2012 SEC Media Days: Day Three News and Notes

Philip Lutzenkirchen

Auburn has nine players on the Pre-season All-SEC picks by the media.

The SEC announced the Pre-Season selections by the media today and Auburn is well represented on the team with Philip Lutzenkirchen on the first-team offense and Corey Lemonier on first-team defense. On the second-team Reese Dismukes is on the offense with Steven Clark the punter and Onterio McCalebb the return specialist. On the third team Emory Blake is on the offense with Nosa Eguae and T'Sharvan Bell on the defense. With Cody Parkey a third-team kicker that gives the Tigers nine guys on the All-SEC team.

As far as the team selections go the Tigers were predicted fourth in the Western Division with 827 total votes. LSU led the way with 1449, Alabama was second with 1379 and Arkansas third with 1093. Texas A&M, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss round out the West.

In the Eastern Division Georgia was picked to win things with 1434 points, South Carolina second and Florida third.

SEC Notes:

* - 222 voters Is an all-time high for SEC media days. The previous high was 177 voters in 2010.

* - South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore was the leading vote-getter this season with 201 of 222 votes. He is the fourth running back in the last six years to be the highest vote-getter (2007 – Darren McFadden, Arkansas; 2008 – Knowshon Moreno, Georgia & Percy Harvin, Florida; 2009 – Tim Tebow & Brandon Spikes, Florida; 2010 – Mark Ingram, Alabama; 2011 – Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina).

* - South Carolina's Lattimore (2012) and Jeffery (2011) have been the leading vote-getters the last two seasons.

* - Alabama's Barrett Jones is a three-time member of the SEC Media Days First-Team

* - South Carolina has had a sophomore make SEC Media Days First-Team for the third straight season – Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina, DE (2012); Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina, RB (2011); Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina, DB (2010).

* - Since 2000, Arkansas' Darren McFadden is the only unanimous selection to the SEC Media Days Team, collecting all 80 votes.

* - LSU had the most first-team selections this season with 7. Since 1992, the most players on a first-team were 9 by Alabama last season and 8 by Alabama (2010) and Florida (2009).

* - LSU leads with the most overall selections this season with 13. The total is the second highest ever, behind Alabama's 16 last season. Prior to last season, Alabama (2010) and Florida (2009) had the most overall selections.

* - LSU is predicted to win the SEC Championship by the media for the first time since 2007. It is the second time since 1992 that LSU has been predicted to win the league title. LSU did win the SEC title in 2007 and went on to the BCS title.

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Today features Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Ole Miss on the final day of SEC Media Days.

Georgia Coach Mark Richt

Georgia Coach Mark Richt said that when the SEC went to 12 games they had the opportunity to add a big non-conference game. He said after traveling to Arizona State they realized it really takes a lot of out you. He said they love having seven home games and would like to have 12 if they could.

Richt said they hope the media is right in predicting Georgia to win the SEC East, but his team hasn't accomplished anything yet. He said they would like to get back to Atlanta and play better this time around.

Richt said he's know Zach Mettenberger since he was a little kid because his mom works in the Georgia football offices. He said he believes Mettenberger will be a really good player for LSU this season and he wishes him well unless they have to play.

Richt said he doesn't want college football to lose the fact that every game in important. Because of that he thinks that four teams is the right number and he hopes it stays that way.

Mark Richt said he interviewed for the Missouri job before they hired Gary Pinkel. He said playing there this season he knows it will be an exciting game. He said the game is generating a lot of excitement for Missouri, but they've played in some big games. He said it's going to be a battle and it means a whole lot to the season for both teams.

As far as the troubles in his program, Richt said people make mistakes because they are human. He said Sanders Commings has a two-game suspension and they'll see what happens with the rest.

There is no question that the running back position is one of concern for Georgia with the departure of Isaiah Crowell. Because of that they'll count on two true freshmen to play big roles this season. Keith Marshall went through spring practice and Todd Gurley is on campus now. Wide receiver Tavarres King said both have looked good so far.

"I have seen a lot of good things," King said. "Todd Gurley has great hip mobility. He's very quick in and out of his cuts. Keith Marshall is very quick and has great vision and hands out of the backfield. I think those guys are going to be special. If they learn the playbook and everything they've got to do such as protections, I could see them playing early."

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Hugh Freeze

Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze said that Oxford is a great place to live and work. He said that the past has been very good for the football program and he said getting things back there and beyond is the goal.

When asked about Steve Spurrier's comments on Ole Miss in regards to South Carolina's schedule, Freeze said they are on the schedule in 20113 and they'll circle the date and hope to change his mind in regards to Ole Miss football.

Freeze said that the academic structure needed some revamping at Ole Miss and it's something they've had to change. He said they inherited a significant challenge academically at Ole Miss when they arrived.

Ole Miss will run an up-tempo offense this season and with a lack of depth on defense Freeze said it's going to be a "juggling act". He said he doesn't feel like they can sell out offensively this season because of that.

Eli Manning works out at Ole Miss during the offseason, but hasn't helped the Rebels quarterbacks to his knowledge according to Freeze. He said Barry Brunetti and Bo Wallace will enter fall practice as co-number one starters.

Freeze said he's been pleased with the turnaround by running back Jeff Scott academically and physically.

He said the reasonable expectations for the season at Ole Miss is that they compete passionately for 60 minutes. He said they'll have to live with what the scoreboard says.

Ole Miss sophomore wide receiver Donte Moncrief has a chance to be a special player according to Freeze. How much he can get done depends on the play of the quarterback however. Moncrief said both have done good things and he's looking forward to seeing who steps up.

"There's not really a big difference in them," Moncrief said. "Barry will pull the ball down and run a little bit more where Bo sits in the pocket. We're looking forward to seeing how they lead us."

With most predictions having Ole Miss last in the Western Division and not close to the other teams, Moncrief said this summer has provided plenty of incentive for them heading into the new season.

"It's something that gives us momentum about the situation," Moncrief said. "They are looking for us to have a down season, but we're going to come out and show the world what we can do."

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Tennessee Coach Derek Dooley said there is a good feeling around this team going into the 2012 season. He said that teams aren't going to have Tennessee to kick around anymore.

Former Vol running back Jay Graham is heading into his first season at Tennessee on the coaching staff. Dooley said he's done a great job in his coaching career and having played at Tennessee made him an obvious choice.

Dooley said playing North Carolina State in Atlanta for the opener is going to be a good early measure for his football team. He said it will be fun and he's looking forward to it. He said that's why you come to Tennessee, to play in those types of games.

With perhaps the top wide receiver tandem in the league this year with Da'Rick Rodgers and Justin Hunter, Dooley said they are getting plenty of talk but still have a lot to prove. He said everyone does things a little differently as far as setting up the pass with the run and vice versa, and that's something they'll have to figure out this season with Tyler Bray throwing the football.

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Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones talked a good bit about new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier on Thursday and what he brings to the table. Lots of times coaches want to change things dramatically, but he said so far that hasn't been the case with the new OC.

"I think he really understood that he was coming into a place that wasn't in dis-repair or in shambles," Jones said. "We had some good things going on and he didn't try to come in and change everything. He stuck with the good things that he knows we do well, but he also added some new wrinkles. We're going to see some new wrinkles and formations and plays especially in the passing game. I'm excited about what he brings to the table."

Coach Nick Saban said it's really hard to maintain momentum in college football because of the turnover involved. He said Alabama lost 13 starters off last year's team and that means new players have to step up in a leadership role this season.

He said the 2012 team will be defined by what this team does and not what teams have done in the past.

Saban singled out wide receiver Amari Cooper as one of the young guys that could help out on offense this season.

Barrett Jones has played three different positions for Alabama and Saban said that's because he's pretty exceptional. He said Bruce Matthews is the only other guy he's been associated with that could play so many different positions. He was with Matthews at the Houston Oilers.

Saban said Eddie Lacy has done well over the summer. He said the injured guys would be cleared to practice if it were today. He said there are a couple of running backs that will create some competition this year.

Saban said he prefers a nine-game SEC schedule in the league. He said the number one priority should be that every player should have the opportunity to play every team in the league before they graduate.

Saban said people making the statements about conference champions only making it into the national championship field is saying those things because of the success of the SEC. He said they say those things because their leagues only have one or two good teams and not a group.

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