A pair of second-year head coaches — a master and his former disciple. Day 3 of SEC Media Days on Wednesday featured a few interesting storylines and headlined with league-titan Alabama.
Disappointing expectations, offensive schemes and workplace environments, here’s what Wednesday’s teams had to say:
When you work under Nick Saban, the demands are high — excellence, and nothing short of it. It can cause noticeable friction on the sidelines between him and his assistants, and it prompted one reporter today to ask Saban something frank: Are you difficult to work for?
“You know, they may say that, but then when they get a job and they go do it, they do it exactly like we did it,” Saban said, referring to his former assistants who take jobs elsewhere but take the Alabama coaching style with them.
He isn’t wrong. A prime example is Kirby Smart at Georgia, who has built his program on the same model as Alabama, almost to a T.
In a league known for deliberate, methodical football, second-year Razorbacks coach Chad Morris is still sitting on the opposite side of the spectrum.
“Offensively, our philosophy has not changed,” Morris said. “We want to be a fast-paced, hurry-up, no-huddle football team.”
Behind that offensive philosophy in his first season, Arkansas posted a lackluster 2-10 record. But Morris thinks the Razorbacks have taken “tremendous strides” after bringing in specific recruits and graduate transfers who are more tailored to his upbeat offensive system.
In his first season at Mississippi State in 2018, Joe Moorhead expected to take the SEC by storm. His expectations were high, and that set the stage for a lot of disappointment.
“The approach of coming off the plane guns blazing, talking about ring sizes and Heisman Trophies,” Moorhead said. “I think what I may have done is elevated the expectation level to a point where nothing that we did short of a championship was going to make people happy.”
After dominating at Fordham as a head coach for several years, Moorhead thought he could carry over the same excitement, optimism - and results - to the SEC. In Year 2 though, he has a better idea of what exactly to expect from the league.
Nick Saban is an astounding 16-0 against his former assistant coaches. One of the people who has been on the losing end of that stick is South Carolina coach Will Muschamp, who will get another shot at the Crimson Tide this season.
“You got to go beat Alabama,” Muschamp said on the matchup. “You can't hope and wish something’s going to happen.”
And even after an offseason hip replacement for Saban, Muschamp is extremely bullish on the Tide’s head coach and his future.
“He wasn’t on the disabled list very long,” Muschamp said. “They continue to be successful. I wouldn't put a timetable on him on anything.”
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