Georgia Bulldogs up next at SEC Media Days

Georgia coach Kirby Smart will be front and center before SEC media late Wednesday morning at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

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Georgia coach Kirby Smart will be front and center before SEC media late Wednesday morning at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

“Best of the Rest” from Day 2 of SEC Football Media Days on Tuesday:

Dawgs in the house

The Georgia Bulldogs will take the main stage at the College Football Hall of Fame late Wednesday morning. In addition to seventh-year coach Kirby Smart, the Bulldogs will be represented by senior quarterback Stetson Bennett, senior outside linebacker Nolan Smith and sophomore center Sedrick Van Pran.

Smart tried out some of his NIL material in San Antonio on Tuesday when he spoke to coaches at the Texas High School Association. Smart apparently made quite the impression as excerpts of his extended session with that group were shared all across the Internet.

Smart bemoaned NIL’s sudden and significant presence in the recruiting arena.

“It’s unfortunate that it slid the way it did because I was one of the biggest advocates that the name, image and likeness (rule) needed to be in place,” Smart said. “Look, it is not for everybody; everybody’s not gonna make the same amount of money off of it. I can accept that.

“What I can’t accept is some young man getting $10,000 a month for four years or three years of college? That’s $120K a year. What do you think he’s doing with that? Is that actually gonna make him more successful in life? Because, I promise you, if you handed me $10K a month my freshman year of college, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. I believe that.”

Arkansas, Florida and Kentucky will also take their turns on Wednesday.

Retrospective Saban

Nick Saban didn’t address nor was he asked about Texas A&M and his conflict with Jimbo Fisher during his main-media session on Tuesday morning. But he did field a query about it during an exchange TV reporters later in the day.

“First of all, I have no issues or problems with Jimbo,” Saban said when asked if he and Fisher had resolved their disagreement over NIL. “He’s doing a great job for Texas A&M; he did a great job for us. You know, I always take criticisms, or whatever, in a positive way to self-assess, personally. Maybe there’s something I could do better. So any comments anybody makes, I always take into consideration. But there are no issues or problems.”

The former co-workers engaged in a war of words earlier this summer when Saban publicly accused Fisher and the Aggies of inappropriately utilizing NIL money to lure recruits into signing with them. Texas A&M signed the nation’s No. 1 class in 2022.

Mississippi State coach Mike Leach was asked he sided with, Fisher or Saban.

“I think they both kind of illustrate the frustration of how things are right now,” Leach said. “It’s not sustainable, so something’s going to have to change.”

Gibbs strides with Tide

Former Georgia Tech star Jahmyr Gibbs has made a good first impression on his new teammates at Alabama.

“Um, he’s very fast,” Alabama All-American outside linebacker Will Anderson said with a wide grin. “He’s a great running back. But the scariest thing about him, I think, is his ability to catch passes out of the backfield. To be running with him as a linebacker on wheel routes or slants or any routes like that, I’m not going to lie, he got away from me a couple of times. It’s going to be very scary to watch him. He’s a great player.”

Gibbs, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound junior, averaged 5.2 yards per carry and scored eight touchdowns over 19 career games at Georgia Tech. A former 4-star prospect from Dalton, he accumulated 1,805 total yards during his sophomore season, the second most in a single season in Tech history. He rushed for 746 yards and four touchdowns while adding 470 yards and two scores on 36 receptions and also contributed 23 kickoff returns for 589 yards and one score in 2021.

Man of few words

Vanderbilt coach Clark Lea used more than 2,000 words in his opening statement to reporters in the main hall Tuesday. Mississippi State’s Mike Leach offered five.

“I appreciate that,” he said to Commissioner Greg Sankey, who introduced him. “Any questions?”

Later, a reporter asked Leach why he didn’t bother with the traditional head coach debriefing.

“Well, I hate opening statements; I really don’t see the point of it,” Leach explained. “So, as opposed to me sitting up here and thinking of some flowery opening statement, which I’ve done before, and then at the end of the opening statement have a number of people ask questions that have already been addressed in my opening statement, I decided we’d just sort of cut out the middleman. You go ahead and ask the questions, and I’ll go ahead and answer ‘em.”

Ironically, that was one of Leach’s longest answers.

About Brian Kelly

Speaking of Lea, Vandy’s head coach spent three seasons as Brian Kelly’s defensive coordinator at Notre Dame. With Kelly now at LSU, Lea was asked about his former boss and how he might do in the SEC.

“Well, he’s a great dancer,” Lea said, laughing at his own joke before turning serious. “Coach Kelly, I would count him as one of my greatest mentors. He took a chance on me as an unproven commodity. I was a linebacker coach having never coordinated. He gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. It wasn’t just that he gave me the job and said, ‘hey, you go do it, let’s see if you’re successful.’ He invested in me every single day. I learned a lot from that experience, from the development of that relationship.”