HOOVER, Ala. | We’re back for more. It’s the final day of SEC Media Days, so the circus is leaving town. Before we get into the schedule, I have links and such for you.
• My main story from Wednesday’s proceedings focused on Dan Mullen‘s record against Western Division teams and the importance of the Sept. 8 game versus Auburn (CLICK HERE).
• In my MSU notebook, I cover Johnthan Banks‘ Egg Bowl guarantee, Malcolm Johnson’s injury, and the offensive line (CLICK HERE).
• From Parrish Alford, an SEC notebook (CLICK HERE).
Now, to today’s schedule.
• 8:30-11:20 a.m.: First up are Alabama and Tennessee, which means there will be Bama fans filling the Wynfrey Hotel lobby very early in the morning, so I urge my fellow journalists and anyone else in the vicinity to proceed with caution. Also, Nick Saban will be here, so proceed with caution. If his daughter shows up, sprint for the elevators.
Joining Saban will be center Barrett Jones, defensive end Damion Square and tight end Michael Williams. Much talk will naturally center around whether the Crimson Tide (12-1, 7-1 SEC) can win a second consecutive national title and third in four years. And can tailback Trent Richardson be adequately replaced? (Looking at you, Eddie Lacy.)
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley is expected to be engaging once again, although I wonder if questions about his job security will make him testy. His seat is apparently a bit warm after just two seasons; last year UT went 5-7 overall and finished last in the East with a 1-7 mark. Good news for him is, if this coaching think doesn’t work out, he can go back to lawyering, where I could see him turning into Matlock as he aged. “Now just hold on a cotton pickin’ minute, counselor, you oughtn’t be leading the witness like that."
Joining Dooley will be quarterback Tyler Bray, offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James and linebacker Herman Lathers. If you see Bray in person, take a moment to witness a cool optical illusion. Position yourself to directly to one side of Bray and watch him disappear (yeah, he’s scrawny).
• 10:50 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze makes his debut at this event. All I’m really interested in is how he’ll handle questions about the MSU rivalry. My man Parrish says he’s not heard Freeze once mention Mississippi State by name. Listen, Mullen was talking smack his first year even though Ole Miss was ostensibly the better team, so Freeze needs to keep that rivalry fired stoked by doing the same.
The Rebels don’t have much room for talk, though, because they’ve lost three in a row to State. And they’ve lost 14 consecutive SEC games. I don’t foresee more than four wins this year. Besides Freeze, we’ll also speak with linebacker Mike Marry, receiver Donte Moncrief and defensive back Charles Sawyer.
Also in this session is Georgia coach Mark Richt, so we have the league’s two most outspoken Christians making the rounds at the same time. Maybe they’ll rub off on all these heathen scribes (looking at you, Clay Travis). The Bulldogs surprised a few folks last year by winning the East, finishing at 10-4 overall and 7-1 in the SEC.
There have been off-field issues aplenty, most recently the dismissal of tailback Isaiah Crowell after a weapons arrest. Listen, Richt will forgive, but he’ll also boot that sorry tail to the curb, son. Joining the coach today will be defensive end Abry Jones, linebacker Jarvis Jones and receiver Tavarres King.