Twenty questions for SEC Media Days

Published: Saturday, July 17, 2010 at 11:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, July 17, 2010 at 11:26 p.m.

OK, it’s game week.

Not for you. You get a few more weeks to work on the tan and see how many different ways you can make margaritas. But for your faithful scribes, it’s here. SEC Media Days begin Wednesday in Hoover, Ala., and we’re ready with our piercing questions. Here are 20 questions that are on my mind as we prepare for the first journey of the 2010 season.

1. Does Les Miles wear a watch?

I mean, maybe that explains his inability to manage the clock late in games. It’s just a theory. I’m going to check this week.

2. How many times will Nick Saban use air quotes?

Somewhere in his past, Saban clearly took a seminar or had a life coach who suggested he use his hands when making a point while he spoke to a large crowd. I say this because it never looks natural. The over/under on Saban and air quote gestures is seven. And at least one of them will be odd. “We feel this year our (airquote) 2010 schedule (airquote) will be one of the toughest we’ve ever played.”

3. Who is Robbie Caldwell and why is he here?

He’s the newest Vanderbilt coach if only for a few months after Bobby Johnson carefully planned his exit so the Commodore brass would have no choice but to insert Caldwell and label him with the interim title. Should be an interesting presser.

4. Will Kentucky’s Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb set up the ballroom and break it down when we’re done?

Hey, the two Wildcats do just about everything else. Cobb was All-SEC first team as its all-purpose player. Locke was second team. Hey, guys, we’ve got a dead microphone in the radio room. Can you get on that?

5. Will anyone other than Georgia beat writers talk to Shaun Chapas?

I can’t remember the last time two fullbacks were brought to Media Days. Patrick DiMarco is the other and at least he has a name that will get him some questions. But I can’t see Chapas, who is an excellent player, getting grilled. “So, Shaun, what’s it like to block a linebacker?”

6. Will Steve Spurrier vote for Jevan Snead again?

It was the story for three days until the ball coach stepped up and sheepishly admitted he was the villain who failed to vote for Tim Tebow but that he really didn’t vote. I talked to Spurrier the other day and he said, “Gonna try to get Jevan Snead back on the ballot.” Hilarious. Spurrier said he made too big a deal out of it last year and added, “Yesterday’s crisis is tomorrow’s joke. You know who said that? Thomas Jefferson.” Jefferson also said, “Speeches that are measured by the hour will die with the hour.” Which brings me to my next question.

7. Which coach will have the longest opening statement in the print room?

A year ago, it was Lane Kiffin, who was apparently preparing for his appearance in front of the NCAA Infractions Committee. Kiffin’s out of the league to the relief of SEC commissioner Mike Slive, and the best bet for the longest opener now is Saban, who needed 1,056 words last year. The all-time record belongs to Mississippi State’s former coach Jackie Sherrill, who would go position-by-position including backups before the first question was asked.

8. Which coach will spend the most time on Radio Row?

In the hallway between the hotel and the Galleria Mall there will be dozens of radio stations lined up broadcasting their talk shows. Tommy Tuberville used to be the guy they could all count on, but he’s gone. Best guess to be the darling of Radio Row? Houston Nutt.

9. Which coach will make us laugh the most?

Rich Brooks used to be the guy. He was always at his self-deprecating best. Spurrier appears to be the best bet although some of the laughs he gets are not intentional.

10. Speaking of Spurrier, how hard will he be on quarterback Stephen Garcia?

That will be interesting. He was critical of his quarterback in the spring, and it didn’t stop once the spring game was completed. Might he take the approach of trying to build Garcia’s confidence with some kind words in Hoover?

11. How many times will Urban Meyer ask himself a question?

It’s just the way he talks in these kinds of settings. “Do I like Mike Pouncey? No, I love Mike Pouncey.” Or, “Is my fly down? No, it isn’t.” Over/under is three.

12. So we’re doing over/unders? What’s the over/under on alleged journalists wearing credentials over their fan gear?

The SEC likes to flex its muscles by credentialing everyone with a blog or a website to get the numbers up. Seriously, start one tonight ( isn’t taken), and you can be rubbing elbows with real sportswriters. Quite a thrill, eh? There will be at least a half-dozen fans wearing Alabama hats or Arkansas shirts walking around with credentials and asking questions like, “Do you ever feel sorry for the other team?”

13. How many coaches will say this was the best summer their teams have ever had?

That would be 12.

14. How many times will Derek Dooley be asked about Lane Kiffin?

Not too many. He’s old news.

15. Will Ahmad Black be a dud or a stud with the media?

At the Sugar Bowl interviews Black looked like he wanted to be somewhere else and gave a lot of one-word answers. I was surprised to see Florida bringing him. I’m sure UF will coach him up.

16. Is Ryan Mallett really 6-foot-7?

Never been in a room with him, and I know that most players get an inch added to their heights in the media guides. I’ll let you know.

17. How many coaches will treat their players to steaks?

This is a tradition Urban Meyer started when he came to UF, taking the players to steak dinners after their time with the media. Last year, Houston Nutt took his players to the same steak joint near the Wynfrey Hotel. Is this going to be a trend?

18. How many Golden Flakes chips will be eaten by the media on the first day?

More than on the second or third day.

19. How many questions will Mark Richt get about Damon Evans vs. questions he will get about being on the hot seat?

The bigger question — will the words “red panties” make their way into the transcript?

20. Will Joker Phillips be playing to an empty room?

Kentucky is the last team up on Wednesday afternoon. Alabama will go first. Florida will go third. If it’s not enough that most of the hacks will have the stories their readers want, Kentucky is up from 5 to 6 p.m. and there is a reception downstairs that annually runs out of everything that starts at 5:30. Yes, Joker, those are crickets chirping.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at You can listen to The Pat Dooley Show weekdays from 4-6 p.m. on 104.9 FM. And follow at

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