HOOVER, Ala. (AP) The Latest on SEC media days (all times local):
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin isn’t shying away from questions about the Aggies’ recent late-season struggles.
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Sumlin said at Southeastern Conference media days Wednesday that he has emphasized throughout the offseason the need to finish strong and being ”a tougher football team.” Texas A&M has started fast the past three seasons before slumping to 8-5 records each time.
Athletic director Scott Woodward has said Sumlin ”knows he has to win, and he has to win this year.”
Sumlin says he puts more pressure on himself than anyone else could. He expressed optimism despite having to replace a collection of talent led by No. 1 overall NFL draft pick defensive end Myles Garrett.
The coach says he knows ”that we’re doing the things that we need to do to be better, and I would not be surprised if the results bear that out.”
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops has mixed emotions about his brother Bob stepping down at Oklahoma.
When he got the call, Mark Stoops said he Wednesday at SEC media days that he stepped out of his office and walked around the practice field talking with his older brother about the decision.
”Obviously it’s one of those moments you won’t forget,” the Wildcats coach said. ”It came out of the blue. I had no idea it was coming. But he called me and told me what was going to happen in the very near future. It was a bit of a shock to me.”
Mark Stoops said he was glad Bob Stoops got the chance to walk away on his own terms after winning a Big 12 Conference title and the Sugar Bowl.
The elder Stoops announced in early June that he was retiring after 18 seasons, 10 Big 12 Conference championships and a national title.
Missouri’s second-year coach Barry Odom was blunt when discussing how a tough 2016 season affected him.
Odum said Wednesday at SEC media days, ”When you win four games, it hurts your soul.”
Missouri finished with a 4-8 record last season, including a 2-6 mark in the Southeastern Conference. But there’s reason to believe the Tigers will be improved this fall.
Missouri won two of its final three games last season – beating Vanderbilt and Arkansas – and the offense returns 10 starters, including junior quarterback Drew Lock.
Lock threw for 3,399 yards, 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season.
Nick Saban is hoping Alabama will find a way to grow from that loss to Clemson in the national championship game.
The three-time defending Southeastern Conference champion Crimson Tide fell on a last-second touchdown to the Tigers.
”When you lose the mind-set is much more, I’m willing to change,” Saban said Wednesday at the SEC media days. ”I want to learn. I don’t want to waste a failure. What could we have done better? Hopefully we won’t waste a failure.”
Alabama must replace four first-round NFL draft picks but returns reigning SEC offensive player of the year Jalen Hurts at quarterback, plus wide receiver Calvin Ridley and tailbacks Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough.
Saban called this one of his youngest teams since 2012, especially on defense.
The Southeastern Conference is exploring moving its annual media days out of the Birmingham area for the first time.
League officials are doing their ”due diligence” in looking into a potential move, Associate Commissioner Herb Vincent said Wednesday. Potential cities if the SEC decides to move the four-day event out of suburban Birmingham include Atlanta, Nashville and Dallas.
The SEC considered moving it to Atlanta for this year because of the new Mercedes Benz Stadium, home to the league’s title game, Vincent said. It could also potentially rotate between multiple sites – or stay put.
”The only reason we’d take it somewhere else is to expand the brand, take it somewhere else and see how it works out in another city,” Vincent said. ”Maybe then come back here. Or it could stay here.”
SEC media days began in 1985 and now typically draws 1,000-plus attendees.
It’s Nick Saban and Alabama’s turn at Southeastern Conference media days.
The contingent from the Crimson Tide, the popular pick to win a fourth straight SEC title, makes the short trip from Tuscaloosa and typically is greeted by a large group of fans in the hotel lobby.
Alabama must replace four first-round NFL draft picks from a team that lost to Clemson in the national championship game. The Tide does return reigning SEC offensive player of the year Jalen Hurts at quarterback, plus wide receiver Calvin Ridley and tailbacks Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough. Ridley, defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick and center Bradley Bozeman are scheduled to accompany Saban.
The session will end with Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and three of his players. After three straight 8-5 records, Sumlin is facing a pivotal season. Aggies athletic director Scott Woodward has already publicly said that Sumlin ”knows he has to win.”
Gone are No. 1 overall draft pick defensive end Myles Garrett and quarterback Trevor Knight.
Missouri’s Barry Odom and Kentucky’s Mark Stoops also take the podium on Day 3 of the four-day event.
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