SEC MEDIA DAYS WEDNESDAY

By The Associated Press

Spurrier: Garcia likely back for camp

HOOVER, Ala. – South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier says quarterback Stephen Garcia will “in all likelihood” rejoin the team for preseason camp.

Will he start? Maybe not.

Spurrier said Wednesday at Southeastern Conference media days that Garcia has done everything he’s been asked to do since he was suspended for the fifth time in the spring.

But the coach says Garcia will have to compete with sophomore Connor Shaw to keep his starting job.

He says he has probably the most talented roster of his seven-year tenure. Spurrier says he thinks running back Marcus Lattimore and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery are the nation’s best at their position.

He also said the nation’s top recruit, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, will be on the field “early and often.”

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Muschamp mixes old with new at Florida

HOOVER, Ala. — The typical formula for a new college football coach is simple: Break down the program, implement new philosophies and then hope those changes turn into newfound success.

For Will Muschamp, there’s one problem with that blueprint: He didn’t take over the typical college football program.

The 39-year-old first-time head coach grabbed one of the sport’s plum jobs when he was hired to lead Florida. Though the Gators finished with a 8-5 record last season, they won two out of the past six national championships under Urban Meyer, and still have plenty of talent on the roster.

“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” Muschamp said at SEC Media Days on Wednesday. “Urban did a phenomenal job, he and his staff. They did some great things that we’re going to continue to do. Why change ‘em if they’re working?”

While Muschamp had plenty of praise for Meyer, he brings his own philosophy. The former defensive coordinator is making that side of the ball his own, tweaking the things he sees necessary. He’s also hired former Notre Dame coach and NFL coordinator Charlie Weis to oversee the offense.

Muschamp spent most of the past decade as defensive coordinator at LSU, Auburn and Texas, and intends to keep most of his focus on stopping the other team. His intensity and demonstrative nature on the sidelines has been well documented — with television cameras sometimes showing him chest-bumping players after a particularly big play.

“The worst thing you can do in a leadership position is be something you’re not…” Muschamp said. “I hired Charlie to run the offense. I’ve got great confidence in what he’s going to do and what we want to be offensively.”

Muschamp was quick to say that senior John Brantley would be the team’s quarterback.

Brantley’s junior season was mixed — at best — in an offense that never seemed to fit him comfortably. He completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 2,061 yards, nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions, but Meyer’s lack of confidence was obvious as Brantley’s playing time diminished toward the end of the season.

Muschamp and Weis don’t seem to have the same issues.

“With the new coaching staff, everyone’s got a clean slate,” Brantley said. “Personally, it’s been good for me.”

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Arkansas QB has luxury of skillful players
JOHN ZENOR,AP Sports Writer

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino has a luxury while breaking in a new starting quarterback.

Tyler Wilson will have 1,300-yard rusher Knile Davis and a deep, talented receiving corps to relieve some pressure. Petrino said Wednesday at Southeastern Conference media day that it will take some load off Wilson and he won’t have to force it to one receiver.

Wilson excelled in his relief appearance against eventual national champion Auburn with 332 yards and four touchdowns.

The Razorbacks are striving for a strong encore after Ryan Mallett led the team to its first BCS bowl last season. For the record, Petrino counts 10 wins not 11 despite Ohio State’s vacating the Sugar Bowl victory

But, he adds, the team “had every chance in the world to win that game.”

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Slive: College sports loses benefit of the doubt
JOHN ZENOR,AP Sports Writer

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — SEC Commissioner Mike Slive says recent headlines show that college athletics “has lost the benefit of the doubt.”

He says the negative perception of college athletics resulting from infractions cases from Ohio State to LSU and Auburn “casts a shadow over the extraordinary student-athletes across the country” and merits change.

Kicking off SEC media days Wednesday, Slive used his speech to outline an agenda that includes a bid to strengthen academic requirements for incoming freshmen and junior college transfers and restore partial qualifiers.

Under the plan, the required GPA for those players would rise from 2.0 to 2.5 in 16 core classes. The SEC, which also has suggested some changes in recruiting policies, will present its proposals to the NCAA.

Click here for Parrish Alford’s blog Inside Ole Miss Athletics.

Click here for Brad Locke’s blog Inside Mississippi State Athletics.

Read more in Thursday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.