Florida, LSU & Carolina take the stage on Day 1 of SEC Media Days
HOOVER, Ala. (WAFF) - The Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover was absent of Alabama fans at SEC Media Days 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. But the fans were cheering as the event returned in 2021.
Monday, three programs kicked off Media Days, the unofficial start to the College Football season in the Southeastern region of the country.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey started the day with the annual State of the SEC. A myriad of topics were covered during his Q&A with the media, the biggest topic, vaccination. Last season, sames were rescheduled to accommodate teams with high COVID cases.
This season is much different. Teams will not have the opportunity to reschedule. Six of the fourteen teams in the SEC are at an 80 percent vaccine threshold.
“The forfeit word comes up at this point,” Sankey said Monday. “That’s not a policy, and what you see are the bookends now for decision-making. We’ve not built in the kind of time we did last year, particularly at the end of the season, to accommodate disruption. And unless we’re going to do that, our teams are going to have to be fully prepared to play their season as scheduled, which is why embedded in my remarks is the vaccination motivation.”
The Florida Gators were the first program to address the media. Dan Mullen’s program SEC East Champs a year ago but will replace some serious difference-makers on offense in Heisman finalist Kyle Trask and Tight End Kyle Pitts. He’s known to work wonders with quarterbacks, his next project, Emroy Jones, who’s expected to be the starter this season.
“I mean, he came in as a very celebrated high school player, highly ranked player, and I think for a couple years now, he’s learned, he’s grown, he’s developed, Mullen said. “He’s a completely different player he was when he walked in, in his understanding of the game and in his maturity.”
The LSU Tigers were on top of the College Football world in 2019 winning the National Championship. Last season, 5-5. Tigers Head Coach Ed Orgeron made changes on the coaching staff getting younger. The goal, to reverse fortunes for the Bayou Bengals.
“There’s no way we want a year like we had last year,” Orgeron said “We have 19 of 22 starters coming back. This year we’re hungry. Maybe last year we weren’t as hungry as we needed to be. Last year was a thing of the past, we’re going to deal with this year one game at a time, I do think you’re going to see the Tigers have a very good football team.”
First Year South Carolina Head Coach Shane Beamer made his debut for the Gamecocks. The program has had success in the last decade. Beamer, son of Hall of Fame and Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer hopes to return the Gamecocks back among the SEC East’s elite.
“Right now, we’re trying to do the very best we can do right here on Monday,” Beamer said. “Back in Columbia, our guys worked out this morning, and us as coaches and players that are here today. Let’s move this program forward today and let’s try to get better each and every week and be the best we can be at the end of the season and take our head out of the water and see where we are at that point. Hopefully, we’re the very best that we can be, and we’ve reached our potential for sure.”
SEC media Day continues July 20-22.
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