Tommy Tuberville was asked about the difficulty of winning at a school in Mississippi considering the last several years of Ole Miss and MSU, and the Auburn head coach gave a reasonable and most likely accurate response.
"Well, is it more difficult (than other places)?" Tuberville said. "Maybe in some situations it is. I think, of course they have two universities there. They have a lot of good players. I think in the past there's been a lot of coaching changes at both schools. There's been changeover.
"When I went to Ole Miss, we had some problems. The biggest thing when you're a football coach, whether it's one school in the state or two or three, you've still got to keep players in your state going to your university. I mean, you're gonna lose some, but you got to keep a lot of ‘em. I think because of coaching changes over the years, the inconsistencies of coaching staffs, I think that's hurt. You know, you have to give your coaches time. Sometimes the leash is short. When you start over in any place with a new head coach or a coaching staff, you start from scratch. It's going to take a staff two or three years to learn the recruiting, get it going again. That gives coaches from outside an opportunity to come in and take players. The changeover of coaches catches up with you."
On the whole, the schools on the first day yielded few surprises or memorable moments except for the occasional Steve Spurrier zinger. SEC commissioner Mike Slive presented the opening address with promotional, yet impressive numbers on the conference.
Slive gave the following list of accomplishments:
Nine bowl teams including two BCS last season
Eight national titles by five different schools last season
Fifth football national championship in last 15 seasons
Led nation in football attendance for 26th consecutive year
Averaged 75,000 in football attendance at 96 percent capacity
75 percent of athletic teams went to the postseason last year
Spurrier stepped to the podium and talked about a new level of Gamecock football. The Ball Coach commented on South Carolina simply trying to win more than they lost during the first two years, but that he now felt they could compete with Georgia, Florida and Tennessee.
"I know it will be a huge assignment, but I believe our players, our team, we need to come to the ballpark feeling like we're just as good as Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and that we can play with those guys to see what happens," Spurrier said. "Don't know what's gonna happen, but that's gonna be our mindset going into the season, to see what happens. So we're looking forward to it. We think, again, our players, our talent level is up pretty close or maybe even even with some of those teams."
And then the patented Spurrier quips.
When asked about the recent NBA officiating problem
"I've probably been accused of saying something like that a couple of times (smiling). But, yeah, we'll all have to be careful now of not saying, It appeared that guy had money on the game. You can't say that anymore. I don't know if I've ever said that before. There were a few games, not many. There's been a few lousily called games that deserved an investigation (smiling)."
On Andre Woodson and the job that Kentucky did last season.
"I really admire what Kentucky, their team did last year. Go 8 5, win the Bowl game. We thought we did something big beating Clemson, then Kentucky beat them also."
When asked about what he would do if he didn't coach.
"Well, probably same thing as you sportswriters. I mean, what else would y'all be doing if you weren't here all the time (smiling). Yeah, I had that one year off, and it wasn't much fun. I don't play golf well enough. I can play decent, but I don't play well enough to play every day. I played in that Lake Tahoe event. Hadn't played since. I just said, That's enough for a while. My mind is completely off golf. Have no desire to play golf right now."
UK's Rich Brooks said he has been happy to just participate in the Media Days. Now, since he is here, he thinks the Wildcats can stir things up this season.
"I'm back (smiling). If you remember my opening statement the last two years, my goal for this upcoming season would be that I was able to be here at this function the next year. Well, finally got it on a little bit more solid footing, and hopefully I won't have to answer too many questions about job security this year.
"I think, without a doubt, this is the best football team that I've had going into a season at Kentucky. 97 percent of our weapons return. Offensive production, defensive tackling, interceptions, fumble recoveries, however you want to calculate it, it almost all returns. Also the returning game, the kicking and punting, all of that."
Kentucky is coming off a Music City Bowl win over Clemson and returns quarterback Andrew Woodson, who garnered preseason All-SEC honors. Expectations have been raised, and Kentucky is attempting to not be a one-year wonder.
"It was fantastic," Woodson said. "We've come a long way since I first came here as a freshman, from knowing where the program was going, to where we want it to go now. This season, there's a chance to make a big statement about where our program is headed for the future. We think we have a chance to be an SEC contender and go to a BCS game."
Coming up on Thursday: Mississippi State, Alabama, Florida and Vanderbilt.
SEC Media Notebook - Day One
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