Hope you’re enjoying SEC Media Days, folks, and enjoying even more the delightful timing that handed us Agentpalooza just as Nick Saban was forced to take the biggest, most unavoidable, most un-controllable media podium he has to take all year. Then again, he seemed to sort of relish delivering that “pimp” line, didn’t he? I’d think he’d been sitting on it for a while. (For the record, I don’t think he’s all that wrong in this case.)
It’s a lot of fun, especially as reported by the likes of the EDSBS crew, but always remember that the most important thing about Media Days is that they mean that fall camp is right around the corner. For God’s sake, we’re now 10 days away from August. August! Oh man, oh man, oh man.
Anyways, a quick blow-by of links for reasons I’ll get into at the bottom of the post:
— The SEC’s released the first three weeks of their official television schedule. You know Week 1 is offering up some pretty thin gruel when Kentucky-Louisville finds its way all the way to ABC. That’s all right, though, because Week 2 is loaded. I’m glad Auburn’s going to let us just kick back and watch all day (though why no afternoon broadcast?)
— The one practical development to come out of Media Days so far (other than the fact that the SEC now has its very own Bill Stewart, which frankly was overdue), is Rogers Redding discussing the new rules involving wedges on kickoffs and other injury-related stuff. I’m worried the interpretative vagueness of the wedge rule–how well are officials going to be able to safely judge “two yards”–could lead to some controversial calls, and after last year, the last thing I want is another season marred by endless officiating bickering. I applaud the intent wholeheartedly, but I want to see what happens in practice.
— So, yeah, Kyle Parker decided to give up more than 1.5 million bucks because it wasn’t three million bucks in order to stay Clemson’s quarterback. Obviously, this makes Clemson substantially more dangerous, and now surviving that three-week at State/vs. Clemson/vs. Carolina stretch looks like a positively daunting challenge, even if individually I think Auburn will be a deserved favorite in all three.
On the plus side, Clemson blog Shakin’ the Southland has helped compensate for Parker’s questionable love of school and lack of greed by writing this exceptional breakdown of the Malzahn offense, with liberal references to Malzahn’s own book. Read it.
— Kevin Patterson, Bradley Hendrix, and Justin Fradejas are all returning to Auburn for their senior seasons with the baseball team. Excellent news, but as Kevin at PPL explains, Patterson’s return in particular does give Pawlowski a bit of a potential lineup headache.
— Kevin has also been busy illustrating how Auburn had somehow, received a commitment from virtually unknown Florida corner Devin Gaulden last week without anyone noticing it, thanks to the coverage being limited to local outlets. Rivals has finally caught up as of just a few minutes ago, but quite the weird situation here. Oh, and welcome to Gaulden, who’ll fit right in with the rest of Auburn’s recent collection of high-upside unknown quantities.
— On the one hand, ESPN’s handling of “The Decision” was indefensible, but on the other, at least the network is willing to let their ombudsman to absolutely tear them to tiny journalistic shreds on their own site.
— At Track ‘Em, Acid’s previewing Arkansas and recounting Auburn’s history with first-year quarterbacks.
Two more quickie things: Jordan Anderson got his props from Slive, and Zac Etheridge talks about coming back from injury. He expects to play from Week 1.
All right, so, I’m in Tucson (having watched the New Pornographers tear up the stage last night) after having swung through Tempe (where I’d watched the Gaslight Anthem tear up the stage Tuesday night), and I’ve got about five minutes before check-out, and so now it’s time to make the seven-hour drive back home. I’ll catch up with you tomorrow.
EDSBS.com’s coverage of Robbie Caldwell is classic. Wow, does he seem like a STRANGE fit at Vandy.
I really hope you got to watch Robbie Caldwell before hitting the road
That Clemson write-up about Malzahn’s offense was incredibly detailed and impressive… too bad everyone on that blog is going to be severely disappointed when their misplaced optimism in stopping our offense comes crashing down. People on that website seriously think they have a shot?!? I mean, the sky can always fall down, but in the end, it’s Clemson, and we’ll win… and I think convincingly.
el carg says
‘Tis the season for great music. NPs are a must see and GA has to put on a great live show.
I just returned from Pitchfork with the highs of Pavement, John Spencer Blues Explosion and LCD Soundsystem, buffered with some really good young bands.
Hold up, you don’t think Saban’s wrong here? Seriously?
Watching his politicking is disgusting. He’s throwing blame at anybody and everybody — seriously, the NFL Player’s Association? It’s their fault your player accepted illegal benefits? — trying his best to weasel his way out and excuse himself from any form of accountability or responsibility.
If it’s so hard for a coach to keep up with his responsibilities and do what he’s paid to do in watching over his own players, then why were all but six coaches in the country able to do it?
What’s even more sickening is the media following his charade like a dog. Outside the Line’s entire show today was all about how these poor tiny little children who can’t think for themselves are targeted by these agents, and how some of them just don’t have a choice because going to school for completely free just ain’t enough. Right, because Reggie Bush came from such an impoverished background. Pretty sure the less privileged kids are all thankful for the scholarships — it’s the selfish pricks who think they’re entitled to more than their teammates and classmates that accept illegal benefits.
The only thing that makes this whole thing bearable is the thought of what Alabama players are thinking when they hear their coach talking about them like this. Apparently, they are all helpless children that are wholly incapable of making educated decisions, and they’re being taken advantage of by mean grown-ups. Is he talking about collegiate football players, or 14 year olds girls on Spring Break?
Caught the tail-end of a Gaslight Anthem show once, as I was arriving a half-hour late to a concert in Houston. I only heard two of their songs, but I went out and found all of their music that I could based on the strength of those two songs. They are truly a great band.
AubOrange…I think I half-agree with you. Definitely agree that coaches (like Saban) can’t completely avoid responsibility for problems with agents. But if you think about it from, say, Chizik’s perspective (taking the natural dislike of Saban out of the equation), it’s close to impossible for Chizik to control or even know what all 85 of his players are doing at all times. One of them could easily have some kind of contact with an agent during a visit home to see their parents, something like that, and Chizik and the coaching staff would have no way of knowing.
Chizik has to make sure to inform the players of what is right and wrong, but if a player chooses to secretly do the wrong thing, Chizik’s control is limited. 18 year olds are adults, but they’re kind of dumb adults…I was a lot dumber at 18 than I am now.
The worst part is, as far as I can tell, the agents get NO penalty for what they are doing. They know it’s wrong to be contacting this 19, 20, 21 year old kid, and they do it anyway, get the kid and the school in trouble, and nothing ever happens to the agent. That’s the point where I agree with Saban…you can do a lot to limit these problems just by making sure there are penalties for the agent. The agent should get the same kind of penalties that the kid and the school get, he was just as much a part of the decision. Can’t keep letting the sleazier agents get away with things like this.
Re: Caldwell, haven’t seen the footage, just read the transcripts. Which were LOL-worthy on their own.
Re: the Gaslight Anthem, it was a great, high-energy show, but the setlist disappointed me a bit–they played a LOT of songs off their first album (though not my favorite, of course), which isn’t bad, but it doesn’t hold a candle to their most recent two. They ended up ignoring some really choice cuts. But that’s picking nits. And the NP’s had both Case and Bejar with them, so, yeah, incredible.
Re: Saban and agents, yeah, responsibility has to ultimately rest with the player involved. But I don’t think Saban’s out of line in calling for some kind of punishment for these people who exploit kids they only pretend to give the first crap about for their own personal gain. The pimp analogy sounds crude, but it’s not inaccurate.
First of all, let’s define this “exploiting kids” and “taking advantage of kids”. It’s not like these guys don’t know the rules. They know the rules. What else do coaches talk to their players about all year? If WE know what they can and can’t do, then THEY definitely know what they can and can’t do. It’s not like the agent comes up to these guys and invites them on this trip and then tell them that it’s not against the rules at all. If that were the case, and the player for some reason or another almost believed him, then the first thing he would do is ask one of his dozens of coaches whether it’s OK or not. No, the players know what’s going on from the start, and they just do it in hopes that they don’t get caught.
Coincidentally, I just happen to believe, and in fact I’m in position to know, that 19 year olds can indeed think. Me personally, I’m perfectly capable of deciding what I want for lunch, let alone deciding whether I would want to break some big important rule or not. And if I did, I would certainly be held accountable for my own actions.
No one said, “Oh, poor Reggie Bush, he got swindled by those mean old boosters.” But that’s what everyone’s saying about this party. I don’t get it. Illegal benefits is illegal benefits.
Sure, some these agents are crooks. They suck, we all agree on that. But the responsibility lies with the players, and even the coaches. Even if it is hard to keep up with 85 guys, they’re all still the coach’s responsibility and the coach is to be held accountable. That’s what he’s paid to do. Hell, if Saban says he isn’t responsible for Marcell Dareus, then I say we take away Dareus’s intercepted screen pass and maybe Texas wins the national championship. If you’re going to take credit for their actions on the field, then you better take blame for their actions off the field.
Again, the only thing that keeps me from going crazy over this is the thought of how stupid these Bama players look. Poor baby Marcell got tricked by mean man in a suit.
I don’t think anyone–except for Saban–is painting the South Beach party-goers as innocent victims. No one except the most diehard Tide fans are going to cry for Dareus if he misses games. I was happy to hear Auburn’s players and coaches take the exact opposite tack from Saban at the podium today and say that the responsibility ultimately rests with the players, because it does.
But it’s not the end of the world to suggest that these sleazeball agents face some sort of punishment for conspiring with these athletes to rob them of their eligibility. They risk nothing and gain everything.