The SEC Coaches' Q&A: Their home turf
September, 1, 2012
By Dave Wilson | ESPN.com
Butch Dill/Getty ImagesNeed more cowbell? Visit Mississippi State's Davis Wade stadium and leave with your ears ringing.Playbook is wrapping up its series of Q&As with the SEC coaches.
Over the course of the week (find the whole series here), we've discussed everything from their coaching influences to what they eat when they visit a recruit. But now that the season is finally upon us and it's game day, we hear the coaches discuss what they think visiting fans will experience when they come to town.
With the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri, fans will be visiting new venues in the conference. What's something they need to know when they come to your stadium?
Dan Mullen: That they're coming to one of the friendliest, and greatest, college towns in all of college football. We have a great fan base. And if they don't like the sound of cowbells, they might want to get some earplugs -- and not just in the stadium. Anywhere around town.
Gary Pinkel: It's a great game-day environment at Mizzou. We have great fans. I think they'll walk away and say it's a great place to be a part of a college football game. I'm excited about how that's grown over the years for us. I'm not going to name any restaurants because I get in trouble... I get in big trouble.
Derek Dooley: Some stadiums you go in, you know the attendance, what it holds when you go in. Our stadium holds 102 [thousand], and it looks like it holds 102. Some stadiums say they hold 90 and you go, ehhhh. I think the biggest thing that you see in our stadium when you walk in, that it does hold 102,000, and they're right on top of you.
James Franklin: Nashville's an unbelievable town. It's one of the places in the SEC that everybody loves to come visit and spend a long weekend. It's another opportunity to see what we're building there. It's an unbelievable campus, an unbelievable academic institution in one of the better cities in the United States. Just get ready to enjoy yourself, and don't plan on just coming for the game. Stay the weekend.
Kevin Sumlin: I've said before that Kyle Field is a great fit for the SEC. We are the home of the 12th Man. What sets us apart is that we have 30,000 students that attend every home game. That's more students than there are fans at some Division I stadiums. We're sold out every week; we have tremendous amount of tradition and pageantry -- pregame and during the game -- and it's the reason why it was named the No. 1 game-day atmosphere in the country, and we're very, very proud of that.
Gene Chizik: They need to know that this is going to be the loudest, craziest, most tradition-filled stadium in the country.
Les Miles: Oh, they will enjoy visiting LSU. The people there are so sweet. The excitement, the entertainment of the game-day environment ... they'll enjoy it greatly. I'll just say to stay out of the way of our mascot, Mike. [He's like a son to you.] He's like a son to me. A tiger son.
Nick Saban: Bryant-Denny Stadium is one of the finest stadiums in the country to play a game in. It's a beautiful stadium. I think our fans have a lot of class the way they welcome fans to our stadium. They have great passion in the way they compete, and expect you to compete. They've been very very supportive in a positive way. We want to make Tuscaloosa one of the most difficult places to ever come and play. I don't know if we've succeeded in that, but we're working on it.
Will Muschamp: That we have a very friendly fan base that certainly supports the Gators as well as anywhere in the country.
Mark Richt: Well, it's the greatest college football city in America. Athens is a wonderful place, and our downtown has so many unique restaurants. There are a few that are franchised, but there are a lot of them that are totally unique to Athens, Ga. I would suggest they give those a try. And I hear the nightlife is pretty good -- maybe too good. But I don't get involved in that, so I couldn't tell them where to go there.
Hugh Freeze: Come early and experience The Grove and downtown Oxford. It's obviously the No. 1 game-day atmosphere in the nation. It's just an experience like no other.
Joker Phillips: Lexington is a real clean, friendly city. Game day on our campus is a sight to be seen. A lot of tailgaters, a lot of blue and white. A lot of really nice restaurants that they have an opportunity to choose from, and a lot of great hotels. A lot of the cities you go to in our league don't have all those things. ... They don't have the hotels, the restaurants. We just have great people.
John L. Smith: The Hog Nation and the Hog fans are the best in the country. It's going to be standing from the time we kick it off [to] the time we end it up. And that's the way the SEC is. When you're coming in ... A&M is maybe more familiar with it than maybe a Missouri. But it's what it's all about. It's the real deal.