SEC MEDIA DAYS 2015: Takeaways From Day One


The event that signifies the beginning of college football for me and many others today in Hoover, Al when SEC Media Days began as new Commissioner Greg Sankey opened up the event shortly before lunch.

One thing Sankey announced the addition of a Director of Student-Athlete Engagement. The duties of that position include being “focused on fostering collaboration among our existing conference programs on our campuses and developing new strategies to meet the unique demands faced by our student-athletes.”

Three words on big screens dominated the backdrop for him during his speech: scholars, champions, and leaders. The Director mentioned above will do everything in hir or per power to graduate every student-athlete and to prepare them to win every championship. He won’t get an argument from me there.

Also instead of focusing on the national conversation about freshman not being able to play, Sankey spoke about better preparing by having a better college-going culture.

Auburn Tigers

Stop me if you have heard me say this and I almost threw up in my mouth a little. Auburn head man Gus Malzahn had a comment on the satellite camps that had me clapping in the office. “First of all, this past year, the chances of a team up north coming into our state when us and Alabama both want a player, is slim to none,” Malzahn said per “From a conference standpoint if they continue to do it — and the NCAA doesn’t change the rule — we’re going to do it.” Malzahn spoke with a lot of confidence during his interviews and I think he should. You’ve four or so team at the top that could really challenge for the west. With the Tide’s difficult schedule, I could see Alabama dropping maybe one or two but you never know. The Tigers’ depth in the secondary will post problems for them this year. The thing is, most of the ones at the top of the west has an issue or two to work through before I believe they end up in Atlanta for the end of the season.

Florida Gators

I’m really excited to see what Coach Jim McElwain can do in Gainesville with the Gators. I followed him to his job with Colorado State after he left Alabama and I wanted him to succeed. He did that there now it’s his time to prove it in the SEC.

Coach McElwain hasn’t forgotten what Coach Saban did for him and I know these two respect each other immensely.

“He’s been a guy that’s always been there (for me),” McElwain said in a crowded media room per Bama Online. “As soon as I took the job and a couple of times a year — three or four times, in some cases five — just being able to fall back (on him) as a resource, he’s there to help along the way, and obviously taking this job, he’s been a guy that has answered a lot of questions, things to look for, look out for — in fact, something like (SEC Media Days).

“But having that relationship is something I’ll cherish forever. To have a guy that you can pick up the phone and get an answer from that has that much experience and credibility, that’s something special.”

His first year there will probably be like Saban’s first year in Tuscaloosa. Until he can get things going like he wants, Gator fans may have to sit through one or two seasons that are not fun.


At SEC Media Days, you could tell that Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason is ready to put his 3-9 season from his first year in Nashville behind him. He made quite a few off-season changes with the staff as well changes to get the players doing the right things they need to do when they need to do it.

He takes on four new assistants with two new coordinators with Mason taking over the defensive calling.

“I know it’s disappointing, the season we had a year ago,” Mason said Monday at Southeastern Conference Media Days per The Advocate. “But that’s a comma. It’s a comma, and not a period.

“This football team has definitely done the things that we need to do in order to get ourselves back on track and be exactly what we want to be. Our program’s made great strides in the last eight months since that Tennessee finale.”