With SEC Media Days set to begin tomorrow morning, it’s starting to feel a lot like football season once again.
The four-day event bring together representatives from all 14 SEC schools to give reporters and the rest of the country a sneak peak behind the scenes ahead of the 2018 season. While Ole Miss won’t take the stage until Tuesday, and Mississippi State doesn’t get their turn until Wednesday, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey will get things going tomorrow morning in Atlanta.
Sankey will kick things off and most likely give a “State of the SEC” speech so to speak, and he’ll be followed by the representatives from Texas A&M, headlined by new head coach Jimbo Fisher. Later in the day, you’ll hear from Kentucky and LSU.
The event will be held in Atlanta at both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Omni Hotel, making this the first time in 18 years that it will be held outside of Hoover, Alabama. Just down the road from the locations of the media frenzy is Mercedes Benz Stadium, where the SEC championship game is held.
For Mississippi State, new head coach Joe Moorhead will be joined by a trio of seniors including QB Nick Fitzgerald, DE Gerri Green and S Mark McLaurin. Dan Mullen will be in Atlanta, but as the representative for the Florida Gators. Making his first trip to SEC Media Days, Moorhead will likely receive a bevy of questions regarding how he aims to replicate and build on Mullen’s success in Starkville, and what will look different on the field for MSU in 2018.
Fitzgerald continues to recover from the ankle injury that he suffered in the egg bowl, so expect him to have to answer several inquiries about his status. Green, the defensive captain, and McLaurin, the team’s leader in INTs last year, will face questions about improving one of the stronger defensive units in the SEC from 2017.
Ole Miss comes into media days once again facing a bowl ban for the upcoming season although that is being appealed. Head coach Matt Luke will also make his first appearance at the event because Hugh Freeze was still the man in charge at this time in 2017. Luke will be joined by senior QB Jordan Ta’amu, senior C Sean Rawlings and junior DT Josiah Coatney. In addition to on-the-field questions, the second-year head coach will likely face the same questions that Freeze did 365 days prior regarding whether or not the bowl ban will affect his team.
For the players, Ta’amu enters his first full season as the starter after Shea Patterson’s decision to transfer to Michigan. The senior QB showed the ability to lead the offense last season, and he’ll now face questions about his ability to sustain that success for a full season. Rawlings, also a senior, will likely speak to the protection of their QB and the line’s role in jumpstarting the Rebel running game in 2018. Coatney will represent the Rebel defense, which has a lot of room to improve coming off a 2017 season where they allowed nearly 460 yards per game and ranked 115th in the nation.
The NCAA released a complete schedule for the event that begins tomorrow and runs through Thursday:
MONDAY, July 16 (All times Eastern)
11:30 a.m. – 3:10 p.m.: Commissioner Greg Sankey and Texas A&M
2 p.m. – 6:50 p.m.: Kentucky and LSU
TUESDAY, July 17
8:30 a.m. – 8:50 a.m.: Steve Shaw, SEC Coordinator of Football Officials
9 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.: Georgia and Ole Miss
1:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.: Arkansas and Florida
WEDNESDAY, July 18
8:30 a.m. – 8:40 a.m.: David Fletcher, Football Bowl Association
8:40 a.m. – 8:55 a.m.: Bill Hancock, Executive Director College Football Playoff
9 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.: Mississippi State and Tennessee
1:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.: Alabama and Missouri
THURSDAY, July 19
8:30 a.m. – 8:40 a.m.: Football Writers Association of America
8:40 a.m. – 8:55 a.m.: National Football Foundation
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Auburn, Vanderbilt and South Carolina