SEC Media Days: Everything you need to know — and some things you didn't know — from Day 2
HOOVER, Ala. — If you were hoping for shots firing left and right, SEC Media Days was the wrong place to be Tuesday.
I’m sorry if that’s a lame thing to say, but it’s true. We didn’t have Georgia talking about Florida as its “little brother,” and we didn’t hear Ole Miss players talk about how much they hate Mississippi State.
While the tone was 100% respectful Tuesday, there were still plenty of noteworthy nuggets from the day that was.
Here they were:
Kirby Smart provided the two best laughs of the coach pressers so far
Yes, you read that right. There were 2 moments that were actually funny, and they both came from Smart.
Don’t believe me?
Kirby Smart on how to beat Alabama…
— Patrick Brickman (@PatrickBrickman) July 16, 2019
And later, when a reporter started to ask Smart about Nick Saban’s perfect record against his disciples, Smart interrupted him and said, “I’m well aware.”
(Jimbo Fisher then sarcastically interrupted by answering the same question with “I have never heard that.”)
See, Kirby? Was that so hard? Just because you have a fan base that’s got national title-or-bust aspirations for 2019 doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun. We know that’s in there.
Under that bowl cut is just a wealth of one-liners that are waiting to come out.
Jake Fromm’s NFL prospects apparently aren’t as interesting as his fishing
I was foolish enough to ask about Fromm as an NFL quarterback after he showed up all over early mock drafts and he attended the NCAA Elite Football Symposium this spring. Or rather, I was foolish enough to think I’d actually get answers about that question.
Just so you can see how blah all of these answers were to my asking about Fromm’s NFL prospects, here they are in their entirety:
Georgia coach Kirby Smart:
“First of all, I’m extremely excited he’s our quarterback. He is the leader of our program, the face of our organization, a guy that has given so much to Georgia and Georgia means so much to. As far as where he stacks up in the NFL, I don’t think that’s for me to determine. I think Jake’s got tremendous ability. He’s a leader. That’s the first quality you look for.
“We had a guy come speak the other day to our team talking about characteristics that scouts look for. He checks every single box on that list. He’s won a lot of football games. He’s thrown touchdowns and hasn’t thrown interceptions. All of those qualities he has are going to give him a chance of success whenever he chooses to go to the NFL.”
Georgia OL Andrew Thomas:
“Jake is a complete quarterback and I think it’s gonna help him play for a long time. His knowledge of the game is what separates him from other quarterbacks.”
Georgia safety J.R. Reed:
“Ah, I don’t know. I just look at Jake and he’s a smart guy. He’s a smart football player. He’s a great guy on and off the field and I love competing against that guy.”
Nobody wanted to talk about Fromm’s next-level ability, and I get it. He’s got a major task ahead in 2019. But nobody even wanted to acknowledge that he’s an extremely intriguing prospect with a wide range of outlooks.
Oh well. Fromm’s fishing proved to be a more interesting topic of discussion for Reed. He explained how the last time they went fishing together, Fromm didn’t catch a thing.
“He’s only posting (pictures) when he’s catching stuff, but last time, ask him about it. Me, him, Malik (Herring) and Jordan Davis went fishing … (Fromm) is always switching his bait. And he had all this fancy bait he had and he’s like, ‘I’m switching to this’ and he didn’t catch a thing.”
Meanwhile, Fromm went on SEC Network talking about the large-mouth bass he caught this summer. He didn’t say how many times he struck out.
Whatever the case, Georgia fans will just be happy to see Fromm is staying healthy while on the water.
Matt Corral is so young and naive that he doesn’t know he’s so young and naive
I mean that in a positive way, though I realize that might’ve come off a little snarky.
Corral was obviously the only second-year player at SEC Media Days. I say that because as a redshirt freshman, Corral was easily the youngest player in attendance. In fact, when I asked Corral about that subject, he admitted he was caught off guard a bit.
“I didn’t know that it was a big deal,” said Corral, who admittedly didn’t even have a suit when Luke told him the news last Thursday. “I didn’t think anything of it but I’ve been asked that every place I’ve been to.”
What it essentially announced was that yes, Corral will be Ole Miss’ starting quarterback in 2019. Even though that was obvious out of spring camp — Matt Luke said Corral clearly separated himself from the rest of the group — the gesture of bringing Corral to SEC Media Days carried some weight.
“It opens my eyes to coach Luke really trusting me to come here and like I said before, I’m just really thankful for the opportunity that he gave me just to represent Ole Miss,” Corral said.
And obviously, Corral didn’t really want to dig into the last on-field chance to represent Ole Miss. That was when he was involved in a brawl during the Egg Bowl that ended in sideline-clearing fashion. A freshman mistake? That’s fair.
Will that be a thing of the past given Corral’s new role? Luke certainly hopes so.
Jeremy Pruitt doesn’t have time for Twitter, but he has time for epically long opening statements
You’re never gonna believe this but … Pruitt doesn’t run his own Twitter account. Shocking, I know. The 291 tweets that he fired off were in fact the work of someone else.
How did we find that out? Well, Pruitt earned a minor NCAA violation for tweeting “Congratulations Robi Coker and Plainview High School on back to back State Championships! #2muchblue #PLV” According to the Associated Press, the tweet was deleted 37 minutes later after Pruitt was informed by compliance that it was an impermissible endorsement of a high school coach.
As it turned out, Pruitt had a strong alibi for why his fingers weren’t the ones behind the tweet:
Jeremy Pruitt on the tweet that led to a minor NCAA violation:
"I don't tweet, I have someone else do it for me."
— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) July 16, 2019
My life is a lie. Not really. What’s newsworthy is a coach who does run their Twitter account.
Pruitt doesn’t have time for that. Instead, he’d rather do his communicating in the form of a 22-minute opening statement. It wasn’t quite Les Miles-level, but Pruitt’s endurance went through nearly every position and coach on the team.
I guess that’s better than Pruitt releasing massive daily tweet threads about each little aspect of his team.
Archie Manning: SEC legend and budding comedian
Archie Manning, Herschel Walker and Steve Spurrier shared stories Tuesday while promoting a new documentary series: “Saturdays in the South.”
Spurrier was Spurrier, the one-liners and jabs still flowing.
Manning, the former Ole Miss star, told two funny stories.
Asked about the transfer portal, Manning said he had Tommy Stevens at the recent Manning Academy. A few weeks after accepting the invitation, Stevens called Manning and asked if he still could come to the camp even though he entered the transfer portal.
Manning said of course he could. He then asked where Stevens was going. Stevens told him … Mississippi State.
“Well, now I don’t know,” Manning joked.
Earlier, on the set of the SEC Network, Manning shared the story about how they almost named Eli Manning after Herschel Walker.
“This is a true story,” Manning said. “It was the Sugar Bowl (after the 1980 season). We asked the other two boys what we should name this new baby that was coming along and I think it was Cooper who said, ‘We should name him Herschel Walker Manning.’”
Walker quickly added, “I think you should change it today.”
Kellen Mond is super confident and super good at imitating Jimbo (allegedly)
OK, so anytime you say that you’re the best quarterback in the SEC, we’re gonna notice. That’s what Mond did:
Kellen Mond is confident heading into the season. When asked how he stacks up against the other SEC quarterbacks: “In my opinion I’m the best one. Not just because I’m a confident person, but I actually believe that.” pic.twitter.com/M71snxssQM
— TexAgs (@TexAgs) July 16, 2019
Mond later gave praise to Tua Tagovailoa, Jake Fromm and Joe Burrow. But still, that’s quite the statement from Mond, who in my opinion is the No. 3 quarterback in the conference behind Fromm and Tagovailoa.
On a more serious note, A&M punter and Ray Guy Award winner Braden Mann shared the goods by saying that Mond had the best Fisher imitation. But when I asked Mond about his Fisher imitation, he denied, denied, denied (assume that was said three times fast like Fisher would say).
So like any good journalist, I went back to Mann and told him that Mond said he didn’t have an impression of the A&M head coach. Mann gave me the most honest answer about the situation.
“I don’t think (Mond) does it in public very much,” Mann said with a laugh. “I think everyone on the team has (a Fisher imitation). I just think that some are better than others. His is pretty funny when he chooses to use it. I think Fisher can appreciate mine because it was true, and it was honest. I promise you everyone on the team has one, though.
“The impressions are fun to work on in the locker room. I know he doesn’t think we do it a lot.”
Wait, Fisher doesn’t think you guys do impressions of him a lot?
“We don’t do it in front of him,” Mann said. “That’s all in the locker room.”
Early power rankings of coaches who kept my attention during 30-minute press conferences
- Ed Orgeron, LSU
- Kirby Smart, Georgia
- Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M
- Dan Mullen, Florida
- Barry Odom, Mizzou
- Matt Luke, Ole Miss
- Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee
And don’t question me.
No offense to Pruitt, but a 22-minute opening statement is designed to lull me to sleep. He knows that.
The No. 1 spot is just my appreciation of Ed Orgeron’s voice. I’d listen to him read books about Egyptian history. It doesn’t really matter what he says, just as long as he’s talking.
And Smart, who is usually as by-the-book as there is, at least had a couple laugh-worthy moments, as mentioned above. Fisher piggybacked on Smart’s comment about Saban’s unbeaten record vs. his former assistants. He added this little gem, as well:
Jimbo on the infamous Saban staff basketball games. "I remember one time we did take him (Will Muschamp) into the wall a little bit. Those games got physical."
He made sure to also say that Muschamp was a good athlete, but finished with, "But we were undefeated." #SECMD19
— Saturday Down South (@SDS) July 16, 2019
Also, Fisher opened his presser with “howdy” and “daggum.”
If we could make that a requirement for the latter half of SEC coaches, they’d have a good chance of finishing high on this list at week’s end.