An assortment of links from SEC Football Media Days

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Some links from this week’s SEC Football Media Days:

SEC would risk its place as power broker. Blake Toppmeyer of USA Today writes, “Does the SEC need Texas and Oklahoma? In the current landscape, probably not. Adding them would make the conference even stronger, and the college football season would be a thrilling gantlet.”

Nick Saban gets different questions than any other SEC coach. Writes Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News, “That’s what you have to accept these days about any major Saban appearance. It quickly becomes a State of the College Football Union Address. That’s in part due to Saban’s stature in the sport and in part because national media outlets at these events are interested in the big view.”

Georgia’s JT Daniels has a higher calling in mind. Brandon Sudge of the Macon Telegraph writes, “Daniels will partner with Extra Special People Inc. to support those in an inclusive environment for people with physical and developmental disabilities from youth to adulthood. This marks Daniels’ second known deal since the NIL law came into effect. He agreed to an autograph and memorabilia partnership with SportsCollectibles.com out of Tampa, Florida, on July 15.”

Auburn Coach Bryan Harsin says vaccination is a personal decision. “Harsin has emphasized that the players are taking all the precautions that they’ve asked them to, and they have not had any positive cases in the last five months. SEC teams that reach 85 percent do not have to take the precautions of wearing a mask or testing regularly inside the facility.”

Will Backus of the Tennesseean picks the winners and losers from SEC Media Days. “Eli Drinkwitz was nothing short of electric in his SEC Media Days debut, throwing out gems between each breath. He easily stole the show, providing more entertainment than all of his cohorts combined.”

Eli Drinkwitz shines, writes Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Joined here by Mizzou offensive guard Case Cook and defensive lineman Akial Byers — a calculated decision on the coach’s part — Drinkwitz saved his most passionate comments for a topic some coaching peers danced around earlier in the week: COVID-19 vaccines. Drinkwitz, whose brother Jeremy is the president of Mercy Hospital in Joplin, said MU’s staff is 95% vaccinated. He’s confident the team will surpass the SEC’s 85% vaccination threshold by the start of preseason camp in August.”

So far, so good for Shane Beamer, writes Ben Portnoy of The State. “Speaking before a crowd of writers and television reporters, Beamer sped through his 30-minute address at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama, with the poise and precision that has marked his earliest days on the job in Columbia.”

Super seniors fuel Arkansas’ hopes, writes Parrish Alford of the NE Mississippi Daily Journal. “Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman has 11 of those players, and he’s given them a name: super seniors. The super seniors combine with 12 ‘regular’ seniors to give the Razorbacks an experienced roster that Pittman believes can elevate from a 3-7 finish in his debut season.”

Gene Stallings endorses Texas, Oklahoma move, reports Travis L. Brown of the Bryan/College Station Eagle. “I think it was a good move for Texas A&M. I don’t think there is any question about that and I think it would be a good move for Texas and Oklahoma, if the league will accept them,” Stallings said.

Dan Mullen is right, says Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Tribune. “The Gators-LSU rivalry has evolved into one of the spiciest in the conference, from the Tigers accusing Florida of ducking them during Hurricane Matthew to last year’s infamous thrown shoe. But if Florida Coach Dan Mullen has his way, it might not be an annual occurrence.”

Mike Leach believes his offense will be improved, writes Jim Kleinpeter for The Advocate. “Leach’s potent and influential passing offense made an even bigger debut in last year’s abbreviated season, leaving LSU’s Tiger Stadium in smoking ruins. His graduate transfer quarterback KJ Costello threw for an SEC-record 623 yards in a 44-34 Mississippi State victory.”

A Lane Kiffin dissection, by Nick Suss of the Clarion-Ledger. “Kiffin took his turn at the podium in front of the league’s press, previewing his team and the season ahead. Kiffin addressed national issues as well as specific topics about his team, ranging from the success of quarterback Matt Corral to how he plans to improve his defense.”

Josh Heupel experiencing all things Tennessee, reports David Paschall of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “There were obviously unknowns, but the group of guys we have in the locker room and their willingness to buy in and change and grow — we’re an unfinished product, but I think about where we started and where we are today, and we’ve come a long way together. We’ve got a long way to go, but I love being around that group of men.”

LSU seeks return to contention, reports Brooks Kubena of The Advocate. “Austin Deculus offered himself as an example for development. Take a look at LSU’s fifth-year offensive tackle: brawny build in a blue suit, a svelte 320 pounds packed on a 6-foot-6 frame, sprawling Viking-brown hair that he half-jokes will hopefully land him an endorsement deal.”

Five things we learned about Vanderbilt, from Aria Gerson of the Tennessean. “I think it’s important in this point to recognize the fact that in this first iteration of Vanderbilt football, what we affectionately call in our building is Team One,” first-year head coach Clark Lea said. “The overwhelming majority of players were recruited to a program that no longer exists.”

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