SEC Media Days are finally here and that means football season isn’t far behind. Here are a few miscellaneous thoughts and comments heading into SEC Media Days...
• Did you know nine of the last 10 SEC Offensive Players of the Year came from either Alabama (Tua Tagovailoa 2018, Jalen Hurts ’16, Derrick Henry ’15, Amari Cooper ’14, Trent Richardson ’11, Mark Ingram ’09) or Auburn (Kerryon Johnson ’17, Tre Mason ’14, Cam Newton ’10)? Only Johnny Manziel, who also won the Heisman that year, was the non-Tide or Tiger player.
Maybe just as fascinating, though, is only Kerryon Johnson played high school football in this state. It certainly validates the fact Auburn and Alabama have widened their respective recruiting nets.
• Conversely, Alabama has had only four SEC Defensive Player of the Year award winners since the trophy was split into both sides of the ball in 2003 (Auburn has not had anyone win that prize). Three of those four did play in the AHSAA.
• Where ever the media predicts Auburn to finish at the end of this week, you can be sure it will be wrong. No program has been harder to pin down in the preseason than the Tigers the last decade.
• 2019 may finally, really, not-kidding-this-time be the year of the quarterback in the SEC.
Tagovailoa and Georgia’s Jake Fromm are givens, but Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond, Florida’s Felipe Franks, South Carolina’s Jake Bentley and Tennessee’s Jarrett Guaratano all bring experience (and they have the battle scars to prove it).
There is also the very intriguing situation with Missouri’s Kelly Bryant who transferred in from Clemson. Meanwhile Auburn, Mississippi State and Kentucky may all have improved play as well. Just about all of those aforementioned quarterbacks have their go-to receivers returning, too.
• Ole Miss’s Matt Luke is bringing freshman quarterback Matt Corral to Birmingham.
No other coach is bringing a freshman (or sophomore for that matter). It is a gutsy move that could pay huge dividends because the team will surely see the situation as a coach who has a ton of confidence in the young player.
• Gus Malzahn has a grand opportunity to win over any AU fans who are on the fence about him heading into the season when he speaks Thursday.
That day only Malzahn, Kentucky’s Mark Stoops and Vandy’s Derek Mason are scheduled to address the media. Malzahn is far and away the most interesting of the three and he will have a huge audience begging for post-worthy sound bites.
Here’s hoping he opens up a bit more than he usually does.
• In the end, the media’s prognostications will probably be for ’Bama and UGA to meet again in Atlanta and for the Tide to take the crown. It’s a cliché’ pick at this point, but who can blame them?