Day two of SEC Media Days featured Georgia coach Kirby Smart as something of a headliner, as everyone in the room wanted to ask about how they have handled what had to have been a crushing defeat. Here are some of Kirby’s comments:
“Everyone wants to talk about that question,” Smart said at SEC media days on Tuesday. “It’s not like I have nightmares about it, no. I think we grow from it. The entire season was a learning experience, a confidence builder.”
“I don’t think you look back on it like a horror story,” Smart said. “You take it and go. We don’t have time in our business. Literally, right after the game we’re on the road recruiting two days later, in someone’s home trying to convince them to come.”
Smart also had some nice things to say about good friend Jeremy Pruitt:
“He was a big asset for us early on at Alabama that people didn’t realize,” Smart said. “I think people didn’t really recognize Jeremy until he went to Florida State and did it on his own. But I recognized early.”
The blitz Pruitt recommended to Smart for the showdown with Texas resulted in a sack. Alabama beat the Longhorns 37-21, effectively launching Nick Saban’s dynasty as the Tide’s head coach.
”The pressure we hit them with, it was some different ideas that (Pruitt) had given us that he had done before,” Smart said. “I was quick to give him credit and tell him that he was responsible for one of those sacks in the game. I was just the guy that called it. He was one of the guys that helped design it and come up with it.”
These comments kicked off something of a controversy, as UGA great Aaron Murray took to the airwaves to express his disagreement.
“I don’t know if his personality is fit to be a head coach. I don’t,” Murray told the radio station. “As a head coach, there’s so many things that go into it. It’s not just going out there and coaching. You have to deal with front office. You’ve got to go talk with the president of the university. You have to deal with boosters. You have to deal with the offense, the defense. It’s not just going in there and dealing with the kids and scheming up. There’s a lot that goes into it.
”I don’t think he’s the right guy to kind of be the CEO of a corporation. He’s really good managing just a defense and being a defensive coordinator. He needs to prove to me that he can handle the whole ship. For right now, I don’t think he can. We’ll see what happens this year. I don’t think it helps that he doesn’t have a lot of talent at Tennessee.”
It should be noted that Pruitt was not at Georgia during Murray’s career.
Dan Mullen was also there, representing Florida for the first time, and wore these...
...with a suit. The shoes tie in with Mullen’s current theme of “Make Florida Football Fun Again.”
“The players need to enjoy playing for Florida. The fans want to see points, they want to see wins,” Mullen said. “And they want to see consistency. ... In the last four years, Florida’s had two four-win seasons and played for two SEC championships. That’s a roller coaster, so I think the fun has to get into everybody getting back on the same page.”
“If the energy in ‘The Swamp’ gets going, the Gators are hard to beat,” Mullen said. “If the energy in ‘The Swamp’ gets down, no one’s having fun. The players aren’t, the fans aren’t, and it just drains.”
He later added: “I’m the opposite of [President Donald] Trump in that I’m here to fill ‘The Swamp,’ not drain ‘The Swamp.’”
Mullen’s shoes led to a rather hilarious trolling from the twitter account of ... Wal-Mart?
Seriously, Vawl, you gonna talk about somebody else’s team colors?
Arkansas’ Chad Morris basically said the things you expect to hear from a new coach.
It’s truly an honor to be the head football coach at Arkansas and be surrounded by players past and present.
We’re going to work daily to build on and restore the traditions of the Razorbacks of the past, the present and the future.
No one is going to put higher expectations on this program than me. Whether we’re picked to finish first or last, it’s irrelevant at this time. We’ve heard the talking. How hungry is this football team going to be because of it? A lot of guys experienced what happened at Arkansas last season, so they’ve had to feel that and have that bitter taste in their mouth. Those that pick the order of finish don’t understand what goes on in our building every day.
Kind of boring, but it’s the kind of stuff you will hear from the new guy. it was more of the same from Ole Miss’ Matt Luke.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to put a product on the field that the Ole Miss fans are proud of,” Luke said, “that they can watch that team and say, ‘You know what, that’s my team.’”
“I really see the culture of our team continue to build,” Luke said in his opening comments at the podium in the main media room. “I really feel like all of the experiences these young men have gone through have really brought them together as a team. So I really, really like the culture in our locker room right now.”
That about wraps up day two. Today will feature Mississippi State and Tennessee in the early session at 8am CT, then Missouri and Alabama at 12:30 CT. The entire event will continue to be telecast live on ESPN and SEC Network.