Archive for July 24th, 2008

MEDIA DAYS: Wrapping up Day 2, My ballot

July 24, 2008

Auburn, Arkansas, Kentucky and South Carolina conclude things tomorrow, not necessarily in that order.

We turned in our preseason All-SEC ballots today. The deadline was noon.

On the years when Jackie Sherrill spoke on the third day, he would make it a point to needle the media about selecting its team on Day 2. He would say it was a bogus team, because the media had not heard from all the coaches.

It’s not like Jackie was going to tell us anything earth shattering about his teams. He might be more likely to tell us something juicy about someone else’s team.

Any, with apologies to the four schools that speak tomorrow, here’s my All-SEC ballot.

OFFENSE

TE – Cornelius Ingram, Florida

OL – Michael Oher, Ole Miss

OL – Andre Smith, Alabama

OL – Herman Johnson, LSU

OL – Anthony Parker, Tennessee

C – Jonathan Luigs, Arkansas

WR – Mike Wallace, Ole Miss

WR – Percy Harvin, Florida

QB – Tim Tebow, Florida

RB – Knowshon Moreno, Georgia

RB – Arian Foster, Tennessee

K – Colt David, LSU

RS – Brandon James, Florida

DEFENSE

DL – Greg Hardy, Ole Miss

DL – SenDerrick Marks, Auburn

DL – Tyson Jackson, LSU

LB – Brandon Spikes, Florida

LB – Jasper Brinkley, South Carolina

LB – Dannell Ellerbe, Georgia

LB – Jamar Chaney, Mississippi State

DB – Derek Pegues, Mississippi State

DB – Rashad Johnson, Alabama

DB – DJ Moore, Vanderbilt

DB – Ahser Allen, Georgia

P – Ryan Shoemaker, Auburn

EAST

1. Georgia

2. Florida

3. Tennessee

4. South Carolina

5. Kentucky

6. Vanderbilt

WEST

1. Auburn

2. LSU

3. Alabama

4. Ole Miss

5. Mississippi State

6. Arkansas

In the West I like Auburn’s 17 returning starters to LSU’s 13, plus the Southeast Alabama Tigers play their biggest games at home, and I give Auburn a better chance to have consistent quarterback play. Both teams begin the season lacking under center.

I think Houston has a chance to win some games with Ed’s talent, although the Rebels will rely on inexperienced players at some key spots like quarterback, running back and cornerback.

Still, I like the Rebels ahead of State, because State’s biggest wins last year — at Auburn and at Kentucky — were a result of turnovers forced. The Bulldogs lose some key playmakers and a coordinator from a very good defense a year ago.

— PA

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MEDIA DAYS: Text from Oher interview

July 24, 2008

(What are your thoughts on Ole Miss facing Arkansas this season?)

That game always sticks out, because we didn’t have a chance in either one of those last two games, not since my freshman year.

I know he knows how to score points, and we have a lot of talent … guys who can put it in the end zone.

(On Jevan Snead)

I love his leadership abilities and the things he does. The quarterback is the leader of the team, and we haven’t had guys sticking out. Snead, if he wants something done he makes sure he addresses that to the team, and he has everything you look for in a leader.

(How did the team react when Ed Orgeron was fired so quickly after last season? What subtle differences do you see in him and coach Nutt?)

Coach Nutt, those are just two different people. I couldn’t even compare.

(What was the Playboy All-American photo shoot like?)
Being around all those great players was a great experience for me. It was unbelievable. We had activities, we had a good time. I enjoyed it all.

(Had you ever seen Phoenix?)
That was my first visit there, and I really enjoyed it. We competed, had little games, like who could throw the fastest pitch. I had the fastest. It was 83. It wasn’t too far. I played baseball in high school. It was straight, but I can do a lot of things with it. I played one year, the eighth grade. I was a pitcher.

(What feedback did you get when you checked out your draft situation last year?)

I got good feedback. I felt personally, and everybody around me, that I could have gotten into the first round, but I wanted to come back to school and enjoy my senior year. I just want to work hard and prepare for whatever happens.

— PA

MEDIA DAYS: Text from Peria Jerry interview

July 24, 2008

(How has your time been at Media Days?)

It’s been a great experience for me. I’ve never been in front of so many cameras. I haven’t asked too many crazy questions. A lot of them have been simple.

(What do you expect from the defense?)

I expect a lot from our defense. We have a lot of returning starters, and we’re pretty solid up front. We’re looking forward to getting Jerrell in pretty soon, and I think we’re going to be pretty talented on the defensive side of the ball.

(If you had a dollar for every time you’ve been asked about Jerrell Powe …)

I’d be rich right now.

(Are the players used to coach Nutt?)

Everybody is settled in with him. You talk to coach Nutt like he’s just another guy you’ve been around a long time. You’re just comfortable around him. He’s a team player. He talks about everybody sticking together as a family, and that’s one of the biggest things we’ve improved on.

There’s a whole nother energy level in Oxford since coach Nutt came. We’ve taken that and we’re running with it. Some guys had to gain weight, and they’ve put in the extra work. I feel like we’re getting ready to have a great season.

(On new defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix)

He’s a high energy guy, I love him. He’s got a great scheme coming in. We’re just willing to learn it and go out and play.

(What are your expectations for the season?)

We have a lot of talent at Ole Miss. We feel like we could have beaten a lot of those teams last season. We’re working hard, and we’re looking forward to changing this around.

— PA

MEDIA DAYS: Nutt’s time with the SEC

July 24, 2008

Here’s a shot of Houston being interviewed on Radio Row prior to his time in the print room. Houston had quite a traveling party today. He was followed around by almost as many Arkansas media as Mississippi media.

— PA

MEDIA DAYS: Nuggets from Nutt

July 24, 2008

(Have you given much thought to your game at Arkansas?)

You can’t help but think about it. I grew up in Arkansas, thought at one time I’d be there for life. I had 10 great years working with great people. We won three titles, on two of them went to Atlanta. We had great days and great times. You can’t help but think what it will be like going in on the visitors’ side. But Oct. 25 is a long way away, and my thoughts quickly go back to Memphis.

(Will Jerrell Powe ever play a down at Ole Miss?)

I hope so. I don’t know. We’re still waiting, just like y’all. I’m anxious to see if the guy can play. I’ve been told that he can.

(Can the SEC win the national championship this year?)

So many great players, then you have great coaches, not only head coaches but assistant coaches, excellent coaches who will be head coaches. I think we’ll be knocking on that door. You know what they bring to the table, and you know how good everybody is. It’s outstanding football.

(What is the mindset like taking over a team that was 0-8 in the SEC?)

It’s very siimilar to the very first year at Arkansas. They were 4-7 and didn’t win too many conference games. The mindset we’re facing is very similar. You take your experiences and try to change a mindset to one that won’t accept losing. Just because you change the bus driver doesn’t mean necessarily you’re going to win. It’s the guys out there blocking and tackling. That’s what you’re trying to get across to your team. We look good in a uniform, but there’s a whole lot more than that in 60 minutes (of football).

— PA

MEDIA DAYS: Telling it like it is

July 24, 2008

Alabama coach Nick Saban, fairly monotone from the podium here regardless of what SEC team he coaches, did not get caught up in the comment his LSU successor, Les Miles, made about the Crimson Tide.

LSU defeated Alabama 41-34 in Tuscaloosa last year, the first meeting between Saban and LSU. He makes his first trip to Baton Rouge as Alabama coach this season.

Two weeks after losing to LSU, the Tide lost 21-14 to La.-Monroe.

In speaking to about 500 LSU fans recently, the topic of the Tigers’ win over LSU came up, and Miles told fans, “not to make too much of that game, as it seems like a lot of teams in Louisiana beat that team.”

Miles downplayed the remark here Wednesday, saying he respected Alabama and was just having fun with LSU fans.

“Well, he told the truth, he told it like it was,” Saban said. “We need to earn it. We need to earn the respect, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

— PA

MEDIA DAYS: Early signing period?

July 24, 2008

That’s been one of the topical questions yesterday and today. There has been some support for a November signing day for football, but generally coaches seem to be against it. They’re concerned about trying to host recruits and give them the necessary amount of attention during the season when they’re also have to prepare for games. What say ye?

— PA

MEDIA DAYS: Day 2 under way

July 24, 2008

This copy of the Heisman Trophy is on display here at Media Days. It is not Tim Tebow’s personal copy, and Tebow was caught off guard yesterday when a Birmingham writer asked him if he took it everywhere he went.

We’re under way now for Day 2 with Rogers Redding, the coordinator of officials, going over a few rules changes, one being the league’s move from a 25-second clock to a 40-second clock in most instances. When the previous play is ruled complete, the 40-second clock will begin, and the offensive team will have that window in which to begin the next play.

The plays which can be reviewed by instant replay have expanded a bit, most notably on field goals when replay can be used to determine if the ball was above the crossbar or inside the uprights. If the ball goes high above the uprights the kick is then not reviewable.

Also, a coach can now challenge an official’s call two times, but only if his first challenge is successful. He can challenge a call no more than two times.

— PA