No McCarron At SEC Media Days

In a radio interview recently I was asked why Nick Saban elected to leave quarterback AJ McCarron in Tuscaloosa when Saban goes to Southeastern Conference Media Days in Birmingham (Hoover) next week.



Until then, I had not thought about it. Of course, covering Alabama on a daily basis, I don't worry too much about which Crimson Tide players will be available (or not available) at media days. We cover them all year.

The format for SEC Media Days is that the Army of reporters – print, broadcast, Internet – will have the opportunity to interview the head football coach and three players from each of the 14 schools over three days, Tuesday, July 17 – Thursday, July 19.

Bama Coach Nick Saban will be on the podium Thursday, the final day of the event. He will have senior center Barrett Jones, senior defensive end Damion Square, and senior tight end Michael Williams with him. All are articulate and Alabama beat writers enjoy interviewing all three.

Saban doesn't always bring just seniors. Last year Trent Richardson was among the Tide players.

A.J. McCarron, an upcoming junior, would have been a popular choice of the media, but it's hard to fault Saban for having Barrett Jones – last year's Outland Trophy winner and a four-year starter – as the spokesman for the offense.

There is speculation that a widely-publicized summer Twitter twit between McCarron and LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu resulted in both players being omitted from the media days menu. In their last meeting, McCarron got the better of Mathieu, who was one of the finalists for the Heisman Trophy last year as a sophomore. Bama won the BCS National Championship Game and McCarron was the Most Valuable Offensive Player in the contest.

There are reports from Louisiana that Mathieu is not going to have a great deal of media opportunities in upcoming months and that there are going to be restrictions on social media activity for all LSU players.

Earlier in the summer I had guessed Bama's representatives would be McCarron, Jones, and either linebacker Nico Johnson or nose tackle Jesse Williams, with safety Robert Lester an outside possibility.

Reporters like to interview quarterbacks because it is the most important position. Were I king of the SEC, teams would be required to bring the man expected to be the starting quarterback.

There will be a few in Birmingham, including LSU bringing new quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Mettenberger played only briefly last year during the early season suspension of Jordan Jefferson as another senior, Jarrett Lee, took over at quarterback. Mettenberger was originally at Georgia but dismissed by the Bulldogs over a legal incident.

Other quarterbacks on hand will be Tyler Wilson of Arkansas, Tyler Russell of Mississippi State, Tyler Bray of Tennessee (see a trend here?), Connor Shaw of South Carolina, and Jordan Rodgers of Vanderbilt.

A bigger surprise than Alabama not producing McCarron for SEC Media Days is Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, an upcoming junior and top candidate for All-SEC, not being in attendance.

Missouri, one of the new teams in the SEC, has its quarterback – James Franklin -- returning, but he won't be in Birmingham. The other James Franklin, the head coach at Vanderbilt, will be at SEC Media Days. Auburn, also, returns a starting quarterback, but many believe Clint Moseley won't be the 2012 starter. Ole Miss isn't bringing Randall Mackey.

On Thursday, Alabama will be joined by Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Georgia. The first day, July 17, has Texas A&M, South Carolina, Missouri, and Vanderbilt. Florida, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Kentucky, Auburn, and LSU go on July 18.

'BAMA Magazine and BamaMag.com will have a big presence in Birmingham with Kirk McNair, Laken Litman, John Garcia, Jr., Cary Clark, and Mitch Dobbs reporting. Additionally, Scout.com and FoxSportsNext reporters from around the South and even national reporters will be in Birmingham for what marks the start of ramped up coverage of SEC football.

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