Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Previewing the SEC media days
By Chris Low
Some of the most compelling drama every year at the SEC media days is wondering whether the event is going to reach 1,000 credentialed media members attending.
It sounds like more than 900 will converge on the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala., beginning Wednesday for the unofficial kickoff to the SEC football season.
What can we expect this year?
Well, now that Tim Tebow is gone, we know Steve Spurrier won’t leave him off his preseason All-SEC ballot and then blame longtime football operations director Jamie Speronis for not selecting Tebow as the first-team quarterback.
By the way, since that whole fiasco two years ago, have you noticed that the SEC office no longer notes if a player was a unanimous selection by the coaches?
We also know that Phillip Fulmer won’t be served a subpoena like he was in 2008 by attorneys for disassociated Alabama booster Wendell Smith. That turned out to be Fulmer’s last SEC media days, as he was fired toward the end of the 2008 season.
Some of the things we can expect this year include:
- Plenty of questions about whether LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson has truly turned it around entering his senior season and is ready to lead the Tigers to a national championship.
- Spurrier saying “anyway” somewhere in the vicinity of 20 times during his time at the podium.
- Auburn coach Gene Chizik to be quizzed about his exchange with NCAA vice president for enforcement Julie Roe Lach during the SEC spring meetings. Chizik wanted to know why the NCAA had not announced that the Cam Newton investigation was over and asked Roe Lach about it several times. Finally, Roe Lach told Chizik in front of his SEC coaching colleagues, “You’ll know when we’re finished … and we’re not finished.”
- LSU coach Les Miles to be quizzed about Willie Lyles and whether the Tigers were truly paying Lyles for information on recruits, which is perfectly legal, or paying him to steer recruits to LSU, which is not legal.
- The players sporting some spiffy threads. It’s always football’s version of a fashion show as they stroll into the Wynfrey Hotel. You never know what you’re going to get, maybe a white suit or even some shade of purple. Vanderbilt linebacker Chris Marve was rocking a red bow tie last year.
- Lots of quarterback questions. The starting jobs are still wide open at Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. This is John Brantley’s final shot to get it right at Florida. Morgan Newton takes over at Kentucky and Tyler Wilson at Arkansas, and how’s it going to play out at South Carolina now that Stephen Garcia is off double-secret probation?
- And speaking of quarterbacks, Georgia’s Aaron Murray’s sure to get a few questions on how much will be on his shoulders this season with the Bulldogs losing running backs by the day, no A.J. Green to throw to this season and an offensive line that has been thinned out considerably with players leaving the program and getting hurt.
- More than a few debates on who’s the best running back in the SEC. The folks in Arkansas are still miffed that Knile Davis wasn’t a first-team preseason selection by the coaches. Of course, the two guys who did make first team -- Alabama’s Trent Richardson and South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore -- are pretty special in their own right.
- A sea of crimson to take over the lobby of the Wynfrey Hotel on Friday when Alabama coach Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide’s players show up for the festivities. The secret is to get upstairs early that day, or you’ll never make it through all the Alabama fans.