SEC Media Days: Day One, News & Notes

The Southeastern Conference's kickoff event to the 2012 football season is taking place through Thursday in Hoover.

Hoover, Ala.--Day one of three for the SEC Media Days will start on Tuesday afternoon with commissioner Mike Slive, newcomers Texas A&M and Missouri along with Vanderbilt and South Carolina on the agenda.

This report will be updated throughout the day with news and notes on Southeastern Conference football:


*Vanderbilt's second-year head coach James Franklin said there is a lot of excitement about opening the season on a Thursday night vs. a "hall of fame" coach and a Top 10 opponent when Steve Spurrier brings South Carolina to Nashville. Franklin said opening vs. the Gamecocks on national TV has helped his players become "unbelievably motivated" during the offseason.

Franklin said the Commodores are getting ready to break ground on a $31 million indoor practice facility. The coach said the excitement level over the program is up considerably compared to this time last year.

*Franklin noted that his running back, Zac Stacy, looks ready to have another big year with a good offensive line in front of him. Franklin said Stacy comes to practice every day with a "blue collar" attitude.

*Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said that it would be "an understatement" to say that his program's fan base is pleased with the move to the Southeastern Conference. He used the word "fanatical" to describe the reaction to the move.

*Franklin said he has high expectations for his quarterback Jordan Rodgers, who he predicts will be significantly improved this fall. He said the quarterback has a lot of knowledge of the game and the quarterback position in particular.

More on Vandy

*Franklin said he doesn't consider his team's games vs. in-state opponent Tennesssee a rivalry because it has been so one-sided in UT's favorite. He added the focus for the Commodores is not beating the Vols. Instead, the goal is to improve the team so it can be better prepared to win against everybody on the schedule. Franklin said that any SEC team playing the Commodores can expect a four-quarter battle when facing his football team.

Coach Gary Pinkel

*Coach Gary Pinkel said that although Missouri is a spread offense team his Tigers are good at running the football, too. He noted that his team finished 15th in the country in rushing offense last year. "We can go a lot of ways with our offense depending on what we need to do with our personnel," he said.

He also said it has been an "understatement" to say that it has been a positive in recruiting and added his players are very excited, too.

*Pinkel said one of the things to watch this year will be how Missouri's offense adjusts to the traditionally strong SEC defenses.

*Pinkel, who said he has "great respect" for the Arkansas, said he hopes its annual games with the Razorbacks develop into an outstanding border state collegiate rivalry.

*South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said that his roster is deeper than it was because the Gamecocks have been able to redshirt approximately half of their signees in recent years. Spurrier said he feels good about this team, but noted the Gamecocks are not favored to win the SEC, but have a team that should be able to make a run at the league title.

*Spurrier is known for being demanding on his quarterbacks. He had high praise for QB Connor Shaw, who he noted had a strong finish to the 2011 season. Spurrier noted that Shaw is the son of a high school head football coach who is highly focused on the game.

*Missouri freshman wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham is doing a good job of fitting in with his new teammates, according to Pinkel, who said the nation's No. 1 recruit has shown that he is humble and hard-working.

*On the subject of recruiting, Pinkel said that Missouri will continue to recruit heavily, but will add the states of Florida and Georgia to the mix.

Steve Spurrier

*Spurrier predicted that league newcomers Texas A&M and Missouri will do very well in the SEC. He noted that two early league games, Georgia at Missouri and Florida at Texas A&M, will be ones he is very interested in seeing what happens.

*Linebacker Sean Porter said there is a major buzz on the Texas A&M campus about the Aggies joining the SEC. He noted that he was enjoying all of the attention he is receiving at SEC Media Days and noted he had never seen so many reporters in one place at one time.

Sean Porter is an outside linebacker for the Aggies.

*Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin said it wasn't walking into the room on Tuesday with approximately 1,000 media members that made the move to the SEC hit home for him. He said that happened at the SEC Coaches Convention when he walked into the room with the other 13 head coaches.

Sumlin said that the Aggies play all six of the national champions out of the league, something he added that had been pointed out to him several times. He notes that they took the job knowing that and it's an opportunity for his program.

*Sumlin said that the Aggies will continue to focus their recruiting in talent-rich Texas, but said joining the SEC gives the Aggies a higher national profile and the team is getting more attention from recruits outside of the state, especially going east toward Louisiana and Mississippi.

*Sumlin was asked about being in the SEC West and said it is a pretty "damn hard" league because of the size and speed of the athletes, depth on the rosters and the coaching.

*Texas A&M's top running back, Christine Michael, is coming back from a knee injury and is 100 percent, according to Sumlin.

*Sumlin said a key for the Aggies to have success in the SEC will be to consistently recruit at a high level. He said that he knows Texas A&M has the potential to do that.

*The Texas A&M coach said a key to his team's first year in the SEC is how the Aggies adjust to their new offensive and defensive schedules and "buy in" to what the new coaching staff is doing.

A&M Ready For Life In the SEC

*Commisioner Slive noted that the league is in its all-time best era for success in all sports, including football. League teams have won 62 national championships in 16 of the 20 sports the league sponsors. During the 2012-2013 season SEC teams won nine national titles and seven other teams finished as national runners-up.

Mike Slive

*Slive SEC the trend of fewer minority head coaches in the college ranks for major sports is being bucked by the SEC, which is going in the opposition direction with three in football, eight in men's basketball and five in women's basketbal.

*Slive said that Texas A&M and Missouri are just the third and fourth teams to be added to the conference in the 80+ year history of the league. *Slive said the SEC on ESPN reaches more than 80 million viewer.

In terms of postseason football Slive said it's no secret the SEC has favored a four-team playoff since 2004 when Auburn was left out of the BCS Championship.

*As for the champions bowl, Slive said they are working with the Big 12 on the game that will be played in primetime on Jan. 1. He said it will complement the new postseason and it provides the fans a new and unique bowl experience.

*Auburn is on the agenda for day two on Wednesday along with Florida, Mississippi State, LSU, Arkansas, Kentucky and Steve Shaw, the SEC coordinator of officials. On Thursday the event concludes with Alabama, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Georgia appearing at the event.

Hugh Freeze

*New head coaches at SEC programs include Hugh Feeze (Arkansas State to Ole Miss), Kevin Sumlin (Houston to Texas A&M) and John L. Smith (Idaho to Arkansas)

Auburn's Emory Blake was named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list on Wednesday. The award goes to college football's top wide receiver.

*In addition to the head coaches from each of the 14 SEC programs, three players from each team will participate in the event. Auburn's trio includes senior tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, senior wide receiver Emory Blake and junior Corey Lemonier will represent Gene Chizik's Tigers.

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