Belle is getting into, follow Maddy here:  Website, Twitter, Insta

  • SERIOUS FOOTBALL: Week II

    Sep 11, 2015 CATEGORIES: Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Mississippi State, Serious Football, Starkville, Tennessee Football, UGA, Vanderbilt

     

    All finally felt right in the world last Saturday as Week-1 of college football resumed. Traditionally, the first three weeks of football season are full of Power Team v Cupcake Team  match-ups and leave us viewers unimpressed and still longing for real football.  This season, the excitement is here on Week-2 and I don’t want anyone to miss it.

    Our favorites:

    Kentucky and head coach Mark Stoops head to South Carolina on Saturday. But that’s not the only Stoops brother who will be in the SEC this weekend.  Mark Stoop’s brother, Bob Stoops, who is the head coach of Oklahoma, is coming to Knoxville in an attempt to get an SEC win on his schedule. Both Stoops brothers are great guys and daggum good football coaches, but we only hope one of them wins.

    #14 LSU is making the trip to Starkville for their “first game of the season” to line up against #25 MS State. The cowbells will be ringing for this early season SEC West matchup.  Could we be more excited?

    #10 Georgia @ Vanderbilt is high on our interest list for two reasons:  1) Vandy always shocks someone each season and I’m wondering if it isn’t SEC-East-Predicted-Winner Georgia; 2) Gridiron Belles is heading to Nashville for the game to tailgate and to take Vandy and UGA photos for the next book.  Be sure to let me know where you’ll be tailgating so I can stop by!

    Any way you slice it, it’s Week-2.  Summer is over. It’s time to dedicate your Saturdays to the Gridiron.  Here is your schedule for Saturday.

    11:00 AM

    Auburn v Jacksonville State 

    2:30 PM

    Georgia #10 @ Vanderbilt

    Fresno State @  #17 Ole Miss

    3:00 PM

    Middle Tennessee @ #2 Alabama

    Toledo @ # 18 Arkansas

    5:00 PM

    #19 Oklahoma @ #23 Tennessee

    6:00 PM

    Ball State @ #16 Texas A&M

    #21 Missouri @ Arkansas State

    East Carolina @ Florida

    6:30 PM

    Kentucky @ South Carolina

    8:15 PM

    #14 LSU @ #25  MS STATE

    More articles

    ESPN Week Two Game Breakdown

    Auburn develops a way for players to stay cool

    Early Morning Kickoffs Call for This

  • Game Time Week 9

    Oct 24, 2014 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Kentucky Football, LSU Football, Mississippi State, Ole Miss Football, SEC, SEC Football, South Carolina, Tennessee Football

    Sneak peek of what’s to come at the Gridiron Belle tailgate this weekend!

    We want to encourage you to get set up for game day in time for the Arkansas kick off (no SEC game should be left unappreciated), but with a non-conference match up, we just can’t suggest full schedule clearing.  We’ll be pig-sooooooie-ing as we wrap up our errands and get ready for 3:30.

    At 3:30pm on Saturday, fans in the Bluegrass will hope to recover from the merciless stomping they took from LSU last weekend… too bad this year Mississippi State is not an easy game.  Nevertheless, Stoops’ Troops have gumption. Plus, we’ll be in town with an amazing pre-gridiron spread and our fingers crossed.

    The Bengal Tigers in Baton Rouge will be in full force… tailgating, cooking and trying their damndest to knock off Ole Miss. No man, woman or child, will be spared from the taunting sound of “Tiger Bait”.  This is one of the best rivals in college football— in the parking lot AND on the gridiron. 

    For as much disdain as there is between these two schools, the Alabama v. Tennessee match up hasn’t been very exciting in recent history.   We are hoping for a good game… mainly because kickoff is at 7:30 and it just feels like those Volunteers need some hope to get through the end of the season.

    In case the BAMA game becomes a red-zone game, there will be nothing short of a battle between South Carolina and Auburn on the other channel.  Auburn is ranked, unlike Old Ball Coach and his boys, but this has “closer than it should be” written all over it. At least for the first half.

    Here is your game day schedule, enjoy!

    Xs and Os

    Christie Leigh

     

    12:00pm          UAB @ Arkansas

    3:30pm            Mississippi State (No. 1) @ Kentucky

    4:00pm            Vanderbilt @ Missouri

    7:15pm             Ole Miss (No. 3) @ LSU (No. 24)

    7:30pm            Alabama (No. 4) @ Tennessee

                                 South Carolina @ Auburn (No. 5)

    Bye Weeks:

    Georgia

    Florida

    Texas A&M

     

  • Order the 2nd Edition of Gridiron Belles

    Sep 4, 2013 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Atlanta, Auburn v Georgia, BCS Championship Game, Football weddings, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles Tour, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Heisman Trophy, Lilly Pulitzer and Gridiron Belles, LSU Football, LSU v ALABAMA football, Mississippi State, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, SEC Stadium Tour, Southern Football, Southern Tailgating, Southern Women, Tailgating, Tennessee Football, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football

    My dearest Gridiron Belle:

    Football season has arrived and with impeccable timing, we just launched our highly-anticipated campaign for the 2nd edition of Gridiron Belles! ( You can go ahead and back the project here.)

    With an overdue welcome to Mizzou and TX A&M to the SEC, I needed to add their chapters and some photos of their tailgates and traditions.  While I was at it––to keep it a second edition and  not an entirely new book–– I went ahead and added new belle photos, quotes, outfit suggestions and updated some unique tailgate ideas among other things. (It’s easy to pre-order, here, now)

    So here is how this works:  This kickstarter campaign is the only way for you to get a copy of the new book. If this isn’t a success, no one gets a copy, so be sure to spread the word.   We recommend telling all of your sorority sisters, bridesmaids, boyfriends, friends you tailgate with and gridiron-loving family members. Heck, go ahead and order a few for yourself so you have hostess gifts on stand-by.  Either way, y’all asked for more books, so here they are! You’ll be the first to have a copy of the fall’s must-reads and I guarantee you’ll understand the game of football when you’re finished reading! 

    Thanks in advance for your support; can’t wait to see you at the next tailgate!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

    Go ahead, order!

     

     

     

     

  • Gridiron Week 1 Recap

    Sep 3, 2013 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Kentucky Football, LSU Football, LSU v ALABAMA football, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, Southern Football, Southern Tailgating, Tennessee Football, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football

    And so it begins!

    There is a lot to pay attention to each weekend of the season.  Obviously, we don’t want you to miss a thing as true Gridiron Belles keep up with their team and those in their team’s division and conference.  So read on.  This is the recap for opening weekend… it’s already heating up!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

    North Carolina vs. (6) South Carolina (27-10)

    The 2013 season kicked off with a classic non-conference battle between the Carolinas. The two teams hadn’t faced each other on the field since 2007. South Carolina got off to a fast start by scoring 17 points in first quarter, including a 65-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Connor Shaw to sophomore wide receiver Shaq Roland. Junior quarterback Dylan Thompson also got some playing time after Coach Steve Spurrier said he was going to use the dual QB system this year. Thompson’s only pass of the game led to a 29-yard touchdown to sophomore wide receiver Kane Whitehurst. Sophomore running back Mike Davis showed his speed abilities, after dodging a couple of defenders, by running the ball into the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown. The Gamecocks beat the rival Tarheels by a final score of 27-10.

    All-American junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney’s performance on the field wasn’t as dominant as all of the pre-season hype led up for it to be after he only grabbed three tables, but give it time. Clowney said he wasn’t very thrilled with his performance but says the hot temperature and a stomach virus from earlier in the week played some factor. Coach Spurrier says the team is going to spend a lot more time on conditioning this week before facing Georgia.

    Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt (39-35)

    The first SEC battle of the year was everything we could have wanted in a conference matchup. Ole Miss took control of the game early, scoring the only points of the first quarter to give the Rebels a 10-0 lead. The second quarter though belonged to Vanderbilt. The Commodores scored two touchdowns in just under a minute and a half to regain the lead.

    Ole Miss’s Barry Brunetti and Vanderbilt’s Wesley Tate each scored 3-yard touchdown runs in the third quarter, but Ole Miss was able to pull the game within 3 points thanks to junior quarterback Bo Wallace. Wallace ran the ball in for a 3-yard touchdown and then connected with freshman wide receiver Laquon Treadwell for a two-point conversion. Wallace then scored the first points of the fourth quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Rebels a 32-28 lead. With 1:30 left in the game, Vanderbilt’s Carta-Samuels connected with sophomore tight end Steven Scheu for a 34-yard touchdown and took a 35-32 lead. 27 seconds later on the second possession of the drive for Ole Miss, senior running back Jeff Scott scored a 75-yard touchdown to give the Rebels a 39-35 lead. The make-or-break moment of the game came with :33 left in the game and Vanderbilt sitting at 3rd and 4, Carta-Samuels pass bounces off the hands of Jordan Matthews and into the hands of Ole Miss junior defensive back Cody Prewitt for the interception. The Rebels hung-on to earn their first conference win of the season, 39-35. Both teams will face their first non-conference opponent of the season this week. Ole Miss hosts SE Missouri State while Vanderbilt gets a visit from Austin Peay,

    Toledo vs. (10) Florida (24-6)

    The Florida Gators didn’t let the suspension of five players stop them from starting the season off with a win. Junior running back Mack Brown and junior quarterback Jeff Driskel helped lead the team to a 24-6 win over Toledo. Brown lead the team in rushing, caring the ball 25 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns. The number of carries Brown got in the first game of 2013 equaled the total amount he had during all of 2012. Driskel went 17-of-22 for 152 yards and one touchdown. The Florida offense had a total of 414 yards of offense with 262 coming on the ground. The Gators also showed some early signs of being as good as the fifth ranked defense from last year by only allowing Toledo to score 6 points in the game. Next up for Florida is non-conference foe Miami.

    Rice vs. (7) Texas A&M (52-31)

    After a whirlwind of an off-season, sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel found himself on the bench for the majority of the first game. Manziel served a first-half suspension from NCAA but found himself back on the bench after being yanked by Coach Kevin Sumlin after picking up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the fourth quarter. After the game Sumlin said the behavior of Manziel was not OK and the penalty was “foolish.”  Manziel wasn’t the only Aggie player who spent the majority of his time on the bench. Junior cornerback Deshazor Everett was also serving a half-game suspension for a misdemeanor assault charge and entered the game in the second half. However, in the fourth quarter he was ejected from the game for targeting. Everett will now have to spend the first half of the Aggies’ second game on the bench under the NCAA’s new targeting rule. If that wasn’t enough drama, just before kickoff the Aggies announced four players had been suspended for the first two games for violating team rules.

    With all the suspensions, Texas A&M started off slow. Rice held a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter but the Aggies started to click in the second.  At halftime, the Aggies lead Rice 28-21. To start the second half, Manziel rushed for 19 yards but the team ended up being forced to kick a field-goal after Manziel was sacked to end the drive. Even though Manziel only played for roughly a quarter and a half, he went 6-of-8 on the day for 94 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. If Manziel can manage to keep his nose clean this week, he will be able to start his first game of the 2013 season vs. Sam Houston State.

    Mississippi State vs. (13) Oklahoma State (21-3)

    The first game of the season can often times mean slow starts. That was certainly the case for the Mississippi State vs. Oklahoma State game in Houston, Texas. The Bulldogs held a 3-0 lead until late in the second quarter. At halftime, the Cowboys only had a 7-3 lead. Mississippi State starting senior quarterback Tyler Russell left the game in the third quarter. Coach Dan Mullen said Russell was OK but they didn’t want to take any chances with head or neck injuries. Mullen would not specify what type of injury Russell suffered. He finished the day 10-of-16 for 133 yards before being replaced by backup sophomore quarterback Dak Prescott. Oklahoma State scored single touchdowns in the third and the fourth quarters to grab a 21-3 win.

    Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Arkansas (34-14)

    The Bret Bielema era at Arkansas started off with a 34-14 win, with big help from sophomore quarterback Brandon Allen. Allen went 15-of-22 for 230 passing yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to senior wide receiver Javontee Herndon. Sophomore Jonathan Williams rushed for 151 yards and one touchdown while Alex Collins rushed for 131 yards. The Razorbacks had 292 rushing yards during Bielema’s first game, which totaled 125 yards better than the 2012 team’s season high of 167 yards. Up next for Arkansas is Samford.

    (1) Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (35-10)

    The Alabama Crimson Tide is looking to become three-peat BCS Champions this year, but they still have a lot of work to do. The final score of 35-10 might not show it, but the offense had a discouraging performance in the first game of the 2013 season. Three of the touchdowns scored by Alabama weren’t from the offense; two were from special teams and one from defense. Junior wide receiver Christion Jones started the game off with a 72-yard punt return touchdown and then scored a 94-yard kickoff return touchdown in the third quarter. In the second quarter, junior defensive back Vinnie Sunseri intercepted Virginia Tech senior quarterback Logan Thomas for a 38-yard touchdown return. The only offensive touchdowns came from a 2-yard touchdown run from sophomore running back T.J. Yeldon in the first and a 38-yard touchdown pass to Jones from senior quarterback AJ McCarron late in the fourth quarter. 

    Coach Nick Saban didn’t hide his displeasure in the start of the season from the offense. Last year, the team averaged 445.5 offensive yards per game but only grabbed 206 yards vs. Virginia Tech. The Crimson Tide’s first-bye week of the season falls at week two this year. The team will have two weeks to prepare for their next game when they will  face Johnny Manziel and the Aggies in College Station, a game where the offense, defense and special teams will all need to be on the same page.

    Austin Peay vs. Tennessee (45-0)

    Some might say that Butch Jones’ debut at Tennessee couldn’t have gone any better. The team scored 45 points and held the opponent to 0. However, if you asked him, I’m sure he could still find a few things the Volunteers could improve on. Senior running back Rajion Neal and junior quarterback Justin Worley helped Tennessee get off and running. Neal rushed for 141 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries while Worley went 11-of-13 for 104 passing yards and three touchdowns. The two sat out the second half of the game after the team scored a touchdown on each of their six-possessions from the first half. Jones didn’t just make an impact on the field either; he made an impact in the attendance. On Saturday, the official attendance was at 97,169 while in 2012 the largest crowd at 87,921. The 45-0 win also marked the 800th victory in Tennessee football history. The bar has been set high for the first game and the Volunteers could have their hands full vs. their next opponent of Western Kentucky.

    Washington State vs. Auburn (31-24)

    Gus Malzahn barely escaped his first game as a head coach with a win. Junior quarterback Nick Marshall went 10-of-19 for 99 passing yards on the night but had zero touchdowns in his starting debut. Junior running back duo Tre Mason and Corey Grant came up big for Auburn. Mason cored an 8-yard touchdown run in the first quarter before scoring a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown in the second. Grant finished the day with 146 rushing yards on 9 carries, including a 75-yard touchdown run. Senior kicker Cody Parkey also played a huge role in Auburn’s win, scoring 11 points for the Tigers. Next up for Malzahn and his team? The Arkansas State Red Wolves.

    Murray State vs. Missouri (58-14)

    After a disappointing season filled with lots of injuries, the Missouri Tigers are looking for redemption for year two in the SEC. Starting senior quarterback James Franklin, who missed multiple games for shoulder, knee and head injuries, was 26-of-38 with 318 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. Junior running back Henry Josey made his return to the field since suffering a knee injury in 2011 that required two knee surgeries and sidelined him during the 2012 season. Josey carried the ball 13 times for 113 yards and a 68-yard touchdown. Sophomore running back Russell Hansbrough added 104 yards and two touchdowns on only eight carries. Mizzou held Murray State to only 14 points, which all came in the first quarter. The Tigers pick up a game one win, 58-14.

    Western Kentucky vs. Kentucky (35-26)

    Mark Stoops was the only first year SEC coach to start the year out with a loss and it came at the hands of former SEC coach Bobby Petrino. For the second year in a row, Kentucky fell short of beating in-state rival Western Kentucky, 35-26. Sophomore quarterback Jalen Whitlow started the game for the Wildcats and went 10-of-15 for 78 yards but was pulled by Stoops in the fourth quarter. Sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith entered the game and led the team to a 30-yard field goal and a 34-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Demarco Robinson, but it was too little too late. Smith went 8-of-13 on the day for 125 yards and the one touchdown. Expect Smith to most likely start for Kentucky in the next game against Miami (Ohio).

    (5) Georgia vs. (8) Clemson (38-35)

    The game of the week for the college football world certainly lived up to its hype as many chose Georgia as the front-runner to de-throne Alabama of the SEC Championship. The game went neck-and-neck. Georgia’s running game proved to be the most effective against Clemson.  Sophomore running back Todd Gurley lead the Georgia team in rushing, totaling 154 yards on 12 carries for two touchdowns. Sophomore running back Keith Marshall added 43 yards and one touchdown. When it came to the passing game, Clemson proved to have the advantage. Georgia senior quarterback Aaron Murray was selected by SEC coaches to the all-SEC preseason first team, but struggled during the game. Murray was 20-of-29 on the night, passing for 323 yards. However, he didn’t throw any touchdowns and was intercepted once in the game. On the other hand, Clemson senior quarterback Tajh Boyd had a stellar night. Boyd was only 18-of-30 for the game but threw for 270 yards and 3 touchdowns and led his team to 38-35 victory. The two teams will open up the season against each other next year, this time in Athens. 

    Georgia won’t have long to lick their wounds because next up for the Bulldogs are the South Carolina Gamecocks. The winner of this week’s game could very easily determine who heads to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game in December. There is a little bit of hope for Georgia fans. Two years ago, the Bulldogs started the season off 0-2 but ended up advancing to the SEC title game.

    (12) LSU vs. (20) TCU (37-27)

    Making changes to teams can be hard, especially when you bring in a new offensive coordinator. For LSU, bringing in Cam Cameron proved to be well worth the changes – even if it did take some time to get settled in. Things started out slow for both teams with the only points in the first quarter coming from field goals. LSU senior fullback J.C. Copeland got the first touchdown of but TCU quickly answered, returning the kickoff 100-yards for a touchdown. The Tigers were able to make a field goal as time expired in the first half and took a 16-10 lead to the locker room. The second half was a different story for LSU. They scored four touchdowns and held TCU to only 10 more points, securing a 37-27 win. In the first game of the season, the LSU offense picked up 448 yards. Senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger’s 251 passing yards equalled almost as much as TCU’s combined total of 259 yards. Next up for LSU, the UAB Blazers.

    Weekly Recaps are written by Mizzou’s finest Gridiron Belle, Ashley Colley

  • Who You Need to Know Before Kickoff

    Aug 28, 2013 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Kentucky Football, LSU Football, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, SEC football writers, Southern Football, Southern Tailgating, Tennessee Football, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football, Uncategorized

     

    What was highly anticipated has finally arrived. Football season is here! 

    In case you had a life in the off-season, we’ve compiled a quick list of who all Gridiron Belles need to know before kickoff.  You’ll receive extra points for knowing about other teams, but at a bare minimum, know the head coach and key players of your team. And of course, which opponent you will be beating this kick-off weekend!

    Happy season, y’all!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

    Alabama

    Head Coach: Nick Saban

    • 7th season at Alabama, 18th season overall

    Key Players:

    • Senior QB AJ McCarron: 25-2 record as a starter; 2012 BCS Title Game Offensive MVP
    • Sophomore WR Amari Cooper: set school freshman records for 1,000 receiving yards on 59 carries and 11 TDs in                  2012; battling foot injury and is probable for first game
    • Senior LB C.J. Mosley: 211 career tackles, 14 pass breakups and 5 interceptions; 2012 Butkus Award finalist                                    for nations’ top college linebacker

    First Opponent: Virginia Tech

    • Game at neutral site at Georgia Dome
    • Saturday, August 31 in Atlanta, GA at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Arkansas

    Head Coach: Bret Bielema

    • 1st season at Arkansas

    Key Players:

    • Sophomore QB Brandon Allen: 1-0 record as a starter; 21-of-49 for 186 yards and 1 TD in 2012
    • Senior WR Javontee Herndon: 304 receiving yards on 21 carries  and 3 TDs in 2012
    • Senior DL Chris Smith: career stats include 86 tackles, 13 sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, six pass breakups and                            one forced fumble; named to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC First Team Defense for 2013

    First Opponent: Louisiana-Lafayette

    • First matchup since November 16, 2002; Arkansas won 24-17 in Fayetteville
    • Saturday, August 31 in Fayetteville, AR at 4:00 p.m. ET on FSN

    Auburn

    Head Coach: Gus Malzahn

    •  1st season at Auburn, 2nd season overall

    Key Players:

    • Junior QB Nick Marshall: JUCO transfer from Garden City Community College who passed for 3,142 yards,                                   18 TDs while rushing for 1,095 yards and 19 TDs in 2012; played 13 games for Georgia at corner in 2011
    • Junior RB Tre Mason: lead the team in rushing with 1,002 yards in 2012; named Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC                       Second Team Offense for 2013
    • Senior DE Dee Ford: recorded 30 tackles, 6 sacks and 1 pass defended in 2012; battling knee injury and is out for                        first game, no timetable on his return

    First Opponent: Washington State

    • First matchup since September 2, 2006; Auburn won 40-14 in Auburn, AL
    • Saturday, August 31 in Auburn, AL at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU

     Florida

    Head Coach: Will Muschamp

    • 3rd season at Florida and overall

    Key Players:

    • Junior QB Jeff Driskel: threw for 1,646 yards with 12 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in 2012; had emergency             appendectomy in July but is expected to play in first game
    • Redshirt Junior WR Quentin Dunbar: recorded 383 receiving yards on 36 carries and 4 touchdowns in 2012
    • Senior DL Dominique Easley: has recorded 67 career tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, one blocked punt                                                                               and one fumble recovery; named to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC First Team Defense for 2013

    First Opponent: Toledo

    • First meeting between the two schools
    • Saturday, August 31 at 12:21 p.m. ET on SEC Network

    Georgia

    Head Coach: Mark Richt

    • 13th season at Georgia and overall

    Key Players:

    • Senior QB Aaron Murray: completed 249-of-388 passes for 3,893 passing yards and 36 TDs in 2013; named                                     to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC First Team Offense for 2013
    • Sophomore RB Todd Gurley: rushed for 1,385 yards and scored 17 TDs in 2012; became second true freshman                                      in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards
    • Sophomore LB Jordan Jenkins: recorded 31 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble                    recovery in 2012; named to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Second Team Defense for 2013

    First Opponent: Clemson

    • First matchup since August 30, 2003; Georgia won 30-0 in Clemson, SC
    • Saturday, August 31 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC; ESPN College GameDay will be on location

     Kentucky

    Head Coach: Mark Stoops

    •  1st year at Kentucky and overall

    Key Players:

    • Sophomore QB Jalen Whitlow: went 87-of-161 for 801 yards and 3 TDs while also rushing for 206 yards                                           and 3 TDs in 2012
    • Senior RB Raymond Sanders: career stats including 1,078 rushing yards for 8 TDs and 238 receiving yards                                     on 39 carries with one touchdown
    • Senior LB Avery Williamson: recorded 135 tackles, four pass breakups and one interception in 2012; named                                        to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Third Team Defense for 2013

    First Opponent: Western Kentucky

    • Last game on September 15, 2012 in Lexington; Kentucky lost 31-32 in OT
    • Saturday, August 31 at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPNews

    LSU

    Head Coach: Les Miles

    • 9th season at LSU, 13th season overall

    Key Players:

    • QB Zach Mettenberger: went 215-of-363 for 2,701 passing yards with 13 touchdowns and 7 interceptions                                            in 2012; originally went to Georgia but transferred to Butler Community College in 2010 before going to LSU
    • Senior RB Alfred Blue: career stats include 910 rushing yards with 10 touchdowns; tore ACL on September 15, 2012                                 (week three) against Idaho and didn’t for the rest of the 2012 season
    • Senior DB Craig Loston: recorded 55 tackles, three interceptions, 1 fumble recovery and one pass breakup in 2012;                    named to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC First Team Defense for 2013

    First Opponent: TCU

    • Game at neutral site at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, TX
    • Last game was in 1968; LSU won 10-7 in Baton Rouge
    • Saturday, August 31 at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Ole Miss

    Head Coach: Hugh Freeze

    • 2nd season at Ole Miss, 4th season overall

    Key Players:

    • QB Bo Wallace: went 235-of-368 for 2,994 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 2012
    • Junior WR Donte Moncrief: recorded 979 receiving yards on 66 carries for 10 touchdowns in 2012;
    • Sophomore LB Denzel Nkemdiche: recorded 82 tackles, 3 sacks and 3 interceptions in 2012; earned                                         Freshman All-American honors and named to SEC All-Freshman team in 2012; named to Coaches                                                       Pre-Season All-SEC First Team Defense for 2013

    First Opponent: Vanderbilt*

    • Last game was on November 10, 2012 in Oxford; Ole Miss lost 26-27
    • Thursday, August 29 at 9:15 p.m. ET on ESPN

     Mississippi State

    Head Coach: Dan Mullen

    • 5th season at Mississippi State and overall

    Key Players:

    • Senior QB Tyler Russell: went 231-of-394 for 2,897 passing yards and 24 touchdowns in 2012; is                                                       the school’s all time leader in passing efficiency and needs one passing touchdown in 2013 to break school record
    • Senior RB LaDarius Perkins: has 3,463 career all-purpose yards including 2,012 rushing yards and 20                               touchdowns; named to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Second Team Offense and Third Team Specialist for 2013
    • Sophomore LB Benardrick McKinney: recorded 102 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 4 pass breakups and one                                fumble recovery; earned Freshman All-American honors and named to SEC All-Freshman team in 2012

    First Opponent: Oklahoma State

    • Game at neutral site at Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX
    • Last meeting in September 18, 1999; Mississippi State won 29-11 in Starksville, MS
    • Saturday, August 31 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN2

    Missouri

    Head Coach: Gary Pinkel

    • 13th season at Missouri, 23rd season overall

    Key Players:

    • Senior QB James Franklin: recorded 1,562 passing yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012; battled multiple                                        health issues last season including a sprained knee and a concussion
    • Sophomore WR Dorial Green-Beckham: recorded 395 receiving yards on 28 receptions for five touchdowns;                             named to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Third Team Offense for 2013
    • Senior S E.J. Gaines: has 169 career tackles, 3 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles and 2 fumbles recovered; named                                 to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Third Team Offense for 2013; battling a knee injury but is listed as probable for                                  the first game

    First Opponent: Murray State

    • Last meeting on September 2, 2006; Missouri won 47-7 in Columbia, MO
    • Saturday, August 31 at 7:00 p.m. ET on PPV

    South Carolina

    Head Coach: Steve Spurrier

    • 9th season at South Carolina, 32nd season overall

    Key Players

    • Senior QB Connor Shaw: 17-3 record as a starter
    • Junior WR Bruce Ellington: recorded 600 receiving yards on 40 catches and 7 TDs in 2012; battling                                        hamstring injury and questionable for first game
    • Junior DE Jadeveon Clowney: named SEC Defensive Player of the Year after setting single season school                                   record for sacks at 13 and  23.5 tackles for loss; battling shoulder injury and probably for first game

    First Opponent: North Carolina Tarheels

    • Non-conference rival
    • First game vs. UNC since October 13, 2007; South Carolina won 21-15 in Chapel Hill, NC
    • Thursday, August 29 in Columbia, SC at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Tennessee

    Head Coach: Butch Jones

    • 1st season at Tennessee, 7th season overall

    Key Players:

    • Junior QB Justin Worley: 48-of-87 for 607 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions as a starter in 2011
    • Senior RB Rajion Neal: has 1,039 career rushing yards for 7 touchdowns plus 518 receiving yards for 5 touchdowns
    • Junior LB A.J. Johnson: recorded 138 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries in 2012;                                          named to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC First Team Defense for 2013

    First Opponent: Austin Peay

    • First meeting between the two schools
    • Saturday, August 31 at 6:00 p.m. ET on PPV

    Texas A&M

    Head Coach: Kevin Sumlin

    • 2nd season at Texas A&M, 6th season overall

    Key Players

    • Sophomore QB Johnny Manziel: went 295-of-434 for 3,706 receiving yards with 26 touchdowns and                                                  9 interceptions, rushed 201 times for 1,410 yards with 21 touchdowns; won the Heisman Trophy in 2012,                                            first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy; lots of off-the-field issues and is facing a possible suspension                                 after allegedly signing autographs for money, is questionable for the first game
    • Sophomore WR Mike Evans: recorded 1,105 receiving yards on 82 catches for five touchdowns; named to                                        SEC All-Freshman team in 2012, selected to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Second Team Offense for 2013
    • Junior DB Deshazor Everett: recorded 56 tackles, 9 pass breakups and intercepted 2 passes, including                                           one from Alabama QB AJ McCarron, in 2012

    First Opponent: Rice

    • Last game on November 9, 1995; Texas A&M won 17-10 in Houston, TX
    • Saturday, August 31 at 1:00 p.m. ET on ESPN

     Vanderbilt

    Head Coach: James Franklin

    • 3rd season at Vanderbilt and overall

    Key Players

    • Redshirt Senior QB Austyn Carta-Samuels: went 14-of-25 for 298 yards and one touchdown in 2012;                                   transferred from Wyoming following the 2010 season
    • Senior WR Jordan Matthews: recorded 1,323 receiving yards on 94 carries for 8 touchdowns in 2012;                                        named to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC First Team Offense for 2013
    • Senior CB Andre Hal: recorded 48 tackles, 14 pass breakups and two interceptions in 2012; named to                                        Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC First Team Defense for 2013

    First Opponent: Ole Miss*

    • Last game was on November 10, 2012; Vanderbilt won 27-26 in Oxford, MS

    Thursday, August 29 at 9:15 p.m. ET on ESPN

     Written by Ashley Colley

  • Quarterback Cram

    Aug 29, 2012 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Arkansas, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Kentucky Football, LSU Football, Mississippi State, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, Southern Football, Tennessee Football, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football, Vanderbilt

    No, the quarterback cram isn’t a new play, although it could be, it’s just time to cram for our QB knowledge!

    As we went on with our lives once we calmed down after the first BCS National Championship between two SEC teams, the college football world stayed working.

    Coaches changed roles, players were recruited, and we took a little break to stock up on the necessary energy it takes to be an SEC fan. Not to mention, we needed some time to find the perfect game day outfits and tailgate accessories for the 2012 season.

    If you’re anything like me, you’re practically drooling over the upcoming season but have had too much going on to actually realize that there is a whole new lineup coming out for kickoff. Which is TOMORROW, so we need to cram!

    Part two of the pre-season primer is a study guide for you to learn about your team’s play-makers and the coaches.  Don’t stop at this information—there is a whole chapter about this in the book— but use this as a base for the entire season!

    Alabama:

    Coach: Nick Saban

    Quarterback: A.J. McCarron (JR)

    Arkansas:

    Coach: John L. Smith

    Quarterback: Tyler Wilson (SR)

    Auburn:

    Coach: Gene Chizik

    Quarterback: Kiehl Frazier (SO)

    Florida:

    Coach: Will Muschamp

    Quarterback: Jeff Driskel (SO) and Jacaoby Brissett (SO)

    Georgia:

    Coach: Mark Richt

    Quarterback: Aaron Murray (JR)

    Kentucky:

    Coach: Joker Phillips

    Quarterback: Maxwell Smith (SO)

    LSU:

    Coach: Les Miles

    Quarterback: Zach Mettenberger (JR)

    Mississippi State:

    Coach:  Dan Mullen

    Quarterback:  Tyler Russell (JR)

    Missouri:

    Coach: Gary Pinkel

    Quarterback: James Franklin (JR)

    Ole Miss:

    Coach: Hugh Freeze

    Quarterback: Barry Brunetti (JR) or Randall Mackey (SO)

    South Carolina:

    Coach: Steve Spurrier

    Quarterback: Connor Shaw (JR)

    Tennessee:

    Coach: Derek Dooley

    Quarterback:  Tyler Bray (JR)

    Texas A&M:

    Coach: Kevin Sumlin

    Quarterback: Johnny Manziel (FR)

    Vanderbilt:

    Coach: James Franklin

    Quarterback: Jordan Rodgers (SR)

    Happy Season!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

  • Times have changed. So have the rules.

    Aug 15, 2012 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Kentucky Football, LSU Football, LSU v ALABAMA football, Mississippi State, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Football, Southern Gentlemen, Tennessee Football, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football

    My dearest Gridiron Belles:

    My most sincere apologies for taking an unannounced break from the blog!  I assure you it was for good reason as I’m proud to announce, Gridiron Belles now has a sister publication, SouthernLeague Magazine.    You can imagine how my time has been eaten up!

    Alas, I would never leave you going into the anticipated season unprepared, so here is part one of the Gridiron Belles pre-season primer.

    Times have changed.  So have the rules.

    Many concerned onlookers, including retired NFL players, argue that the game of football is more dangerous than it’s ever been.   Bigger, faster, stronger players result in bigger, faster, and harder hits.

    In an attempt to protect our gridiron heroes, the NCAA has changed some rules, effective this season.

    Helmets:

    • If a player’s helmet gets knocked off, he will be treated as an injured player and the clock will be stopped.
    • If a player’s helmet comes off for reasons other than a penalty on the opposing team, the player will sit out the following play.

    Seems there is a new trend for players not to fasten both chin straps, resulting in loose helmets.  Helmets that are there to protect players’ heads… that encase their brains… which are important for life post-gridiron.

    Kickoff:

    • The kickoff will now be from the 35 yard-line. (It was the 30.) 
      • This is to increase the likelihood of the football going to the end zone, where receiving players cannot be flattened (or even touched) once they catch it.
      • Touchbacks will now come out to the 25 yard-line. (It was the 20.)
        • This is to encourage players to take a knee after receiving a kickoff—a touchback—instead of rushing into crowds of rushing, angry, bruise-inducing opponents.
        • The kickoff team must line up between the 30 and 35 yard-lines. (They used to be able to start farther back.)
          • This prevents a “running start” and thus hitting with less velocity.

    According to Greg Johnson of NCAA.com, “The recommended changes came from the Football Rules Committee after that group examined NCAA data showing that injuries during kickoffs occur more often than in any other phases of the game.”  What’s the NCAA rationale behind this decision? Fewer kickoff returns should lead to fewer injuries.

    ESPN commentator and Heisman Trophy winner, Desmond Howard, who incidentally served as a kickoff and punt returner in the NFL, points out that “coaches put players back there to run the ball out of the end zone, not to take a knee.”

    Whichever argument you use, the facts remain and the rules have changed.  Store these changes in your useful-football-knowledge file and get ready for an exciting season!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

     

  • 2012 Fall Intern Opportunity

    Aug 2, 2012 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Arkansas, Athens, Auburn, Florida, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles Internship, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Kentucky Football, LSU Football, Mississippi State, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, SEC football writers, Southern Belles, Southern Football, Tennessee Football, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football

    It’s that time again!  Gridiron Belles—the lifestyle guide to football in Dixie—is looking for fall 2012 interns to join our team.

    We are taking Gridiron Belles (and her sister magazine, SouthernLeague), to the bestseller list this year so we need the best team of brilliant Southerners that the SEC can provide!

    Qualifications: Gridiron Belles and SouthernLeague Magazine are seeking upperclassmen and graduate students at SEC universities, both male and female. Preference will be given to those majoring in: journalism, PR, sports marketing, fashion, photography, creative writing or English.  Interns must be self-starters. The ideal candidate is enthusiastic about life in the south, adept at writing short nonfiction pieces, and socially engaging.  Experience in publishing is preferred, but not required.

    Job Description: Each intern must commit 5-10 hours per week, beginning August 27, 2012 and ending in January 2013. This is an unpaid internship with an opportunity for employment based on growth of the company. Duties will include:

    • Creating and executing social media strategies
    • Writing and managing weekly updates for online publications, including interviews and photographs
    • Creating organized Excel sheets of research
    • Vendor relations- following up with inventory of stores and potential ad sales
    • Planning, organizing and promoting PR events, book signings and tailgates on your campus

    How to Apply: Complete the attached application and submit to ChristieLeigh@SouthernLeagueMagazine.com by 9 A.M. CT on Monday, August 20 2012.

    Looking forward to hearing from y’all soon!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

  • A Thousand Thank-Yous

    Jan 17, 2012 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Athens, Auburn, Florida, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles Tour, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, LSU Football, LSU v ALABAMA football, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, South Carolina, Tennessee Football, Uncategorized, Vanderbilt

    "Real Belles Watch Football"--and have chandeliers at their South Carolina tailgate!

    "Real Belles Watch Football"--and have chandeliers at their South Carolina tailgate!

    These Bengel Belles had quite the story to share- Thanks for all being Gridiron Belles!

    All season I’ve preached about the importance of thank you notes.  Thank you notes for your tailgate hosts, thank you notes for the people who get you tickets, thank you notes for the people who have you over to watch a game. (We really all should be writing thank you notes to our team’s players…)  All season, I’ve received some ever so kind thank you notes myself from fans I’ve met along the way. So, it’s only fitting that I thank YOU for all that you have inadvertently done for me this season.

    Aimee introduced me to Chimes and hosted me at her competition ready tailgate

    For the past 5 years I have expressed my obsession with SEC football with anyone who would listen.  For research purposes, I have talked unceasingly about traditions, clothing styles, tailgate menus as well as players and coaches on the field.  Then, I started asking for help.   I started asking the Belles and Gents that I had met along the way to reach out to their friends to help me. I needed pictures, quotes and stories and boy did I get them!

    Lesson learned: never go to a game in the Swamp before November!

    If you’ve ever written your own book, you know that the chronic nerves that surface once the book is at the printer requires more support than anyone anticipates. For those of you, strangers and friends alike, that offered your calming words via calls e-mails, posts, and tweets of encouragement, a thousand thank-yous.

    The Grove is the perfect place to display your Pink and Proper Lilly purchases! Thanks, P&P!

    Ready or not September 3, 2011 came around and it was time for the rubber to meet the road.  From the first game of the season to the last, strangers–now friends– took me under their wings.  Generous fans invited me to lavish tailgates, allowed me to stay in their homes and graciously promoted my book to their friends.  People I didn’t even know were inviting me to special events and treating me like kin.   Southern hospitality at it’s finest.

    My new friend, Kelly, took me on the field in Neyland Stadium... wow!

    Thanks, Vandy Belles, for all of your support and enthusiasm!

    Even those fervent SEC fans, that maybe didn’t love everything I wrote about their team, taught me something.  They thickened my skin. Taught me to be more open-minded. Encouraged me to look at all sides.  They reminded me that Belles are courageous and tough.

    The most supportive parents in the world. Also the most excited to be at the historical BAMA v LSU game.

    Without tearing up the way I do while watching Steel Magnolias, I’ll keep it short and sweet. It was because of YOU that my 2011 Gridiron Belles tour was a success.  It is because of YOU that I was able to fulfill my dreams of being an author. My career for the past 4 months has been tailgating.  And because of YOU, Gridiron Belles worked.

    These UGA Belles told me that the sky was the limit-- thank you!

    Thank you, from the bottom of my Southern Belle heart, for being such hospitable, generous and devoted fans of your team.  It is the spirit and excitement that y’all displayed that kept me going on the road for 93 days straight without a break from the South’s greatest pastime. It is people like YOU that make Southern football the living legend that it is.

    The savvy mama, Doran, thanks for having me on your wonderful show!

    Thank you all. For everything.

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

     

     

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