SEC Media Days: Day 2 Recap, Part 3

HOOVER, Ala. - In the first two parts of our recap of day two of SEC Media Days we focused on Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips and student-athletes Morgan Newton, Danny Trevathan and Stuart Hines. In this final part we will look at some highlights from the rest of the day, and some KSR awards--including the "Yogi" award to Georgia coach Mark Richt.

Four more coaches took the podium Thursday, with each of them talking positively about their teams. The ultimate in spin may have been achieved by Georgia head coach Mark Richt, however. In this year's version of a Yogi Berraism, Richt explained the concept of team depth.

"Asking about depth up front," Richt said. "I think it's fine if we don't get anybody hurt."

With 1,050 media members in attendance this year, an all-time record, it is no secret that SEC football remains extremely popular. Richt explained, "If I had to say one word when it comes to the Southeastern Conference, I really would say what separates us from everybody is 'passion.' The passion of the coaches, players and fans especially. There's nothing like it. It is huge, big-game atmosphere every time we hook it up in our league. Every game is just so meaningful."

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said his team is young-very young. "It's probably the youngest football team I've ever been a part of," he said. "We have 10 seniors, only two of them are returning starters. So that's our makeup."

Dooley analogized coaching his young quarterback--Tyler Bray--who had a tendency to improvise last year. "It's a little bit like parenting," Dooley said. "They don't always do it the way you want, but then they do it, and you go, well, that wasn't too bad after all."

The headliner of the day, though, was defending national champion head coach Gene Chizik of the Auburn Tigers. After filibustering with his opening statement in excess of seven minutes, the questions began. Not surprisingly, many of the questions surrounded the NCAA and the incident in Destin in which the NCAA official said Auburn was still being investigated.

"It was a real simple question of process to Julie, who happens to be the head of NCAA enforcement," Chizik explained. "To be honest with you, it was very informative."

Oddsmaker Danny Sheridan appeared on the Paul Finebaum radio show and revealed that his sources indicated the NCAA knew who the "bagman" was, and believed they could trace money going from an Auburn booster to Cam Newton's father. Chizik was unshaken, "I don't operate on rumors and innuendoes, anything of that nature," he explained. "my job every day at Auburn is to recruit, graduate great kids and great players, and win championships."

Chizik continued, "The NCAA on more than one occasion has said that Auburn has done nothing wrong in the recruitment of Cam Newton. Nothing's changed. Again, can't control everybody's microphone. Can't control everybody's opinion. But again, I'll say as I've said it maybe the fifth time today, I feel really good when my head hits the pillow tonight."

Honorable mention goes to

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