2010 SEC Media Days: In Which Nick Saban Connects Agents To Pimps

The 2010 SEC Media Days are underway in Birmingham, Alabama. SB Nation's own Spencer Hall is in attendance and will be updating this StoryStream with updates from the festivities throughout the day.

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2010 SEC Media Days: The New Urban Meyer Sounds A Lot Like Old Urban Meyer

The lack of a fully functioning Internet continues to cause problems at the 2010 SEC Media Days, forcing SB Nation's Spencer Hall to call me and dictate the following from Florida's Urban Meyer time with the press, which included the word "neat," his regimented bedtime, and even a smile. 

Urban wasted no time in getting down to business. The Florida coach ran through a four sentence opening statement and immediately dove into questions like a man who'd rather be doing something more pleasant than press conferencing -- getting his fingernails pulled out, for instance, or perhaps sticking his head into a sack filled with live minks.

Like everyone else, he hates agents who jump the gun and contact players early, though he went a step further by mentioning how Florida counters the threat.

At Florida we have security for one reason. It's not for the fans, it's to keep people we don't want around our players away....If you see an agent on the campus at Florida, he's probably going to be hiding behind a bush.

Note: If you need an agent, please check the shrubbery at the University of Florida. Be careful, however, as there may be drunk students sleeping off benders in those bushes, and they can be quite hostile if awakened suddenly.

He also mentioned that Florida began investigating the Maurkice Pouncey agent contact five to six weeks ago, and that though they were still looking into it he stood by the denial issued by the Pounceys today.

Besides the agent brouhaha -- an "epidemic" in his words -- this was a return to form for Meyer in how to begrudgingly give a press conference. He hit the mandatory phrases on the Urban Meyer checklist: high-character, family man, and using the word "neat." He mentioned the importance of family, divulging his new low-stress bedtime of 10:30 p.m. on the dot. He talked about the strengths of his staff, particularly Steve Addazio and Chuck Heater, the last two coaches remaining from his original 2005 staff.

He shot down questions he found distasteful with a glare and short sentences.

Submitted for the court:

Reporter: Do you have the Alabama game circled on the calendar?

Meyer: We play Miami of OH and USF in week two. That's our focus right now.

Meyer wasn't long on smiles, either, but he did crack a genuine grin when asked what his reaction to USC being sanctioned by the NCAA just a few months after Lane Kiffin -- who accused Meyer of cheating in 2009 as Tennessee head coach -- took the job.

HUGE SMILE. "I'll let the commissioner answer that. No comment."

Please let the record show that Urban continued smiling all the way out the door of the ballroom at the Wynfrey.

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2010 SEC Media Days: Joker Phillips Makes His Debut

Joker Phillips of Kentucky made his debut at SEC Media Days, and immediately made a rookie mistake: opening with a joke. In a reference to Dicky Lyons’ famous Matt Stafford dream anecdote from last year he said:

“I had a dream that Dicky Lyons gave me mouth-to-mouth. He still haunts me.”

The joke bombed, but it may just be the afternoon nap attack striking the room right now. He’s granted a rookie mulligan, and applauded for his effort.

Notes:

—Joker Phillips calls his plan for success at Kentucky “Operation Win.” T-Pain mourns the lack of two additional wins to honor his lyrical genius. Seriously, Joker Phillips used the word win about thirty times in five minutes. If he were a NASCAR driver, he’d be able to hit his sponsors at a terrifying rate in the post-race press confererence.

—Phillips addressed how the Kentucky were going to use Randall Cobb at wide receiver, running back, quarterback, kick and punt returner: “Randall Cobb is going to be the sorest guy in the league.” You’ve been warned, son.

CLICHE ALERT: “It’s important to have playmakers.” Still waiting for the first coach ever to walk up, grab the mike, and say “Playmakers are overrated. Me, I like sluggish, unmotivated players with little physical talent.”

—On assistant and former Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin: “He understands Facebook.” This is actually quite a resume line for coaches in 2010, though the leader in Kentucky’s technical proficiency may have been their departed coach Rich Brooks according to Phillips.

“That is a 68 year old man on Twitter. I get his golf score every day.”

—His final question was the one he usually gets first: his name isn’t Joker, but Joe. Joker is a nickname, thankfully, because his parents did not hate him.

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2010 SEC Media Days: Mississippi State's Dan Mullen Wins War Against Silence

Dan Mullen didn’t come in with the same entourage of adoring fans as Nick Saban, but the Mississippi State coach still flexed a words per minute rate that would make an auctioneer blush in addressing the spread offense in recruiting, the toll (or lack thereof) of being a new head coach, and what you can learn about a recruit from their Facebook page.*

High quality bullet points!

—Mullen said his staff are young and therefore highly literate re: social media, and use it not just for contact and communication but also to help in evaluating recruits. “We have certainly crossed a recruit off our board because of what we’ve seen off Facebook.”

—Excitedly mentioned the record attendance in Starkville coming off a 5-7 season. “Gamedays in Starkville are an event.” In other news, this podium is also an object, the Wynfrey hotel is a thing, and “truth” and “beauty” are abstract concepts.

—The qb competition is wide open at this point, but let Mullen know that no matter who wins, they stand a better chance of being drafted in the first round than anyone playing under Nick Saban. When asked about the critiques of the spread offense and its alleged failure to prepare players for working in pro-style NFL offenses, he fired back with a quickness.

“I’ve had a lot more first round quarterbacks drafted than he has…We also had the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year last year in Percy Harvin. A lot of people say that about the spread, but factually the offense prepares players better than other offenses.

—Continued to refer to Ole Miss as “That school up north” to “add to the rivalry.”

—Said Brett Favre’s nephew Dylan, a freshman qb at Mississippi State, texted him after a loss on a failed qb sneak against LSU and said “If I was your quarterback, I would have scored on that play.” No word on whether he committed to MSU, then reneged, then committed, and then spent five months hedging on the decision before skipping fall practice and arriving just in time for the season.

*Besides how they’re doing in Mafia Wars, that is.

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2010 SEC Media Days: Nick Saban Asks How Agents Are Any Different From Pimps

We have broached new territory in sports soundbite greatness when the word “pimp” sneaks into the lexicon of college coaching. Nick Saban, rolling through a breezy thirty minute stint on the podium at SEC Media Days, returned repeatedly to the topic of agent misbehavior until he lobbed this bomb in their direction.

These agents…how are they any different than a pimp?

Unless Dan Mullen delivers his entire press conference in iambic pentameter or raps his opening remarks, this will be the single best soundbite anyone gets at SEC Media Days. For the record, Saban is all for suspending agents found tampering with student-athletes’ eligibility for a year, and turned a deep shade of angry red with discussing the matter.

Saban also sped through a series of talking points obviously organized as tightly as a well-coached Cover 2:


He began by asking for questions about 2010 only, noting that Alabama lost eleven starter, their kicker, their punter, and their entire defensive secondary.

—He likened the situation to a cooking show, saying that “I used the same ingredients in the recipe as the guy on the cooking show, and it sure didn’t turn out the way it did on television.” In other news, Nick Saban has been watching the Food Network in the offseason.

—Saban also complained briefly and mildly about the number of coaches and personnel the team was allowed to use. “First we have guys who make sure players are going to class, and then they complain about how many guys we have.”

—He mentioned the increasing competitiveness of the SEC West, but left one team out: LSU.

—On a cosmetic note: until we see what Mark Richt has been working on, Saban now holds the title of Most Lustrously Tan SEC Coach. He looked like he was coated in rich cocoa butter, and could easily play the role of a yacht-mad French Riviera playboy.

—He thanked the media, and therefore engaged the room in the most awkward group hug of the day.

Next up: Dan Mullen, Mississippi State.

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2010 SEC Media Days: Mike Slive Speaks; BCS Head Bill Hancock Performs Magic Tricks

The SEC Media Days has gone retro for 2010, or at least that's the way I prefer to think of a complete internet outage at the SEC's annual media circus. It helps keep the killing rage at bay, and turns an ISP meltdown into a festive, stylish ode to our journalistic forebears who had to work without a functional internet connection. 

BCS head Bill Hancock's appearance coincided with this complete internet outage, and just as well. He labored through a regurgitation of the BCS's standard talking points with a PowerPoint presentation. 

  • The BCS makes for good competition
  • A playoff would destroy the bowl system, and possibly your mother, innocent babies, and civilization. 
  • It makes money and gives it to a lot of people. (So does the Russian Mafia, btw. At least they get cool Russian jailhouse tattoos.)
Hancock then fielded a series of questions by performing magic tricks in response, and mentioned how much he thinks while he's out on his runs. Hancock makes six figures at least for doing this, and for that I salute him. His job is the American Dream, and we would all be lucky to claim it as our own. 

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive is currently speaking, and is a vast improvement over Hancock. First he did not mention Lane Kiffin by name in reviewing the coaching changes in his opening remarks, but did mention that "the coach from Tennessee chose to return to his Western roots." Giggling is the right word for the press corps' response to any mention of Kiffin, and that itself should be framed and placed on Tennessee fans' walls. (Slive then warmly welcomed Derek Dooley to the conference by name. Slive holds his switchblade with a velvet glove.) 
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2010 SEC Media Days: Alabama, Florida Kick-Off The First Day From Birmingham

SEC Media Days kicks off today, college football's preeminent collection of people speculating feverishly about games that still like over a month and a half away from actually happening BOOYAH! 

Leading off today is Alabama and coach Nick Saban. Rabid Crimson Tide fans weren't in the lobby at 9 a.m. or anything ridiculous like that, nooooo. They were actually here at 8 a.m. camped out on the sofas a full five hours before anything resembling a Saban-like object was scheduled to walk through the door. 

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The seriousness goes in this order: Bama and Saban first, then Mississippi State and the very caffeinated Dan Mullen follow. Joker Phillips of Kentucky and his crew follow, and Urban Meyer will allegedly cap the day for Florida. I say allegedly since we have to make sure he actually shows up for the gig before I believe it.  

Stay tuned to this StoryStream for updates from Birmingham throughout the day.

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