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Saban’s “Tent Revivial” In Tennessee Goes Off Without A Hitch

saban-tentIn the end, there was no need for added security when Alabama coach Nick Saban visited Athens, Tennessee for a speaking engagement last night.  More seats, more water and more Gatorade, on the other hand, would have been handy.

After about a hundred complaints from Volunteer fans, the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce’s benefit dinner was so packed that the line of fans stretched more than a city block a full hour before Saban grabbed the mic under large tent.

Fans from Alabama, Georgia and, of course, Tennessee were in attendance and a smattering of Vol supporters — in the words of The Knoxville News Sentinel’s Evan Woodberry — “mingled comfortably with the hordes in crimson.”  According to Andrew Gribble of The Birmingham News, 900 of the 1,500 tickets sold were snapped up by out-of-state residents with one group traveling all the way from Michigan to hear Saban speak.

Among the coach’s comments on the night:


*  “I don’t really know that much about Butch (Jones), but I have a lot of respect for him.  He’s had success everywhere he’s been.  I’ve got a lot of respect for the University of Tennessee.”

*  “I’m not going to talk a lot about football.  I’m going to talk about how you win.  There’s no way you can be a good leader if you’re not willing to serve other people.”

*  “Mediocre people don’t like high-achievers and high-achievers don’t like mediocre people.  I know I’m old fashioned, but I believe it, it works for me, and that’s why I have success.”

*  “We’ve been up here several times and we do some things for people.  This is not about Tennessee.  This is not about Alabama.  It’s about what we do for people.  We try to support charities and we’re here to support the chamber today.”

*  “This is a lot like the town I grew up in, filled with a lot of people with down-to-earth values.  A lot of great people just like you in that town kept me on the straight and narrow.  And you’re doing that for somebody right now, even if you don’t know it.”


The Chattanooga Times Free Press also filed a report on Saban’s speech.  Fifteen-hundred people, busloads from far off states, and multiple newspapers and television stations covering the event.  That’s a pretty good tent revival by anybody’s definition.

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SEC Headlines 4/2/13

headlines-tue1. Alabama right guard Anthony Steen is trying to develop into a leader for the Crimson Tide.

2. Alabama returned to practice Monday following spring break. It wasn’t a great practice.

3. Andrew Gribble and Don Kausler discuss Alabama’s return to practice following spring break.

4. Auburn’s LaDarius Owens is feeling more comfortable now that he’s playing linebacker again.

5. Justin Garrett is more comfortable, too. He’s playing the “Star” position for Auburn.

6. Those comments about Nick Saban? Arkansas coach Bret Bielema says they were only a joke.

7. Columnist Kevin Scarbinsky reminds Bielema he’s not in the Big Ten anymore.

8. Florida has plenty of competition at running back as the Gators try to replace Mike Gillislee.

9. Florida’s basketball team is losing key contributors but returning guard Scottie Wilbekin believes the Gators will be deep.

10. One key player in that depth could be center Patric Young, who hasn’t decided if he will return for his senior year.

11. The return of linebacker D.T. Shackelford has provided a big boost for the Ole Miss defense.

12. Here some notes following Ole Miss’ Monday night practice.

13. Mississippi State finalized its 2014 non-conference schedule by adding Tennessee-Martin.

14. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel will throw out the first pitch at Sunday’s Texas Rangers game.

15. Chris Conley’s presence should help Georgia replace some departing wide receivers.

16. Center Willie Cauley-Stein will return to Kentucky. ESPN’s Chad Ford believes forward Alex Poythress should return, too.

17. Tennessee’s maturity will be tested as it returns to football practice following spring practice.


18. The Pac-12′s head of officials has been investigated for comments he made about Arizona coach Sean Miller.

19. That head of official, Ed Rush, must be fired, writes Gary Parrish.

20. Southern California has hired coach Andy Enfield away from Florida Gulf Coast.

21. Former Georgia, Kentucky and Minnesota coach Tubby Smith has been hired at Texas Tech.

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Conflicting Stories On UT’s “Offer” To Bama’s Hart

And let the spinning begin.

Radio reports from Tennessee and Alabama claimed early this afternoon that the UT athletic director’s post had been offered to Dave Hart, the Crimson Tide’s executive director of athletics.

The Associated Press has since confirmed those reports
through “a person familiar with the situation.”

Ah, but The Knoxville News Sentinel has heard a different story.  Andrew Gribble writes that UT officials have talked with Hart, “but they have yet to offer him the job of vice chancellor of athletics,” according to “a source with the direct knowledge of the search.”

Before offering its job to LSU’s Joe Alleva — who eventually spurned the Vols for a bigger cash package in Baton Rouge — it was reported that Tennessee had offered or was prepared to offer Georgia Tech AD Dan Radakovich it’s AD gig.

When Radakovich and Tech were surprisingly slapped around by the NCAA, the news leaked of UT’s efforts to hire him and the Volunteer administration was left with a bit of egg on the ol’ face.

However, a high-ranking UT source has told that Tennessee’s chancellor never spoke with or met with Radakovich.  Their point: UT might have liked the Tech AD, but reports of an offer were blown far out of proportion.

With that as background, it’s likely that some people at Tennessee are now trying to put the brakes on talk that the school has already offered its job to Hart… just in case Hart turns UT down.

While we still believe Hart would be an outstanding hire for Tennessee, it seems like a bit of a longshot that the Alabama grad would leave his alma mater when 71-year-old Mal Moore could step down at any time.

The fact that he’s mulling over the situation seems to suggest that he’s angling for a raise in Tuscaloosa or a definitive retirement date from Moore.

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Monday Afternoon One-Liners

Here are some headlines for your Monday afternoon.

1. Good news for Ole Miss: quarterback commit Maikhail Miller is sticking with the Rebels.

2. Mississippi State is dealing with coaching changes and their effect on recruiting.

3. Seth Emerson catches you up on where things stand in recruiting for Georgia.

4. One prospect says he knows where Ray Drew will go to school.

5. Here’s an update on Marlin Lane, a former Clemson running back commit.

6. Andrew Gribble writes about the importance of Derek Dooley’s second signing class at Tennessee.

7. Alabama commit Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix gave a “LOL” to rumors he was visiting Southern Cal last weekend.

8. ranks SEC prospect Jacoby Brissett as the top uncommitted quarterback.

9. 2012 prospect Latroy Pittman is already anxious to play for Florida.

10. Doug Segrest takes a look at which teams might finish strong in recruiting.

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