About 3 minutes away from Day 2, which will begin with coordinator of officials Steve Shaw.
This is the different day in the new format. No golf, which I never played anyway, and the golf is replaced by a lunch break and two more schools.
The after lunch schools are Auburn and LSU.
Under way. Will Muschamp of Florida is at the podium. Says Gators did not get the results they wanted last year but have built a strong foundation.
We just heard from Shaw. Here are the rules changes for this season.
Kickoff – A play that has a higher level of potential injury. There will be work around making it safer. The kickoff line has moved from the 30 to the 35. The goal is to create more touchbacks. Incentive to take a touchback will be that the ball now goes out to the 25, not the 20.
Regarding on-side kicks, if a kicker drives the ball straight into the ground, one big hop, the receiver has protection to catch the ball. Under the old rule, the ball was live and the receiver was not awarded protection.
Helmets coming off during play – If your helmet comes off you have to leave the game for one play. If your helmet comes off and you continue to participate in the play, it’s a 15-yard penalty.
Protection for punt receiver – The receiver now has shoulder width and 1 yard in front of him as protected space. No defender can penetrate that space until the receiver has touched the ball. The goal is for players to break down before they make contact with the receiver.
Punter protector Shield – It’s a foul to try to leap over the single back, the personal protector of the punter, and try to block a punt. A 15-yard penalty if you try to leap over the punter’s personal protector.
Blocking below the waist – Blockers cannot peal back toward their own goalline to create more momentum/advantage and restricted players, like receivers, cannot come inside the tackle box.
Florida coach Will Muschamp hasn’t named a starter at quarterback, but he’s got two, big physical canidates to choose from.
Jeff Driskel (6-4, 232) and Jacoby Brissett (6-3, 229), both sophomores, continue to compete for the No. 1 job.
“They’re even going into camp, and they will get the same number of reps,” Muschamp said. “Both guys can contribute to our football team.”
Muschamp didn’t rule out the possibility of playing two quarterbacks.
Brissett, forced into action after an injury to John Brantley last year, has a slight edge in experience, but the experience wasn’t very good. He completed 18-of-39 attempts last season, less than 50 percent, for 206 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions.
Only one reference to The School Up North in the print room. @RebVoice (David Kellum) reports that was more of a discussion with Mullen in the radio room, saying Mullen took pride in the creation of the acronym.
A few other Mullen highlights …
Mullen was asked about his SEC West record, no wins against the division against teams not named Ole Miss.
“We’ve had the opportunity to beat every one of those teams, right down to fourth-quarter last plays of the game. We have to make those game-winning plays. We have to have guys step up and make those plays. Three of those teams have gone on to win the national championship. That’s the great thing in the SEC West. We’re not far off from being there, which means we’re not very far from the national title.”
Having Jackson State on the schedule this year and Southern Miss coming on for the future is important for the local communities even if it might not register on the national radar, Mullen said. This was where he worked in the TSUN reference.
Mullen favors the playoff system as long as it preserves the bowl system.
He likes his quarterback, Tyler Russell, and says he will be athletic enough to run when the run is there and keep defenses honest. Compared him to Alex Smith, who he coached at Utah, in that regard.
He is still high on Starkville. “It could be the best college town in the country.”
With a 10-month contract recruiting is an interesting challenge for Arkansas coach John L. Smith, who was hired after Bobby Petrino’s abrupt firing in the spring.
Smith works hard at selling the Arkansas name, not a head coach name.
“We try to get Arkansas kids to stay in Arkansas. We make a big push to see that that happens. There’s no other coach that can guarantee he will be there next year as well. If they want you out the door, it doesn’t matter who you are. You better be committing to a school, a program. If you’re committing to an individual, you’re committing for the wrong reasons. That’s the way we work it, and I believe that regardless.”
Smith had just been named in December as head coach at Weber State, his alma mater, a job he thought would be his last.
He tuned in as the saga played out following Petrino’s motorcycle ride with a young female football staffer.
“I would go to work, and my wife would give me updates on what had taken place when I came home in the evenings. I tried to follow it as closely as I could. That’s kind of how I followed it and viewed it from the outside.
“Was I surprised, yes. That’s part of your family. People you had been with, helped raised the kids, all those things. You pray for them and hope the best can take place. A mistake has happened and hopefully it’s something that can be remedied.”
Gene Chizik began by offering what seemed to be a very heart-felt thank you for the response of media to the shooting that left three dead, two former Auburn players.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to start out to thank so many people for their outpouring of love and prayers, emails and phone calls to the Auburn family since that tragic night, June 9. I do want to say thank you. I don’t think it would be right for me to stand up here in my first public opportunity and not do that.”
Beyond that Chizik talked about his excitement for two new coordinators, Scott Loeffler on offense and Brian Vangorder on defense.
He says Loeffler is very good at developing quarterbacks, and that’s a good thing, since Auburn goes into the season unsettled at the position. The winner could very well be sophomore Kiehl Frazier, who was used sparingly last season as the Wildcat Formation guy.
Auburn went from the national championship to an 8-5 season. With Media Days in their home state, there was only a smattering of Auburn fans in the lobby today. That will change when the other home state school appears tomorrow.
Les Miles seems to be entertaining whether he tries to be or not. Sometimes he plays to that image, I suspect.
He did a nice job of handling a self-serving question from a TV guy in the back of the print room, a long and rambling effort in which he described LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis as “bland.”
Miles made him repeat the question.
“Bland is the part I didn’t get,” Miles said.
Later on Miles talked about a hand injury to Zach Mettenberger – third string last year but this year’s starter – during practice leading up to the BCS title game.
The hand injury was a revelation to Mettenberger who responded with, “OK, let’s roll with it.”
Miles fielded several questions about the 21-0 BCS championship loss to Alabama. The consistent theme in the response was that LSU played 13 quality opponents, won all its games and didn’t play its best football in the final game. The players understand that, Miles said, and are working to improve.