SEC Media Days: Coaches discuss expectations for coming season

Sean Landry

HOOVER – The first day of SEC Media Days was led by defending SEC Champion Auburn, with much of the talk concerning consecutive titles.

“Last year we weren’t on anybody’s radar,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “We snuck up on a lot of people. This year we know we’re going to be circled. We talked about that with our players. But at the same time I feel like that’s good pressure. We’ve got our program back to where it should be, where people, you know, have us circled.”? 

Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall was scheduled to meet with the media at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Hoover but was replaced by senior tight end C.J Uzomah after Marshall was cited for possession of marijuana last week. 

“It is a privilege and a reward to represent Auburn here at the SEC Media Days,” Malzahn said. “Last Friday Nick lost that privilege. We have high expectations for our players, but specifically our quarterback, being the face of our program.” 

Malzahn also spoke about the death of former tight end Phillip Lutzenkirchen, who died after an early-morning car accident June 29. 

“I think anytime you hear something like that, you’re in shock,” Malzahn said. “Obviously an extremely tough situation. Just feel for the family. The impact he made, he was just a phenomenal person, like I said before. It was extremely tough.”

Other notes from day one:

  • New Vanderbilt Head Coach Derek Mason spoke to the media Monday afternoon and said he was excited for his opportunity at Vanderbilt.
    • “I’m a fresh new face, only new head coach on the block,” Mason said. “Great thing is I’m undefeated, so I’m feeling real good about where we’re at. As I look at my path, it’s been a fun one. The opportunity to be out at Stanford with David Shaw, it was outstanding. But now with this opportunity, it’s a great one.”?
  • Mason did not shy away from the stiff competition he will face, despite Vanderbilt’s 4th place finish in the SEC East last season. 
    • “Our team is a team of probably no-name young men who have a chance to do something great,” Mason said. “It’s talented across the board. I think our opportunity to compete for an SEC East title is now”
  • Many SEC coaches and players praised Alabama on Monday. Malzahn particularly commended Alabama’s defense when asked.
    • “Well I think the big thing that stands out, they do a great job. You usually have to earn what you get,” Malzahn said. “They make you earn it. They’ve got very good players at each position.”?
  • Florida coach Will Muschamp addressed rumors about his job security during his opening statement. The Gators finished 4-8 last season.
    • “There will be a lot of chatter about hot seat business,” Muschamp said. “That’s part of it. The way you combat that is having a winning football team and winning football games, which is what we’re going to do. I’ve got a lot of confidence in this team and staff.”