SEC Media Day news and notes
Although the off season seems to drag on forever, today's SEC media day event makes it seem like kickoff is finally within our reach.
Whenever you get Steve Spurrier, James Franklin, Nick Saban, and (of course) Les Miles together, you know there are going to be some noteworthy quotes and sound bytes, so we're going to compile everything you need to know from SEC media days right here for you to look over.
This page will be updated periodically over the three day event so be sure to check in often.
Early-season TV schedule announced
The SEC's first official announcement is that the league's television schedule is now completely set through Sept. 14. As always, most of the big early-season college football games also happen to be SEC games and 2013 will be no different. The season starts with an SEC doubleheader on ESPN - North Carolina at South Carolina at 6 p.m. ET, followed by Ole Miss at Vanderbilt at 9:15 p.m. ET. Opening weekend continues Saturday with Rice at Texas A&M at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN, Virginia Tech vs. Alabama at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, Georgia at Clemson at 8 p.m. ET on ABC and LSU vs. TCU at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Week 2 won't pack quite the punch as Week 1, but Florida at Miami (noon ET, ESPN) and South Carolina at Georgia (4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) still qualify as appointment television. Week 3 brings what many are dubbing the game of the year - Alabama at Texas A&M at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS - as well as Louisville at Kentucky (noon ET, ESPN), Tennessee at Oregon (3:30 p.m. ET, network TBD), Vanderbilt at South Carolina (7 p.m. ET, network TBD) and Ole Miss at Texas (8 p.m. ET, Longhorn Network).
Mike Slive Speaks
Commissioner Mike Slive opened the proceedings with his annual State of the SEC address. Naturally, he led off with the litany of the SEC's recent accomplishments: seven straight national titles, more than double the draft picks of any other conference, four of the last six Heisman Trophy winners, an unprecedented six teams in the top 10 and three of the last four national student-athletes of the year.
Slive also provided an update on the progress of the upcoming SEC Network. ESPN is wrapping up its site visits to all 14 campuses, and plans to broadcast a two-hour pregame show from once from each SEC campus throughout every fall. It'll be the SEC's own version of College GameDay.
But Slive's most notable remarks were saved for Mark Emmert and the NCAA. Slive is unhappy that the NCAA has been unable to pass a cost-of-attendance addendum to the standard scholarship, and unhappy that the attempted recruiting reform failed as spectacularly as it did.
At current pace, Slive will announce "routine nuclear missile tests" around Indianapolis before his remarks end.— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) July 16, 2013
Florida's Will Muschamp:
On offensive continuity: "For the first time since 2010 we'll have the same offensive coordinator at the University of Florida, which I know our kids are relieved to have."
On the improvement from 2011 to 2012: "More than anything to me, the roster is much better. From a discipline standpoint, from a character standpoint, and from a buy-in standpoint. When you have eight come-from-behind wins in a season, that says a lot about where you are as a program....In 2011, we were a minus-12 in turnover margin, in 2012 we went to plus-15, which is the difference of a season."
On adding Joker Phillips to the staff: "That's something that gives you great ideas and benefit, from a guy that's sat in the chair before. When I was a defensive coordinator, I enjoyed having guys in the room that have called it before and that see the big picture."
On hiring Brad Lawing away from South Carolina: "I always felt as an assistant coach your tape was your resume. You can get up on the white board and draw fancy X's and O's but at the end of the day, what you put on the field is who you are as a coach. I've really watched South Carolina's defensive lines play and the job Brad Lawing did there...After 15 days of spring practice I totally understand what he did there."
On a head coach's responsibility for players' development: "You're 100 percent responsible when you sign a student-athlete to come to the University of Florida. Do you know everything that happens? I can't possibly know everything that happens every night with our football team. But you also can't stick your head in the sand and pretend everything's okay."
Missouri's Gary Pinkel:
On staying healthy: Pinkel noted that they won't have any two a day practices during camp this year in an effort to cut down on injuries and stay healthier overall.
On last season: "It's a line of scrimmage league...We had six games come down to the fourth quarter, we won three and lost three. We're used to winning those."
On Missouri's first year in the SEC: "The SEC is what I thought it was going to be. Our fans embraced it. They traveled as well as they ever have."
On how he coaches during a tough season: "For me, I focus on doing my job. I like doing my job. I'm driven, obviously, to be successful. We're used to winning. I'm focusing, like our team is, on getting better and improving each and every week."
On dealing with injuries: "I'm paid to overcome anything that happens to us."
Ole Miss' Hugh Freeze:
On the strides his team took last season: "With the exception of two halves, I thought our kids were very competitive....We made great strides in all areas. Academically we went from a 920 to a 944 APR. It all has to do with us holding each other accountable."
On managing expectations after a successful 2012: "I tell our team quite often that unrealistic expectations, they always produce frustration. I don't care what area of life that you're in, if you have an unreal expectation and it does not come to pass you get very frustrated. Our task in year two is to maintain the enthusiasm and energy from both our fans and our players and everyone that is inolved in our program as we strive to continue to be relevant in the SEC West."
On Ole Miss playing four of its first five games on the road: "I can't control that we play four of those five on the road right out of the gate, but I can control how we prepare for them. I try not to give much power to that as far as it being a negative. Then we get into October and we don't leave the state of Mississippi."
On the criticism Ole Miss took after Signing Day: "If you get your feelings hurt at this level, you'll always be on a roller coaster."
South Carolina's Steve Spurrier:
Right off the bat, Spurrier campaigned for football and men's basketball players to receive a stipend, around $3,600 or so per year. Spurrier stated that both the SEC's football and men's basketball coaches voted 14-0 in favor of a stipend. "I'm going to fight for our guys," Spurrier says, until President Obama tells him to stop. He said the coaches would even pay the $300,000 or so it would take to fund the stipend program out of their respective salary pools.
He also opined that the Notre Dame athletic director shouldn't swing the same stick as the 10 FBS conference commissioners and that SEC coaches "voted 14-0" that the Fighting Irish should join the ACC. Oh, and the SEC's scheduling process is still unfair. Yes, the Ol' Ball Coach showed up in full force on Tuesday.
On if he's ever given thought to playing Jadeveon Clowney on offense: "Not really. We've got a bunch of offensive players that are pretty good. He's capable of running the ball, but that wouldn't be very smart. He'd sprain an ankle and end up standing over there with me the rest of the season."
On his two quarterbacks: "We'll probably put two quarterbacks on the field at the same time. Connor (Shaw) could switch out to wide receiver, heck, he could play running back if we wanted him to do that. He's solid, can carry the ball and take a pounding. Dylan (Thompson) has developed as a real good drop back passer. We've got to make sure we use both of them the best we can."
On being close to bringing home an SEC national championship the last three years: "We're sort of knocking at the door but we need to win those crucial games."
Tweets to Note
Alabama expected to be media's choice to win SEC. Only 4 times in 21 years media correctly picked SEC champ— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 16, 2013
[Mike Slive enters SEC Media Days Room, adjusts microphone] "Get money." [exits room, high-fiving everyone]— Adam Kramer (@KegsnEggs) July 16, 2013
Muschamp: “We appreciate our friends from Ohio making sure we follow NCAA rules. They certainly know something about NCAA rules.”— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) July 16, 2013
I *almost* forgot how Florida coach Will Muschamp can burn a hole right through you with his eyes. #SECMediaDays— Kate Hairopoulos (@khairopoulos) July 16, 2013
Florida OG Jon Halapio on the maddest he's seen Will Muschamp: "Every Saturday"— Matt Smith (@MattSmithCFB) July 16, 2013
The cop assigned to escort Clowney chuckled at assignment. "I'm 'security' for him. If he can't handle it, who am I?'"— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) July 16, 2013
Spurrier went to Johnson City, TN for 50-year reunion at Science Hill High. "Looked around at 9:30 or so and everybody was gone." Laughter.— Chris Harry (@GatorZoneChris) July 16, 2013
Jadeveon Clowney said a Florida OL was taunting him about the score when the lineman who was about to block him said "shut up, man!"— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 16, 2013