Translating Day 4 of SEC media days
HOOVER, Ala. -- Coaches don't always feel they can be candid with their comments, especially at an event as large as SEC media days. As we've done the past three days, today we offer our translations (and keep in mind, we're having a little fun with it) of what coaches really wanted to say in response to reporters' questions on Thursday, the fourth and final day of this extravaganza:
Hugh Freeze on Steve Spurrier: "One good thing about media days is Coach Spurrier isn't talking about Ole Miss as much, wanting to play us every year. Maybe that's a good thing."
Translation: We don't stink anymore and man, am I happy about that. Spurrier can't crack too many jokes about us anymore because we're good enough to beat the Gamecocks. Bring it on, Head Ball Coach.
Nick Saban on whether he was offered the Texas head coaching job: "Well, I didn't have any conversations with them. Nobody offered me anything. So I guess if I didn't have any conversations with them, I didn't have very much interest."
Translation: You think that even if I had conversations with Texas or if they offered me the job, I would tell the hundreds of reporters in this room? Get real. That's what I have an agent for: plausible deniability. But hey, I appreciate the raise it got me.
Mark Richt on being picked to finish second in the SEC East: "Obviously, what's important is what happens at the end of the year. Earlier I got asked that question. I said, 'I'm not happy to be named No. 2. I'm not going to start cheering that "We're No. 2.'" I think in the end it's going to be Georgia."
Translation: Preseason predictions are meaningless. Do you realize how often you people get it wrong? If you aren't first, you're last. You guys are sleeping on us. We're going to win the SEC East and when we do, I'll get to say "I told you so."
Mark Stoops on six wins making a team bowl eligible: "I'd like to see them amend that a little bit. Maybe we got some pull here in the SEC. Maybe if we could win four or five, we could get bowl eligibility. I'd take that."
Translation: Let's be honest. With our schedule and playing in the SEC, winning six games is not going to be easy. Our league is at the top of college football and a five-win Kentucky team is a better candidate than some of the six-win teams from other conferences. Get us in a bowl game.
Saban on having a different mindset after finishing with two losses last year: "We have to re-establish our identity as a team at Alabama."
Translation: We aren't used to losing. And we aren't about to get used to losing. We're going to fix it and get back to winning Alabama football. Roll Tide.
SEC media days: Day 4 awards
HOOVER, Ala. -- The "best-dressed" competition was a heated one, Nick Saban had a lot to say, and Hugh Freeze provided plenty of comedy. That and some fan action in the fourth and final edition of SEC media day awards for 2014.
Best-dressed: Za'Darius Smith, Kentucky
It was a close call today among Smith, teammate Alvin "Bud" Dupree (who had a snazzy three-piece suit) and Alabama receiver Amari Cooper (with a patterned coat and a pink-and-white-striped tie). But Smith takes the honors for going bold with the all-white suit. Not to mention he had a nice gold watch and his junior college national championship ring from East Mississippi Community College.
Stat of the day: 10
The number of times Nick Saban said "process" in his roughly half-hour-long press conference in the main interview room, according to the transcript.
Fan/troll of the day: The Auburn fan in the hotel lobby
When it comes to Alabama and Auburn, it isn't necessarily always about loving your team, but also "hating" on your rival. So we tip our hat to the Auburn fan who showed up with this priceless T-shirt, which read: "Hey Bama, you need a second? Be careful what you wish for." It took dedication, because he was in the lobby at 8 a.m., a full hour before media days started and more than four hours before Alabama was scheduled to start its time with the media.
Player quote of the day: Za'Darius Smith, Kentucky
On billboards in Kentucky featuring his face:
"It was a great feeling and a great surprise. I really enjoyed that. Just growing up, coming home off the interstate and seeing billboards, seeing Wendy's, McDonald's and Beyonce or somebody on the billboard. I would have never thought I'd be on one."
Coach quote of the day: Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss
"My daughter Ragan, she keeps a ranking of the SEC coaches. I don't know that I will give you the whole ranking. But No. 1 in her book is Coach [Les] Miles. In Baton Rouge he spent 10 minutes with her talking. Then last year when they came to our place, she was out there without me talking to him. To her, that's her, that's her favorite."
Best nonfootball story: Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss
Freeze revealed that his hair was shorter because he lost a golfing bet to South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier. "My hair is quite shorter than normal today. Spurrier takes credit for that. [Whoever] won our match, come to media day, you had to buzz cut your hair, so that's why my hair is so short today. Really there is some truth to that and there's another story behind it, too, but we'll give Spurrier the credit for that."
Day 4 news & notes
Nick Saban was the obvious headliner on the final day of SEC media days, but there were plenty of other highlights, including Georgia (and wide receiver/director Chris Conley), Ole Miss and Kentucky.
Nick Saban: Media day rock star
This guy is handing out Oatmeal Creme Pies as we wait on Nick Saban's arrival. pic.twitter.com/HRnKsGbmFZ— Alex Scarborough (@AlexS_ESPN) July 17, 2014
What it's like for Nick Saban to arrive at SEC Media Days. (Video) http://t.co/V55mhx6GxA— Alex Scarborough (@AlexS_ESPN) July 17, 2014