What Is On Minds Of SEC Coaches?
Alabama Coach Nick Saban will be first up when SEC Media Days begin Wednesday in Birmingham (actually the Wynfrey at the Galleria in suburban Hoover). There have been suggestions that as many as 1,000 media members could be registered for the three-day event that has become a harbinger of the onset of the college football season.
(I can't help but have an old fogey "I remember when..." moment in thinking back to the first one, in what was (and may still be) the Sheraton near UAB in Birmingham. There were so few reporters that we were all in what was not much more than an over-sized conference room. While one coach was speaking, another might be sitting next to you.)
The big issue last year came from the whiney homers who cover Florida. Tim Tebow didn't get every vote to be the pre-season All-SEC quarterback and the Florida investigative reporters were going to get to the bottom of it. Eleven coaches gave their solumn oath that they had not dissed Timmy. Then the final coach, Steve Spurrier, an old Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida himself, fessed up. Sort of. He said he had given the assignment of choosing a pre-season All-SEC team to one of his minions (as surely every coach does), and that his man had cast the lone vote for Jevan Snead.
Meanwhile, we had to listen to the question-answer session with every other coach.
There's not too much that can be said at SEC Media Days about the NCAA inquiries (or whatever stage) going on at South Carolina and Florida. Florida should know something about the agent issue that has been raised recently. Going back to the days when Spurrier was the head coach of the Gators and slinging mud at the likes of Florida State and Alabama, it turned out that Florida players were being paid by an agent, Hank Black.
The Bobby Johnson issue is a yawner. It was shocking when it occurred, but now there will be nothing but praise for Johnson for the job he did with the hapless Commodores. Robbie Caldwell is next to try to sail the scow that is Vanderbilt football.
Maybe the coaches will discuss their health and whether coaching is such a pressure-filled job that they should expect to have high blood pressure, etc. Perhaps they should get more pay for the risk. But Meyer said his retirement of a day or so last winter wasn't related to job stress (such as the 32-13 beatdown at the hands of Bama), but rather heartburn.
Maybe the Big Topic will be whether—as almost everyone is writing these days—that the SEC has become a two-team league, Alabama and Florida. That's living in the moment. Yes, right now, Alabama and Florida are probably the two best teams, as they were last year, and the year before. Somehow, it seems a stretch to think that any SEC coach—Bama's Saban and Florida's Meyer included—are going to agree with the premise.
Or maybe some coach will have by-passed the latest favorite Gator on the pre-season All-SEC team.
Whatever, we'll be covering it for you at BamaMag.com. The event is Wednesday through Friday. We'll have coverage of the pre-season coaches' team, Saban, and Crimson Tide players Mark Ingram, Greg McElroy, and Dont'a Hightower, plus other news, on Wednesday. On Friday we'll have the media choices for pre-season All-SEC and the media vote for how the teams finish in 2010.
And, hopefully, there will be a number of interesting tidbits from throughout the meetings for us to pass along.
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