Day three of SEC Media Days featured Mississippi State and Tennessee in the early session, then Alabama and Missouri in the late session. We already covered Alabama’s appearance in detail, but there was an additional nugget to share.
Gene just told all those five stars that it’s no contest when it comes to winning titles and getting drafted in the first or second rounds. Thanks, Gene.
Mississippi State’s Joe Moorhead took to the podium with a funny quip.
“When I saw the list earlier in the spring and saw I was speaking on the same day as Coach Saban, I was a little worried I was going to have to go after him. It would be like taking the stage and performing after the Beatles.”
He had a quotable comment about elevating the program.
“I want us to get tired of being looked at as the underdog and the little engine that could. Everything we want to do is to operate at championship standard.”
And, of Alabama interest, he hired former Tide WR and South Alabama head coach Joey Jones as special teams coordinator.
“And certainly with coach’s extensive recruiting experience being the head coach in the state of Alabama and certainly the head coach there for an extended amount of time, we thought the combination of his head coaching experience, how well South Alabama had done on special teams and certainly what coach brings to the table from a recruiting standpoint made him a great natural fit to bring him to Mississippi State.”
Moving on to Pruitt, of course he has those championship dreams.
“For me, when I chose to go to Tennessee, and our staff chose to go to Tennessee, our number one goal is to build a championship program. To do that, it takes commitment, and it takes resources.”
I’d wish him good luck, but I’d be lying.
On Brandon Kennedy:
“Well, first of all, Brandon, we’re excited to have him. He’ll be a great part for our offensive line. The guy’s smart, obviously graduates and has two years of eligibility. He’s a really good competitor.”
“Unfortunately, he got hurt there one year. So we’re excited to have him. And absolutely not. I respect Coach Saban. We’re friends. He’s been really good to me over the years. I wouldn’t be standing here if he hadn’t called and offered me a job one day, and I’m very thankful for him for doing that.”
This sounds like a situation where Brandon wanted to follow a familiar coach. Thankfully the SEC has better defined its rules going forward to avoid some of the controversy.
On Aaron Murray’s suggestion that he isn’t built to be a head coach:
“Fifteen years ago I was a kindergarten teacher and now I’m the head coach at Tennessee. You probably don’t make that ascension without knowing how to treat people.”
Only time will tell.
Last, we have Missouri’s Barry Odom, who was asked about the head-scratching hire of Derek Dooley.
“When we hired Derek, I wanted to make sure that we’re able to maintain some of the things we’ve done with success the last couple of years, but also as head coach there were things I wanted to move to offensively that gave us a chance in either third downs or red zone or second and short, the different situations you get in football on some different ways to play.
The tempo is always going to be there for us. We’ll play times as fast as we can play. There will be times that we vary the huddle and the speed of how we’re going to attack the line of scrimmage and how we’re going to play it.
So Derek really hit every checkmark for me on what I wanted in that position.”
I don’t know, Coach. If Dooley checked all the boxes, you might need a different list.
On his new role as a head coach:
The thing that I have learned about myself is I can’t do it all, quit trying to do it all. Allow other guys that are around me that are really good and talented at what they do, give them the opportunity to go be who they are and work together within the realm of being on the staff together.
So I don’t have it all figured out. I’m at a lot more ease at this point in what my role needs to be, how I can best serve my student-athletes, and what our football program needs on a day-to-day operations for us to be our best.
Pretty basic stuff. Today will conclude the festivities with Auburn, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt.