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Rich Brooks’ SEC Teleconference

sec_logo1Each Wednesday we bring you a recap of sorts of the SEC Teleconference, where the league’s coaches have a chance to touch base with the national media regarding a whole host of topics. Here’s Coach Brooks’ comments:

  • CRB’s Opening Statement: “We came off a win last week that we got off to a good start and then didn’t do very well particularly on offense or third down defense, but got out with a good win. In the process we lost Micah Johnson on the 7th play of the game. He hasn’t practiced at all this week but will try to go tomorrow. He may play but won’t be 100%. Trevard Lindley is still doubtful, the 4th game in a row that he’s missed. Our QB Mike Hartline is still on the sideline. We don’t know when, or if, he’ll return. This game is critical for both teams. If Mississippi State wants to be in the postseason, they need to win, and if we want to continue to make an impact in the SEC than we need to win.”
  • On preparing for MSU’s RB, Anthony Dixon: “He’s one of the best running backs in the league. He’s powerful as well as having good speed. He’s a load, and it would be helpful if we had Micah. If we don’t have him it will make the job of stopping Dixon even more difficult. It would be difficult if we had a full compliment of players.”
  • On the QB rotation of Morgan Newton and Will Fidler: “Well, it’s not going as well as I’d like or we’d be throwing the ball better. With Newton and Fidler changing off, we’ve been able to get 2 wins and with the addition of Cobb in the wildcat we’ve been able to generate just enough offense to get it done.”
  • How to counteract MSU’s defense: “They do a lot of different things on defense. They play the 4 man front, then they come in with a 3 man front, they do some zone pressures s well as man pressure. In the running game we have to get a hat on a hat, and in the passing game we have to make sure our bases are covered and we don’t turn someone loose. They’ve upgraded the skill and the athletic ability on their defense since last year. The job they did on Florida has certainly got our attention. That offense is hard to slow down and they did a great job with it.”
  • On the odds of a defensive player winning the Heisman: “I think most of the front running offensive players have to have mediocre years and I think the defensive player has to be on an outstanding team and have great numbers. It’s very hard for the defensive player to get the media consensus to win a Heisman trophy.”

Other Coaches Around the League:

  • Les Miles was certainly complimentary of the Tigers’ opponent this weekend, though it was almost funny to hear Coach Miles reference Tulane as an opponent worthy of even minor attention. Listening to Miles, you’d think Tulane wasn’t 2-5 and 0-4 in CUSA. Hat tip to Les though for recognizing the fact that this Tulane game is right between the rivalry games of Auburn and Alabama. Miles is also in favor of an early signing date, as long as it doesn’t interrupt the calendar of college football or being able to show full attention to prospects on your campus.
  • Steve Spurrier was asked quite a bit about this weekend’s Tennessee matchup and thinks Monte Kiffin is quite the coach and it isn’t a transition that’s tough to make from the NFL to college. According to Spurrier, coaching is coaching and it doesn’t matter what level you’re at. That’s of course incredibly ironic considering Spurrier’s lack of success in the NFL.
  • Urban Meyer indicated that his walking wounded defensive unit is getting itself back to full strength and it will be needed considering that this weekend’s game against Georgia is between two great programs. Meyer was exceptionally opposed to an early signing period until one of the conference coaches came up with a better plan that he supports, allowing a recruit to sign early if they take no other official visits. Jeff Demps should also be ready to go at full speed this weekend. Great news for Florida, bad news for Georgia.
  • Bobby Johnson sounded surprisingly positive and upbeat considering a.) he’s facing a Top 15 ranked Georgia Tech team this weekend, and b.) his Vanderbilt Commodores have yet to win an SEC contest. He spoke a bit about officiating and sending reviews to the conference office, making it more about learning what is allowed as opposed to pointing out mistakes to the SEC. Johnson also thinks the instant replay system “works as well as humanly possible, but people are gonna make mistakes.”
  • Lane Kiffin and his Volunteers take on South Carolina Saturday night on ESPN. Jonathon Crompton, according to Kiffin has put together “2 and a 1/2 really good games.” He also thinks there is no clear cut Heisman front runner, and if things go well for Eric Berry from this point forward, he has a shot at the stiff arming trophy. Lane Kiffin had no comment on instant replay and its use choosing to “stay away from that.”
  • Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide defeated Tennessee last weekend, and now have an open date. According to Saban, “Mentally and physically this is a good time to recharge our batteries.” Saban was asked about the officials and their mistakes, and he made reference to the SEC having the best officials of any league he’s ever worked in. Also blamed the lack of offensive prowess on the defenses the Tide has played rather than something wrong with the offense.
  • Bobby Petrino and the Razorbacks now start a four game homestand with this weekend’s battle against winless and hapless Eastern Michigan. Not a whole lot of questions for Petrino, mostly because of the lack of interest in an SEC-MAC bloodletting.
  • Houston Nutt spoke at length about D.T. Shackelford and his exceptional amount of talent and skill as a freshman. He’s battling a high ankle sprain, but is expected to soldier though it. The Rebels are at Auburn this weekend, but there were quite a few questions about Nutt taking on his former team in Arkansas last weekend… which he won.
  • Mark Richt and his Georgia Bulldogs take on the Florida Gators this weekend in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville. The Gators are coming off an open week, and Richt said his team and coaches “could use the break.” There is also nothing in A.J. Green’s game that Richt would change, but special attention is paid to making sure he’s fresh and not playing him every down. This weekend’s Florida game “means an awful lot” to Richt and his team. He specifically mentioned his own team, but additionally, the fans and recruits, since “the whole nation pays attention to this game.”
  • Dan Mullen and his Mississippi State Bulldogs battle our Kentucky Wildcats this weekend in Lexington. Mullen says the Wildcats will “create issues for us and we’ll have our hands full”. What I thought most odd was Mullen holds Kentucky up as an example of where he would like his program to be in terms of consecutive Bowl trips. In terms of the QB upheaval, Mullen is more worried about Randall Cobb than any of the QBs Kentucky may trot out.
  • Gene Chizik and the Auburn Tigers play host to Ole Miss this weekend with the opportunity to right their ship a bit after three consecutive losses to Arkansas, Kentucky, and LSU. Chizik said the players have remained positive despite the losses, as they haven’t needed any prodding or coaxing.

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