SEC: SEC media days

DawgNation links: SEC media days

July, 19, 2012
7/19/12
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SEC media days -- David Ching writes: Taking the podium for Georgia at SEC media days Thursday, Mark Richt set to addressing -- right off the bat, of course -- the Isaiah Crowell dismissal.

Video: An interview with Georgia receiver Tavarres King.

AND

Kipp Adams writes: Insider Already one of the hot names at UGA in the 2014 prospect class, an impressive showing at Mark Richt Camp and Dawg Night earned Herschel Walker’s nephew, tight end Milan Richard, an offer from the Bulldogs.

Adams: Insider Four-star defensive lineman and ESPN 300 member Jay Woods has whittled down his dozens of offers to a top six, and it’s no surprise that the in-state Georgia Bulldogs are right up there.

Ching: Around the Hedges in 80 Days -- 44 days to kickoff Insider
There is a reason every major recruiting service ranked incoming UGA freshman Jordan Jenkins among this year’s top 70 prospects: His relentless motor and quick first step seem to predict stardom, particularly once he refines his technique.

South Carolina's Norwood makes the grade

July, 24, 2009
7/24/09
5:35
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

HOOVER, Ala. -- South Carolina outside linebacker Eric Norwood is the SEC's active leader in career sacks (22) and career tackles for loss (43).

He's also a success story in the classroom.

Norwood, a two-time All-SEC selection, is scheduled to graduate in December with a degree in criminal justice. That's after being denied admission three times to South Carolina coming out of high school before finally getting in.

He's made the Dean's list several times, carries a 2.9 GPA and will graduate in three and a half years.

In high school, his GPA dipped to a 1.6. He got it up to a 2.0 and was barely able to squeak into South Carolina. Other schools, such as Georgia, backed off Norwood.

The Gamecocks stood by his side.

"Everything happens for a reason," Norwood said. "Some guys have to mess up before they get it right."

Norwood, who considered turning pro last season, said he plans to play around 252 pounds this season. He said reports that he played around 265 or 270 last year were exaggerated.

"I was 256," said Norwood, who conceded that he shot up around 280 during the summer when he was still playing defensive end.

Black says LSU hungry for return to the top

July, 24, 2009
7/24/09
5:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

HOOVER, Ala. -- He's the best offensive tackle in the league and somebody who took a long look at leaving for the NFL draft following last season.

But there's no looking back for LSU's Ciron Black, and there's no looking ahead, either.

The 6-foot-5, 325-pound Black is consumed with just one thing: Returning the Tigers to elite status in the SEC.

He's still haunted by last season's 8-5 finish and the lopsided losses to Florida, Georgia and Ole Miss.

"Right now, we're really hungry," Black said. "We ended the season on a great note with the Chick-fil-A Bowl. That wasn't enough. We only had one game to do that, and we couldn't salvage the season with that one game. We came into the summer ready to go to work, ready to run."

Black joked that strength coach Tommy Moffitt tried to kill them during the offseason.

"But he wasn't going to break us because we were ready for it," Black said. "We're going to camp ready to play, ready to get back into the season, ready to get back into the swing of things."

Add another to the Florida arrest total

July, 24, 2009
7/24/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

HOOVER, Ala. -- Another day, another Florida player arrested.

Linebacker Dustin Doe has been suspended from the team after being arrested yet again for driving on a suspended license. He's been stopped multiple times for driving with a suspended license, according to police records.

Florida coach Urban Meyer said Doe wouldn't be with the Gators when they start preseason practice. He started 12 games last season.

Doe is at least the 25th player arrested since Meyer became the Gators' coach.

Black jerseys? Tennessee's Berry loves the idea

July, 24, 2009
7/24/09
3:21
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

HOOVER, Ala. -- One of the ongoing debates among Tennessee fans has revolved around black jerseys.

Some fans want them. Some are horrified by the idea.

Eric Berry, the Vols' All-America safety, said Friday he would love to see the team break out the black jerseys this season and wouldn't mind going to all-black uniforms with orange trim. Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton is on record as saying the Vols wouldn't wear black jerseys this season.

But Berry and the players are still lobbying.

"I would love to wear some black jerseys," Berry said.

He then bent down closer to a reporter's tape recorder and said even louder, "Coach Kiffin, that would be great."

Berry said his high school team wore all-black uniforms and that they were a huge hit.

"Most of the time, the game was won when we stepped out with those uniforms," Berry said. "Seeing a whole bunch of people in black uniforms is like a funeral. I mean, hey ..."

How much black would he like to see incorporated into the Vols' uniforms?

Try black helmets with an orange 'T.'

Told there would be fans falling out of the upper deck in the South end zone if the Vols came out in all black uniforms, Berry offered up a hearty laugh.

Berry takes out $3 million insurance policy

July, 24, 2009
7/24/09
2:59
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

HOOVER, Ala. -- This will almost certainly be Eric Berry's farewell season in the SEC.

Tennessee's All-America safety is a lock to be a top 10 pick in next April's NFL draft.

Still, he left the door slightly ajar Friday that he could return for his senior season, and he said much of that decision would depend on what happens with his parents. Both have been laid off from their jobs within the last year, and his father, former Tennessee running back James Berry, underwent heart surgery last week.

Asked what scenario might bring him back, Berry responded, "If my parents find a job."

Berry said Friday he's taken out a $3 million insurance policy, which is more than the one Florida quarterback Tim Tebow purchased. Florida Today reported on Thursday that Tebow's policy was worth $2 million.

Jefferson is LSU's QB, but Shepard will play

July, 24, 2009
7/24/09
2:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

HOOVER, Ala. -- Jordan Jefferson takes his shot as LSU's quarterback this season.

LSU coach Les Miles said Jefferson is bigger and stronger than he was a year ago and has had a great summer.

So while there's not a lot of drama surrounding who will be the Tigers' starting quarterback, it remains to be seen how true freshman Russell Shepard will be incorporated at the quarterback position.

After watching him some this spring with the ball in his hands, it's obvious he has to be on the field somewhere.

Sounds like he might be a bit of a hybrid player. And if he can throw it effectively, then he's really going to be tough to deal with.

"I think there's a definite challenge to our offense on how to use him, how to bring him along," Miles said. "I believe firmly that he can be a quarterback. I thought he had a good spring. He's a very bright man. He has a great read. He understands secondaries. He seldom throws a ball in the wrong place by design. He knows where the ball is supposed to go."

Alabama rout still weighs heavily on Coleman

July, 24, 2009
7/24/09
12:55
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

HOOVER, Ala. -- Auburn senior defensive end Antonio Coleman didn't need another reminder of how thoroughly Alabama dominated Auburn last season in a 36-0 rout.

He didn't ask for one, but he got it ... religiously.

"I got one at 5:30 every morning (at conditioning runs) from a little, short, bald guy," Coleman said.

That little, short, bald guy is Kevin Yoxall, Auburn's strength coach. He wears the same sideline pass from that Alabama-Auburn game around his neck.

"Every day, he's reminding you," Coleman said.

Last season's rout was the most lopsided Iron Bowl in 46 years.

Chizik not ruling out anyone in Auburn QB race

July, 24, 2009
7/24/09
12:36
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

HOOVER, Ala. -- The Auburn quarterback race could go in any direction this preseason.

The Tigers will have seven quarterbacks on the roster, including three guys -- Kodi Burns, Chris Todd and Neil Caudle -- who have played. But coach Gene Chizik said he's going into preseason practice with an open mind.

In other words, don't rule out freshman Tyrik Rollison, who looks like a perfect fit on tape to run Gus Malzahn's spread offense.

"There's a unique dynamic there," Chizik said. "There's some older guys with experience. Some of them went through spring. One of them didn't. Then all of a sudden, you have some young guys coming in on campus. When you haven't locked down on a position and said, 'This is my starter,' that means it's up for grabs for everybody that walks through the doors.

"We would like to get that situation resolved. How long that will take, we don't know. Obviously the guys that have more experience have probably a little bit of a leg up. But that doesn't always tell ... the final tale."

My prediction is that three different players will take meaningful snaps for the Tigers at quarterback this season, including Rollison. But the opening-game starter? I'm going with Caudle. The wild card might be Todd depending on how healthy his shoulder is.

Spurrier not biting on Kiffin

July, 24, 2009
7/24/09
12:08
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

HOOVER, Ala. -- Never one to bite his tongue, South Carolina's Steve Spurrier did just that Friday when asked about Lane Kiffin and whether he thought Tennessee's first-year coach could get the Vols turned around.

"You know, I'm trying to refrain from talking about other schools that much," Spurrier said. "Maybe you need to ask somebody else that question."

It's no secret that Spurrier and Kiffin traded a few barbs this offseason, and SEC commissioner Mike Slive issued a stern warning to the coaches at the spring meetings to knock off the sniping.

While Spurrier wanted no part of weighing in on Kiffin, he went out of his way to rave about what Florida has done under Urban Meyer.

And here's the best part: The question about Meyer and the Gators was asked right before the one about Kiffin and the Vols.

"Urban has been the best coach in the country the last three years. Simple as that, and we all know that," said Spurrier, adding that he's not bothered by his alma mater's success under Meyer. "I admire everything they do. They do it the right way. Their players play clean. I give 'em credit for everything that they've accomplished. I admire what they've done."

Good thing he's not talking about other schools, huh?

Translation: He's not talking about Kiffin.

Spurrier does his best to explain vote snafu

July, 24, 2009
7/24/09
11:28
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

HOOVER, Ala. -- Saying he was embarrassed, an apologetic South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said he took full blame for the snafu that led to his ballot not having Florida's Tim Tebow as the preseason first-team All-SEC quarterback.

Spurrier confirmed that his initial ballot had Ole Miss' Jevan Snead as the first-team quarterback and admitted that someone else has filled out his preseason All-SEC ballot all 17 of his years in the league.

"We made a mistake. I made a mistake," Spurrier said. "Tim Tebow is not only the best quarterback in this league, but the best football player in the country. I believe he and Danny Wuerffel will go down maybe as the two best players to ever play college football."

Spurrier said his football operations director, Jamie Speronis, actually filled out the ballot and "I signed off on it, so it was my fault."

Later, Spurrier said the only two names he saw in hurriedly looking over the ballot were A.J. Green and Carlos Dunlap.

"Those are the only two guys I saw, and I said, 'That's fine,'" Spurrier said.

Spurrier said he was so bothered by not having Tebow first team that he barely slept Thursday night.

"I called (SEC associate commissioner) Charlie Bloom and said, 'Can I change our selection and put Tim Tebow in and make it unanimous?" Spurrier said. "So it's unanimous."

Several different times, Spurrier apologized to Tebow and also apologized to Gator fans.

"It's history, but I'm trying to correct it the best I can," Spurrier said.

Fresh faces: Mississippi State

July, 24, 2009
7/24/09
11:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

The Bulldogs will be counting heavily on a couple of junior college newcomers to make big impacts this season.

Pernell McPhee, DT: The Bulldogs were looking for a dominant presence in the middle of their defensive line, and they think they've found that person in McPhee. He's powerful, explosive and the kind of difference-maker at tackle Mississippi State hasn't had in a long time. He showcased what he's capable of during the spring after coming over from Itawamba (Miss.) Community College. His best is yet to come after playing just one year of football in high school in Pahokee, Fla.

Chris White, LB: Similar to McPhee, White was a January enrollee who had the benefit of going through spring practice. It didn't take the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College product long to work his way into the starting lineup at weak side linebacker. He was a tackling machine in junior college and always around the football. His ability to chase the football and make big plays fits in well to what defensive coordinator Carl Torbush likes to do on defense with his linebackers.

Chad Bumphis, WR: First-year Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen brought in a handful of wide receivers, including several of the top prospects in the state. The 5-10, 193-pound Bumphis is extremely versatile. He had more than 2,000 receiving yards and more than 1,300 rushing yards during his high school career. He's been clocked at 4.4 in the 40-yard dash and owns a 34-inch vertical jump. To make Mullen's spread offense work, he needs playmakers on the perimeter, guys who can move around and do different things. Bumphis has all the tools to be that kind of player.

Spurrier's the one ... sort of

July, 24, 2009
7/24/09
9:53
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

HOOVER, Ala. -- What do you know? The Head Ball Coach was the one.

South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, who will appear later Friday at the SEC media days, has confirmed to several within the Gamecocks' program that he's the one whose ballot didn't include Florida's Tim Tebow as the preseason first-team All-SEC quarterback.

Ah, but there's a catch.

According to SEC associate commissioner Charles Bloom, Spurrier called Thursday night and asked that his ballot be changed to include Tebow as the first-team quarterback. Spurrier said the original ballot he submitted, which had Ole Miss' Jevan Snead as the first-team quarterback, was a mistake.

Spurrier will certainly be asked about it when his session with the media is up. Honestly, he would have been my last choice in trying to guess who didn't vote for Tebow. I know how much respect Spurrier has for Tebow and what a great player he thinks Tebow is.

However it all came down, it should be interesting later Friday when the Head Ball Coach hits the podium. It always is.

Florida overwhelming favorite by the media

July, 24, 2009
7/24/09
9:33
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

HOOVER, Ala. -- Florida was an overwhelming choice to win its second straight SEC championship in a vote by media members attending the SEC media days.

The Gators received 63 of 64 votes. Ole Miss was the other team to receive an SEC championship vote.

Even though the Rebels received that one championship vote, Alabama was the pick in the West. LSU was second and Ole Miss third.

The Gators are the first team to be a unanimous selection to win a divisional title since the league expanded in 1992.

Florida had the most first-team All-SEC selections with eight followed by Alabama with six. Arkansas, LSU and Ole Miss had two each.

There were no unanimous selections on the media's All-SEC team. The leading vote-getters were Tennessee safety Eric Berry (62), Florida quarterback Tim Tebow (61) and Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes (61).

(Read full post)

Meyer: Never more anxious to coach a team

July, 24, 2009
7/24/09
9:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

HOOVER, Ala. -- Florida is aiming high again this season, but you won't hear the Gators talking too much about defending their national championship.

In fact, their focus is squarely on Atlanta. If they get there, the rest will take care of itself.

"The goal is to win the SEC championship," senior quarterback Tim Tebow said. "I feel if we're champions of the best conference in college football, we should have an opportunity to play for it all. Our focus is the SEC.

"Do we want to be undefeated? Absolutely. But our mindset is not to go undefeated. If we lose a game and still win a national championship, we would take that. Even if we lose, we're not going to be heartbroken if we win a national championship. All we're worried about is getting to Atlanta and winning that game."

The Gators have won two of the last three BCS national championships. But from the sound of things, this might be their most talented team yet.

"I've never been more anxious to coach a football team," Florida coach Urban Meyer said.

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