SEC Media Days: ‘Two competitive guys on a topic that is very everywhere, as they say’

Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher holds his press conference at SEC Media Days in the College Football Hall of Fame on Thursday, July 21, 2022, in Atlanta.  Curtis Compton / Curtis Compton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher holds his press conference at SEC Media Days in the College Football Hall of Fame on Thursday, July 21, 2022, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / Curtis Compton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

A collection of answers from Day 4 of SEC Media Days in Atlanta on Thursday that featured representatives from Auburn, Tennessee and Texas A&M:

“Listen, we’re great. Two competitive guys that go at it. We all learn from things we do in our business. Two competitive guys on a topic that is very -- everywhere, as they say. There’s no rules in this thing, where it goes. Each state has different laws and everything. And like he said, I heard a statement he made, the arguments we had in the staff room and on the basketball court and all those things. But on the basketball court, we didn’t have them. We were always on the same team. So we usually had them against other people. I have great respect for Nick. Unfortunately, our thing went public. Sometimes that happens in this world. Nothing is private anymore, is it? Anyway. But, no, have great respect from Nick. We all learn from him. We all will learn, like I say, he will learn, hopefully I learn from things we do and say, and we move on from there. But I have great respect for him and their program like always.”

-Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher on offseason issue with Alabama’s Nick Saban

-Fisher on wide receiver Ainias Smith, who missed media day after DUI arrest

“Going back to what happened back in February, what I’m going to do now is address it. Moving forward, that will be the last time I talk about this subject. There was an inquiry. It was uncomfortable. It was unfounded. It presented an opportunity for people to personally attack me, my family, and also our program. And it didn’t work. Right now our focus is on moving forward. What came out of that inquiry were a lot of positives. There was a silver lining in all of this. What I saw from our players and our coaches was leadership opportunities for them to step up, which is exactly what they did. You got a chance to see guys provide leadership. You got a chance to see coaches provide leadership. What it did is it united our football team, our players, our staff, our football team. I’m really proud of our guys. I’m proud of what something like that that could be very challenging and difficult for a lot of people, how our guys stepped up and handled it. We had coaches and players that could have went to different places, avoided all the adversity and challenges. They didn’t do that.”

-Auburn coach Bryan Harsin from opening statement on an internal inquiry that endangered his job

“I think the message is: watch. We got to go out there and play. That’s the beauty of what we get a chance to do every Saturday, all right? When you get into the arena, you have the opportunity to go out there and settle the score, all right? You have a chance to compete. That’s really what we do this for. We do it so that we can get into that arena and have that opportunity. We’ve told our recruits: watch. I think the ones that have been on our campus, they see the energy and the vibe, what’s happening, how the players are responding, coaches are connecting, everything that we’re doing.”

- Harsin on identity of program amid negative recruiting

“I would say Georgia. Alabama has those guys. They have Evan Neil, the center a few years ago who flatten my freshman year. Alabama has a few guys, but Georgia is all across the board. They play hard. They are physical, they’re tough, they’re strong. Their line coach does a good job with those guys. They move around well. They try to hone in on the small things to help you beat guys like that, because we lead as a D line and they lead as an O line. It comes down to little things, little match ups that you find. So, I would have to say Georgia.”

-Auburn defensive end Derick Hall on toughest offensive line in the SEC

“Man, I don’t want to be anywhere where here isn’t hunger to be better. The expectations are never going to be higher outside of the building than they are inside of the building. Getting our kids to understand, not soak in the outside noise. ... They’re going to hear it, they’re going to see it, but it changes the way you strain, focus, go about your daily habits. A year ago what was being said outside of our program had nothing to do with who and what we were as a program - when I came up here for Media Day a year ago - to who and what we were when we opened up the season last fall and how we competed every single week. The outside noise will have nothing to do with who we are this fall either. We have to do a great job of continuing on this journey, competing, finishing our summer workouts here next week, then having a great training camp doing it one day at a time.”

-Tennessee coach Josh Heupel on facing higher expectations