A clown vote, bro
When the media’s Preseason All-SEC Teams were announced, it was revealed that 20 unnamed reporters did something noteworthy.
They didn’t vote for South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney on the first-team defense.
Yes, 20 reporters felt Jadeveon Clowney wasn’t one of the four best defensive linemen in the Southeastern Conference. Let that sink in.
Clowney was second in the league with 13 sacks last season and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down this year. Projections have him as the top pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
One can only assume those reporters were looking to make some sort of statement because it’s hard to believe someone who knows anything about college football doesn’t think Clowney is a the top defensive player in the country, let alone the conference.
With a lot of talent leaving early for the NFL draft, LSU doesn’t seem to be garnering the same respect the Tigers have received year in and year out.
This was evident as the Tigers (7 first-place votes) were selected to finish third in the SEC West, behind Alabama (225) and Texas A&M (11). The Tigers only received one first-place vote to win the SEC overall.
Reporters may be sleeping on the Tigers, but Coach Les Miles isn’t.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge, to be honest,” Miles said. “Our culture, bring it on. It’s what we do. We look forward to lining up against the best in east and the best in the west. I like us. I like us in any game.
Standardized SEC drug policy?
Georgia is known for having one of the toughest drug policies in the SEC, suspending players for 10 percent of the season (or one game in football) for the first offense, and 30 percent of the season for a second positive test (four games).
The Bulldogs had a pair of starting defensive players suspended in free safety Bacarri Rambo and inside linebacker Alec Ogletree for the first four games of the 2012 season for reportedly failing drug tests for the second time in their Georgia careers.
When asked at SEC Media Days on Thursday whether he had proposed a league-wide drug policy in an attempt to level the playing field, Georgia coach Mark Richt said the issue was out of his hands.
“Well, I can’t really control that,” he said. “I think that would have to be handled on the presidential level, as far as that’s concerned.
“Would I like that? I would like that. I think that would be a good thing for the league to be in sync in that regard.”
During the week Georgia begins its preparations to take on LSU, one of the members of the Bulldogs’ football office staff will also double as one of the Tigers’ biggest fans. Tammy Mettenberger, the mother of LSU quarterback Zach, works as an administrative assistant for Georgia.
Given her split allegiances, Richt smirked when someone brought up the possibility that Mettenberger might want the LSU week off from work. Richt said he would leave the decision up to her.
“She’s been with us longer than I’ve been at Georgia,” he said. “She’s a mainstay there. If she wants to take a week off prior to that, we might work that out.
“We know her, love her and trust her, but I know she loves her boy. That’s for sure.”
Georgia brings in motivational speakers to address the team “quite often,” according to Richt. From former players to “guys that have had tremendous success” in their respective fields, those who have talked to the Bulldogs run the gamut of life experiences and occupations.
But Richt left no doubt that Georgia alums always seem to have a way of being the speakers who leave lasting impressions with his current crop of Bulldogs.
“I think the ones that are the best for us are the ones that are former Georgia players,” he said. “Either guys talking about experiences in life that hurt them and use those gentlemen as a warning for our guys for certain things that can get them into trouble.”
Nearly every speaker who took the podium at SEC Media Days opened with a brag bag about his team or organization. SEC commissioner Mike Slive even called it a “brag bag.”
Vanderbilt coach James Franklin came armed with facts. Knowing that he would get questions about the four players who were dismissed for an unspecified sex crime, he came ready to set a we-are-Vanderbilt tone.
In case anyone has forgotten, they’re the smart kids in the SEC class --- no matter how much they start winning and having winning-program problems?
“Very proud of the fact that we’re part of what we call the ‘20-20-20 Club’,” Franklin said. “That is us and Notre Dame are the only two schools in the country that finished in the top 20 on the football field, that had a top-20 recruiting class and are in the top 20 academic institutions.”
No huddle, no control?
Alabama coach Nick Saban and Arkansas’ Bret Bielema have stimulated discussion about no-huddle, hurry-up offenses and possible safety risks. Add Franklin to the discussion with an intriguing point about getting lined up --- not players, but referees.
“The only thing I have an issue with is, I want to make sure we’re all playing by the same rules,” Franklin said. “What I notice time and time again, when you’re watching film, is that the officials are not in position to officiate the game.
“You watch time and again, and nobody’s set when the ball is snapped, and they can’t officiate that because the pace of the game they can’t keep up with.”