July 12, 2017 8:00:22 AM
Seven teams left, guys. We can do this.
Remember, you should totally interact with me/the live blog during the hijinks by tweeting at me (@Brett_Hudson), commenting on this post or emailing me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
ALABAMA: Nick Saban, OL Bradley Bozeman, CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, WR Calvin Ridley
- Saban, after lying in saying he's happy to see all of us and then going through his pride in the program's off-field accomplishments, is finally talking about the 2017 team.
- Saban says this is probably one of the youngest teams he's had at Alabama, at least since 2012. Remember: the 2012 team won the national championship and beat Notre Dame within an inch of death in said title game.
- Saban says quarterback Jalen Hurts has done what he needed to do to improve as a passer.
- Saban on new OC Brian Daboll: "He's exactly what we were looking for in terms of developing a pro-style passing game." Interesting.
- Saban calls JK Scott one of the best punters in the country. Has been for years, in my opinion.
- Running back Bo Scarborough is working with no restrictions. If he stays healthy in the fall, the two-headed monster of him and Damien Harris could be one of his best at Alabama.
- Saban's first funny of the day comes in saying his program may need more than one so-called Get Back coach, keeping players/coaches on the sideline. Scott Cochran going to get some help?
- I got my wish and someone asked Saban about SEC being a one-team league. He struck that idea down by listing off a few of the quality teams in the league, but get this: a friend of mine texted me noticing that Saban apparently listed every team in the West....except Auburn. I can't wait to check the transcript.
- Saban just hinted at the idea of linebacker Mack Wilson being a two-way player and, "developing him as a rusher." Can you imagine one person being athletic enough to play on both sides of the ball at Alabama? That's preposterous.
- Ring the bell, guys, we got a one-word answer. (He's expanding on it, but come on, this is more fun.) The question was about how coaches can establish longevity like he has, which is increasingly rare in college football. His response: "Win."
- Saban carrying on re: respect for the ACC. A lot of talk over the offseason about the stature of the SEC being challenged by the ACC's recent run. "Florida State is built like an SEC team."
- Saban on the access he grants NFL scouts to his players: "We grant the ultimate level of access to the NFL." Stresses the importance of that because, since the NFL has no development league, it's important that scouts have the best information and players are taken at the right time, since there is no second chance at it.
- Got some insight on rebounding from last year's national championship game loss from Bradley Bozeman and Minkah Fitzpatrick that you can read about later. In the mean time, I'm putting some video of Fitzpatrick on this live blog for your enjoyment.
- Minkah Fitzpatrick: "If you didn't beat Alabama, I don't know how you could answer the question of how to beat Alabama."
- Calvin Ridley on carryover from last season and the motivation factor among veterans: "Most of our leadership went to the NFL."
MISSOURI: Barry Odom, LB Eric Beisel, QB Drew Lock, WR J'Mon Moore
- I'll be real with you. Barry Odom is boring me to death with this opening statement. Only time will tell if it's because Odom is boring or because I'm ready for this to be over.
- Odom's mae culpa: "I didn't do a good enough job as a head coach to get us ready to win games."
- He continued: "When you win four games, it hurts your soul."
- Odom says Missouri running back Damarea Crockett learned how his running style had to change in the college game last year in turning in what was ultimately a productive season.
- Odom gives a nice non-answer to the idea of switching with Auburn to move from the East to the West.
- Once again, the Arkansas-Missouri rivalry topic is brought up. Seems like everyone involved is all aboard, just need something to happen to kickstart this bad boy.
- On getting some new guys on the defensive line to produce, Odom names Terry Beckner Jr. and Marcell Frazier.
KENTUCKY: Mark Stoops, S Mike Edwards, QB Stephen Johnson, LB Courtney Love
- Stoops says the program really needed something like it got in the finish of last year, beating Louisville and the eventual Heisman Trophy winner to get to a bowl game.
- Stoops says outright he doesn't want to use the word, "surprised," in describing what QB Stephen Johnson did last year, so he's going with, "pleased."
- Stoops added that Johnson adapted well as the Kentucky offense changed to be more run and playaction pass-based.
- Stoops said Arkansas coach Bret Bielema called him a couple of days before his daughter came Saturday -- not that Bielema would ever admit that.
- Stoops says he had to step out of his office and walk around the practice field for a few minutes when his brother, former Oklahoma coach Bob, called him and told him he was going to retire.
- Stoops balks at the idea of sizing up how close Kentucky is to contending in the SEC East. He does say, when it comes to beating Florida, his players will surely hear a time or two about the streak of decades that have passed since the Cats last beat the Gators.
- Mark Stoops on getting better along the defensive front says, "there is no magical formula." It's all about recruiting really good players and working the heck out of them.
- Stoops on combatting the rich programs of the SEC as one of the less fortunate: "I pick and choose our battles." Fair.
TEXAS A&M: Kevin Sumlin, WR Christian Kirk, OL Koda Martin, DB Armani Watts
- Sumlin tells us Koda Martin is getting married soon to the daughter of Dino Babers, the current head coach at Syracuse. Knowledge is power. He says he wasn't nervous about coming to SEC Media Days but is a little nervous about marriage.
- Sumlin on Christian Kirk: "Without a doubt one of the better guys in the country with the ball in his hands." He continued to say, "Nobody works harder at the game than Christian Kirk."
- Sumlin: "We have got to be a better run defense." Sumlin adds the things that he and defensive coordinator John Chavis have openly talked about are things that they implemented in the spring.
- Sumlin says the biggest sign in the facility says, "No excuses." Well how's that for a message.
- Sumlin jokes Armani Watts likes to say he's from Dallas, but he's actually from East Forney. "Not Dallas." Shots, fired.
- Sumlin goes back to the same quote he always gives about job security: "Nobody puts more pressure on me than me."
- Hot take: Sumlin's pocket square is outstanding.
- More talk about the gap between Alabama and everyone else: "They were ahead of the curve a long time ago."
- Sumlin and Nick Saban seem united in fighting false information from the NFL about draft prospects for college football players. It benefits all parties in every way possible, really.
- Sumlin says there is no front runner for the quarterback starting spot at the moment.
- Sumlin had high marks for new Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
- Sumlin says his mentor, Joe Tiller, is apparently not in great health and wants folk to keep him in their prayers.
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