Media Week is always interesting, and the SEC is full of eccentric personalities.
Here are ten quotes that we found notable from the first two SEC Media Days, in no particular order (all of the quotes and interviews seen below can be found on the SEC Media Days page, which has had excellent coverage all week):
1. "I think it's a great tradition to leave it in Jacksonville. It's a great setting. Coming over the St. John's River, as a competitor, if that doesn't get your blood boiling, there's something wrong with you. You look at the tradition, the history of the game there. Coach Dooley never complained about it being there."
~ Will Muschamp, on the Florida-Georgia neutral-site game always being held in Jacksonville, which Georgia coach Mark Richt has complained about not really being a fair neutral location. Muschamp was essentially saying that Richt can't compare to Georgia's former coaching icon, Vince Dooley.
2. "They've also got prettier girls, the air's fresher and the toilet paper's thicker."
~ Missouri receiver T.J. Moe on the SEC compared to the Big 12. Moe was one of the huge media day hits this year.
3. "(The players) came together and said we're going to be better because of it. Our group has done a great job of saying, 'Hey, a little adversity is going to make us stronger.'"
~ Arkansas coach John L. Smith on how the team is going to handle playing without Bobby Petrino at the helm. Petrino made phone calls to several members of the team last week.
4. “Joe Paterno’s a friend that I got to know professionally, and you can’t take away the greatness of this man. He was a great man. However you analyze this, you can’t erase all that this guy’s done. You can’t do that. Nobody can do that. I think when you come out of such a tragic situation, certainly involving children and the magnitude of this in our country from a media standpoint, I anticipated really what happened. I anticipated that they would do this. You’re not going to sit back there and say, ‘Well, just things happen.’ You’re not going to do that. They’re going to be firing, and people, they’re going to make statements and they’re going to point fingers, and that’s what I anticipated a little bit. But he was a great man, a good man. I’m sure he would, maybe if he "could" do it over again he would have followed up a few things. But don’t take away all this guy did, and to sit there and blame him for all this, I think is wrong.”
~ Missouri coach Gary Pinkel speaks out passionately about JoePa.
5. “It’s easier to win the national championship than the SEC. Ask Nick Saban.”
~ South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier takes a small shot at Saban, who despite winning the national title, couldn't bring home the SEC Championship.
6. "He was like a rock star. People were throwing babies at him."
~ Vanderbilt coach James Franklin walked into Media Days last year with Alabama coach Nick Saban. This year Franklin was able to enter without any fanfare...or launched babies.
7. "No one program, no one person, no matter how popular, no matter how successful, can be allowed to derail the soul of an institution. We must maintain an honest and open dialogue across all levels of university administration. There must be an effective system of checks and balances within the administrative structure to protect all who come in contact with it, especially those who cannot protect themselves."
~ SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, talking about the Penn State situation and how to avoid something similar in the SEC.
8. "I'm selling our basketball program. I would be crazy to try to fight that. We want to hitch our wagon to our basketball program."
~ Joker Phillips, head coach at Kentucky, tells reporters that John Calipari often meets with football recruits as well, and the basketball program is a huge recruiting tool even across sports.
9. "My realistic expectations are to win. "I've said that from day one. Everybody talks to me and acts like I didn't know what I was getting into when I got the job. We had already entered into an agreement with the SEC when I got the job."
~ Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin expects the Aggies to compete right away despite the conference change of scenery.
10. "You think I make the schedule? If I made the schedule, Georgia would be playing LSU and we'd be playing Ole Miss."
~ Okay, Spurrier had to get two on this list. The Gamecock coach was expressing the difficulty of facing teams in the SEC West.
SEC Media Days continue all week, so there's sure to be a lot more fun ahead.