SEC MEDIA DAYS

Vandy’s Caldwell gets a first: SEC media days

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Robbie Caldwell’s season of firsts started with his initial trip to SEC media days.

The very new Vanderbilt interim head coach’s assessment: “Awesome.” Caldwell was promoted to the head job after Bobby Johnson announced his retirement on July 14.

Caldwell says he and his staff are professionals and aren’t worrying about the interim tags.

Besides, the 56-year-old has been an interim head coach before: of a high school baseball team. He says that team went 14-2 under his guidance.

Caldwell says all Vanderbilt officials told him about the future is that they’re behind him 100 percent.

He joked that nobody knows who he is — including the other head coaches.

Spurrier: Saunders says he did nothing wrong
JOHN ZENOR,AP Sports Writer

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier says tight end Weslye Saunders has told him he didn’t do anything wrong in a trip to an agent’s party in Miami.

Spurrier says he doesn’t know all the details but that the question is who paid for the trip for Saunders and other players, including Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus. The NCAA is also conducting an investigation at Georgia and North Carolina connected to the same party.

Alabama coach Nick Saban wants the NFL and the NFL Players Association to punish rogue agents. Spurrier says they “ought to be a little bit more active and help out in that regard.”

He says coaches can’t monitor players 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and sometimes have to trust them to wait until after their final game to take money.

Green: I have ‘never’ been to Miami

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Georgia receiver A.J. Green says he has “never” been to Miami and isn’t focused on the NCAA investigation of the Bulldogs.

Green told reporters before his scheduled appearance at the Southeastern Conference media days Wednesday that he is “just focused on getting ready for the season.”

Georgia coach Mark Richt says “we’ll see what they gather” when asked about the probe.

Georgia officials have confirmed the NCAA has requested permission to conduct an investigation on campus.

Investigations are under way at Alabama, South Carolina and Florida regarding possible improper contact by several athletes with an agent.

Petrino, Mallett embracing high expectations

JOHN ZENOR,AP Sports Writer

HOOVER, Ala. — Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino says he and the Razorbacks are embracing the team’s high expectations.

He says he wants the players and coaches to be motivated by, not shy away from, preseason Top 25 projections. There will be plenty of attention around quarterback Ryan Mallett, who returned for his senior season instead of leaving early for the NFL.

Mallett missed spring practice after breaking a bone in his left foot in February. He’s been swimming for conditioning and expects to be ready to go when fall camp starts in two weeks.

The Razorbacks won five of their last six games. But they had three games decided by three points and lost two of them. Petrino says a more effective running game could help pull out those close games.

Click here for live streaming of SEC Media Days.

Note: Mississippi State was at Media Days Wednesday. Ole Miss will be at the event Friday.

Click here for Brad Locke’s blogging from SEC Media Days.

Click here for Parrish Alford’s blogging from SEC Media Days.

Read more on the SEC Media Days in the NEMS Daily Journal newspaper Friday.

The Associated Press