Heard in SEC Halls: Day 4


Alabama head coach Nick Saban does a radio interview as the crush of fans and media gather in the hotel lobby to catch a glimpse of him in Hoover, Ala., on Thursday.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 2:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 2:44 p.m.

HOOVER, Ala. — The week has been bookended as far as the lobby of the Hyatt Regency goes. On the first day, with Auburn here, it was a huge crowd at the base of the escalators waiting for coaches and players. The next two days, not so much. On Thursday, with Alabama the third team on the docket, Tide fans began lining up behind the ropes early in the morning and waited for their first glimpses in the afternoon of Nick Saban. Up on the second floor, the media was startled a few times by very loud “Roollll Tide!” cheers.

* There was one Auburn fan in the middle of the sea of red wearing a T-shirt that was pretty funny. It read, “Need A Second, Bama? Be Careful What You Wish For.” It was referring to Alabama getting a second put back on the clock for the Kick-Six that cost the Tide the Auburn game.

* Radio Row was packed as usual and some radio stations were turned down in their efforts to land a phone line. But it's not like the old days when coaches would make their way down the line and do a dozen shows. It's very rare when a coach does an interview because he knows he's going to be grabbed by every station on the Row. Mostly, the interviewees are national and beat writers who might be walking by on their way to dinner.

*But one who did stop to do an interview was Saban. He sat down for the Paul Finebaum Show, which was set up at the base of the escalators on the first floor. Because of the crush of Alabama fans, photographers and TV camera operators couldn't just set up and shoot Saban. So they literally rode the escalators down, shot him, then back up again, then back down. It was pretty comical.

* It was bow tie week at Media Days with many players sporting colorful ones. That included Georgia running back Todd Gurley, who wore a sweet one with several colors. Only one coach went with the bow tie — Vanderbilt's Derek Mason. He needed some help with his black one because it was cockeyed throughout his presentation.

* The mystery has been solved. Each year in one corner of the open area between ballrooms, there is a leather helmet mounted on a trophy base. The helmet goes to the winner of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. But this year, there are two games. Ole Miss and Boise State play Aug. 28 and Alabama and West Virginia play two days later, with both games in the Georgia Dome. Inquiring minds wanted to know — if there are two games, are there two helmets? We were assured there are and that the winning team of each game will receive a helmet. By the way, Alabama will be going for its fourth leather helmet in eight years.

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