SEC Media Days got started in Hoover Alabama today, as coaches and players of Auburn, Florida, and Vanderbilt got together with the media for Day 1. It’s the SEC. So, you know this event is huge. Let’s take a look at some of Monday’s happenings.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was first to the mic, and the contingent of press had as many questions about his ball club as they had about other issues, concerning anything from Nick Saban and Alabama to up-tempo offenses and Satellite Camps. Somehow, all of those seemed to intertwine in Malzahn’s answers. He started by saying, even the schools that griped about up-tempo offense are now doing it. Hmmmm. Sounds like a Saban reference to me. No one has spoken out louder than Saban about offensive tempo in college football. But, it was Alabama and offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin that had big success with the implementation of tempo into their offense. An implementation that no doubt aided in the success of Blake Sims last season. Next, was Satellite Camps. Saban, has been far from alone in speaking out against coaches like Jim Harbaugh making appearances deep into SEC Country to host camps for prospective college recruits. Saban’s voice may not have been the only voice. But, it was one of the loudest.
The biggest eye-opening moment of Malzahn’s time with the media was when he said the Satellite Camp issue was overblown. He added, that it was very unlikely that teams from the north (Big 10) would be able to come in steal players away because of the Camps. I somewhat agree. However, I think it’s very naive to think their presence won’t at least increase their chances with blue-chip talent from the south. The Satellite Camp debate continues with no end in sight.
Other than that, there are two main topics following the Auburn Tigers right now. Will Muschamp , and Jeremy Johnson. Malzahn, called Muschamp the best defensive mind in football. He didn’t say college football. He said Football. Whoa! Pump the brakes coach. Muschamp, is no doubt a huge upgrade, and it will be interesting to see how much Auburn improves in his second stint on the Plains. However, the Tigers gave up over 35 points per game last season. Much improvement is needed if they’re going to help out first-year starter, Jeremy Johnson . Much is expected from the junior QB. When, you’re mentioned in the same breath with Cam Newton(tall, athletic, fleet of foot, strong arm) the pressure can be hard to overcome. He was very impressive in his time with the media. Auburn fans hope he’s just as impressive on the field.
First-year head coach, Jim McElwain has a lot of questions Florida fans hope he has the answer for. But, they’re going to have to be patient. The Gators, like many other SEC teams have no clue on who the quarterback will be. Could it be Will Grier? Could it be Treon Harris ? In terms of experience, the advantage goes to Harris. But, you have to wonder if either of these guys is ultimately a good fit for McElwain’s offense. Both are dual-threat shotgun types. McElwain, loves a pro-style system. It will be an interesting battle in Gainesville, a few weeks from now. At least there will be a couple of good weapons for whomever gets the job. Kelvin Taylor , has the ability to be one of the SEC’s best backs, and DeMarcus Robinson is one of the better receivers.
One position that the Gators are set in is at one cornerback position. Vernon Hargreaves , needs no introduction to SEC fans or college football fans for that matter. But, the junior All-American isn’t shy about his talents or his dream to one day play in the NFL. He says, he’s the best corner in the nation. I’m not gonna argue with him. Are you? He also, took a shot at the Gators biggest rival. The Florida State Seminoles. At least, indirectly anyway. Hargreaves, said the best thing his father, a coach, taught him is to be respectful to all women. Sounded like an obvious shot at now former FSU freshman QB, DeAndre Johnson, who was kicked off the team for hitting a woman at a Tallahassee bar, after she allegedly shouted racial slurs at him. Doesn’t take much to heat up that Rivalry. We’ll see if there’s any return fire from the ‘Noles at ACC media days.
Not much at all is expected out of the Vanderbilt Commodores this season. Nothing new about that. But, that’s having anything but a negative effect on 2nd-year head coach Derek Mason, who thinks the ‘Dores will be improved in 2015. One area they should be improved in is defense. After firing his coordinators from a year ago, Mason named himself the new defensive coordinator. He’ll lean on a nice linebacker Corp of Caleb Azubike, Stephen Weatherly, Nigel Bowden, and Darren Herring. However, the quarterback situation is anything but settled. Until it is, it’s hard to see Vandy being relevant at all. Just don’t tell Derek Mason.
That was Monday. Come back for more as South Carolina, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, and Tennessee take over the Hyatt Regency in Hoover.
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