The unofficial start to college football has arrived. The Southeastern Conference’s Kickoff 2010, also known as “Media Days,” got underway Wednesday afternoon at the Wynfrey Hotel. For those that don’t know much about Media Days, it’s a three-day convention that consists of the 12 league coaches trying their best to talk up their teams, talk down expectations and generally not answer a question that’s overly controversial.
As Paul Finebaum, Birmingham’s caustic sports talk show host, so eloquently put it, Media Days is like the circus coming to town. I agree with that description of the event, but with one little extra detail. It’s like the circus is coming to town, but just before the train carrying the company hits the depot, it derails sending all the cars in different directions. In a nutshell, one story turns into many. (July 22, 2010, Page 1B)
A chance to pitch at the Division I level again was something Josh Thomason has been hoping for ever since he left Ole Miss.
The former Lafayette County High standout originally signed with the Rebels in the hopes of becoming one of the team’s main starters in time. That opportunity didn’t work out like Thomason was hoping and after spending two years at Navarro Community College in Texas, Thomason is getting his second chance to pitch for a major college.
Thomason, the 2007 EAGLE Player of the Year, recently signed a scholarship offer to play for coach Scott Berry at Southern Miss. The experience Thomason gained in Texas, coupled with his ability to still throw in the low 90s, was appealing to USM, who signed eight pitchers this year to help bolster the rotation. (July 22, 2010, Page 2B)
SEC MEDIA DAY NOTEBOOK — Sports agents shouldn’t expect to get a Christmas card from Alabama head coach Nick Saban this year. If Saban had it his way, agents who violate the rules by funneling money to players still in college would get a year ban from their profession.
Alabama is one of the schools that has been in the unfortunate position recently of having to deal with questions regarding agents and players. A report surfaced Wednesday at the Southeastern Conference’s Media Days that Crimson Tide defensive lineman Marcel Dareus had been ruled ineligible to play this year. The school denied that claim, which was originally reported by the Tuscaloosa News, saying that no action had been taken.
But if the Crimson Tide did lose Dareus, who apparently attended a party in Miami that was funded by an agent, it would be a sizable blow to their chances of repeating as national champions.
Saban, who is not known to always be the best coach to talk about anything let alone something controversial, blasted agents that don’t do things the right way by equating them to pimps. (July 22, 2010, Page 2B)
SPORTS EDITOR BLOG — Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen was asked just a few minutes ago at SEC Media Days why he refers to Ole Miss as the school up North. (more…) (July 21, 2010)
Codie Shuffield and his fighting talents are hitting the road this weekend. The Water Valley native is booked to fight outside the Mid-South for the first time in his career Friday and Saturday at the World Championships of Kickboxing in Orlando, Fla. (July 21, 2010, Page 6)
It was a little over two years ago when Ole Miss football coach Houston Nutt pledged to every Rebel fan that he and his staff would do everything they possibly could to sign more players from the state of Mississippi.
After inking just four high school players from the state in each of his first two classes, Nutt started to show that he and his staff were making traction in the state by signing seven players in the 2010 class. While back-to-back wins in the Cotton Bowl have made things even more attractive for recruits to want to attend Ole Miss, the relationships that Nutt, recruiting coordinator Chris Vaughn, running backs coach Derrick Nix and other coaches have built with players and coaches in the state has really started to pay dividends. (July 20, 2010, Page 6A)
A new era in athletics is about to begin at Regents School of Oxford. Led by new athletics director/head football coach Craig Daniel, the private Christian-based school is ready to tackle football, literally.
Daniel was hired recently to improve a football program that got started with a pee-wee group consisting of fourth through sixth grade players. This year a junior varsity team has been established for kids in grades seven through nine. Daniel will led the JV group along with other members of his staff that includes Brent Frayser, Bobby Peterson, Carl Diffee, Adam Ruff and Jeff Reed. (July 20, 2010, Page 6A)
It can be difficult to find just the right birthday gift to give a person who inevitably has it all. For the family of Morris C. “Preacher” Lovelady, a man who has given more than he has received during his lifetime, finding the most appropriate way to honor him on his 87th birthday didn’t appear to be an easy thing to accomplish at first.
That all changed a few months ago when Lovelady’s daughter, Lois, and the rest of his loving family started work on creating a golf tournament to honor their father and one of his favorite organizations, the Boy Scouts of America, in the process.
Golf has been more than a sport for Mr. Preacher over the years. From before the time he helped oversee the construction of the University Golf Course in 1965 as the supervising engineer, playing golf has been a passion and a regular part of his daily life. (July 19, 2010, Page 6)
SPORTS EDITOR BLOG — The tennis enthusiasts of Oxford, which there are many, have checked out my assistant’s blog about tennis pro James Blake practicing at Ole Miss’ Palmer-Salloum Tennis Center. (more…) (July 18, 2010)
Little details and getting them done right is something Ole Miss Program Director Chyna Ward-Poley loves to do well. For the last 10 years, she’s been making sure that women from around the state, region and nation have been enjoying the little details about college football through her Ladies Football Forum. (July 16, 2010, Page 6A)