Bobby Johnson may not be the head coach at Vanderbilt any longer, but his name, and the man that replaced him, was still a big topic at the Southeastern Conference’s Media Days Thursday. Johnson abruptly retired from his role as head coach just nine days ago, a move that not only caught the rest of the league off guard, but his staff and team as well.
Vanderbilt athletic officials have done a good job of making a quick transition from Johnson’s tenure into that of supporting new, interim coach Robbie Caldwell. That fact shows in the school’s 2010 football media guide. Besides the records and years that Johnson coached in Nashville, there is only one other page that lists his name in the team’s media guide. His retirement story, located on Page 28, simply lists Johnson’s accomplishments between 2002 and 2009. In this league, the longer a team spends looking back, the easier it is to get beat. (July 23, 2010, Page 6A)
Ten offensive starters returning from last year, plus the installation of a new defensive scheme, have helped turn the Georgia Bulldogs around in the view of many prognosticators eyes heading into the 2010 season.
Georgia, under the direction of Mark Richt, always seems to have lofty preseason expectations placed on them. But after having a sub par 2009 in which the defense was much maligned and the offense grew stagnant in key situations, some changes had to be made by Richt.
The hiring of former Dallas Cowboys assistant coach Todd Grantham and his installation of a 3-4 scheme has been well received according to Richt, while those 10 returners on offense and the best punter and place-kicker in the league give the Bulldogs a lot to be excited about heading into the year. (July 23, 2010, Page 7A)
SPORTS EDITOR BLOG — Reports that Ole Miss freshman quarterback Raymond Cotton was possibly looking to transfer from the team have come up to be false. (more…) (July 22, 2010)
Make no mistake about it, Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen has an innate ability to upset Ole Miss fans and inspire his football players all at the same time. Mullen told a room full of reporters at the Southeastern Conference’s Media Days Wednesday that he calls Ole Miss “the school up North” for a reason and it was all in the attempt to emphasize how important the rivalry is to his program. (July 22, 2010, Page 1B)
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)