SEC Media Days Notebook

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SEC Media Days Discussion on The Razor's Edge
Live From Hoover, Ala. at SEC Media Days
Updates, news and thoughts as they happen from SEC Media Days
9:24 a.m.
Richt is interested to see how the 8-man officiating crew will work. He has been disappointed in the past that at times last year the ball was snapped before everyone was set on defense and even with the officials. That is a big topic with hurry-up offenses. Does the defense have a right to get into position or does the offense get to dictate the pace 100 percent?
9:15 a.m.
Richt spent 15 seasons as an assistant at Florida State before leaving for Georgia to take the head coaching job. He is entering his 14th season at UGA. He had other opportunities to leave FSU and has had opportunities to leave UGA.
9:14 a.m.
Richt says when his backs go to the NFL, there won't be one thing they have not been exposed to in terms of what they'll be asked to do on the next level, including complicated pass-pro. Richt feels junior running back Todd Gurley, if he stays healthy, will be one of the elite players in the country.
9:12 a.m.
Richt says while there may not be some big names at quarterback, you cannot count out the idea that there might be a star. Nobody discussed Manziel at 2012 SEC Media Days.
9:07 a.m.
Georgia will go with senior first-year starter Hutson Mason, who is from Marietta (Ga.), a town that has a history of producing quality college quarterbacks.
9:04 a.m.
Georgia coach Mark Richt wasn't as hesitant to discuss departed senior quarterback Aaron Murray as Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin was to discuss Johnny Manziel.
2:58 p.m.
Asked about Gary Pinkel's comment that it was fiction that fast-paced offenses cause more injuries, Bielema said his stance on that has not changed. Arkansas also never had a targeting call against them last year.
2:56 p.m.
Bielema said he was asked about incoming transfer Cameron Jefferson when he made the comments about brining in a transfer and it had nothing to do - nor was he asked - about Dorial Green-Beckham.
2:52 p.m.
Bielema said the biggest difference with his time in the Big 10 versus the SEC is winning and losing. He indicated that is going to change. He said he knows this year is going to be better in terms of wins. He doesn't know how many more wins, but he knows there'll be more.
2:50 p.m.
Bielema loves the new additions to his staff, Robb Smith, Rory Segrest and Clay Jennings.
2:44 p.m.
Malzahn runs an offensive philosophy that is the complete opposite of what Bielema believes in and has success with it, which makes him respect him even more. He said you have to respect the opposite viewpoint.
"I'm not saying we're going to dinner together and breaking bread, but we're not throwing bread at one another and rocks, either."
2:43 p.m.
Bielema said in every aspect of their program except for wins - social, academics, etc. - they are doing a great job. When that all comes full circle, they're going to win and they're going to be able to sustain it more than they have in the past.
2:42 p.m.
Bilema said every game is won or lost, but a lot of games are lost before they're ever started. As coaches, Bielema said he needs to take a practical look at what they're asking their kids to do. If they can't do it, don't call it.
2:41 p.m.
Bielema is excited about the improvement and influx of talent at wide receiver and feels Brandon Allen is going to make more progress than anyone with his play at quarterback. He also feels cornerback will be one of - if not the - most improved groups on the team.
2:38 p.m.
Bielema said he doesn't care what the outside world thinks as to who he should bring to SEC Media Days. He brought three seniors who represent what he wants his program to be and how he wants his program represented.
1:35 p.m.
Miles believes the SEC Network will help recruiting in terms of being able to tell parents they'll be able to see their kids. The network will bring in more money and allow the schools to provide more to the student athletes.
1:31 p.m.
Miles said he has had the most early exits out of any team in the country for early exits to the NFL Draft. The last two drafts they have sent eight juniors to the NFL.
1:24 p.m.
Miles believes the new playoff format is something people wanted nationally, and he thinks this effort is a 'quality attempt.'
1:22 p.m.
Leonard Fournette, the No. 1 running back in the country, is exactly where he needs to be in terms of this summer, Miles said. He has a quiet confidence, and as good as he is they will always use multiple running backs because they have the talent to do that.
1:19 p.m.
"I like us, and I like us in every game. Any questions?" -Les Miles
1:10 p.m.
This is LSU's fourth-straight 10-win season. LSU head coach Les Miles said his Tigers return 16 starters, including seven on offense, seven on defense and two on special teams.
10:38 a.m.
Network headquarters will be based out of Charlotte, NC
10:36 a.m.
45 exclusive games, including 18 in the first 24 days. Eight season-openers and all 14 teams will be featured in the first four weeks.
Connolly calls his team a group of 'All-Stars.' His group has won more than 70 national Emmy Awards.
10:31 a.m.
SEC Network/ESPN Sr. Vice President Justin Connolly said the start date of the SEC Network is Aug. 14.
9:52 a.m.
Pinkel said they have a saying called 'Mizzou Made' regarding their player development program. They have a system they believe in and it doesn't have any thing to do with star rankings. He said they usually rank 28-32 in the country. He also said they never look at where they rank…
9:50 a.m.
Pinkel said he was proud of the way Michael Sam handled announcing that he is gay and how his community handled it. He feels in five years people won't even be talking about it as an issue.
9:47 a.m.
Pinkel said players leaving early for the NFL is a problem when they're not ready. Quite a different take than Steve Spurrier had yesterday.
9:43 a.m.
Pinkel said if he had the answer for his team's great turnover margin he'd be on the phone in a high rise in New York talking to every coach in the country about it. He said some years they work just as hard on it but don't produce as many turnovers. Last year Missouri led the SEC with 32 forced turnovers. Arkansas was last in the conference with 14.
9:37 a.m.
Missouri will not play former Big-XII partner Texas A&M this year.
9:35 a.m.
Pinkel said he wishes Dorial Green-Beckham the best after he dismissed him from his team following another off-field issue. Pinkel said they have three receivers who contributed a lot last year and three high-caliber running backs who will also demand touches.
9:32 a.m.
Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said it was unfortunate to lose James Franklin at times last season due to injury, but the positive was that then-redshirt freshman Maty Mauk received invaluable experience.
9:22 a.m.
The JL/SJ and LJ/FJ will swap sidelines at halftime. This is something the coaches wanted.
9:19 a.m.
The SEC is continuing the experiment with the eighth official. The intent of having him is not to go faster or to slow things down but simply to help officiate better. The game has changed with more spread offenses. Refs can be completely occupied if there's a five-wide set, leaving two other officials to work every other area.
9:15 a.m.
If the quarterback is in a passing posture, a player going low - at the knee or below - will result in a roughing penalty. The strike zone is above the knee and below the neck.
9:10 a.m.
You'll now need to really listen to the referees penalty. If there's a call of roughing the passer with targeting, the 15-yard penalty will stand even if it's overturned. Replay won't evaluate a subjective call like roughing. Other targeting penalties that are overturned will also see the penalty removed.
9:08 a.m.
They've changed a word from 'initiating' contact to make 'forcible' contact with targeting. Now a graze of a helmet may not be considered forcible, where as before it would have been 'initiating.'
9:06 a.m.
As the season progressed, targeting fouls were greatly reduced from a high in weeks 7 and 8 (7 total) to only 5 targeting penalties in weeks 11, 12 and 13. Only 1 of those final 5 targeting penalties was overturned the final three weeks.
9:04 a.m.
Shaw said they have always embraced technology and are incorporating some new things into their command center to continue to make things smoother for the officials…some things we may not notice, but they're there
9:02 a.m.
Shaw said most officials will be back, but they will have some new young blood.
2:45 p.m.
Jones feels you win with consistency, and he has everyone back on the staff down to the equipment manager. Very different from fellow first-year 2013 SEC coach Bret Bielema, who turned over three coaches on the defensive side of the ball.
2:43 p.m.
Jones said the new summer workout rules have allowed them to bring along the freshmen more, but he also feels there are times in the summer when the players need a break from the coaches and the coaches need a break from them.
2:40 p.m.
Jones said one of the great things about college football is the traditions and rivalries, and Tennessee has to do a better job of making those rivalries more relevant again.
2:38 p.m.
Jones said it is only a matter of time before Tennessee is back on top. He said there's too many positives at Tennessee not to get back on top.
2:36 p.m.
Jones called junior DE Curt Maggitt, who was injured last year, the heart and soul of the team.
2:33 p.m.
Butch Jones said half the roster will be brand new at Tennessee. Last year they had a third of the roster turn over.
1:27 p.m.
One reporter commented on Spurrier complimenting Sumlin on his negotiating ability, and asked a question that was unrelated to that. Sumlin called the reporter out and said 'it's year three, you're not going to get me on that stuff, trying to stir the pot, this time around.'
1:23 p.m.
Sumlin said the team has their own expectations, and they have to because - for example - the first year nobody expected anything out of them. Then last year people expected them to 'beat the Green Bay Packers.' He said they just want to be the best team they can be on Saturdays.
"We don't have much time for rebuilding years. There'll be another guy standing up here real quick."
1:21 p.m.
When asked if he was surprised he was able to take a foothold over Texas as the No. 1 recruiter in the Lone Star State, Sumlin said "If I was surprised I wouldn't have taken the job."
1:16 p.m.
Despite critics saying TAMU would start to struggle in Texas recruiting due to joining the SEC, the Aggies are dominating the Lone Star State. He said they had three player drafted in the first round, and that was a great day, but they did not have another player drafted this year. That speaks to depth issues with the team, he said.
1:14 p.m.
Opposite of Spurrier, Sumlin said they don't look at rankings that often, but when they rank a guy No. 1 they don't usually screw that up, and he doesn't feel they screwed that up this year, either. Incoming freshman Myles Garrett, a defensive end was actually ranked No. 2 overall in the Class of 2014 by
1:10 p.m.
Sumlin said one of the best rule changes is the one that allows the coaches to sit in on player meetings in the summer and allowing for eight ours with the players, including six strength and conditioning hours.
Sumlin said the difference with the NFL and college is that the NFL teams always have a core group of players and move other players in and out. In college you have to prepare for major turnover every two-to-three years.
1:05 p.m.
Kevin Sumlin said the starting placekicker, Josh Lambo, was a soccer player in high school, a goal keeper.
Nobody really knows how the playoffs are going to affect college football, Mullen said. He wonders how much scheduling is going to be involved. He said you always want to look back and say 'college football got it right. The right team was crowned national champions.' He feels that has been accomplished the last several years.
Mullen said everyone in the league is discussing what is best for the players and the coaches, and he feels an early signing period is a part of that. He said it's for the guys who have visited the campus 10 times and have been longtime commitments, so they can just get all the silly stuff that doesn't apply to them out of the way.
Mullen said designed run plays for Prescott are pretty limited, only 5-to-10-percent are designed run plays. He said the defense actually dictates him running more than the called play.
Mullen's mother is a British citizen, and he is a big soccer fan and really enjoyed the World Cup. He wakes up early in the morning on Sunday sometimes and watches some Premiere League. He feels the passion of fans in European soccer is comparable to the fans of SEC football.
Mullen said De'Runnya Wilson, a true freshman last year, is just now starting to understand football. The 6-5 receiver was a basketball player and only had two years of football under his belt. He is really starting to come into his own, according to Mullen.
10:44 a.m.
Mullen said each team is a unique team no matter how many starters you have back. He said Dak Prescott is going to be a different player than he was last year and it's important to find his comfort level this year because it'll be different than last year.
9:31 a.m.
Spurrier said he saw Stephen Garcia - a former South Carolina quarterback who was kicked off the team after one issue after another - on television, and he had grown his hair back out. Spurrier said he looked like he has joined Duck Dynasty rather than joining the media.
9:28 a.m.
Spurrier said it isn't smart for coaches to try to talk players out of going pro anymore. He says to shake their hands and tell them good luck. He said they had two that didn't get drafted last year, but they were ready to go pro. Once they say they're ready to go pro, that means they're tired of school and ready to go, anyway.
9:22 a.m.
Spurrier said when you win your bowl game, you get ranked in the top 10 and life is always a lot easier in the off-season. He also said a large portion of their fan base would rather beat Clemson than win the SEC. He doesn't feel that way but says a lot of fans in South Carolina do feel that way.
9:15 a.m.
Spurrier, talking about the concept of the Alamo Trophy which may be awarded to the winner of the Texas A&M-South Carolina game, said he always thought the Alamo was about Davy Crockett and all those Tennessee guys that went down there and got killed.
9:13 a.m.
Spurrier said Nick Saban has got to be the greatest recruiter in the history of college football 'if recruiting services are correct, and they're pretty much correct.'
9:07 a.m.
Spurrier said recruiting really took off in South Carolina his fourth year. They only had one person give over $1 million to the school in the history of the school. Now they have 13 or 14 who have done that.
9:04 a.m.
Steve Spurrier has a lot of confidence in undefeated starter Dylan Thompson. The Gamecocks open on Aug. 28, a Thursday night, against Texas A&M. Spurrier loves the early season Thursday night games.
4:39 p.m.
In other news...Razorback defensive end Trey Flowers has been named to Lombardi Award Watch List, and Hog linebacker Braylon Mitchell has been named to Butkus Award Watch List. This is the third watch list for Flowers and the first for Mitchell, whose nomination came as a moderate surprise.
4:24 p.m.
"I think every job is hard, whether you follow a guy or you're the first guy to do it…For me, looking at this program, coming in now the ride is different. It's differnet. James established this program. I would have taken this job if it had been off an 0-11 season…Benchmarks shouldn't be an excuse." -Derek Mason
4:19 p.m.
"We don't believe in redshirting at Vanderbilt...When you invest in freshmen and get them on the field, you have less problems off the field." -Derek Mason
4:17 p.m.
"We're going to have six quarterbacks competing at the quarterback position," -Derek Mason
4:14 p.m.
Mason's introductory comments were by far the shortest of the day, following Muschamp and Malzahn.
4:12 p.m.
Vanderbilt will run a West Coast Offense this year on offense and will implement a 3-4 scheme on defense, according to new head coach Derek Mason, who comes to Vanderbilt from Stanford.
2:44 p.m.
"You combat the hot seat talk by having a good team and winning games...There was never any thought in my mind that I would not be retained." -Will Muschamp
2:37 p.m.
Will Muschamp says last season was very disappointing but this is the most complete team he has had as he enters his fourth year at Florida. It all starts with QB Jeff Driskel. Muschamp thinks the new offense fits him well. He feels they have been way too one-dimensional...however they really didn't have many dimensions at all last season...
12:07 p.m.
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said quarterback Nick Marshall lost the privilege to represent Auburn at SEC Media Days. He has been a model teammate and citizen up until his citation last week. Malzahn has yet to determine any further punishment for Marshall. Malzahn said he is not at the point where he might or might not suspend Marshall.
12:05 p.m.
Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson had successful knee surgery last May for a torn ACL and is determined to come back later in the season.
11:51 a.m.
Slive said if they don't receive a positive outcome from the NCAA, they'll seek something out where they can enact the desired changes to benefit the student athletes. The NCAA is working hard to find answers. There's a meeting and a vote scheduled for Aug. 7. Slive says he is optimistic that working together they can create the right framework.
11:39 a.m.
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive says they are reaching out to fans across all sports to find out exactly what they are looking for in their fan experience.
Slive says the SEC will have the final say on which teams go to the bowl games with which they have contracts.
10:44 a.m.
I am sitting in the main media room in Hoover (Ala.) at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham, about 15 minutes away from the start of SEC Media Days. I'm five rows back from the podium in the main media room. We'll have loads of content from Hoover this week.
11:27 a.m.
I just completed my ballot for this year's Media All-SEC Team and for the media's predicted order of finish. You may view my ballot by CLICKING HERE