Wednesday, July 23, 2008

SEC Media Days: Wednesday Recap

Ten things we learned from Day 1 of the SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala.

1. Florida is going to be really, really fast.

Urban Meyer confirmed the story that redshirt freshman running back Chris Rainey recently beat true freshman Jeffrey Demps in a 40-yard dash, which was no small feat. Demps ran a 10.01 in the 100 meters at last month's Olympic Trials, only the fastest time ever for an American teeneger.

"Everyone saying how fast he is so they said let's go in the back of dorms, let's figure this thing out," Meyer recalled. "They raced. I guess Chris nudged him out. So we got some speed. I'd like to watch that. I wasn't there, but I would have liked to (smiling). Could have probably sold about 10,000 tickets for that. ESPN GameDay probably would have been there as well."

2. Tim Tebow is so popular these days that even his coach can't get close to him.

"I loved it when I was getting pushed in the back by security in Times Square, physically I was getting pushed in the back because they thought I was like hanging around Tim trying to get an autograph or something," Meyer said. "I hate to say this, I was. I wanted to get a Christmas present for my son."

3. It's impossible not to root for Tim Tebow.

In today's me-first society, it's refreshing to see that Tebow has taken advantage of his celebrity status to influence change. For his three off-season breaks, he went to the Philippines, Croatia and Thailand on mission trips, where he preached in prisons, schools, hospitals, you name it...

"The reason I do it is because it's more important than football to me," Tebow said. "Doing those things, taking my platform as a football player and using it for good, using it to be an influence and change people's lives, that's more important than football to me."

"I can change a kid's life for the better, that's much more important to me than going out there and beating Georgia or Florida State or whatever team it is," Tebow added. "That's very special to me, but it doesn't come close to having the ability to put a smile on a kid's face or go to a hospital and see a girl who is about to die, see her smile because you're there to see her. I mean, you can't put a price on it, on what that does for me."

4. Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom is glad LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey is gone.

"In my coaching career, he is one of only three defensive linemen that when I went to the game I was truly afraid of," Croom said. "Reggie White was one of the others when I was in the NFL. And Howie Long was one of the others."

5. Miles' Tigers have no interest in defending their trophy.

"The '08 is where we're at," Miles said. "We're not defending. We're not dealing with rankings. This is a brand new year. If we're defending, come see the trophy, it's in our trophy case. We're not defending it; it's there. We got a brand new team."

6. With ends Charles Alexander and Ricky Jean Francois and tackles Tyson Jackson and Kirston Pittman, LSU's defensive line should be downright scary once again.

"I think our defensive front will be as strong as there is in college football," Miles said.

7. After poking fun at Alabama last week, Miles took the high road on Wednesday.

"I have great respect for the University of Alabama, the history they have presented to college football, the competition that they put on every time they take the field," Miles said. "I promise you that any fun and entertainment that I have with supporters is very respectful."

Something tells me Crimson Tide fans aren't buying it.

8. The SEC is headed in the right direction academically.

Five years ago, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said the SEC would have no programs on probation as of today. The league came up just short -- the Arkansas track team is the only one.

"The most satisfying accomplishment in my six years as commissioner is that we have tackled the infraction problems head on, while at the same time arguably enjoying the most sustained competitive athletic success in the history of this conference," Slive said.

9. A decision regarding an SEC Network will be made this fall, one year before the current television contracts end, Slive said.

Here's what criteria the SEC will consider in making a decision.

"They include the ability to improve national distribution for all of our sports, the ability to enhance the SEC brand nationally, the opportunity to provide a window for non athletic programming, particularly academic programming, the ability to maximize multimedia distribution in the new digital world," Slive said. "And, finally, the ability to increase revenue distribution to our member institutions in support of their broad based men's and women's athletic programs."

10. In case you didn't know, the SEC is pretty good.

*Six players were drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft.
*263 players were on the 2007 NFL opening day active roster, the most of any conference.
*The SEC sent 75 percent of all of its teams in all of its sports to NCAA post-season competition.
*The SEC had 457 student-athletes named All-Americans.
*150 former or current SEC student athletes will participate in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

You can read a full transcript from Wednesday's press conferences at here.

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