3 Things I Learned at SEC Media Days: Day 4
The unofficial start to the college football season is here. SEC Media Days 2018 in Atlanta has begun. Each day, I will be writing about my biggest takeaways from all of the press conferences.
1. Gus Malzahn remains as confident as ever in Auburn competing on a championship level.
The headliner of Thursday at SEC Media Days went first in the form of Auburn’s Gus Malzahn. Fresh off a seven year 49 million dollar extension, Malzahn took the podium with confidence, talking about the goals for his team, and the confidence he has in quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
“You know, overall, I really like our team. I like our leaders. There’s nothing like experience in our league. You know he’s (Jarrett Stidham) back for a second year, and he understands our offense very good. He’s like a coach on the field," Malzahn said. "So going into this year, he’s going to have the freedom to get us into the right play, to check us out of a bad play. We have a lot of confidence in him, and really looking forward to him leading our offense.”
Malzahn has always had an heir of confidence about him and his program. But on Thursday, even the way he walked and the way he made every statement seemed incredibly confident, unlike some times in the pass.
Auburn was close in 2017, and if this team takes on the attitude of their head coach at media days, this Auburn team will feel capable of anything, and probably will be.
2. Derek Mason is the most passionate coach in the SEC, and he has to be.
Vanderbilt is well known, but not for being good at football. Vandy has one of the very best academic institutions in the country, but their football reputation is “that SEC team that everyone can get a win from.”
But in recent years, Vanderbilt has been a little better at grinding out wins. Nine win seasons in 2012 and 2013, as well as winning four out of the last six against Tennessee has Vanderbilt on the cusp of a more relevant position in the SEC. But the struggle to remain relevant is ongoing, and the Vanderbilt job is clearly the toughest in the SEC.
Thursday, Derek Mason showed exactly why he’s the perfect man for the job. An overwhelming enthusiasm, and a passion for Vanderbilt that is evident to all.
“I believe it is our time, we have to close the gap. You know what, it’s (time) gone fast, I’m excited for year five.”
Mason understand his role as CEO of the program, he held an “us against the world” mentality, and that’s exactly how it has to be at Vanderbilt.
Every recruit has to be won over, every yard fought for, and every game earned. Derek Mason however, is up for that challenge, a challenge many aren’t.
3. South Carolina has depth concerns, and the season hasn’t even started yet.
The final press conference for coaches at SEC Media Days 2018 was held by South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp.
Muschamp was optimistic about his team for the most part, however, he did have some concerns at the line of scrimmage.
“We have six really good offensive lineman, after that, it’s a big drop off. They just don’t have any experience.”
Coach Muschamp would go on to say something similar about the defensive line, saying the starters were solid, but the next line once again didn’t have enough experience. This is concerning because obviously, injuries are always a part of the season.
Typically, teams with good depth get tested in that department, for South Carolina to start with no depth in the first place at the all-important line of scrimmage suggests the moment South Carolina is hit with injuries, they could face a significant drop off in their play.
That’s a wrap from SEC Media Days 2018! I’ll be back next week with a story on the frequently talked about NCAA redshirt rule.