Happy Monday, everyone. SEC Media Days kick off today, and there will be a bunch of new faces.
The one-year COVID-19 pause on media days and two cycles of coaching changes mean a host of new faces stepping into the hotel lobby.
There will be seven first-timers including Auburn’s Bryan Harsin. Others set for debuts include Arkansas’ Sam Pittman, Mississippi State’s Mike Leach, Missouri’s Eli Drinkwitz, South Carolina’s Shane Beamer, Tennessee’s Josh Heupel and Vanderbilt’s Clark Lea.
That’s half of the league’s coaches and when you throw in Kiffin, the majority of the SEC will have different coaches than the ones who came to Hoover in July 2019.
We will finally get to see Lane Kiffin and Mike Leach at Media Days. Perhaps they will add a little spice to a typically boring event. It’s amazing to think that half of the teams in the league hired new coaches over the past two seasons. Mark Stoops is now the second longest tenured SEC coach, hired before the 2013 season, and Kirby Smart the third after Georgia pulled him off of Saban’s staff before the 2016 season.
Barrett Sallee correctly predicts that Alabama will get a bunch of questions about the retooled offense.
Sure, sophomore quarterback Bryce Young has as much talent as any signal-caller to roll through Tuscaloosa, and wide receiver John Metchie III got plenty of run last year (especially when Waddle got injured). Bill O’Brien is an accomplished play-caller at the pro and college levels, and there’s enough talent on the roster to create a medium-sized village.
That makes it extremely likely that coach Nick Saban will be able to fill those holes relatively quickly. With that said, this is a much tougher task than it has been in year’s past. Expect the majority of the on-the-field questions about the Tide to focus on that side of the ball.
I think Barrett is just grabbing low hanging fruit here in effort to make up for that awful prediction that LSU will get a win in Tuscaloosa this year.
Alabama’s recruiting class is currently #5 according to ESPN, but it is so early.
Alabama didn’t enter the top 25 until late May a year ago before ascending the rankings and finishing with the No. 1 class for 2021. This time around, the Tide start off a little stronger with a group that lacks quantity but is strong in quality. Among the early handful of commits is No. 1 RB Henderson, an explosive runner with good vision. Alabama added more big-play firepower to its backfield in No. 3-ranked RB Le’veon Moss, an instinctive and sudden runner. The Crimson Tide have also landed a top-rated QB-DT in Ty Simpson. The son of a college coach, he possesses a compact and smooth delivery. Getting five-star Alexander back into the mix after he decommitted during his junior season was big, as the top in-state prospect can be an explosive and quick front-seven defender. Robert Woodyard, a top-10 in-state prospect as well, is another strong pickup on defense.
Mark Inabinett has a nice piece for you on John Hannah.
“Then coach (Paul ‘Bear’) Bryant taught me some lessons when I was at Alabama. The biggest lesson he taught me at Alabama was that it’s not always the guy with the talent that wins. It’s the guy with the most guts. He’ll stick it out and play hard all the way through the game. A lot of guys with talent will play tough for a quarter or two but take some breaks. When he takes those breaks, that’s the time to take care of him. And that was a huge lesson, and that’s what really kind of got me over the hump. I always figured there were a lot of guys more talented than me in the NFL, but I would outwork most of them.”
There are many differences between Bryant and Saban, but their core principles are/were so similar. As Nick would say, John made the correct “choices and decisions” on a daily basis to become the best, and to this day he is still widely considered just that.
Last, Auburn’s mouths just keep writing checks this offseason.
Harsin really needs to reign some of this in, but perhaps he just doesn’t know any better. He infamously referred to Alabama as the “team up north” back in February, which suggests that he might not be too bright to begin with. We’ll see how cocky he appears this week, but so far they are begging for Saban to drop 80 on them on the pasture this fall.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.