Reliving Best Moments from 2012 SEC Media Days
SEC Media Days 2013 are fast approaching—scheduled to take place on July 16-18—and if they are anything like last year's event, the college football world should be in for a treat.
Like any year in Hoover, the usual cast of characters shone in 2012. And also like any year, multiple lesser-known figures seized their time in the spotlight.
Much like Tuesday's media day before every Super Bowl, the SEC version is capable of creating stars.
Here's a look back at the six best moments from 2012:
Missouri WR T.J. Moe Was Confident
Missouri was attending its first SEC Media Day last year, and coach Gary Pinkel brought along senior receiver T.J. Moe as one of his player representatives. As a junior in the Tigers' final Big 12 season he caught 54 passed for 649 yards and four touchdowns.
Moe's candor was a highlight of the week, especially in talking about the move from the Big 12 to the SEC. "People talk about how good SEC defenses are, but they don't take into account how good Big 12 offenses are," Moe said, according to ESPN.com. He was confident Missouri would ease into its transition.
He received a standing ovation for his frankness, but only now, in hindsight, is it clear how misguided that confidence was: Missouri scored 20 or less points in five of eight conference games, and 10 or less in three of them. The Tigers finished the year 5-7, their worst record since 2004.
Spurrier Being Spurrier
"Every time some sportswriter asks me how much longer I'm going to coach, I think I need to ask him, How much longer are you going to write? What's the difference?"
Spurrier is an annual treat at media days. Still mired in the calm before the SEC storm, the Head Ball Coach is relaxed, jaunty and really, really quotable.
In addition to the epigraph above, Spurrier reeled of classics like: "If I made the schedule, Georgia would be playing LSU and we'd be playing Ole Miss" and "You guys have been here for 30, 40 years some of you...they don't fire media."
With the hot-button issue of permanent cross-division rivalries looming over this year's event, expect Spurrier to be his usual, outspoken self once again.
John L. Smith Stole the Show
Bridging the gap between Bobby Petrino's ignominious departure and Bret Bielema's triumphant arrival, John L. Smith served a one-year stint as head coach at Arkansas.
His interview could have been tense given the nature of how he acquired his job, but instead the jovial Smith was a treat—poking fun at himself one moment and musing on phrases like "get your piss hot" the next. His self-deprecation seems ironic in hindsight, but at the time it won over the crowd.
At one point Smith asked "Do I look stupid?," then smiled and said, "Don't answer that." After leading a previously 11-2 team to a 4-8 mark, the now-former Razorbacks coach was wise for asking people to plead the fifth.
Hugh Freeze's Passion for Ole Miss
No coach spoke with more passion than Freeze last year, who made a mark on his first media days by intensely affirming his commitment to Ole Miss.
Houston Nutt left a minor mess in his wake at Oxford with academic issues surrounding the program right as Freeze inherited it. According to ESPN.com, the then-new Rebels coach was open about friends who tried to convince him to look at "better" jobs than Ole Miss.
"[But] that's not what I'm ready to do," Freeze said. "Ole Miss is in my blood; it's in my family's blood. It's where I want to be."
After disparaging comments from Steve Spurrier on Day 1, Freeze had his new school's back, vowing to "change [Spurrier's] perception of Ole Miss Football." Coming off a strong 7-6 debut, and possessing a rosy outlook in 2013, he's already well on his way.
Mike Gillislee's Lofty Prediction
The winning part went well—Florida went 11-1 in the regular season last year. But in hindsight, after seeing how inconsistent the Gators' offense was, those personal goals seem a little over the top.
Now a member of the Miami Dolphins, Gillislee did manage to put up 1,152 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Yes, he fell short of his mark, but certainly not for lack of confidence.
Nick Saban Proposed Penn State Tax
The pall of last year's Penn State scandal could be felt way down in the Southeast, where multiple coaches and players were asked for their opinion on the matter. Nick Saban did well to tread carefully on such a provocative issue, but still managed to propose an out-of-the-box idea.
According to ESPN.com, Saban said:
Maybe they ought to tax all the tickets that they sell on athletics and give the proceeds to some child abuse organization. Or something like that, rather than worrying about some punishment that is really going to have no positive affect on anything.
He later stepped off that proposal, saying, "I probably shouldn't have said that. I'm just a regular old coach. I worry about what they do on third down..."
But in truth, Saban isn't just a regular old coach—he's probably the most powerful figure in all of college football. And even though he almost immediately regretted saying what he said, Saban's proposed taxation received a lot of positive support in the media.
Bonus: Saban also got in a dig about Steve Spurrier's visor. Nailed it!