SEC Notebook: Rebels eye Gamecocks
Published: Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 5:15 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 5:15 p.m.
HOOVER, Ala. — South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier drew one of the biggest laughs at media day when he said if he made the schedule that Georgia would be playing LSU and the Gamecocks would be playing Ole Miss.
He was taking a shot at the Bulldogs' perceived soft schedule. But he apparently also offended Ole Miss in the process.
New Rebels coach Hugh Freeze fired back Thursday at Spurrier.
“I heard he said something to that regard,” Freeze said. “I guess my thought would be 2013, they're on our schedule. We will circle that date and maybe change his perspective about what he thinks about Ole Miss football.”
Richt almost a Tiger
The same year that Mark Richt was hired at Georgia, he interviewed for the head coaching job at Missouri, but did not get the job.
“I think Missouri found their man in Coach (Gary) Pinkel,” Richt said. “It wasn't a decision that I turned down Missouri. It was a decision that Missouri, I believe Coach Pinkel was the best man for the job. Obviously, they were correct.”
Richt and the 'Dogs will face Missouri on the road in the second game of the season.
“It will be an exciting ballgame for sure,” Richt said. “The first Southeastern Conference game in the history of their school. Certainly is generating a lot of excitement for them.
“But they played in a great league. They're a great football team. I've watched their team. I know Coach Pinkel's ability to motivate and teach. His staff is outstanding. It's going to be a battle. It's going to mean a whole lot to their season, but it's going to mean a whole lot to our season, as well.”
One versatile lineman
Alabama's Barrett Jones was a standout offensive guard in 2010, then moved to offensive tackle last season and won the Outland Trophy and was named an All-American. Now, he's giving center a shot in his senior season.
“It's just a matter of getting used to the snaps,” he said.
Alabama coach Nick Saban said Jones is a unique football player.
“It tells you what kind of special person, competitor, athlete that Barrett Jones is,” Saban said. “I was asked earlier today if I have ever seen anybody else that could do this sort of thing so effortlessly and consistently.
“Probably the only offensive lineman that I've ever been associated with (that could do it) was Bruce Matthews at the Houston Oilers. He could play center, guard, tackle, was a long snapper. He's the only other guy that I ever remember.
“That's high class there to be compared to someone like him.”
Tough opener for Tide
Saban said there are a lot of benefits opening the season against Michigan in Arlington, Texas, on Sept. 1.
“Playing a great opponent like Michigan the first game of the season really enhances your players' work ethic and preparation in the offseason because they know they're going to play a top-notch team right off the bat,” he said. “That's kind of been the reasoning behind it.”
Tide back good to go
Saban said Eddie Lacy, who has a chance to be Alabama's next great tailback, has fully recovered from foot surgery.
“Eddie Lacy has done extremely well over the summer,” Saban said. “I think all of our injured players are doing well and would be cleared for practice if we started practice today.”
Saban on the playoff
Alabama won the national title last season even though it did not win the SEC title. Saban on Thursday defended the new four-team playoff that will feature the best four teams in the nation, regardless of whether they've won a conference title or not.
“I think, to be quite honest with you, whoever's making the statements about conference champions is really making a statement against the SEC and against any league who has more than one good team who could qualify.”
Learning from Peyton
Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray wants to be more like Peyton Manning after spending some time learning from the former Vol great at the Manning Quarterback Camp this summer.
“Just trying to make every throw the same,” Bray said. “It's not always going to be the same, but if you do a five-step set up and throw, try to make it look the same every time. Repetition.
“If you watch Peyton, he's very fundamental. He's going to throw the same way every time. I just try to be like that.”
UT coach Derek Dooley said Vol fans will see a much more mature QB this season.
“You have to live as the quarterback at Tennessee,” Dooley said. “If your lifestyle is not reflecting that, then it's going to be hard to go out and perform your best.
“I've seen a real change in (Bray's) maturity level. I'm hoping he continues on that path and I'm hoping it will net him some big results this fall.”
Hugh high on Oxford
Freeze, who is a Mississippi native, said the town of Oxford can be a great recruiting tool for the Rebels.
“People like Eli Manning and Michael Oher, guys like that are great ambassadors for not only Ole Miss and in the NFL, but they choose to live in Oxford,” Freeze said. “I’m sure Eli could live anywhere he wanted to.
“I also saw where Newsweek ranked Oxford as the number one college town in America. Sports Illustrated said we were the number one tailgate in the nation.
“The future, if we can get it to where the past has been, it’s one of the greatest places in the world. You ask Eli and those guys why they come back. Those are facts. If you want to tweet that out, that would be great.”
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