Major college conference media days mean one thing: Football season is close.
The Southeastern Conference has set its schedule for media days and participants. From the looks of the lists of players set to appear, fans and members of the media will get an opportunity to hear the thoughts of a few of the most prominent members of each program.
Here's a look at the schedule, viewing information and a list of participants, per SEC Sports.
What: SEC Football Media Days
When: July 14-17
Where: Hyatt Regency Birmingham—The Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala.
Viewing Info: ESPNU, and live streamed on Watch ESPN.
Monday July, 14
Session I: 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive
Auburn - Gus Malzahn
Session II: 2:40 - 5:40 p.m.
Florida - Will Muschamp
Vanderbilt - Derek Mason
Tuesday, July 15
Session I: 9 a.m. - Noon
South Carolina - Steve Spurrier
Mississippi St - Dan Mullen
Session II: 1 - 4 p.m.
Texas A&M - Kevin Sumlin
Tennessee - Butch Jones
|Team (Head Coach)||Player 1||Player 2||Player 3|
|Alabama (Nick Saban)||DB Landon Collins||WR Amari Cooper||WR Christion Jones|
|Arkansas (Bret Bielema)||OG Brey Cook||DL Trey Flowers||DB Alan Turner|
|Auburn (Gus Malzahn)||QB Nick Marshall||OC Reese Dismukes||DL Gabe Wright|
|Florida (Will Muschamp)||QB Jeff Driskel||DL Dante Fowler||DB Vernon Hargreaves III|
|Georgia (Mark Richt)||WR Chris Conley||RB Todd Gurley||LB Ramik Wilson|
|Kentucky (Mark Stoops)||DE Bud Dupree||OT Jordan Swindle||DE Za'Darius Smith|
|LSU (Les Miles)||OT La'El Collins||RB Terrence Magee||LB D.J. Welter|
|Ole Miss (Hugh Freeze)||DE CJ Johnson||DB Cody Prewitt||QB Bo Wallace|
|Mississippi St. (Dan Mullen)||DB Jay Hughes||LB Benardrick McKinney||QB Dak Prescott|
|Missouri (Gary Pinkel)||OC Evan Boehm||DE Markus Golden||QB Maty Mauk|
|South Carolina (Steve Spurrier)||OG A.J. Cann||DT J.T. Surratt||QB Dylan Thompson|
|Tennessee (Butch Jones)||OL Mack Crowder||LB A.J. Johnson||DE Curt Maggitt|
|Texas A&M (Kevin Sumlin)||DB Deshazor Everett||P Drew Kaser||OT Cedric Ogbuehi|
|Vanderbilt (Derek Mason)||DL Adam Butler||TE Steven Scheu||DB Andrew Williamson|
It's good to see the players on the list, but this event is more about the coaches. It's especially about the guys who are taking over new roles. This season, there's only one rookie head coach in the SEC, and that's the Vanderbilt Commodores' Derrick Mason.
He leads the list of people that fans should look out for during the event.
The Commodore Project
Mason is taking over for James Franklin who had held the head coaching spot for Vanderbilt since 2011. Franklin has since moved on to Penn State to lead that program. Mason steps in looking to continue the program's momentum.
Franklin led the school to back-to-back nine win seasons. That was something that had never been done before in program history.
Mason's ability to motivate will be key for the transformation from the Franklin era. If the speech he gives at the beginning of this hype video is any indication, Mason could be entertaining at media day, and all season.
Heisman Candidates to Speak
Auburn's Nick Marshall, Alabama's Amari Cooper and Georgia's Todd Gurley are all scheduled to represent their programs at media day.
All three players are at least dark horse candidates for the Heisman Trophy. Cooper may lose votes to his teammate T.J. Yeldon, but he is arguably the best wide receiver in the nation.
Gurley seems primed for a huge season at Georgia, and coming off a dynamic 2013 campaign, Marshall seems more prepared to carry the load for Auburn.
This may sound like a crazy endorsement, but Marshall has the athleticism, work ethic and talent around him to have a big year. Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated stated:
Johnny Manziel. AJ McCarron. Aaron Murray. Zach Mettenberger. A host of last season's star SEC quarterbacks are set to enter the NFL, leaving many to suggest that the conference has no big names remaining at the position in 2014.
Don't sleep on Auburn's Nick Marshall.
He's right. If Marshall can improve upon his passing accuracy, continue to use his legs to make plays and mature as a leader, he can be in the Heisman conversation by midseason.
Cooper, Gurley and Marshall's interviews at media day will almost certainly center around their potential for the upcoming season. We might just hear someone set a goal, or make a statement we hearken back to during their Heisman Trophy acceptance speech.