July 19th, 2013 10:37 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Aaron Murray, Eddie Haskell, SEC, Urban Meyer
To wrap up the three-day event with a nice big bow, we at MrSEC.com thought we’d share 10 observations and opinions with you this morning. Just a few honest takeaways from SEC Media Days. Right or wrong.
In no particular order, here goes…
* If I were a coach heading into the 2013 season I’d feel more comfortable with AJ McCarron or Aaron Murray running my offense than I would Johnny Manziel.
How can I say that about the electric Heisman-winner? Easy. He’s the guy I trust least to make it from August to January without some sort of off-the-field distraction popping up. Not saying he’s not the most naturally gifted of the three quarterbacks. Not saying he wasn’t the most exciting player last year. But McCarron and Murray appear to be solid leaders who are focused on football. Given a choice, I’d take — arguably — the most talented quarterback third.
* McCarron was the big winner with the media in Birmingham, but the TV character Eddie Haskell kept coming to mind.
Hands down, Alabama’s quarterback “won the day” at SEC Media Days on Thursday. He said exactly what most of us in the media said Manziel should have said the previous day. Instead of falling back on his age as an excuse for poor decision-making — as Manziel did — McCarron stated that being 22 was no excuse to “act a fool.” He spoke of his impoverished background. He wouldn’t snitch on Manziel, but he did make it clear that he’s a totally different type of guy. He pushed every button the media wanted pushed.
But I still kept having visions of Eddie Haskell from “Leave it to Beaver” come to mind. Is a guy with this tattoo and this girlfriend really the wide-eyed innocent he purported himself to be? Perhaps. When photographed with Miss Alabama Katherine Webb he does give off a “How did I pull this off?” vibe. Still, McCarron tweeted a not so subtle shot at Manziel on Wednesday night. He was hanging out with A&M’s QB last Friday and this spring the two announced they wanted to vacation together in Key West or Cancun.
I don’t think he’s the 180 degree, polar opposite of Manziel.
* Manziel makes Kevin Sumlin look weak.
To me, the actions of Manziel give the appearance that he’s his own boss. Asked if he’d told Manziel to lay off Twitter, Sumlin grinned and said that maybe their “discussions” had produced a response from Manziel. It was clear to most everyone who saw it that Sumlin felt he had put the kibosh on Manziel’s habit of tweeting. When asked about his disappearance from Twitter, Manziel simply said “maybe he didn’t have anything interesting to say.” There’s a pretty good gap between those reactions.
McCarron said all the right things yesterday. He consistently mentioned Nick Saban as his mentor. He was like a perfectly-trained robot fresh off Saban’s assembly line. By comparison, one gets the feeling that Sumlin hasn’t — or can’t — completely reel in Manziel.
The Aggie quarterback even commented that he didn’t think his conversation with Sumlin regarding the Manning Passing Academy would leak. Was that a suggestion that his coach leaked the talk… or that someone else spoke to the press about it? And speaking of the Manning Camp, Sumlin stated that he learned of Manziel’s departure from the event by representatives of the camp, not from his own quarterback.
Sumlin’s clearly a tremendous coach and recruiter. But everytime Manziel says or does something silly, it reflects back on A&M’s head coach.
* Steve Spurrier has always loved to needle folks and his latest target is SEC commissioner Mike Slive.
For the second year in a row, Carolina’s head coach showed up at Media Days with his own “state of the union” speech. For the second year in a row he made it clear — in a friendly way — that he and the league’s commissioner don’t see eye to eye on some of the biggest topics facing the league today.
The commissioner speaks of the NCAA finding a way to give athletes larger scholarships. Spurrier reveals that every coach in the league voted to just pay the players themselves, if allowed. Slive said there’s a review of the league’s scheduling process already underway. Spurrier states quite loudly that the current set-up isn’t fair.
Whatever the commish seems to say these days, Spurrier either rebuts it or he exaggerates it. At 68, Spurrier is obviously still the league’s biggest rebel. You get the feeling he’s pretty much the same guy now that he must have been as a teenager in the 50s and 60s. Perhaps he should try to buy Gene Chizik’s leather jacket.
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