SEC Media Days Blog, Day 3

Auburn is one of the teams on the agenda for the 2010 SEC Media Days.

Hoover, Ala.--News and notes from day three of the SEC Football Media Days 2010 are featured.

Predictions on the SEC race from voting at SEC Media Days:

SEC East Division (First Place Votes)

1 Florida (153) 1030

2. Georgia (15) 791

3 South Carolina (8) 790

4. Kentucky 462

5. Tennessee 450

6. Vanderbilt (1)194

SEC West Division

1. Alabama (157) 1034

2. Arkansas (6) 726

3. Auburn (10) 691

4. LSU (1) 653

5. Mississippi State 320

6. Ole Miss (3) 293

8:30 a.m.--Auburn's Gene Chizik said that he believes the program is in much better shape as he heads into his second season as head coach of the Tigers. Chizik noted that he and his staff have a much better understanding of the team's personnel.

Chizik pointed out that most of the current members of the team have not been able to play for the same offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator for two years in a row. Chizik said that should be a big plus for the 2010 team.

8:35 a.m.--Chizik said Auburn approving the new 120-yard indoor practice facility is a major boost for the football program. He said it will help recruiting and will be something the players and coaches will get a lot of use out of in the coming years. The project is expected to be ready in time for the 2011 season with construction scheduled to begin in December or January.

8:40 a.m.--Chizik noted that he has had a busy summer with a large number of prospects visiting campus for camps and unofficial visits. He said the staff got a lot of preparation work in for the 2010 season as well as much-needed vacation time for the coaching staff.

9:00 a.m.--Commenting on safety Zac Etheridge being cleared to play this season, he said that everybody on the team, both coaches and players, holds the senior in high regard. He noted that there were a lot of ups and downs in the rehab process, but said that Etheridge is "blessed" to be able to play more football because he is so passionate about the game. Chizik said that Etheridge will be monitored closely by the AU medical staff as practice starts on August 4th. Chizik said in his opinion that Auburn has the best medical team there is.

9:05 a.m.--Chizik said that freshman Trovon Reed is "a very talented kid" who could get a chance to play wildcat quarterback this season in addition to seeing time as a wide receiver. Reed was ranked by as the No. 1 prospect in the state of Louisiana for the 2010 signee class.

9:35 a.m.--Linebacker Josh Bynes said that he is excited at how well the injured safeties have been performing in summer workouts. He noted that Aairon Savage, who has missed the past two seasons and Mike McNeil, who missed all of last season, look like their old selves.

He noted that he can't see any ill effects with Zac Etheridge, who was cleared this week by doctors to return to action for his senior year. Bynes said those three veteran safeties should make a major positive difference in the Auburn defense.

Bynes also said he is expecting a good performance from the veteran defensive front led by seniors Mike Blanc, Zach Clayton, Michael Goggans and Antoine "Hot" Carter along junior Nick Fairley.

9:39 a.m.--Bynes said the Tigers aren't going to be happy unless they win the SEC Championship this year. He noted that strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall's slogan for the 2010 season is "Eight Ain't It," a reference to Auburn's eight victories in 2009.

9:40 a.m.--Senior offensive tackle Lee Ziemba said he has been impressed with how newcomer Cameron Newton has stepped into a leadership role with the offense. Ziemba said in addition to being an excellent athlete, the transfer from Blinn Junior College in Texas is an excellent person and a good friend. Newton, who began his college career at the University of Florida as a backup to Tim Tebow, has two years of eligibility remaining.

Aairon Savage is shown at media days. He says that his girlfriend Shannon wanted him to wear a bowtie to the event.

9:42--After spending time finishing his masters degree this summer in biomechanics, Savage said that he hasn't decided what classes he will take this fall except for one. He said he will take a physical education class in bowling, something he enjoys, noting his average is around 180 and his high game is 251.

9:44 a.m.--Josh Bynes said he has been following the news stories about players possibly losing their eligibility for illegal dealings with agents or representatives from agents. He said based on what he has been taught about agents, going back to his freshman season at Auburn, there is no way that a player shouldn't understand what is right and what is wrong concerning agents. He said he would never want to do anything to embarrass himself, his family and Auburn and that is what could happen if he had dealings with those people prior to finishing his senior season.

9:50 a.m.--New Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley said he is more like his father, Vince, than his mother Barbara. He said his mom is a speak first, think later person and Vince Dooley, a former Auburn player and Georgia head football coach is a think first, speak later type of individual.

The UT coach noted that his dad, who is a student of history, has been reading up on the history of UT football, the university in general and state of history, including Civil War battles.

Derek Dooley

9:52 a.m.--Commenting on his swift decision to hand out punishments, including kicking a player off a team following a bar fight in Knoxville this summer, Dooley said he wasn't trying to send a message to his team. He said that he felt it was a situation that needed a quick response so that is why he returned from his vacation, talked to everybody involved and then made his decisions on discipline. He said players were very forthcoming about what happened even if they were not putting their own roles in the situation in a positive light.

Dooley noted that his father, who is a "tremendous resource," gave him good advice on how to handle the situation.

10:05 a.m.--Dooley said even though the state of Tennessee doesn't produce a lot of Division I prospects, he notes that the state borders eight other states that the Vols recruit. He noted that within a three to five hour drive that there is a huge amount of talent to recruit each year so he said he considers UT's location a positive, not a negative.

10:20 a.m.--Auburn's Savage said he felt honored when he found out that Chizik had selected him to participate in media days even though he hasn't played in a game in two years. Chizik said that he was excited to be able to bring a player to media days that he helped recruit to Auburn when he was defensive coordinator for the Tigers in 2004.

10:15 a.m.--Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said he is hopeful that redshirt freshman quarterback Raymond Cotton will stay at Ole Miss. Nutt said the former Auburn verbal commitment from Mobile has "freshmanitis," but has the support of Cotton's parents for him staying at Ole Miss.

Houston Nutt

10:17 a.m.--Nutt said he isn't worried about Ole Miss being picked last in the SEC West. He said throughout his career his teams have been picked low and it hasn't affected their performances.

10:18 a.m.--Nutt said it is important that the Rebels get off to a strong start heading into October when the competition, including a game against Auburn, gets tougher. "We have to take advantage of the schedule, especially early."

11:25 a.m.--The Ole Miss coach was asked what he thought the much-discussed and debated search for a new Ole Miss mascot to replace Colonel Reb. Nutt said he isn't worried about that. He notes that he calls Ole Miss the Rebels.

11:27 a.m.--Nutt said that senior noseguard Jerrel Powe has made huge strides as a player. The coach said Powe weighed 383 pounds when Nutt got to Ole Miss, but he is down to 316.

11:33 a.m.--Nutt was asked about Mississippi State's head coach Dan Mullen calling Ole Miss "that school up north." The coach said he wasn't sure what that is about, but he is has been asked about it multiple times this week.

Coach Les Miles

12:52 p.m.--LSU coach Les Miles said his team is better on offense and more physical than it was last year and that the Tigers can run the ball better. He also said the 2010 LSU defense will have more speed than last year's group. Miles said that he has been told that group has had a good summer of voluntary workouts. He said that the veterans are doing a good job of teaching the newcomers and has been told the team is building a "great chemistry."

12:55 p.m.--A report on Ole Miss media days representative Bradley Sowell:


1:01 p.m.--Miles said that he believes he has a team capable of challenging for the SEC championship. "I like us in every game," he said. "I can wait. I like this team. This team is going to be fun to coach. They want to come together."

1:11 p.m.--Miles said he is disappointed that quarterback Chris Garrett left the team and didn't decide to stay and fight for playing time.

1:14 p.m.--A report on UT's Dooley:

Derek Dooley <> 1:16 p.m.--Miles said he and his staff have spent time working on clock management, a sore spot with LSU fans after the 2009 season. "It's not just lip service," Miles said of what they are doing. "We changed."

Mario Fannin will be a full-time running back as a senior for the Auburn Tigers.

1:20 p.m.--Six Auburn players were named to the All-SEC teams chosen by the media at SEC Media Days. Josh Bynes and Lee Ziemba are first team selections while wide receiver Darvin Adams, kicker Wes Byrum, safety Zac Etheridge and senior Mario Fannin are second team selections.

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