Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Two More Days of SEC Media Days

With Day One of SEC Media Days now behind us, we turn around and survey just what happened over those few, relatively eventful hours. The Commissioner, Mike Slive, opened things by unveiling a plan to make the not only the conference, but the NCAA as well, smarter, full of slower players, and a place with fewer recruiting violations. 

Of the coaches that followed up such a grand plan, Bobby Petrino got an offseason personality upgrade (had a to buy a new smart phone to get it), Will Muschamp was ready to fight everyone whether they wanted to or not, Steve Spurrer did not give a damn, and Dan Mullen wanted everyone to buy a house in Starkville and move there immediately.

Mike Slive
"Samuel Clemens, who wrote Mark Twain,..."
 For you Auburn people, that's kind of a reference to a book with words and not pages that you color.
"...somebody wrote his obituary before he died. In his immortal words: The rumors of my resignation’ are greatly exaggerated. So you’re going to have me for a bit longer."
You go to hell retirement rumors!  You go to hell and you die!
"As anxious as I am to begin my 10th SEC football season on the heels of five consecutive national championships, to brag about winning seven national championships this year alone, bookended by championships in football and baseball for the third consecutive year, and to tell you about the academic successes of student-athletes like Greg McElroy and Derek Sherrod. I’m not going to do that."
Sorry about all these rings everywhere, Jim.  Here, let me move that pile over here so you can have a seat.

He goes on to list an agenda for correcting many of the wrongs he believes exist in college sports, but he's mainly talking about football.  His four points, which you can find in great detail elsewhere, are summarized as follows:
1.  Giving athletes more money in their scholarship packages
2.  Make it harder to get into school
3.  Attempt to better organize recruiting rules
4.  Help the NCAA catch those who blatantly cheat
/attempted not to stare at Auburn and failed

He went on to also propose multi-year scholarships instead of the one-year system that's currently in place, and he said OH MY GOSH HE WON'T STOP TALKING IT'S JUST SUB-BULLET POINT AFTER BULLET POINT AND THE STORIES HOLY CRAP MAKE IT STOP.

Bobby Petrino
"Thank you and good afternoon. It’s good to be here in Birmingham again for Media Days. I always wonder when I say that how to keep a straight face..."
"...but more so this year really because today is actually my anniversary. So the first thing I have to do is wish my wife Becky a happy anniversary. It’s our 26th anniversary.  Doesn’t seem like that long ago when we were driving down the highway to go on our honeymoon singing ‘Put me in, coach.’ Got that out of the way, means I can get back in the house tonight."
Did he just make a joke?  I thought he just made a joke.  Is he joking about making a joke, or was it an actual joke?
"Defensively, our speed on the edges at defensive end and linebacker and in the secondary is where it needs to be. Through recruiting and through development, a lot of these guys worked extremely hard to continue to get more flexible, faster as the years have gone on. I feel like we’re at the speed where we need to be."
Be that as it may, but according to my records, Willie Robinson is still coaching these players.  I guess this means they'll get to the wrong spot faster, but then recover more quickly.
"I think the first thing, when you look at Knile Davis, you look at his work ethic. Here is a young man that in the weight room has continued to get stronger and faster."
He's also a guy, who in the last seven games of the season, ran for 1,028 yards (146.9/game) and 12 touchdowns.  For the record, no player terrifies me more going into the season than him.
"It’s (2010) a 10-win season. We were 10-3. We had every chance in the world to win that game (Ohio State game). We got beat on the field. We had a very, very good season. I don’t know a lot about giving up wins, what that means. But it has zero effect on our football team and how we go forward, how we approach our business."
Remember that time you kept leaving Mallett to face the Ohio State pass rush, who were destroying your offensive line, with no extra blockers?  Remember when that finally caused the game-losing interception?  That was mildly amusing.

Will Muschamp
"Thank you so much. Great to be here. Great to be back in the Southeastern Conference and at the University of Florida.  Great to see a lot of familiar faces. I appreciate the job you guys do in supporting college football, the SEC and the University of Florida."
Pretty sure he played a pre-recorded message right there and while it was running, he scanned the room for the weakest five people he could kill for sport with his eyes.
"My email is full of suggestions from the Gator Nation."
Most of them read:  "Be like Urban and find another Tim."
"I don’t deal in rumors or message boards. I don’t know any good ball coaches that do that."
Now you sound like Urban!
"I ain’t never been to Italy."
Well, there goes that.  Anyway, that was about it for Muschamp, a heavy user of the coach-speak.

Steve Spurrier
"Good to be back here again. We’re happy to be here. Got some really, really good players we brought with us. Marcus Lattimore, Alshon Jeffery, and Travian Robertson came with us today. You will hear from them a little bit later.

But, again, South Carolina football, we made some progress last year. We did some things for the first time ever, beat a No. 1 team, Alabama, on October the 9th, won our first game ever in The Swamp. Won the Eastern Division, the first time ever. We’ve accomplished a few firsts, but there’s plenty more for us to go after."
He seems pleased, but right about the time he mentioned Alabama, he remembered all the things that irritated the hell out of him last year.
"Again, just briefly, last year, we were a very evenly consistent team, I guess you’d say, offense and defense. Both of them finished seventh in the conference. We were not a great team, by any means. We’re sort of middle of the pack in offense and defense. And our special teams were ranked near the bottom in about every category, bottom half, kickoff recover, kickoff return, punt return. We haven’t done a whole bunch on special teams. Hopefully we can do that."
After a few more positive comments on his team, he remembered the last two games of the season, and most certainly, how his quarterback that he refused to kick off the team played in those games.
"You know we lost our last two games last year, so we’re not sitting around patting each other on the back too much. We got clobbered in the SEC game by Auburn and didn’t play when the game was on the line. Against FSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, we fought back, got back in the game, but when it was on the line, didn’t do much.

We’ve got a long way to go."
And then the Garcia questions started.
"Stephen has done well. He has some guidelines he must follow to be reinstated in August. He’s done everything we’ve asked. He’s certainly behaved very well, gone to all the workouts from what I understand.

So right now he in all likelihood will be set to return. But he and Connor Shaw will battle it out a little bit. Stephen played well last year, other times not so well. He may be our best quarterback, but we’re going to have a little competition in pre-season this year. Connor Shaw has been a year there now. We feel whoever our quarterback is, he needs to go out and earn it in pre-season practice. So we’ll have some competition for the quarterback job."
So, reading through that, as long as Stephen Garcia doesn't act like Stephen Garcia, he's going to be the starter.  Though, part of me wishes Connor Shaw would start for at least one game to see how long he lasts before Spurrier pulls the visor over his eyes and shuts that experiment down until Garcia fumbles twice in the fourth quarter of a conference game.
"How much longer do I plan on coaching? That’s a good question. I always say four or five more. Maybe I’ll start saying three or four more. I don’t know."
And there it is.  An exact calculation how many years Stephen Garcia has taken off his life.  Speaking of Garcia, why wasn't he kicked off the team?
"I guess we don’t want to kick him out for stupidity (laughter). And there’s some reasons that he’s probably done some things."
We'll just wait until the physical violence starts.
"Well, again, most coaches, if they win a lot, win a lot of championships, they do talk a little bit more. You’ll notice that all around. I haven’t won enough to be very talkative lately. That’s just the way life is, I think."
Except today.
"I saw Dan Mullen. Mississippi State has a jet airplane out there. We pulled our little KingAir up next to it. They’ve got a lot of money at Mississippi State. Everybody’s got a lot of money, I guess."
DAMN YOU, STEPHEN GARCIA.  If you're the reason he leaves two or three years early, I will hate you forever.  So THERE.  Oh, and Spurrier has more.
"Well, first of all, he may get beaten out by Connor Shaw. I said it earlier, we’re going to have competition. I guess everyone assumes Stephen is going to be the quarterback if he’s there. But we’ll see. We’ll see how Connor performs in pre-season and how Stephen performs and go from there.  But, no, I haven’t lost any sleep over it, if that’s what you mean."
But he has lost years off his coaching career.  And Mike Slive is trying to take more years off with his mult-year scholarship proposal.  What did Spurrier think about that?
"No, that’s a terrible idea, Commissioner. Do you sportswriters have a two-year contract, three- or four-year?  Have you ever had a two-year deal? If you go bad, don’t show up to work, your butt will be out on the street.  Everybody has to earn your way in life. You earn your way in life. Go from there. That’s the way I believe. 
Luckily coaches have four- and five-year contracts. They get paid off if they get canned, I guess (laughter).  No, I don’t think that’s a good idea. The Commissioner and I agree on a lot of things, but not that one there."
/cranks up "Freebird"

Dan Mullen
In response to Steve Spurrier:
"...I’ve never played Augusta National, so I can’t be on his level (smiling). He’s probably a member there; we just don’t know."
Alright, I'm running out of gas here.  Anything else of note?
"I give our athletic department a lot of credit. They’ve made our game day not just a game. They’ve made it an event. If you come to Starkville on a Saturday, it is an event. It’s the place to be in Mississippi. There is so much going on for everybody in the family, whether it be out in the parking lot, in the tailgating, in the kids’ area outside the stadium, to actually all the excitement of the game itself.  They have all bought in, and our fans have done that. 

We’ve done a great job of promoting it. I think everybody, when they walk out, they leave Starkville on a Saturday, they’re looking forward to coming back. They’re looking forward to the event that it was, not just for one person but for an entire family. That’s made all the difference.  I thank our fans for buying in and doing those things."
"You can’t just roll the ball out there and say, We’re going to get by this week. That doesn’t work that way in the SEC."
Or when you play against whatever conference Jacksonville State is in.
"You know, too many people want to just get to the top of the mountain to see the view, but they don’t understand the journey of that hike and climb to the top of the mountain, that’s the life experience of what it’s all about. It’s not just about seeing the quick view. 

If you just want to see the view, you can open the book and see the picture of a view from the top of a mountain. You can turn on Everest, watch on TV. That’s what it looks like from the peak of Mt. Everest. I can tell you what, the people that climbed the mountain, the journey along the way, that’s what makes your life and develops and defines who you are as a person. It’s not the arrival spot, it’s the journey.  I don’t know if I’d change a thing because it wouldn’t make me who I am today."
Stop stealing stories and/or analogies from Houston Nutt.

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