SEC Media Days: Day 3 recap


South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier walks from one interview room to another on Friday morning at SEC Media Days.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, July 24, 2009 at 10:28 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, July 24, 2009 at 1:12 p.m.
The big news of the day is Steve Spurrier's confession that his was the All-SEC ballot that left Tim Tebow off.

You can read the whole story by clicking here.

9:45 a.m. ET

New Auburn coach Gene Chizik, a former walk-on linebacker for the Gators in the early 1980s, is first to talk in the big room on Friday morning. "Coach (Charley) Pell was a our coach," he said. "Tough guy, ran a great program. Certainly it had an impact on me (to be a head coach)."

Chizik is talking about how he had to "re-recruit" his players before he got going with the job of taking over the Auburn Tiger program. But he did reminisce, "The last time I was at Auburn, I had the honor of being a part of an undefeated program."

Speaking of Tebow-gate, Chizik said, ""Tim Tebow is a great quarterback and yes, I did vote for Tim Tebow." He doesn't think this should be such a big deal and doesn't think coaches should have to disclose who they voted for.

Chizik talks about his Tigers' offense this season. He's trying to dodge the question of whether he has the players he needs to run his offense. He said he's going to have to adapt his offense to his players and some of the skill isn't all there, but if the coaches can tweak the offense to meet the skills they have, then he'll be satisfied. Recruiting will help, he said. So far his class this year has been pretty decent.

10:54 a.m. ET

Spurrier starts off his presser with a trademark, "Oooookay." He notes that he's been going strong in the SEC for 17 years as a head coach, and he hopes to be back next season as well.

Regarding Tebow-gate, Spurrier says, "We screwed it up pretty badly. I'm embarrassed about it. ... I didn't sleep worth a dang last night thinking about it." He apologized and said he's very embarrassed and takes full responsibility. Spurrier said he will "throughly" look at the ballots next time, but probably won't be filling out the entire form. "I haven't filled that out in 17 years," he said.

Speaking of Tebow, he said the Gator senior would be a great NFL quarterback if his team decides to run an offense like the one Tebow runs at Florida: "If they open it up and decide to let him run and throw, then there's nobody better than Tim Tebow."

As for his own Gamecock program, Spurrier notes that his 28 wins are the most in a four-year period for USC. He says his assistant coaches could recruit just as well without him. They handle Twitter and Facebook. He said Stephen Garcia is the starting quarterback and he will take the bulk of the snaps this fall if he can stay healthy.

And finally, Spurrier revealed that "I pull for Florida when they're not playing us." He says he rooted for Florida in the SEC Championship game and the BCS title game, and said, "Urban Meyer has been the best coach in the country in the last couple years." No big surprises here.

11:50 a.m. ET

LSU coach Les Miles takes the podium. He says he voted for Tim Tebow. He said he doesn't fill out his preseason ballot by himself. His assistants help him out. "I think the school should do it and do it right," he said. "I think you have to have a staffer or assistant head coach (to assist you with your ballot). I think it just makes sense."

Miles talked about the difficulty the officials will have this fall because of the new helmet-to-helmet rule. He said it's going to be tough because there are so many plays that could now be called a penalty and he's not sure how that will all play out.

Likely starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson is bigger and stronger, Miles said. Jefferson was a little too anxious last fall. Said Miles: "He's had a great summer. He's bigger and stronger and he's run our 7-on-7 this summer real well."

12:54 a.m. ET

New Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin is the final head coach. He will wrap up SEC Media Days, and there is great anticipation in the media room because Kiffin tends to let his thoughts fly unfiltered.

"I surprised you guys stuck around," he started. "I thought Coach Spurrier gave you what you wanted. Told you who he voted for and everybody would leave." Kiffin said he was prepared to have his ballot read aloud. "Quarterback ... right there, what's that say? Tim Tebow.

"Oh and by the way, too, I voted for 11 Florida Gators on first team in case somebody is wondering. So we can get rid of that."

You have to appreciate the rookie SEC coach's showmanship. Now let the backtracking begin! Kiffin appears to be attempting to justify some of his past actions and quotes, the things he did to really rock the boat upon immediately entering the league.

"Unfortunately in Tennessee, as much as we love our state, we don't have a lot of great high school players there," he says. "We had to create national attention immediately. ... We'd love to wait until the season to win games because when you win games, that's how you get recruits. That's the easiest way, because they want to come to winners.

"Well we didn't have time to wait for that, so we had to put Tennessee in the national media. Do I love every single thing that I've done for my seven months? No I haven't loved having to do it. But it needed to be done in my opinion."

Next on Kiffin's list of mea culpas secondary violations. He said five of his nine coaches have come from the NFL, so it might have been a little hard adjusting to the new rules of college recruiting.

Lane is a fast talker. Maybe he's nervous or maybe he's just energetic.

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