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Thursday, July 22, 2010

SEC Media Days: Wrapping up Thursday

The Internet worked, the agent vitriol simmered a bit and we all got to witness one of the best press conferences in the history of the event. Thursday's session of the SEC Media Days is in the books. Let's wrap it up, shall we?

Most entertaining moment

No doubt, it was interim Vanderbilt coach Robbie Caldwell, a Southern-bred, country boy who lit up the room with his comments. The two best moments: 1) he told us his first job was on the inseminating crew of a turkey farm, 2) he used the term frog giggin'. Caldwell's performance was so entertaining that he received a round of applause from the media as he stepped away from the dais. One veteran SEC scribe told me afterward that he hadn't seen anything like that in the history of the event.

Unfortunately, this might be a high point this season for the Commodores, who went 2-10 last year, don't return much and have 10 games against teams that went to a bowl game last season. I hope this isn't the last we hear from Caldwell.

Most sobering moment

Caldwell’s introductory press conference wasn’t all laughs. He got serious for a moment when talking about Rajaan Bennett, a Commodores signee who was murdered in February. The McEachern High running back from Powder Springs, Ga., one of the highest-rated recruits to choose Vanderbilt, was shot to death by his mother’s ex-boyfriend in a murder-suicide.

"I just hate that the world is not going to get to know Rajaan Bennett,” Caldwell said. “I can’t tell you about it because I get too emotional. Everybody on our staff just loved that young man, what he did. I know one of the lines in the paper he wrote they found from the ninth grade, that he would never give up. That’s what we want to model ourselves after.”

Caldwell said the team will try to honor Bennett in some way this year but did not yet have specifics.

Most disappointing realization

That South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has really mellowed. The ol' ballcoach was not his usual smack-talking self and hasn't been for quite some time. His reasoning? "I don't think I've won enough games lately to have any outlandish quotes. If you win a bunch of games, it's pretty easy to give all the answers up here. But we haven't won enough."

Spurrier showed some life, referring to former sparring partner Lane Kiffin only as "the former Tennessee coach." He also had a sense of humor about last year's All-SEC voting flap that involved him not putting Tim Tebow on the first team. Referring to this year's ballot, he said, "Well, I had Jevan Snead No. 1 ...," drawing some laughs.

But gone is the guy who pointed out you can't spell Citrus Bowl without UT and dubbed NCAA-afoul Florida State as "Free Shoes University." We need him back, ASAP. Caldwell can only entertain us for so long.

Subject that's not losing steam

Seedy NFL agents. Yesterday, a few SEC heavyweights railed against agents taking advantage of naive players (as if the players are fault-free in this stuff). Today, we get more denials. While the NCAA investigates whether he was a part of the infamous Memorial Day party in Miami that's already ensnared South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders and Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus, Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green said he hasn't even been to Miami. He then offered a no comment to a question about how he felt about not being able to comment.

Later in the day, a TMZ report emerged about Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram attending a party held by former Florida cornerback and current Cleveland Brown Joe Haden. The university has since responded, saying everything was brought to the school's attention beforehand and cleared. We'll see what tomorrow brings, but it appears this sub
ject will not go away soon.

Biggest sign that standards have dropped

Spurrier boasted about how well his team has adhered to the law recently, saying, "I don't think we've had but one player arrested in about two years, and those charges were dropped. That's pretty good nowadays, as we know."

Relatively, yes. But is this something you should trumpet? Not to get too preachy here, but shouldn't we expect players not to get arrested? Isn't that a pretty bare minimum?

Best idea yet for monitoring social media

Arkansas has a simple policy for its players when it comes to Facebook: they all have to friend the team's director of football operations, who monitors what they write and occasionally asks them to take stuff down.

Pretty crafty move by Bobby Petrino, whose social networking inexperience is obvious (he called it "The Twitter" one time and, although it didn't appear this way in the transcription, we think we heard him refer to Facebook as "Facemask" another).

We monitor it," Petrino said. "We've had times where we've had to bring young men in and say, You need to take this off your Facebook. We had an incident last year where we had a young man that had to go in and get something done to his thumb. Nothing big. Had to go in and tie it down. We left the office. I get a phone call about 6:30 at night. It says, Hey, Cobi Hamilton put on his Facebook that he's getting his thumb operated on. Not that it's a big deal, but it's nice not to put things like that out there."

What's up next?

It's finally Auburn's turn tomorrow, so most of my material will be about the Tigers. Gene Chizik takes the stage early in the morning. We'll be live blogging this one, so be sure to set your alarms and follow along. And follow us on Twitter for instant updates all the time.

1 comment:

Kevin Combs said...

I think you meant to say, "The ol' ballcoach was "not" his usual smack-talking self and hasn't been for quite some time. Thanks for the updates from Media Days.