It’s going to be a wild day in Birmingham

Birmingham–Wednesday’s first session of SEC Media Days was relatively calm. But here are a few nuggets I’ll bring your attention:

SEC, ESPN invade Big Ten, Big 12 Country. The SEC and ESPN finally began to reveal some details about their television plan for the fall. One of the things it revealed was an SEC Network that will be produced by ESPN at its regional production center in Charlotte. That network will show the early game on Saturdays and will include other extensive programming on the SEC.  But here is what’s interesting in that deal. The network will reach into the territory of aother conferences, including the Big Ten and Big 12,  where stations have been cleared to telecast SEC football. It’s just another example of how the SEC is using this new deal to spread its brand throughout the country. Its competitors cannot be pleased.

 

The Commish warns his coaches–again. Commissioner Mike Slive said he has had another discussion with his head football coaches about their behavior. This one dealt with secondary recruiting violations. Simply put, if coaches are intentionally committing secondary recruiting violations because the penalties are viewed as relatively minor, eventually there is going to be some price to be paid. “What we don’t want is coaches weighing the risk/reward and making a conscious decision to commit the violation,” said Slive. “Secondary violations happen inadvertently. We know that. But to commit them intentionally is not proper conduct.” Without telling me the specific schools, Slive said that schools and coaches who have shown a pattern in secondary violations have already been restricted in their recruiting activities. Guys, the commissioner is serious about this.

 

Beyond that, we had:

 Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson, who is trying lead the Commodores to a second straight bowl for the first time in school history.

Kentucky coach Rich Brooks, who will make history if the Wildcats go to their fourth straight bowl in 2009.

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, who was much more upbeat than he was at this event a year ago. It looks like he has a chance to go to a bowl.

New Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, who will be picked a solid last in the SEC West when the media votes on Friday. The former Florida offensive coordinator could really use a Tim Tebow in Starkville. He might have one in the making with incoming freshman Tyler Russell of Meridian, Miss. “I tried to get him (Tebow) to come with me,” Mullen said. “There were some young ladies on our campus who wanted that as well. No luck.”

So all in all, Wednesday was just a warm-up for today, which will have as much star power packed into one day as any single session in the history of this event. SEC officials told me late Wednesday that just under 600 media people showed up for the first session. That number today could eclipse 1,000.

“It is going to be pretty wild in here,” an SEC official told me. “But it’s a good thing.”

Consider this lineup:

In the early morning session we have Alabama and Georgia. The Alabama head coach, regardless of who it is, is always a rock star at this event. Nick Saban has taken that sizzle up several notches. He’ll have offensive lineman Mike Johnson and linebacker Rolando McClain, who is one of the best in the country.

By comparison, Georgia and Mark Richt will be the low key entry into this session. New quarterback Joe Cox will get the largest media exposure of his career. I’ll be anxious to see what is written about the senior from Charlotte. DT Jeff Owens is back after injury. He is a favorite of the media because he knows football and he is funny.

The second half of the morning will feature Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt, whose team is getting a lot of love to win the SEC West for the first time since the league went to divisional play in 1992. The question Nutt will get the most is whether or not his team can handle the pressures of being EXPECTED to do great things. The Rebels have a shot because of quarterback Jevan Snead, who is also here.

And to top off this day we’ll have Florida, the defending national champions, and the two players many believe will allow the Gators to defend that title. Quarterback Tim Tebow who, along with Peyton Manning, is the biggest rock star to hit his event in my time of covering it, will make his last appearance at SEC Media Days. That is just hard to believe.

Linebacker Brandon Spikes, who could have turned pro but wanted to come back to pursue another national title, will represent Florida’s very talented defense.

And of course there will Florida coach Urban Meyer, who will certainly be asked to declare once more that he is not going to Notre Dame–ever! The man has a chance to win his third national championship in four seasons.

So there you have it. Today is going to be one of the more special ones that we’ve ever had at SEC Media Days. It will be hectic but it will be fun. When I finish with my assigned duties, I’ll come back this afternoon and recap the day.

Until then I have a homework assignment for you. Pick a player or pick a coach who will be before the media today. If you could ask them just one question, what would it be?

Enjoy your morning and I’ll get back to you this afternoon.

Programming note: Please join me with my partners Bob Neal, Mark Schlabach, and Sandra Golden tonight for our daily “Talkin’ Football” show on CSS. We’ll have interviews with all of the coaches and players and bring you up to date on the news at SEC Media Days.  Our special guest will be syndicated radio host Paul Finebaum, recently named by the Orlando Sentinel as one of the 10 most powerful people in the SEC. It should be fun. The show airs at 6 p.m. with a replay at 11 p.m.

 

Please follow me on Twitter at:

http://twitter.com/MrCFB

 

81 comments Add your comment

Corrine Brown (D) FL

July 23rd, 2009
7:52 am

Uhhh..Corch Meyers….who gonna replace the gusty Percy Harvey?

1,2,3,4,5…Gatuh take no Jive…GO GATUH?

jumbeauxtiger

July 23rd, 2009
7:54 am

Tony,

Perhaps you can ask Nick Saban, after riding high at 12-0 but having a disappointing end to the season with 2 losses, if he would have done anything differently the last 2 games and if so what would he have done.

Thanks.

Dawgaholic

July 23rd, 2009
8:02 am

Tony, ask Mark Richt what he thinks about going head to head in the recruting war this season with Paul Johnson. It sure looks to me like he is doing an outstanding job in 2010. Funny…not much mention of GT…..i would have thought now that their new sheriff is in town they would be getting some better names…especially seeing that he is 1-0 against richt and all…..lol

Dawga4Life

July 23rd, 2009
8:05 am

Coach Chidzik….Can you teach me to interview? To have a record like you did as a head coach AND still land a job with a good SEC program is amazing. The even scarier part is that after seeing some of your spring game, I am almost convinced you actually know what your doing!

Mike

July 23rd, 2009
8:11 am

Dawgaholic…Paul Johnson is getting the guys he wants. And our recruits have been sought after by some pretty solid programs, like Bama, UGa, and othrs. That is the key. You can glory all you want in the 4 star garbage, but what Johnson knows is that character and intelligence matter at a place like Tech (unlike any schools in the SEC). And trust me, all Tech folk will let you win the recruiting race every year as long as we win on the football field, where it counts most (to you).

Spanky

July 23rd, 2009
8:15 am

DawgaLife- are you criticizing Auburn for their quality of Spring game? Did you see the one in Athens?

Robert

July 23rd, 2009
8:22 am

Tony,
On your show, why don’t you ask Finebaum about his column a few days ago about CMR being on the hot seat. What a joke. I would love to see you and Schlabach take him to task on his non-sense reasoning and attempts to stir the pot.

ReptilesRule

July 23rd, 2009
8:25 am

Tony, I think this is going to be a very mild SEC Media convention. The biggest suspense so far is…who is the moron who didn’t vote for Tebow. Someone definitely had an agenda going there and it will be very interesting to see how they each respond to the question they will ALL be asked. Otherwise, the Commish has his thumb firmly on this process and what these coaches will be saying. Even Lame will be spewing coachspeak on Friday…

Robert

July 23rd, 2009
8:28 am

Slive = Best conference commissioner ever

Gen Neyland

July 23rd, 2009
8:28 am

Dawga4Life : You failed. The assignment was for coaches interviewing today.

Question to Meyers : Who do you think will finish second in the SEC East..?

Yeah, Mike...

July 23rd, 2009
8:28 am

…character and intelligence matter at a place like Tech, just ask Reggie (I can’t count to four) Ball, Reuben (I will get how many years?) Houston, Joe (have another drink and drive) Hamilton, and George (my resume speaks for me)O’Liar!

Yeah, Mike...

July 23rd, 2009
8:31 am

…and the academic advisors, with knowledge that how many athletes were ineligible, said we will just hope that no one checks on that!

ReptilesRule

July 23rd, 2009
8:33 am

Robert…As far as Finebaum is concerned, all I can say is… get in line. If you’re looking for him, you’ll probably find hin in the hot tub with Saban or maybe playing cards with the “Son’s of Saban” (I’m not kidding about that name!).

[...] on-field advantage.Secondary violations got a lot of talk yesterday.Tony Barnhart of The AJC sums up Day One of Media Days right here.There’s no doubt the SEC’s new television deals will help the SEC expand their [...]

TommyP

July 23rd, 2009
8:39 am

The commish talking about the secondary violations was a joke, Tony. What he said to you and the other Sports Tonight guys was basically more slaps on the wrist.

What was it? Coaches won’t be able to recruit that player for awhile or something like that?

C’mon.

athensdawg

July 23rd, 2009
8:42 am

gonna be an interesting year……..and maybe one of the best years in the SEC for quite a while.

good luck to everybody…..get ready for the big “knife fight in a ditch.”

JB

July 23rd, 2009
8:44 am

Tech is the “Eddie Haskell” of the football world…………all pretty and just and all for the world to see and pushing the envelope behind closed doors just like everyone else to win and get a leg up…………………………….History proves it.

Virgil

July 23rd, 2009
8:44 am

Poor Coach Mullen, he didn’t go to Starkville to lose but he’ll learn soon.

CharlotteGator

July 23rd, 2009
8:50 am

Coach Saban, Is Ingram going to be the featured back this season? He looked great last year. Also, who are you needing to step up as a 2nd WR to take the pressure off of Julio and McElroy?

Coach Richt, Samuel is special, are you going to allow him to feature or will it still be RB by committee? Who will be your leader in the secondary?

Coach Meyer, Which two receivers are looking the best right now? Which freshman look to get significant time this year?

R. McClain, How good is Hightower? Is he going to play the rover position?

J. Owens, How anxious are you to get back on the field? How long was your rehab?

B. Spikes, Who’s your favorite guy to play with on defense?

Kevin Greene

July 23rd, 2009
8:54 am

I would ask every SEC coach – “How will the new tv deals with ESPN and CBS effect your recruiting? Will you be increasing the budget? Will you look at hiring a Big 10 or Big 12 coach (Auburn is ahead of the game here!) with relationships in those markets?

T-Bone

July 23rd, 2009
8:58 am

Tony,

On a serious note – could you ask Coach Richt and Saban about the pros and cons of opening with a top 10 ranked team like Oklahoma St. and Virginia Tech compared to a slightly less heralded team like Charleston Southern?

In a bit more of a poke at the Gators, could you ask Coach Meyer if he plans to have Tim take some reps at strong safety this year in addition to actually lining up under center. Just want to get the guy drafted as high as possible.

Saint Simons

July 23rd, 2009
8:58 am

((((( 45 42 ))))) hahahahahahahahahahahaha

Mikey

July 23rd, 2009
9:01 am

I would ask Coach Richt if we plan to boom the kickoffs instead of the directional kicks.

Long Dawg

July 23rd, 2009
9:03 am

Tony, please ask coach Richt what the coaching staff feels will be the most improved aspect of the 2009 Bulldogs vs the 2008 Bulldogs.

MattDawg

July 23rd, 2009
9:06 am

Mike, winning the recruiting war is what has allowed us to win on the field in the last 7 of 8 games. You can’t consistently win on the field without winning the recruiting war. And by the way, you totally missed Dawgaholic’s point. He was reacting to how all the Techie fans have been acting since y’all won last year. You would think Jesus had come back and was the coach of GT and could get any player he wants. Which is obviously not the case. We are also recruiting different kids. Anyway, use your brain before you comment. Isn’t that what they teach you to do at Tech… or is it just building tickle piles?

[...] Ginger Assassin in the spotlight Jump to Comments As Tony Barnhart points out, in a weird way this is one of the biggest days so far in Joe Cox’ college career. [...]

Denver Dog

July 23rd, 2009
9:18 am

I was wondering how long it would take Eva Marie Saint Simons to get into another SEC blog with goofy stuff. Not long indeed. I think that the class of coaches in the country, personal and professional are on the line today. These guys do positve with thier lives as well as on the coaching shoe sideline. So little Eva, find a Tech blog, or ACC blog where someone cares, this is next year sport model.

For everryone, look at the coaches and the players up there today. Compare that to the rest of the country and just think about how good we SECers have it. Go Dogs

Bamafan

July 23rd, 2009
9:20 am

The first stupid question some reporter asks Saban is did you vote for Tebow for SEC FIRST TEAM QB!!

Paddy

July 23rd, 2009
9:30 am

To: CMR; If you had to give us one player who will come out of the pack and make a big contribution? Maybe someone we have not heard much about so far.

JaxDawg

July 23rd, 2009
9:31 am

CharlotteGator – I think the gators’ freshman of the year will be Andre Dubose. Saw a replay of last year’s state championship game, and that kid is a stud.

As for UGA and the RB situation, unless someone steps up and seperates themselves, If I had to guess based on what we’ve seen/know so far, I think we’ll see a 3 headed monster with King, Samuel, & Thomas. Ealy and D.Jackson are x-factors that could get in the mix or wind up being the man.

LawDawg

July 23rd, 2009
9:42 am

I wouls ask big Jeff Owens if he is all the way back to 100% and how hungry he is to GATA. Also, would ask him what young DT’s are ready to step up as well as the DE’s.

Mike B

July 23rd, 2009
9:48 am

To Joe Cox: What are your thoughts on Logan Grey? He has shown some skills on the field when given opportunities, can he make an impact this year?

(I for one am not drinking the Joe Cox Kool-Aid and want to see LG given a chance to compete for the job)

CharlotteGator

July 23rd, 2009
9:51 am

JaxDawg,

I hope you’re right. I’d rather see a 3-headed monster than Samuel line up on every down. :) That guy kills us whenever he’s on the field (i.e. running, returning, etc.). As far as Debose, I hope I’m wrong, but that’s a ton of pressure to put on a kid. It’s quickly forgotten that Percy only got 10-12 touches a game as a freshman and didn’t start the way he finished. PH was clearly a stud as a freshman, but to ask Debose to replace what Harvin ended up as will probably be too much. Please prove me an idiot Andre.

Totally different note, but I wanted to include this link. I usually abhor the Tebow puff pieces that litter the internet, but this one I liked for some reason. I’m a big Gator and Tebow fan, but usually the stuff that’s written about him is hyperbole and such, which gets old and leads to Tebow sickness. This I thought was a decent article…
http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1158168/1/index.htm

LawDawg

July 23rd, 2009
9:52 am

I truly think that there will be offensive packages in place for LG, specifically in the red zone.

Dawg Foot

July 23rd, 2009
9:52 am

Any idea when Urbin Miers speak?

and Go Gaa-Tah! Ex-treem sport man ship and No Ledge. GO Gaa-Tah.

JB

July 23rd, 2009
9:54 am

I would ask Mark, is your house really decorated from a Dalton Carpet outlet home furnishing store on a 3 mil year salary ? just asking.

Brent Cunningham

July 23rd, 2009
9:59 am

JB YOU ARE A LIAR. Behind closed doors? History proves it? If you got facts give em. If it’s a lie, be a man and admit what you are. Everyone knows Tech has higher academic and character standards are higher than UGAs. Georgia standards are the lowest the NCAA allows. Just because idiots on here can’t admit it doesn’t mean it’s not imperical fact.

Evil Richt 2009 S.E.C. World Tour: "Banned in Columbus"

July 23rd, 2009
10:22 am

Tony-

I hope you make Finebaum defend the comments he has been making regarding Richt being on the “hot seat” and UGA coaches spreading rumors about Myer. You know as well as I do that Finebaum is just making stuff up, as he often does, and it is time for him to be called to account for it. Don’t do a softball interview!

CharlotteGator

July 23rd, 2009
10:26 am

Brent Cunningham,

Let’s not throw stones from a glass house….

“Gene Marsh, a law professor at Alabama who chaired the investigating committee, said Tech’s registrars and academic advisers were inadequately trained in NCAA regulations.

Marsh said the committee concluded the “institutional failure” to train the employees on NCAA rules “constitutes a non-debatable lack of institutional control.”

Marsh said the committee was influenced by the fact some of the 11 football players, who were not named, were stars.

“Many of these student-athletes were prominent members of the team, including multiple-year starters who had received conference and national recognition for their athletic performances,” Marsh said.

“It is impossible to say what part it played, but it did play a part,” Marsh said.

Marsh said the committee found six student-athletes were allowed to count grades of D for satisfactory progress even though their majors required grades of C or better. Four were allowed to continue in athletics despite lacking the necessary percentage of degree requirements.”

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2227377

JB

July 23rd, 2009
10:28 am

I would say the recent action of Tech Academic monitors ” hoping nobody see’s the players aren’t eligible” would be my first clue about the fine folks at Tech…..maybe I read the Story wrong…Maybe it was just an over site….. Maybe the NCAA was wrong……

swimdawg68

July 23rd, 2009
10:29 am

Hey Saint Simons, 7-1 under CMR hahahahahahahahahahahahahah! put that on your ring, it will soon be 8-1.

Old Dawg

July 23rd, 2009
10:35 am

For coach Richt: how much will an experienced and talented O-line help your team maintain offensive balance and explosiveness?

JB

July 23rd, 2009
10:39 am

charlottegator…….they have short memories over there…………don’t check resumes out I know.hell, that sounds like something an SEC school would allow to happen to win at any cost.
Plenyy of examples of Tech football players Loading luggage at Hartsfield with those fine Tech credentials. My point, ALL major college football programs do things to win, even Tech

Got 12?

July 23rd, 2009
10:46 am

Tony (and other bloggers),

I switched from Comcast to AT&T Uverse a year ago. My only regret is losing CSS. Is there any way I can watch “Talking Football” on the internet?

Long Dawg

July 23rd, 2009
10:47 am

Brent Cunningham, if think for a moment there is a dime’s worth of difference in the academic backgrounds or capabilities of the tech players and the Georgia players on average so me some data. Show me GPAs, SATs and graduation rates. Show me the data. I’ve met plenty of Tech football players and my friend they ain’t no different than anyone else’s.

dawgsontop

July 23rd, 2009
10:51 am

coach richt, how many points do you think you will beat oklahoma st by?

Frozen_Gator

July 23rd, 2009
10:55 am

Coach Saban, How are you going to enroll the rest of your recruits if you are allready 7 over the 85 cap after two players recently “left” the program.

kauai dawg

July 23rd, 2009
11:01 am

Richt who has character is in with 3 characters today???? Should be an interesting day. Do you think the coach that didn’t vote for Tebow is going to admit it? Go DAWGS!

Jim Warren

July 23rd, 2009
11:04 am

Interesting although miniscule point. ESPN basing their SEC TV stuff in CHARLOTTE rather than a major city that is actually located geographically in the SEC. HELLO?

GatorsMax

July 23rd, 2009
11:18 am

Please—no mark schabach–that UGA homer gets on my nerves promoting his beloved ga bulldogs. Bring unbiased reporters on this site.