SEC Media Days Friday Blog

The final day of SEC Media Days 2011 takes place on Friday and we'll have complete coverage.

1:30--LSU players Ryan Baker and T-Bob Hebert both talked about the challenges of playing in the SEC West. With as many as five teams possibly being ranked to start the season it could once again be the best division in football. Baker said unfortunately it's not just the West.

"I don't know if it's just our division, I think it's our whole conference," Baker said. "To play Alabama one week and the next week Vanderbilt, you can't really tell the difference in play. We have to take every game one day at a time."

Both players also talked about the play of former Auburn signee Ken Adams. Playing defensive end for the Fighting Tigers last fall, Adams is now in the 260-pound range and should have even more impact this season.

"Ken is crazy-fast," Baker said. "He's a 4.4 guy at 260 pounds. He consistently runs a 4.4. He's not vocal, but he brings his A game every day."

Hebert was beaming following his day of interviews. A player I got to know some during recruiting, he said offensive linemen don't usually get to talk much so he enjoyed the experience.

1:01--Miles said his team understands that rankings and predictions don't mean much and have to be earned.

12:59: Miles said Russell Shepard didn't attend Media Days because he had things to take care of in Baton Rouge.

12:54--Miles doesn't see special teams being reduced at all as far as eliminating kickoffs is concerned.

12:47--Miles said he thinks the opening game against Oregon will be tough and that he's watched the Auburn/Oregon BCS National Championship game as part of the preparation for the game against the Ducks.

Miles was asked about Will Lyles, and he said he couldn't respond specifically about Lyles, but that he thinks recruiting services are valuable because of the materials they provide.

12:43--Miles said the Tigers should be fine at the cornerback spot even with the loss of Patrick Peterson.

12:40--LSU head coach Les Miles is now at the podium. He said addition of offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe has been good for quarterback Jordan Jefferson.

11:48--Ole Miss senior running back Brandon Bolden was asked what SEC running backs he enjoyed watching. He said he likes the running style of Knile Davis and Michael Dyer.

11:45--It's pretty obvious that Mississippi State has done a great job of marketing their program in the state with billboards saying it's their state. Ole Miss players were asked about it and they did a good job of deflecting the questions, but Bradley Sowell said it's very important to him not to lose to the Bulldogs three times in a row.

11:24--Nutt was asked what he thought of Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano's proposal to end kickoffs. He said that he understands where Schiano's coming from but doesn't see it happening. Nutt suggested moving kickoffs back to the 35-yard line as a good option because it would result in more touchbacks.

11:20--Nutt said he thinks recruiting services are valuable because of the videos they provide.

11:15--Nutt said if Ole Miss played tonight, West Virginia transfer Barry Brunetti would start at quarterback.

11:11--Nutt described the SEC West as "tough," saying that you have to be ready to play regardless of who you're playing. He said you can't just circle a game and say "that's a win."

11:07--During the break, it was announced that LSU wide receiver Russell Shepard would not be one of the three player representatives today. Instead, center T-Bob Hebert will be made available.

11:04--Houston Nutt was asked how he felt about Dan Mullen saying they had put up billboards on the state line saying it was MSU's state. Nutt said to check last year's recruiting that Ole Miss won the battle. The Rebels finished 15th in the nation last year. MSU wasn't in the Top 25.

10:46--Just announced that the SEC had 1,050 media members credentialed for this year's media days. The previous record was 923.

10:42--Waiting on Ole Miss and Coach Houston Nutt to arrive. Went downstairs and there are probably 100 or more Alabama fans in the lobby with posters and signs. Came to media days and once again a pep rally broke out.

9:50--First-year Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin said that the changes to academic standards proposed by commissioner Mike Slive could help level the playing field.
He also said he uses the academics at Vanderbilt to set the Commodores apart from other SEC teams in head-to-head recruiting battles.

9:30--Alabama running back Trent Richardson said that he's looking forward to more work this year, but he noted that nothing is guaranteed heading into a new season. "I just take one play at a time and go out there and run hard-nosed. As far as being the lead back. I haven't bought into that yet. I'm still playing like I'm still the second back.

"It's something happy to think about, but at the same time I have to keep my job. If I don't run hard or fumble all the time I won't have the job. I have to work on every aspect of my game."

9:20--Defensive back Mark Barron said that the team has posters of last year's Auburn-Alabama score posted in the weight room and locker room for motivation. He said that Iron Bowl loss is the key motivating factor the team is using for the upcoming season.
Barron said that his pectoral muscle, which he had surgery on in the offseason, is feeling better but it not 100 percent yet. He said he expects to begin fall practice wearing the black no-contact jersey.

9:08--Saban said that he thinks commissioner Mike Slive's contributions to the SEC have been positive for the league.

8:58--He said that linebacker Dont'a Hightower is fully recovered from injury and is running well.

8:56--He said it's always been his philosophy not to run his running back 30 times a game, so he always uses a two-back rotation. He said he needs to address the depth at the running back position because of the loss of Dee Hart to injury and the transfer of Corey Grant.

8:47--He said winning five straight national championships speaks to the strength of the SEC, which he called the "National League of College Football."
He said he thinks it's very difficult to maintain that kind of standard, but the quality of the coaches, players and programs in the league gives the SEC a chance to put a team in the national championship game every year.
Saban said he would tell the Alabama fan wearing an "I hate Auburn," shirt in the hotel lobby that the rivalry is not personal and that it's not the way "we should respect" the other team. He added that fans need to have a level of class to better represent the school and state.

The lobby at SEC Media Days

8:45--Saban said he's proud of the coaching profession and how coaches help players in life.

8:42--Saban said he thinks the state of Alabama has two great institutions. He added that some of the negative things that have happened in the Auburn/Alabama rivalry have not been good. He said it's a small group of people on both sides who are to blame.

8:35--Alabama head coach Nick Saban said it's been a challenging offseason with the tornado striking Tuscaloosa. He thanked those in Alabama who have come to the aid of others.
Saban said the team does have question marks, including replacing four players at critical positions who were lost to the NFL Draft—wide receiver Julio Jones, running back Mark Ingram,offensive lineman James Carpenter, and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. He also mentioned replacing two-year starter Greg McElroy with either A.J. McCarron or Phillip Sims as a area of concern because of their lack of experience at the position.

8:25--The media has picked its All-SEC team for 2011 and eight Auburn players made the list. Brandon Mosley is the only first-team player for the Tigers, making the list at offensive tackle. Tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen and running back Michael Dyer are second-team players on offense while Emory Blake is a third-team player.

On defense Nosa Eguae is a second-team selection along with Neiko Thorpe. T'Sharvan Bell is a third-team pick. Onterio McCalebb is listed as a second-team return specialist.

Overall Auburn (406) was picked fifth in the West behind Alabama 925, LSU 790, Arkansas 717, and Mississippi State 455. Auburn and Vanderbilt were the only teams without a first place vote in the selections. South Carolina was picked to win the East with Georgia second and Florida third.

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