SEC Media Days 2013: Day 2 Takeaways and Interview Highlights
The second of the 2013 SEC football media days could be better known as the Johnny Manziel Media Day.
Manziel and Texas A&M were the first to speak on Wednesday, and the buzz was Johnny Football-centric from start to finish. The Heisman Trophy winner fielded dozens of questions from hundreds of reporters about his busy offseason.
"I heard he's here today." -- Dan Mullen on Johnny Football. Draws a deserved laugh.— Eye on College FBall (@EyeOnCFB) July 17, 2013
Though it seemed like it, Manziel wasn't the only person answering questions on Day 2. Coaches and athletes from five other programs—Kentucky, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Auburn and Arkansas—all met with the media as well.
Manziel Talks Manning Camp
Reporters in Hoover, Ala., asked Johnny Manziel about his exit from the Manning Passing Academy from every angle possible.
The returning quarterback handled the barrage of questions with poise and said time and again that he wasn't hungover and that he simply overslept because his phone wasn't charged and his alarm didn't go off.
Later, Manziel talked about his hectic offseason schedule and how the travel left him "extremely tired."
He expressed disappointment in his actions, but also revealed that the Mannings have invited him back for next year's camp.
He declined to say whether or not he was drinking when asked on-air by ESPN's Joe Tessitore, but said that he didn't go out the night before his dismissal from the camp. Conversely, he did say there were social events while he was there.
Manziel wouldn't answer Tessitore question if he was drinking at camp but just said "there was no going out night before"— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 17, 2013
Manziel, when asked about drinking at the Manning Camp, answered "We had social events." Translation: "We didn't play Scrabble."— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) July 17, 2013
The true facts of the situation may never come out, but it is clear that Manziel is looking forward to moving on to the 2013 football season.
Manziel vs. Clowney
On Tuesday, South Carolina's star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney talked about chasing down Johnny Manziel and made the claim that he would not only catch Manziel, but lay a solid hit on him too.
Wednesday, Manziel responded to Clowney, saying that he would be able to escape the 6'6", 256-pound pass rusher.
While Manziel will be defending his Heisman Trophy in 2013, Clowney may end up as one of his biggest competitors for the award—literally and figuratively.
The Texas A&M QB commented that he would love to play against Clowney, particularly since the two could only meet in the SEC championship game.
Both players and their teams will have their work cut out for them to make it through the grueling SEC, but if they do meet in Atlanta, it will be the most exciting one-on-one matchup of the college football season.
Stoops Enjoying Enthusiasm at Kentucky
The excitement around the Kentucky football program is as high as it has been in decades, and new head coach Mark Stoops hasn't even coached a real game in blue.
The Wildcats smashed their previous program record for spring game attendance when more than 50,000 members of Big Blue Nation attended the Blue/White Scrimmage, as detailed on the school's official website.
Despite the incredible excitement surrounding the program, UK will still be coming off a 2-10 season, which Stoops acknowledged at the SEC Media Days. He admitted that it makes for a bit of an awkward situation, but also asserted that he isn't going to try to curb expectations.
Stoops admits increasing expectation "uncomfortable situation" because "not my style to temper expectations" but an "educated fan" gets it.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) July 17, 2013
Stoops has been around a number of successful programs in his career, including Iowa, Miami (FL) and Florida State, so he's well aware that a passionate fanbase can go a long way in building a program.
As he alluded to, having too many passionate fans is better than having too few—and Big Blue Nation isn't at a shortage of rabid fans.
Magnolia State Rivalry Is Heating Up
Everything was going great for Dan Mullen at Mississippi State. In his first three years, the Bulldogs won the Egg Bowl three times over in-state rival Ole Miss.
Then along came Hugh Freeze.
The new Ole Miss head coach quickly turned around the Rebel football program on the field with a win over MSU in the Egg Bowl in 2012 and on the recruiting trail with one of the best freshman classes in the nation.
Mullen was asked about the rising Rebels in Hoover and admitted that his school's rival is causing a stir—and he did so without saying that school's name.
MSU coach Dan Mullen says the "other school in our state" is "starting to create a stir." #SECMedia Days— parrishalford (@parrishalford) July 17, 2013
Dan Mullen indeed did not say the words "Ole Miss" while talking about the Egg Bowl.— Jason Kirk (@JasonKirkSBN) July 17, 2013
The Bulldogs boss knows that his rival-that-must-not-be-named is looking to become the premier program in the state.
The 2013 Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night is sure to be a thriller.
Did Stoops Spurn UGA?
Stoops was asked which teams he thought would be the best in the SEC East division in 2013.
In answering, the new Kentucky head coach named Florida and South Carolina—not defending SEC East champion Georgia.
When asked who are top teams in the East, Mark Stoops mentioned Florida, South Carolina. No mention of ... Georgia.— AJC UGA (@ajcuga) July 17, 2013
Stoops named Florida and South Carolina as teams that stand out in the SEC East, but said it is hard to pick them preseason. #SECMediaDays— Mike Kucharski (@KucharskiMike) July 17, 2013
He also said it is tough to predict which teams will be best at this point in the preseason—and to be fair, Stoops has plenty to worry about while trying to rebuild his own program.
It could be a simple oversight on his part, but UGA fans likely won't forget that slip-up this fall.
Butch Jones Channels Inner Saban
When he took the podium at the SEC media days, Butch Jones showed just why he will fit in perfectly in his new conference.
The former Cincinnati head coach first lauded the SEC, saying that whatever the conference does, it does it the right way.
Butch Jones starts first SECMD appearance by saying "whenever the SEC does something, it's something special." He's into the club, guys.— Eye on College FBall (@EyeOnCFB) July 17, 2013
Later on while addressing the media, the new Volunteers head man channelled his inner Nick Saban and said his new team needs to focus on the process, not the result.
Now Jones just has to show that he can be Saban-esque on the field.
Drake Is Proud of Manziel
Johnny Manziel is Drake's new friend.
The rapper tweeted his support for the Texas A&M quarterback and said he was proud of how he handled the SEC Media Days.
You handled yourself well today. Proud of you brother! @JManziel2— Drizzy (@Drake) July 17, 2013
Also on Wednesday, Manziel commented that his favorite part of his offseason was attending a Drake concert in Toronto.
Most concerning thing about Manziel? The fact a Drake concert was his favorite thing from the offseason.— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) July 17, 2013
Johnny Manziel: If you ain't running with him, run from him.
Gus Malzahn Wants CFB's Fastest Offense
The SEC has long been dominated by power, pro-style offenses like those seen at Alabama and LSU.
Now that he's a head coach in the SEC, Auburn's Gus Malzahn is ready to change all of that and more—he wants the fastest offense in all of college football.
Malzahn: "Our goal is to play at a faster pace than anyone in college football." #SECMediaDays— parrishalford (@parrishalford) July 17, 2013
Nearly every coach at SEC Media Days has been asked in some matter about the theory that spread offenses result in more injuries. Concrete evidence supporting it has been fleeting, and Malzahn commented that he thought the idea was a joke.
Gus Malzahn says that when he first heard coaches complaining that uptempto offenses cause injuries "I thought it was a joke."— John Clay (@johnclayiv) July 17, 2013
In other words, don't expect Malzahn to slow down his offensive attack anytime soon.
Dr. Malzahn: Television Psychiatrist
The unanimous winner of joke of the day award goes to Gus Malzahn.
When asked about last year's 0-8 finish in the SEC for Auburn, the new Tigers head coach said he had to play Dr. Phil to repair the psychological scarring.
Gus Malzahn on last year's 0-8: "When we first got there, we had to do some Dr. Phil-ing. There were some mental scars."— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) July 17, 2013
Clowney vs. Tiny Richardson
Jadeveon Clowney is just making all sorts of friends at the SEC Media Days.
Tuesday Clowney commented that Tennessee offensive tackle Antonio "Tiny" Richardson is the best at holding at getting away with it.
Jadeveon Clowney on #UT OT Tiny Richardson. "He is the best at holding and getting away with it."— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) July 16, 2013
The following day, another UT offensive tackle, Ja'Wuan James, made the claim that Clowney avoids him, always going to the other side of the field.
Ja'Wuan James on Clowney: I never get to go against him. He stays on the other side. He won't come over and play with me.— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) July 17, 2013
The two teams played a thriller at Williams-Brice Stadium in 2012. They'll play again on Oct. 19, 2013 in Tennessee.
Bielema vs. Malzahn
Just like Steve Spurrier on Tuesday, Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema painted a bold exclamation point on Wednesday's SEC media session.
In response to remarks by Auburn's Gus Malzahn calling the up-tempo injury theory a joke, Bielema fired back with a passionate statement about his beliefs.
He began his monologue saying that he isn't a comedian before diving in and talking about how serious he is about player injuries.
Told about Malzahn's "joke" statement, Bielema says "I'm not a comedian."— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) July 17, 2013
Bret Bielema and Gus Malzahn seems to have picked each other as dance partners this wk.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) July 17, 2013
At SEC Media Day, Bret Bielema passionately stands up for his stance on calling the no-huddle offense dangerous for players.— Mike Hlas (@Hlas) July 17, 2013
The two embattled coaches will meet on the field Nov. 2 in Fayetteville.
Was Day 2 fun or what?
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