Alabama Fans Fill Lobby of SEC Media Days


SEC MEDIA DAYS: It's still quarterback or bust for Florida.

After the 2012 season, Alabama's weight room was done up with Texas A&M logos, to remind everyone of that loss to Johnny Manziel's Aggies.

It was Alabama day and they wanted to be in the presence of Nick Saban, the closest thing to college football royalty.

"We really try to do it the same way whether you win or lose", Saban said, "but I think when you lose, the mindset is much more of, 'I'm willing to change".

That said, Tagovailoa figures to get early playing time, if only to be ready in case of injury because Alabama has no experience at quarterback behind Hurts.

Hurts, the SEC offensive player of the year, gives Alabama its first returning starting quarterback since 2013. "They're right now at the top", said Florida's Jim McElwain, whose team has lost to Alabama by an average of 26 points in the past two SEC title games. "I had the opportunity to talk with them about things that we can do to enhance players safety". Coach Saban was the rock star of the road show, explaining how he hoped his program would improve after losing to Clemson in last year's national championship game.

Saban said the disappointment should have fueled everyone. "'I want to learn".

"I think there's a lot of parity in our league", Saban said Wednesday. Saban reemphasized that defense was "probably one of the best that we've ever had". "So it's going to be a real challenge for us to maintain the standard that we've been able to maintain in terms of - especially on defense, especially in the front seven - for all the good players that we lost". It's what led up to the last play.

On motivating players- "I ask our players to invest in themselves".

The Crimson Tide has won 17 straight SEC regular-season games and the past three conference championship games.

"If Alabama plays to its potential like they have, then they're unbeatable", he says.

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"LSU is very, very good", he said. And we learn about ourselves as we go through the years. "Mississippi State has a good quarterback coming back".

Arkansas got the Golden Boot and the headline in this paper the next day, "Jones to Birmingham to Atlanta", won numerous awards. I think it's very challenging from a consistency standpoint in our league. "Which I understand and respect that's your job, but it's not going to happen". I am trying to think of somebody in our league that I don't have a tremendous amount of respect for.

Beisel had 14 tackles against the Gamecocks a year ago. "That (kind of stuff can) motivate a team a lot".

Missouri has Purdue coming from the Big Ten Conference the 16th and its rival Auburn will invade Faurot Field the 23rd.

This is not good for the rest of the SEC, which keeps waiting for Alabama's "down" year.

Frederick Lee was the only one here suggesting Saban should consider a second career once his coaching days are over. He said he supports the initiative but he may need some extra help from assistant coaches to hold him back from committing some of those penalties.

Bo Scarbrough and Shaun Dion Hamilton were both severely limited throughout spring practice while recovering from offseason surgeries. Four months later in the same stadium, Saban could be hoisting another national championship trophy.

He caught up with Rick Karle to share a song he wrote for Alabama's first game of the season against Florida State. That matchup will likely be a top three meeting in the polls. "And I think the biggest thing is recruiting and development". Mason has not had to hear that type question for long but Mullin certainly has for eight years.

After taking questions from the media and graciously thanking the crowd, Saban moved out and Bradley Bozeman, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Calvin Ridley moved in to do their own question and answer sessions.

I loved LSU. I loved Louisiana, I loved the people in Louisiana. The ACC is arguably the best conference when it comes to head coaches as well.

Judging from remarks by Saban and the players he brought with him to SEC Media Days, it's not going to be a contentious run-up to the September 2 game (ABC, 8 p.m.) that might well match the Nos. The two losses have both been against Ole Miss.