COLUMN: HOOVER, Ala. — College football’s unofficial start to the 2011 season gets underway today at the Wynfrey Hotel. The Southeastern Conference’s annual Media Days event is always a big draw and this year is no exception as over 900 credentials were issued to various writers, TV reporters and radio announcers. (Last year’s total was approximately 900 and that was a record that many felt couldn’t be topped.) (more…) (July 20, 2011, Page 6A)
Ole Miss’ defensive line is expected to be a strength for the team this year and the improvement and experience shown over the last few seasons was visible in this year’s Southeastern Conference preseason All-SEC team released this morning.
Defensive tackle Jerrell Powe and defensive end Kentrell Lockett, both seniors, were selected to the team that is voted on by the media each year. The 6-foot-2, 320-pound Powe made the first team, while the 6-5, 260-pound Lockett made the second team. Powe was also a first-team member of the Coaches All-SEC team that was released earlier this week. (July 23, 2010, Page 6A)
Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett could have avoided the Southeastern Conference’s annual Media Days event if he wanted to. The 6-foot-6, 238-pound Texarkana, Ark., native could be getting ready to take part in an NFL training camp instead of taking questions from a room full of reporters like he did on Thursday.
While the lure of playing in the NFL might have been attractive for a time after the 2009 season ended for Mallett, he ultimately felt like coming back to help the Razorbacks was the right choice for him personally, and the entire program.
Mallett’s return to Arkansas not only helps solidify Bobby Petrino’s tenure at the school, it has elevated the Razorbacks in the pecking order of schools that could win the SEC West title this year, a fact that seems to be the most pleasing to Mallett. (July 23, 2010, Page 6A)
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)
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)
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)
Ole Miss senior defensive tackle Jerrell Powe was announced as a member of the All-Southeastern Conference First Team defense this morning.