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SEC Media Days: Saban Addresses His Flock

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Alabama man! Alabama fans in the lobby to throw rose petals and Golden Flake cheese curls in the path of Nick Saban as he ↵passed: ↵

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↵Tebowgate, Continued! Both Mark Richt and Nick Saban were grilled on the question upon which a world hinges: Who voted for someone other than Tim Tebow for 1st team All-SEC QB? Richt rolled over and admitted voting for Tim Tebow, while Saban-- by far the most adept media-grappler of SEC coaches -- took your feeble punch, spun, and locked it in an armbar in seconds: ↵

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↵⇥"I voted for Tim Tebow ... but really, isn't that what our Founding Fathers fought for? People should be able to vote for whoever they want." ↵
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↵I regret that I have but one life to give for Tim Tebow, but one must agree with the sentiment. The beaches of Normandy are stained with the blood of those fighting for the chance to get home and fill out their SEC ballots freely. It's a good answer, or at least a better answer than the one SEC coach who's going to lie about this. Saban then said "I'm not going to point any fingers about who's trying to make this news," and then did an eyeroll so huge you could hear his eyeballs gliding around in his skull like the Eisenhower robot at the Hall of Presidents in Disneyworld. ↵

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↵"We have a demanding program." In between reporters asking him about filming The Blind Side, Saban got a question about Alabama being six scholarships or so over the 85 scholarship limit. ↵After asking the question, the reporter ducked behind a conveniently located blast shield, and watched the answer through a reinforced bulletproof porthole. ↵

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↵Saban's answer was close enough to a full answer. Part one: "We have a demanding program, and some players don't meet those demands." Fair enough, especially given the academic and disciplinary issues usually part and parcel of recruiting elite athletic prospects. Part two: "We don't want any disgruntled players." Translation: I will tell these players that they will be third string, and they will probably transfer somewhere else if they don't greyshirt or make a mistake taking them off the team. Then the reporter was attacked by trained wolves and dragged screaming into the next room while Saban silently gave a thumbs-down signal. (This did not happen, and Saban was by far the most substantive and engaging speaker yet.) ↵

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↵Dean Richt: Mark Richt's resting heartrate must be in the low 60s, even when he was describing the newfound emphasis on full-contact hitting in Georgia's practices. His performance was relatively smooth and interest-free, though he did make the curious step of acknowledging a mistake in taking it too easy on his team going into ↵2008 due to a fear of injury. This all but cripples any chances he has of being an effective politician, but it does further reinforce Richt's long track record of being scrupulously honest in his assessment of his own performance as a coach. ↵

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↵Houston Dale: Testify! Houston Nutt says "Our team is on the RISE!!!" and you feel naked without a hymnal in your hand. ↵He's cautious in terms of the hype surrounding Ole Miss, and says Ole Miss needs to replace "about six hundred pounds" in the form of graduating linemen. Some beef is coming to the rescue on the defensive side of the ball in the form of Jerrell Powe, who went from 380 lbs last year to 320 this year. "We were joking with him that he could play more that 4 snaps at a time." Nutt is also concerned about Jevan Snead's time management thanks to increased media attention. ↵

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↵Nutt was also asked about oversigning. His answer: "We knew 8 to 9 would not make it academically." Nutt essentially said that he used oversigning as a way to build relationships with JUCO coaches and players, and to say "You're part of the Ole Miss family" to nonqualifying recruits who needed some JUCO time. He also says that Ole Miss will be at 25 and no more this year, so he will have to find a new way to build those relationships, like long walks on the beach, team building exercises involving trust falls, and poking them on Facebook. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.