The four-day preseason bonanza known as the SEC media days will come to a close on Thursday. Although the event rarely yields ground-breaking information, the mere fact the return of football is right around the corner helps generate buzz.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban is the headline participant on the final day. His Crimson Tide group highlights another full slate of four programs, which also includes Georgia, Ole Miss and Kentucky to complete the event.
Let's check out all of the important details for the last two sessions of the conference's media days. That information is followed by a schedule of anticipated interviewees and some predictions for what to expect from Thursday's action.
Where: The Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama
When: Thursday, July 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Day 4 Schedule
|2014 SEC Media Days - Day 4|
|Georgia||Mark Richt||Chris Conley||Todd Gurley||Ramik Wilson|
|Ole Miss||Hugh Freeze||C.J. Johnson||Cody Prewitt||Bo Wallace|
|Alabama||Nick Saban||Landon Collins||Amari Cooper||Christion Jones|
|Kentucky||Mark Stoops||Bud Dupree||Jordan Swindle||Za'Darius Smith|
Nick Saban Will Create Plenty of Headlines
It's not because Saban will say anything overly interesting. He's a veteran of these media-day spectacles and has learned that the less you can say, the better. Rather, the position he's in means whatever he says will become headline news for the 24 hours that follow.
Alabama's consistent dominance over the past handful of years is unmatched. Saban's recruiting power has played a crucial role in that success. It was even enough to draw praise from one of his SEC rivals, as noted by USA Today Sports:
His response to those remarks as well as those about his team's outlook, as it's once again viewed as a top contender, are the most likely to yield headline-grabbing answers. That said, regardless of what he says, he'll probably be the most talked about person when the day ends.
Todd Gurley Begins to Understand Heisman Pressure
Gurley has racked up over 2,900 yards from scrimmage and 33 touchdowns over his first two seasons at Georgia. Now, with quarterback Aaron Murray having departed for the NFL, the running back is likely to take on an even bigger role in the offense.
So his appearance at the media days will feature questions about his Heisman chances. One thing he already made clear to Edward Aschoff of ESPN is that he doesn't plan on seeking a reduced workload with an eye on saving himself for the next level:
That's never been the case for me. The NFL isn't going anywhere. It's not like I'm going to be getting drafted [this fall]. I just have to make sure I'm focused on now and getting better every day so that can help me out for my future and basically doing it for my team.
One thing that comes with rising expectations is more external pressure. More media attention is part of that, which will start on Thursday and continue to build if he has a monster season. Handling those potential distractions is key for Gurley.
There Won't Be Any Controversial Comments
Every year people wait for any controversial or outlandish comments to emerge from these media days. Rarely does anybody deliver because there's an understanding that's exactly what people are waiting to jump on.
That's particularly true by day four of the event. By now, everybody who's speaking on Thursday has seen how even the smallest things can become a notable talking point. So expect to hear a lot of basic stock answers from players and coaches alike.
Make no mistake, every effort will be made to create a little tension, but don't expect any verbal fireworks. The programs have all prepared their representatives for the day ahead. It should come and go without any major developments.
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