Day two of SEC Media Days is in the books, and it was a full day’s worth of following the Johnny Football media train around the premises.
Here are the best things about day two:
Johnny Manziel Day
Johnny Manziel is a quote machine, as he handled himself well with the media and really accepted blame for the criticism. He wasn’t very apologetic, but he took some responsibility for his off-field issues, although he said going home early from the Manning Camp had everything to do with sleeping through his alarm.
Manziel on Jadeveon Clowney: “I’m not one of those quarterbacks that is intimidated or scared by Jadeveon Clowney. I’d go right at him.”
Manziel on football: “I’m not going for a Miss America pageant. I’m a football player and enjoy life.”
Bret Bielema vs. Gus Malzahn on hurry-up, no huddle offenses
Gus Malzahn: Q. You developed your hurry up system with high school players. There’s coaches in this league that have criticized hurry up offenses as being unsafe, having more injuries. Have you talked to those coaches and disputed that with them at all?
ANSWER: “When I first heard that, to be honest with you, I thought it was a joke. As far as health or safety issues, that’s like saying the defense shouldn’t blitz after a first down because they’re a little fatigue and there’s liable to be a big collision in the backfield.
“If you’re going to look at rule changes, officials, we need to look at the guys on defense that are faking injuries to slow down these pace teams. That’s where college football’s going. You see more and more teams using pace. I think you’ll see it more and more at the next level also.”
Bret Bielema: When told about Malzahn’s “joke” remark at the Media Days podium, Bielema flatly stated “I’m not a comedian” and emphatically defended his record as an advocate for his players’ safety.
“The safety of my players is paramount,” he said.
New coaches introduced
Bret Bielema, Gus Malzahn, Butch Jones and Mark Stoops were all introduced to SEC Media Days, and all four handled the new heightening experience great, adding everything is bigger in the SEC. Particularly Butch Jones was so professional and was very impressive. All four guys are tasked with rebuilding programs, and it will be fun to see which coach has the quickest turnaround. My money is on Malzahn.
Best Interview: Jacques Smith – he’s very confident, poised and well spoken. But Smith came around and shook all the media members’ hands afterwards. He was a boss.
Kentucky DT Donte Rumph on meeting Mark Stoops: Stoops said, “Man you’re a big ‘un.” Rumph replied, “Well, you’re kinda small.”
Dan Mullen on the 2013 season: “2012 left a chip on our shoulders and left a bad taste in our mouths.”
Tennessee DE Jacques Smith on the toughest place he’s played: “LSU, Death Valley. With it being a day game, I wasn’t sure if the fans would show up. Well, they showed up.”
Butch Jones on what his real name is: “My real name is Lyle. Now you know why they call me Butch.”
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema on hurry-up, no huddle offenses: “We want to play normal American football.”
Bret Bielema on Wisconsin and the SEC: “When you’re in another league, you really can’t brag on another league. I was a closet SEC fan.”