Tipoff '08: SEC Media Day Blog, Day Two

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Join KSR today at the Marriott Hotel along with representatives from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Georgia and South Carolina. KSR will be present all day to bring you the latest in this blog, as well as premium message board posts from Larry Vaught and Brian Eldridge, with follow-up stories later today. ** Updated 10:26 a.m. **

10:10 a.m. -- Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings is known for his quick wit and sometimes explosive temperment. SEC Director of Officiating Gerald Boudreaux yesterday explained the "new" rules regarding the coaching box, and Stallings was asked about how it might affect him. Remember that Vanderbilt is the only school in the nation in which the coaches benches are located on the end lines, rather than the sidelines.

"We don't have a coaching box," Stallings explained. "On the home end, we can go whereever we want. On the visitor's end, you have to stay in front of your seat."

"Now (LSU Coach John) Brady doesn't acknowledge it. All the rest of the coaches do a pretty good job with it, though."


Stallings admitted he may struggle with the new rule. "It's how I talk," he further explained. "I used to coach with Gene Keady. Give me a break."

10:26 a.m. --



Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried believes his team will feel the impact of losing Ronald Steele at point guard. Steele underwent surgery to both knees, and has elected to take a medical hardship year.

"Nobody knew how much damage there was," Gottfried said. "You couldn't see that much cartiliage in both knees from the MRIs."

Gottfried said that after Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery, Andrews himself was relieved that they had done so because of the cartiliage, and the injury was a little more substantial than they thought.

Rick Stansbury of Mississippi State is being talked about quietly as somewhat of a dark horse this year. They have a lot of talent on his team, but Stansbury downplayed expectations. "We're young," Stansbury said. "We're the second youngest team in the SEC, behind only Florida." Stansbury said that experience was what counted, and teams like Arkansas--"They have seven seniors--they all came back, right?"--would carry the day because of their experience.



Thirty minutes til Kentucky.

11:00 a.m. --

Kentucky contingency arrives.

Billy Gillispie is the rock star, or the dessert at the picnic. He arrived a few minutes early and the SEC was not ready for him, so he sat down at a table with another coach's nametag on it. Media followed like ants. Scott Stricklin of UK then told him he was sitting at the wrong table. He got up, and the ant trail followed.

"I don't have a five year plan. I have a one day plan," Gillispie said about winning at Kentucky. Gillispie did not give any team goals, though, and would not put a number on what he would consider a successful season.

"Recruiting is priority number one, and taking care of your team is priority one-A," Gillispie said regarding what would make his program successful. He admitted to having a lot of recruiting that he needed to do.

Ramel Bradley was engaging as the Kentucky sole player representative.

KSR: "What kind of expectations do you have this year."

Bradley: "To win."

KSR: "What do you consider winning?"

"Well, at the end of the game when we're in the locker room, if we have more points than the other team, that means we've won."

KSR: "OK, then--what does Ramel Bradley think is a successful season for Ramel Bradley and the University of Kentucky?"

Bradley: "Winning the SEC and going to the Final Four. Nothing else."

12:45 p.m. -- women's representatives from the University of Kentucky appear.

Matthew Mitchell, head coach of the women's team, has high expectations for Kentucky.

KSR: Your team is picked sixth in the tough Southeastern Conference. Does that add any pressure to the team?"

Mitchell: "No. We have higher expectations for ourselves than sixth."

Mitchell also considers recruiting a very high priority, and said that the Joe Craft Center, and the reputation of Kentucky men's basketball played a very big part in their success. He said that Kentucky was "getting there," in terms of going into homes and getting recognition because of Kentucky's women's basketball success.

More later this afternoon after visiting with both head coaches at a See Blue function here in Birmingham.
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