HOOVER – Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State took their turns at the podium on Tuesday at SEC Media Days. Here’s a recap of everything that went down. If you missed anything from Day 1, check out our recap.
FLORIDA | GEORGIA | VANDERBILT | MISSISSIPPI STATE
CECIL HURT: Jim McElwain would rather talk Gators than sharks and bears
Mercedes-Benz Dome isn’t just bigger, but brighter
Sideline tantrums will now draw a penalty
Nick Chubb, Sony Michel will run together one more time
Mississippi State’s Donald Gray stepping up, speaking up
Bozeman, Hentges named to preseason watch list
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 Tuesday:
Florida coach Jim McElwain got asked about a shark and a bear and brought another wild animal into the discussion.
First up, the shark, a topic that refers to a photo circulated on social media of a naked man who bore some resemblance to McElwain, but wasn’t him:
Q: Coach, as someone who hopefully will never experience this, can you tell me what it’s like to wake up and realize that you’re going to have to answer questions about whether you were nude on top of a shark?
McElwain: You know, I love the humor in it, all right. And yet, you know what, what it did, that actually noon only attacked the university but attacked my family. When you know it’s not you, you know, I bust chops with the best of them now, and yet when it got personal …
McElwain didn’t finish that sentence, but gave a complete answer on the next animal question.
Q: What’s the closest (encounter) you’ve ever had with a bear at your lake house in Montana?
McElwain: Truth is, it ran through the breezeway of the cabin, and it looked hungry. But Im not sure who was more scared, us or him, you know? So, we got a mountain lion out on the island now that actually kind of worries me a bit, too. But just keep an eye on your pets, That would be the thing to do.
He warned you
Georgia coach Kirby Smart said bringing running back Nick Chubb to the league’s annual preseason football event was an easy choice because Chubb doesn’t talk much. A reporter got that confirmed first-hand.
Q: Kirby Smart said you’re a man of few words. Do you agree with that?
Chubb: Yeah, I do.
Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmer promises not to take the path of a former Commodores quarterback who season 12 of the show “The Bachelorette.”
Q: Could you see after your career, going into reality TV?
A: Heck no. Not a shot. Where’s Jordan (Rodgers) at?
“I think every team in this conference is trying to play catch-up in regards to that.”
– Georgia coach Kirby Smart on Alabama’s ability to both recruit and develop talent
“We’ve beaten them three out of the last five years. I’d say that’s a rivalry.”
– Vanderbilt linebacker Oren Burks on Tennessee
“We have not won the West yet. We have not won an SEC championship. We have not won a national championship yet.”
– Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen on milestones he hopes to accomplish
“Who knows? I know we will start a quarterback, I guess.”
– Florida coach Jim McElwain on reports that he has decided who will start at the position
– Compiled by Tommy Deas
1. SEC Least
No team from the SEC Eastern Division has won the league’s football championship since Florida did so in 2008 on the way to the national championship.
Three SEC East teams were represented on Tuesday, but there wasn’t a lot of talk about the division’s near-decade of misery. Florida is a two-time defending SEC East champion, having lost to Alabama in the league title game the last two years. Georgia lost to LSU and Alabama in the championship game in 2011 and ’12, respectively. Vanderbilt beat Tennessee and Georgia last season and wants to be perceived as a division contender.
There seems to be no clear favorite in the SEC East this year.
“When you talk about parity, I think parity is really good competition,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “… You know the team that won the East last couple years, you can have two, maybe three losses because there’s an even race there across the board. I think that’s good and healthy for the conference.”
The three teams from the Eastern Division were joined by Mississippi State of the SEC West.
The Crimson Tide’s dominance looms over the entire conference.
Georgia’s Smart and Florida’s Jim McElwain were asked about trying to close the gap with Alabama, and Vanderbilt players were asked about the chance to play UA in September.
“You know, that’s a common question at this event,” said Smart, who, like McElwain, served as a coordinator under Alabama coach Nick Saban. “And I think the biggest thing is recruiting and development.”
Florida chose to designate its Oct. 7 game against LSU as homecoming, leading to speculation that it was in furtherance of ill will between the two schools that developed when a game originally scheduled for Gainesville, Florida, last year was finally rescheduled to be played at LSU in the wake of Hurricane Mathew.
UF coach Jim McElwain said it was a school decision that was made without his input, and that he found out about it when he returned from his vacation home in Montana.
“I’m loving the fact that you think it’s news,” McElwain said.