What I learned last week at SEC Football Media Days in Atlanta:
▪ Arkansas coach Sam Pittman has a jukebox in his office. The most popular songs? “Right now, Stevie Nicks,” Pittman said. “I love him. I hope (his wife) Jamie doesn’t hear that.
▪ Arkansas is 16-6 ATS in Pittman’s two years in Fayetteville. His reaction ? “Come on pigs! replied the coach.
▪ Kentucky is finally getting some preseason love. The media picked the Wildcats to finish second to Georgia in the SEC East.
▪ Mark Stoops doesn’t care what people say about his Wildcats in the preseason. “I’d rather people talk about you at the end of the year,” the Kentucky coach said.
▪ Stoops loves his quarterback Will Levis. “Everything about him is exceptional,” said the coach.
▪ Usually entertaining Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz wants to tone it down in his third season. He said he wanted his Tigers to talk.
▪ Missouri players don’t like losing to Kentucky. “There’s Bad Blood Out There” said Mizzou defensive back Martez Manuel.
▪ Auburn coach Bryan Harsin wasn’t afraid to address the “gorilla in the room.” In February, Auburn Insiders launched an investigation designed to oust the coach after one season. Said Harsin, “It was uncomfortable. It was baseless. It was an opportunity for people to attack me personally, my family and also our program. And it didn’t work. »
▪ It was ridiculously cold in the main interview room of the College Football Hall of Fame.
▪ Timing is everything (1). Texas A&M receiver Ainias Smith was arrested for firearm and drugs two days before his participation in the SEC Media Days. He did not make it to Atlanta.
▪ Timing is everything (2). On Thursday, Tennessee coach Josh Heupel spoke of the Volunteers’ bright future. On Friday, the school announced that it had received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA including 18 major violations committed by former UT coach Jeremy Pruitt.
▪ Georgia coach Kirby Smart is adamant that his national champion, the Bulldogs, will not be complacent. “We won’t be chased at the University of Georgia. We will do the hunting.
▪ Smart wants to move the annual Georgia-Florida game out of Jacksonville.
▪ Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett is “the least respected good player in the country,” according to Smart.
▪ South Carolina is having fun under 45-year-old head coach Shane Beamer. This contrasts with former Gamecocks manager Will Muschamp, 50.
▪ Florida freshman coach Billy Napier likes the saying, “Scared money doesn’t make money.”
▪ Napier’s biggest influence was his father, Bill, a longtime high school coach. “Dad showed, I think, that sometimes when adversity hits, you can choose character or choose compromise.”
▪ LSU coach Brian Kelly ranked crawfish stew as his favorite Cajun dish in his six months since arriving at Baton Rouge from Notre Dame.
▪ Vanderbilt’s new starting quarterback, Mike Wright, knows how to dress. The Fayetteville, Georgia native wore a custom suit made by Miguel Wilson of Atlanta.
▪ A member of the media actually voted for Vanderbilt to win the SEC title. Side note: The Commodores have lost 20 consecutive conference games.
▪ Vanderbilt coach Clark Lea likes to talk. His opening statement to print/web media was 2,340 words, the best in the SEC.
▪ Mississippi State coach Mike Leach doesn’t like opening statements. Its composed of seven words.
▪ Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher thinks his summer war of words with former boss Alabama coach Nick Saban was no big deal. No one believed him.
▪ Saban was determined to make absolutely no news during his time in Atlanta.
▪ Ole Miss Coach Lane Kiffin signed plenty of mustard bottles this offseason. Remember, Tennessee fans bombarded the Neyland Stadium field with items, including a mustard bottle, during the Vols’ loss to Kiffin and the Rebels last season. In case you don’t remember, Kiffin once coached Tennessee.
▪ Starting in 2022, offensive linemen will not be allowed to block low inside the tackle zone (two pitches outside of center). Tight ends will not be permitted to lock low inside the tackle box.
▪ There were an average of 14.3 penalties called in SEC games last year. The national average was 14.4.
▪ SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey doesn’t think super leagues are in the future of college athletics. “We’re a super league,” Sankey said.