Monthly Archives: July 2013

SEC Media Days: Johnny Manziel says ‘I don’t think I’ve done anything catastrophic’

HOOVER, Alabama — Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the defending Heisman Trophy winner, acknowledged off-the-field mistakes but said the incidents were far from “catastrophic.”

Most recently, Manziel was criticized for his late arrival at the Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana after reportedly partying the night before. The Manning camp said Manziel was excused because he was ill.

The incident was minor, but as “Johnny Football” has morphed into a celebrity, the alleged disrespect to the Manning family has attracted significant attention.

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SEC Media Days: Former Vol Cam Clear now a key player at Texas A&M

HOOVER, Alabama — Tight end Cam Clear, dismissed from Tennessee’s football team last summer, is now a key addition to Texas A&M’s roster.

Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said Clear had “excellent hands, excellent range and excellent mobility.”

Clear was charged with the theft of a laptop from a baseball player at UT. He eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

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SEC Media Days: Targeting foul is ‘most significant rule change’ in years

HOOVER, Alabama — A new rule that mandates ejections for players who target vulnerable opponents above the shoulders should radically change player behavior, SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw said on Wednesday.

The new rules on “targeting” expand the definition of a defenseless player and call for immediate ejections for any player flagged for targeting.

If the player is ejected in the second half of the game, he would also miss the first half of the next game.

“Coaches have to teach head-up tackling, and players have to execute what they’re taught,” Shaw said. “This is the most significant rule change in my tenure, ever.”

The ejections can always be reviewed and reversed by a replay official.

“The rules committee really believes this will make a difference,” Shaw said “Instant replay will play an important role in this. Replay can put that guy back in the game.”

Shaw said there would also be a national emphasis on “coaches’ behavior” on the sidelines.

SEC Media Days: Ole Miss avoiding expectations game

HOOVER, Alabama — Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said he always tells his players, “Unrealistic expectations always produce frustration.”

His players representing the Rebels at SEC Media Days on Tuesday seemed to stick resolutely to that message.

“I don’t care in what area of life that you’re in, if you have an unreal expectation and it does not come to pass, you get very frustrated,” Freeze said.

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SEC Media Days: Missouri’s Gary Pinkel says Tigers are ‘hungry’

HOOVER, Alabama — After a dismal start to their SEC tenure, the Missouri Tigers remain “very hungry,” said coach Gary Pinkel during the conference’s Media Days on Tuesday.

“Like anything else, you have to prove yourself,” Pinkel said. “We’re very, very hungry and we’re excited to get back and compete.”

Pinkel, who grew tired of fielding questions about the strength of the SEC a year ago, said there were no second thoughts about joining.

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SEC Media Days: Florida’s Will Muschamp says coaches ‘100 percent responsible’ for their players

HOOVER, Alabama — Florida coach Will Muschamp said coaches are “100 percent  responsible” for the off-field behavior of their players, even though he acknowledged it’s impossible to monitor every moment of their lives.

The arrest of Aaron Hernandez, a former Florida football player, has been the unspoken element of every question about “off-the-field behavior” during SEC Media Days on Tuesday.

“I can’t possibly know everything that happens every single night with our football team. You also can’t stick your head in the sand and pretend everything is OK, either,” Muschamp said. “You need to be very aware of the kind of guys your guys are hanging out with. I encourage our assistants, our life skills coordinator, Terry Jackson, to be with our guys, help them grow and mature.”

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An early look at ‘Book of Manning’ film that will debut Sept. 24 on ESPN

HOOVER, Alabama — ESPN released a trailer this week of the “Book of Manning,” a new documentary film that will feature Archie Manning and his sons Cooper, Peyton and Eli.

“A father-and-son story written into the pages of football folklore, it can be argued that no family has had more influence on a sport than the Mannings,” ESPN’s description of the film reads. “Narrated by actor John Goodman, The Book of Manning features revealing interviews with Archie, Olivia, Cooper, Peyton and Eli Manning along with other family members, friends, former teammates and coaches as well as never-before-seen photos and home movie footage of Archie and his sons.  Through it all, director Rory Karpf explores how a tragedy shaped the course of not only Archie’s life, but his family’s as well.”

The movie premieres on Sept. 24th at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

SEC Media Days: Mike Slive says future football schedule format still in limbo

Mike Slive

SEC commissioner Mike Slive (News Sentinel/AP file photo)

HOOVER, Alabama — SEC commissioner Mike Slive said the format of future conference football scheduling remains “under review.”

At SEC Media Days on Tuesday, Slive said the league would stick with the current eight-game format while the schedule changes remain under review.

The league has yet to announce the 2014 league schedule, and many expected that a final decision on a nine-game schedule would be made by Media Days. That doesn’t seem likely.

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Butch Jones in new video: ‘They saw adversity. I saw tradition.’

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Butch Jones doesn’t directly mention ticket sales in a new video advertisement posted on Monday, but the challenge to fans is implicit.

Fans delivered when Jones called for a big crowd at his first spring game. But in a challenging national ticket environment, filling the 102,000-seat Neyland Stadium may prove challenging.

In the video, Jones walks toward the camera amid a blue fog of some sort.

“They said this job isn’t what it used to be.”

“They saw adversity. I saw tradition.”

“They saw weakness. I saw promise.”

“They said we need to put this program back on top. I said (chuckle), ‘When can I start?'”