SEC Media Days Blog: Day 1 comes to an end



HOOVER, Ala. — College football has returned, at least from a discussion standpoint. SEC Media Days got underway Monday morning at the Hyatt Regency. Auburn, Vanderbilt and Florida were the three teams leading off the first day of the four-day event.

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze will make an appearance on Thursday morning. He will be joined by quarterback Bo Wallace, safety Cody Prewitt and defensive end CJ Johnson.

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen and his three players — QB Dak Prescott, CB Jay Hughes and LB Benardrick McKinney — will be here Tuesday.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive started the annual event with his yearly address. Auburn coach Gus Malzhan was the first coach behind the podium.

New trophy

The College Football National Championship Trophy was revealed today. It is different the BCS Championship crystal football that the winner used to receive. The college football championship will be played on Jan. 12, 2015.

Welcome address

Slive’s talking points revolved around the newly created SEC Network, which goes live on Aug. 4. The first live sporting event on the network will actually take place in Oxford when Ole Miss hosts Georgia in women’s soccer on Aug. 14

Slive also talked heavily about the NCAA, and allowing autonomy for the top five conferences, on issues involving student-athletes that are far more numerous and encompassing than what are on the books now. This is a subject he first introduced three years ago at media days.

It’s obvious that Slive wants the NCAA to finally start providing change. If not, he, and other conference leaders, will take up the charge.

“The ongoing review of the NCAA governing structure is intended to provide for the introduction of new strategies and new ideas,” Slive said. “With a new structure in place, amongst other goals, we seek to support the educational needs of our student-athletes through the provisions of scholarships linked to the cost of attendance rather than the historic model tuition, room and board, fees and books.

“As I have said before, if we do not achieve a positive outcome under the big tent of Division I, we will need to consider the establishment of a venue with similar conferences and institutions we can enact the desired changes in the best interests of our student-athletes.”

Honor to attend

Malzhan said that is was an reward and privilege for an Auburn player to attend media days. That’s why quarterback Nick Marshall, who was cited for two incidents by police Friday, one for possession of marijuana less than ounce, was held out of that role by Malzhan. The decision was reached Sunday night. In his place at media days Monday morning was tight end CJ Uzomah (below).


“We have high expectations for our players, but specifically our quarterback, being the face of our program,” Malzhan said. “Up until last Friday, Nick has been a model student, teammate, and citizen. Nick made a mistake and he’ll have to deal with the consequences. I’m not ready to say what those consequences are at this time, but he will deal with it. I know he’s regretful and he feels very bad about it.”

New-look offense

Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel is visibly excited about the new offense that has been installed by former Ole Miss assistant coach Kurt Roper, who comes to Gainesville, Fla., after spending five years at Duke with David Cutcliffe. Florida coach Will Muschamp had nothing but great things to say about what Rope, who came highly recommended by Cutcliffe, has done in a short amount of time.

Here is a portion of Driskel’s interview with the print media, with his thoughts on the faster paced, spread attack.

Different styles

Vanderbilt ended the interviews on the first day and defensive lineman Andrew Butler and tight end Steven Scheu both said that their new coach, Derek Mason, had some similarities to James Franklin. Both are intense coaches, but Franklin was the coach, according to the players, that liked the spotlight.

“We’re excited about Coach Mason being here. We wouldn’t want to play for anybody else,” Scheu said. “It was tough when Coach Franklin left, but it’s been a seamless transition for us. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Butler and Scheu also talked about the matchup with Ole Miss in the second game of the season, a contest that will be played at LP Field, the home of the Tennessee Titans. Mason said he wanted that game to be for the city of Nashville, a day-long celebration if you will.

Here are video interviews with Butler and Scheu.

For more from SEC Media Days, visit For Twitter updates, visit @oxfordcitizenjd, @parrishalford and @loganlowrey. #SECMD14 is the official hashtag of this year’s event.

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About John Davis

Eighteen years in the business. Dedicated to providing the best local content for sports. Oxford, Lafayette, Ole Miss, youth sports, outdoors and the things nobody else wants to cover.