The first day of SEC Media Days is in the books. Here’s a recap of all our coverage and the big takeaways from the days.
Gather more than 1,000 media people in front of football coaches and players for four days, and there are going to be some questionable queries. Here is a sample of some of the dumbest questions asked at SEC Media Days on Monday:
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was reminded of an interesting comment he previously made, but sniffed the bait and walked away.
Q: Coach, two years ago here you described a win over Texas as being ‘borderline erotic.’ I was wondering, if you are able to beat (Texas) A&M with the way things have gone in your series with them, how do you think you’d describe that?
A: I know you guys are all looking for quotes. I don’t think I can go much further than that one.
Right back at you
Bielema also got in on the stupid question act when he turned the tables on an Arkansas reporter who was wearing a blue, Hawaiian-style shirt.
Q: Can I ask you a question? Where did you get that shirt? I like it. I like it.
A: I got it at Belk.
Dressed to kill
Players always dress up for their SEC Media Days appearances, and someone inevitably asks about their clothes.
Tennessee offensive lineman Jashon Robertson wore a bow-tie, prompting this exchange:
Q: Did you tie your bow-tie yourself?
A: No sir. Its been tied for like two weeks. I’ve been trying to keep it in place.
Q: Who tied it?
A: The person from Joseph A. Banks tied it for me.He tried to teach me but he lost me, on all that criss cross stuff.
Q: Do you like getting dressed up?
A: This is a great opportunity to dress well. Its been a fun time.
More clothing talk
LSU running back Derrius Guice wore a coral-colored jacket.
Q: How did you pick out that suit?
A: I walked into the store and saw it on a mannequin. I was like, ‘I gotta try this on, it looks too good.’ I put it on and I said, ‘Yep this is what I’m going to Alabama in.’
“I’m 48 hours into this baby. I can’t say I’m well versed.”
– Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who was asked about becoming a father over the weekend
“They are the benchmark … and the head coach at LSU must beat Alabama.”
– LSU coach Ed Orgeron
“Their defensive line wreaked havoc every game they played, so you’ve got to find ways to get open and get open quick.”
– LSU wideout D.J. Chark on Alabama having the best defense he’s played against
“We take that game very, very seriously and have a lot of respect for what Coach Saban has built at Alabama and what they’ve done.”
– Tennessee coach Butch Jones
– Compiled by Tommy Deas
Maybe some coaches are feeling the heat of working in college football’s toughest conference. Maybe they’re just acknowledging the obvious. But all three coaches on the opening day addressed high expectations at their schools.
Tennessee players were asked about head coach Butch Jones being on the hot seat.
“It’s a little disrespectful,” defensive lineman Kendal Vickers said. “When I got here we were 5-7 and I was redshirted. Things were bad. For us to win three straight bowl games, us being 9-4 (last season), we haven’t won every game (but) we go out there to win every game.”
Arkansas’ Bret Bielema said he recognized the need to overhaul his staff’s approach.
“I knew we had to take a new look at things,” Bielema said of the aftermath of last year’s 7-6 season. “We took an internal look at us coaching-wise: what we were asking them to do, how we were asking them to do it.”
At LSU, it’s about beating Alabama.
“I don’t know if it’s that big of a gap,” coach Ed Orgeron said. “I think we need to play our football.”
2. Player safety
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey brought it up when discussing officiating and Arkansas coach Bret Bielema also addressed how the game is changing.
“It’s a difficult rule to officiate,” Sankey said of the targeting rule. “Many of you have observed that, but it is about the safety of our players.
Sankey also said the sport’s rules committee is looking at changing rules concerning blocking below the waist and blind-side blocking.
Awareness of the danger of concussions is changing not just the game, Bielema said, but how younger players look at it.
“We have changed the perspective of how kids play football,” he said. “… They look to do things the way we’re asking them to do because of the way we implemented rules.”
3. Returning quarterbacks
More than half the league’s teams have starters returning at quarterback in 2017. Arkansas’ Austin Allen was one of his team’s three representatives at SEC Media Days.
“Austin has done some pretty good things,” head coach Bret Bielema said. “There’s some things he has to do better. We had conversations about that.”