Everything you need to know and might have missed from Day 1 of SEC Media Days
HOOVER, Ala. — College football is here, y’all.
Or rather, SEC football is here. That’s what the beginning of SEC Media Days represented. Monday, we got to hear from Mizzou, Florida and LSU. We also heard from SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, who talked about the state of the conference.
In case you were at work and not looking at Twitter all day, fear not. We’ve got you covered.
Here’s everything you need to know — and some things you probably didn’t — from Day 1 in Hoover.
SEC Media Days to Vegas … JK
Greg Sankey came in hot. The SEC Commissioner began things by announcing that SEC Media Days would be in Las Vegas in 2020.
Sankey admitted he just wanted to see if media members were paying attention. That, they were. But Sankey did announce that the SEC Media Days would go back to Atlanta in 2020 and to Nashville for the first time in 2021.
The College Football Hall of Fame will again host next year’s event, as it did in 2018. The Nashville announcement came 3 months after the NFL Draft saw record attendance numbers in its 3 days in the Music City.
Paul Finebaum actually said that he didn’t think that SEC Media Days would return to Hoover again. Given Monday’s announcement, there could be some truth to that.
The Vegas joke did serve as the perfect transition to Sankey touting the SEC’s partnership with the Las Vegas Bowl, which will begin in 2020. Unfortunately for SEC fans, that’ll remain the lone motivation to make a trip to Sin City.
Well, at least for an SEC-focused event.
You want to complain to SEC officials? You got it!
Sankey also announced that the SEC has a new website and Twitter account devoted to communicating with SEC officials. SECSports.com/Officiating will serve as the forum where fans can respectfully talk to officials (wishful thinking, no doubt).
It’s usually a good sign when this is your first tweet, right?
My goodness those mentions on a fall Saturday are going to be epic. Like, Danny Kanell-level mentions. Can you imagine if LSU fans had that for the Devin White ruling? That would have been wild.
The good news is that the SEC’s longtime stance — it doesn’t comment on officiating — is getting more transparency than ever. The @NFLOfficiating account got the ball rolling with that. As to whether it actually changed anything, well, who knows.
Thoughts and prayers for whoever runs the @SECOfficiating account this fall.
I can see why Kelly Bryant has earned such rave reviews
There are players who come to Media Days and it doesn’t look like they really want to be there. Questions are answered without energy and it’s almost a “how long do I have to do this?” feel to when they speak.
Kelly Bryant wasn’t that guy.
You could see that from the moment he took the stage and let out an audible “wooooo” as the lights literally shined on him. Bryant’s media contingent was expectedly massive. He noticed it immediately. His body language basically said “oh, it really does just mean more.”
New Missouri (and former Clemson) QB Kelly Bryant on last year’s A&M game: “That was the most people I’ve ever played in front of and one of the loudest stadiums…I saw what the SEC was all about.” pic.twitter.com/KypPLv1oJA
— TexAgs (@TexAgs) July 15, 2019
Bryant answered a wide range of questions. From his initial visit to Mizzou after his transfer announcement — he didn’t realize how cold it was going to be when he got out of the car after his 12-hour drive — to talking about playing in an SEC venue when Clemson traveled to Texas A&M last year, Bryant aced his time in the spotlight.
I found Bryant engaging, complimentary and just prepared for everything he was asked about. He talked about how fortunate he was to have the luxury of the redshirt rule — Bryant saved a year of eligibility by transferring from Clemson after his fourth game in 2018 — and how “2 years ago, I don’t know how my situation would’ve played out.”
And when asked if he thought about transferring from Mizzou after the NCAA received a postseason ban for 2019 because of an academic fraud investigation, Bryant said “no, sir. I did not consider it.”
(We found out on Monday via a report from CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd that Mizzou will appear in front of the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee and that a ruling won’t come until at least mid-August.)
Why? He wanted to play in Derek Dooley’s system — that can’t be overstated — which is essentially what he used when he was with the Dallas Cowboys prior to joining Mizzou in 2018. He wanted to play with skill-players like Larry Rountree III and Albert Okwuegbunam. He wanted to compete in the SEC.
In case there was any doubt, Bryant goes to the beat of his own drum. So many people were surprised that he picked Mizzou over the likes of Auburn and Arkansas. After hearing Bryant talk about his new 1-year home, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he made the decision he did.
I’m now even more of a believer than ever in Bryant as the face of Mizzou.
Dan Mullen isn’t rushing to move the Florida-Georgia out of Jacksonville
Credit to Mullen, who has become a pro at answering the question about Florida and Georgia playing on each other’s campuses. Mullen actually said that he could see both arguments for it. He added that he loves the fact that with the exception of Texas-Oklahoma and Army-Navy, neutral-site rivalries are unique.
Mullen also added that he thought it’ll be an interesting discussion when the agreement ends (2021). Kirby Smart wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the series moving out of Jacksonville, either.
Georgia fans would certainly argue that it makes more sense to move the neutral-site game out of the state of Florida. For now, it appears that those frustrations will continue to SEC Media Days next year, where both coaches will inevitably be asked about the subject … only to say that they haven’t ruled out any possibility.
In other words, carry on with your regularly scheduled program.
I was ready to give Lamical Perine the honor after seeing his bow tie/pocket square combination. I asked the Florida tailback “are you the best-dressed guy at SEC Media Days?” He didn’t want to declare that. Instead, Perine offered up a more humble response.
“I feel like I’m one of the best dressed guys here,” Perine said. “You can go that way if you want.”
You be the judge.
Early candidate for best dressed: Lamical Perine pic.twitter.com/Tf3Mp6gt0F
— Connor O'Gara (@cjogara) July 15, 2019
But then just a couple minutes later, I saw fellow Florida representative Jabari Zuniga and I was about ready to change my tune.
But Jabari Zuniga with a DOPE bow tie pic.twitter.com/9d2rUmhuZO
— Connor O'Gara (@cjogara) July 15, 2019
I’m pretty sure that’s a corduroy bow tie? Don’t quote me on that. I’m not a fashion expert like these guys are.
Maybe they are the best dressed, and maybe they aren’t. Or maybe I’m just jealous that I can’t pull off a bow tie like they can.
Oh, and Mullen was rocking the Air Jordans, so “Best Dressed Team” on Monday easily went to Florida.
A super interesting Myles Brennan nugget
Before Ed Orgeron took a question on Monday, he said something noteworthy. Myles Brennan, who was injured for much of 2018 but was still active as an emergency quarterback, is up to 212 pounds. That’s good news for LSU fans who have been frustrated with the struggles of the former 4-star quarterback’s inability to add size.
As a result, Orgeron said that he wants to have Brennan play significant reps this year and act like he’s the starter. By “significant” reps, that would suggest Brennan’s duties won’t be relegated to garbage time like last year.
That’s significant on a variety of fronts. For starters, obviously it’s smart for Orgeron to say that in this era of the transfer portal. LSU needs quarterback depth, and it would prefer to keep as much of it as possible with Burrow entering his final season of eligibility.
And with LSU instituting the run-pass option system with new offensive assistant Joe Brady, there’s a belief that Burrow’s running opportunities are going to increase. Even if it’s just giving Burrow a quick breather, there should be opportunities for Brennan to get those “significant” reps.
Are we going to see Tim Tebow-Chris Leak stuff? I doubt it. But Orgeron definitely wants to limit the amount of hits Burrow takes. He made it a point to say that “Burrow would run through a brick wall if we let him.”
Perhaps now at 212 pounds, Brennan is more capable of accomplishing that, too.