The scourge of duplicate numbers must end.
OK, scourge is a little strong. And in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big a deal. But this has irked me for years now, and it almost became a very big deal for Auburn this weekend.
The Tigers had two players wearing No. 1 on the field on the final play of Saturday’s win 42-35 win over South Carolina. Defensive tackle Montravius Adams was in his regular spot in the middle of the defensive line, and Auburn put wide receiver D’haquille Williams in as a defensive back to help defend against South Carolina’s Hail Mary attempt.
If the officials had noticed the offense, it would have been a penalty, and the Gamecocks would have been allowed to try the pass again from 5 yards closer to the end zone. (Steve Spurrier rightfully took the high road on the subject Sunday.) Can you imagine if the flag had been thrown and South Carolina had hit that pass? Spurrier was planning to go for two had he scored. If the Gamecocks convert, Auburn loses and is out of the national championship race simply because it has too many guys in No. 1 jerseys. Ellis Johnson talked about how the two Nos. 1 got on the field, and he didn't seem happy about it.
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(Yes, I know Tony Barnhart wrote on this subject this weekend. I didn’t read it for fear of recycling his points in here, but I saw the link on Twitter.)
The Tigers are not the only team whose roster is covered up with duplicate numbers. In fact, South Carolina might lead the league in the category. There are two Nos. 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and we’re not even out of the single digit jerseys yet.
South Carolina has 109 players on its roster at the moment, and even my limited math skill understand that’s more than can be accommodated by in the double digits, but how many of those guys actually play in a game? Not more than 80. There are at least a dozen guys on the team who the coaches know are never going to see the field. In fact, SEC teams can only bring 70 to road games. There are plenty of numbers for a team’s frontline guys to divvy them up without duplication.
There is no problem with having two Nos. 1 on your roster as long as they are not on the field together at the same time, which is why Damiere Byrd and Rico McWilliams share the number. But what about when something crazy happens? Is it worth losing a game over? Or even a championship?
Around the SEC:
Tennessee has a mystery, if not a full-on controversy, at quarterback headed into Saturday’s game in Williams-Brice Stadium. The Volunteers played sophomore Josh Dobbs last week against Alabama, and Dobbs provided a spark. Regular starter and South Carolina native Justin Worley didn’t play last week due to a shoulder injury, and Vols coach Butch Jones hasn’t said yet whether Worley will be available against the Gamecocks.
The potentially bad news for South Carolina? Dobbs can run. "He adds another element as a running threat," Jones said. "… We felt like we needed to run the quarterback more."
Georgia still hasn’t heard if it will have Todd Gurley back for this week’s Florida game, and he’s not the only running back whose status is up in the air.
The Gators have thrown for fewer than 100 yards in six games under Will Muschamp. There is no telling what Florida is going to look like by the time South Carolina heads down there to play them on Nov. 15.
LSU head coach Les Miles’ mother died Friday before the Tigers played Ole Miss. It just felt like from what we know about Miles that there was no way LSU was losing the game after that. Here’s part of Miles’ post game news conference where he speaks to his mom.