SEC MEDIA DAYS, PART II
Nicktator or St. Nick? Was he abrasive, brusque or angelic? It depends on who you talk to. Rapoport tried to crack a joke and Saban's emotionless side took over.
I began one question to Nick Saban like this: "Nick, you may not have noticed, but everything you have done in the offseason has made news..." He did not laugh. I guess things like that aren't funny, because Saban was serious about it.
Saban also apparently makes a concerted effort not to smile while giving his John Hancock to Bammers and others who had nothing else to do but gather outside a hotel for a glimpse of the second coming of Bear Bryant. If you take out the whole integrity and accomplishment at Alabama part of it.
I only smile when puppies die.
Dennis Pillion sees Saban trying to make up with the press types. Unless, of course, you talk about the whole I'm-not-going-to-be-the-next-Bama-coach-except-that-I-am thing.
Fans seem to have their answer.
"We're absolutely excited," Alabama fan Casey Carlisle, 26, of Birmingham, said. "This is a step up from previous coaches. We understood that we were on probation and all of that, so there weren't a lot of big coaches looking to come here. Mike Shula, we appreciated the job he did, but we knew he wasn't a long-term answer. This is the kind of hiring that shows we're back."
Remember: This is a man who has yet to coach a single down for the Crimson Tide. I can show you some Lou Holtz/South Carolina quotes circa 1998 if you want to see them.
Oh, and the media guide C&F mentioned in his Day One wrap-up, with Saban on the cover? He's actually on both covers.
Spin session. Apparently, Mississippi State is afraid its players might do something like leak the name of an undercover CIA operative, because it feels the need to coach players on talking with the media. The article notes the Bulldogs are not alone in the idea.
The cornerback strolled to the table first and Karem advised him, and the other half-dozen players in this hour-long session, to pause before answering every question, starting with the first. "That way, when the questions get more difficult, it doesn't look like you're panicking when you pause," he said. ... "One thing I want to stress is the importance of understanding how the players need to manage their personal brands and their personal image and how that becomes a very important part of football or whatever sport they're representing," he said.
Brand? Are we talking football or Right Guard?
Are you ready to step up? And do you have to be coached to do it?
Cox rocks? Phillip Marshall of The Huntsville Times sees reason for optimism about Brandon Cox this season. He points out that all but two of the last nine senior starters for Auburn went to the SEC championship game, won the conference title or went undefeated, and one of the exceptions had "record-breaking offensive production." No pressure or anything.
Vanderbilt Dreamin'. Bobby Johnson sees a big year for Vandy this season. How big a year? Maybe not the same level as WR Earl Bennett is thinking.
We are thinking BCS bowl. That's what we've been talking about. We are working hard to do that. We believe we can do that.
Good luck with that.