One last notebook from SEC Media Days: A.J. on season, Spurrier on arrests, more
Back from Hoover, Ala., with some leftovers:
- Amazing, how quickly the subject changes in college athletics. When the SEC held its spring meetings in Destin, Fla., in early June, the dominant topic was conference expansion/realignment. Seven weeks later at Media Days, that subject was hardly broached, replaced by the new Hot Topic: the agent mess.
- And for that matter, I only heard two questions in Hoover about Damon Evans. The news cycle moves fast.
- One of my favorite moments of Media Days was hearing Derek Dooley praise his high school coach, Billy Henderson, from the stage. “Probably had as big an impact on my coaching style as anybody,” Dooley said. “Just an incredible way with people.” I had the good fortune of covering Henderson’s Clarke Central High School teams long ago, and it was nice to hear Dooley spreading the word about the greatness of his old coach.
- One more thing from Dooley on stage, talking this time about his dad Vince:
“The first couple of weeks on the job [at Tennessee], he’d call me and he’d say, ‘Do you know who so-and-so is?’
“I’d say, ‘No, I don’t know who that is.’
“‘What do you mean you don’t know who that is? He was all-conference [for Tennessee] in 1962!’
“I said, ‘Dad, I don’t even know who my defensive end is. Give me a chance.’
“He’s all-consumed Tennessee, but that’s how he does things. He gets so into it. He’s learning the geography of the state, the political history of the state, the great Civil War battles of the state, what’s the motto of the state, the history of winning, all the coaches, the records. That’s what he’s doing.”
- Here’s LSU All-American cornerback Patrick Peterson comparing preseason All-SEC wide receivers Julio Jones of Alabama and A.J. Green of Georgia, both of whom he faced last season: “They are the two most dynamic receivers I’ve ever seen. . . . Julio’s more stocky. He can put a block on you. A.J. is slender, fast. He goes up for balls like no other.”
- Georgia was picked by the SEC media to finish second in the East -– a lot closer to third than to first. “A lot of people are counting us out,” Green said. “I believe it’s good for us with a young quarterback just to fly under the radar. Really don’t put him in a lot of pressure that he has to do too much. I believe … we’re going to open a lot of eyes coming into September, going towards the end of the season.”
- You notice that Alabama had both of the first-team running backs on the media’s preseason-All SEC team? Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson.
- South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier on the increasing number of arrests of college football players: “They’re more common now because players are getting arrested for everything that in the old days they did not get arrested for. I can sort of remember back in our day, if you were out and something happened, they would say, ‘Can you get home? We’ll drive you home.’ They did not go into the tank that night. But nowadays, as we all know, you go straight to jail if you’ve broken the law. There’s no room for error. Times are a little different than they were 25, 30 years ago.”
- Auburn linebacker Josh Bynes minced no words about players who are in trouble because of dealings with sports agents: “It’s up to the player to make the right decision, period. At the end of the day, if you take that risk as a player, you have to face the consequences.”
- Coaches have varying degrees of familiarity and comfort with social-media vehicles like Facebook and Twitter. Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino is among the not-so-familiar. He referred to someone’s “Facemask page.”
- Georgia punter Drew Butler: “It’s always good to be around the fans because they have stories about my dad, some that he probably doesn’t know that I know about him. It’s always good for blackmail.”
- And a happy birthday to Kevin Butler, College Football Hall of Famer and Drew’s dad, who is 48 today.
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