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    Live Blog: Malzahn's 1st Media Days; Bad-boy Manziel


     

    Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin says Johnny Football has made mistakes

    9:05 a.m. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin says his Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback has been better on the field than off of it. 

    Sumlin and occasional bad-boy quarterback Johnny Manziel were the early stars Wednesday at SEC Media Days. They're scheduled to face Auburn on Oct. 19 in College Station. 

    Sumlin said Manziel has "done an exceptional job" on the field. 

    Off of it?

    "Off the field, there's no question he's made some mistakes," Sumlin said. "Today will be a great experience for him. 

    "He has made mistakes. We've had discussions about that." 

    Sumlin said Manziel has done a lot of good things, but "unfortunately the poor decisions are the ones that are publicized." 

    "Is he perfect? No. I think he’s done some things he’s not very proud of. He’s made some poor decisions." 

    Sumlin said he's had talks with Manziel about a variety of topics. Manziel doesn't tweet anymore, for example. 

    Auburn remembers Manziel's Heisman Trophy season. Johnny Football threw for 260 yards and a touchdown and ran for 90 yards and three more scores in the Aggies' 63-21 win.


     

    Auburn to take center stage

    7:50 p.m. Wednesday is Auburn's day at Southeastern Conference Media Days, but first-year head coach Gus Malzahn, cornerback Chris Davis, H-back Jay Prosch and defensive end Dee Ford will have to wait. They are scheduled to appear in the main interview room at 2:20 p.m. It will be Malzahn's first Media Days appearance.

    Texas A&M is up first Wednesday morning, and that means Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel will be called to answer questions about his turbulent summer.

    Senior Writers Phillip Marshall and Charles Goldberg will be on hand for it all with stories, notes and more, especially when the Auburn arrives. Phillip will shadow Prosch as he and other players spend some four hours doing interviews with various outlets.

    Check back early and often Wednesday.

    --Phillip Marshall

    More Steve Spurrierisms

    7:45 p.m. Asked if he thought Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson could match what he did as South Carolina's defensive coordinator, it was difficult to tell if Spurrier was praising him, criticizing him, neither or both.

    "If he's got the players that we had, certainly he's got a chance to do it," Spurrier said. "Melvin Ingram first-round pick at San Diego, Stephon Gilmore, first -round pick, Buffalo Bills. We've had a lot of good players at South Carolina. If he's got that kind of talent, he can be pretty good. I'll put it that way."

    7:43 p.m. Spurrier has built the Gamecocks from an also-ran into a contender, but he badly wants to take the last step and win a championship.

    "Well, the last three years, we've been sort of up there in the hunt," Spurrier said. "We got there (SEC Championship Game) three years ago, fell flat on our face against Auburn (in a 56-17 loss). Then the last two years, we were one game away maybe from getting into the SEC game.

    "So we're sort of knocking at the door. But we need to win those crucial games and see what happens."

    7:40 p.m. At last year's Media Days, Spurrier jokingly said he'd rather have Ole Miss on the schedule than Georgia. He was asked Tuesday about that statement.

    "Well, last year at this time Ole Miss was 2-10," Spurrier said. "That's why I made that statement (laughter). They had a good year. Hugh Freeze has done an excellent job there. Hugh and I have a lot in common. We both play golf. We both wear visors. We call the plays. How could you not like a guy like Hugh Freeze?"

    --Phillip Marshall

    Spurrier has his say about money for players, Notre Dame and schedules

    5:35 p.m. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has never been shy with his opinions. He wasn't at Florida and he hasn't been at South Carolina. And he wasn't Tuesday at SEC Media Days. Spurrier wanted to get things off his chest, things he said league coaches unanimously want.

    -- "We came up with a proposal that we would like for our college football and basketball players that bring in an enormous amount of money. We should provide some expense money so their parents can go to games. The players over the course of the year would have $3600, #3900, depending on how many games we played just to have a little pocket money and parents would have money to the games.

    "This is tiny compared to the amount of money that is coming in now. I think we all know that. I'm going to keep fighting for our guys. I'm going to keep fighting for our guys. This is not pay for play. This is just expense money."

    -- "Another thing that came up. We were talking about the new four-team playoff. Mr. Hancock, who was on the committee, tried to tell us how it was all going to work out. We were trying to figure out how the AD at Notre Dame was equal with all the commissioners. Nobody had a good answer. The coaches all thought Notre Dame should join the ACC and play football like the rest of us.

    -- "There was a suggestion that your division games would count for the division winner unless there was a tie, then you would go to the out-of-division games. I don't know how far that will go. That's the way we would like to do it as coaches.

    Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace on the mend

    4:21 p.m. Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze says the Rebels' 7-6 record was based on good play and a little luck. 

    "We had some fortune go our way," he says. 

    Mostly, Freeze said at SEC Media Days, the Rebels had good luck with injuries, starting the same five offensive linemen and the same receivers all year. He said his defensive line stayed healthy, too. 

    He'll be looking for more of the same this season, including an Oct. 5 visit to Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium. 

    The Rebels made it through 2012 in good shape, but quarterback Bo Wallace is coming back from offseason shoulder surgery after playing with pain last season. 

    "He played nine games last year with that torn-up shoulder," Freeze said. 

    Wallace still managed to pass for 3,000 yards. 

    But now, Freeze said, Wallace "feels very good about where he's at in his progress. Last week he started throwing full go. Everything seems to be moving along very nicely." 

    Freeze says he wears a visor because Steve Spurrier does. 

    "When I was a high school coach I wanted to be like Steve Spurrier," Freeze said. "Steve and I have become good friends. He calls me his visor guy."

    Freeze also talked about managing rising expectations around Ole Miss. That's in our scouting report on the Rebels. 

    --Charles Goldberg

    Pinkel: A line of scrimmage league

    2:30 p.m. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said he knew what he was getting into last season, the Tigers' first in the SEC.

    "It's a line of scrimmage league," Pinkel said, "and I knew that coming in."

    Missouri, Pinkel said, is working to become more of a line of scrimmage team.

    "In any league, the line of scrimmage is where you win," Pinkel said. "The best teams are always strong on the line of scrimmage. There are just more of them in this league."

    2:40 p.m. Quarterback James Franklin, beseiged by injuries, had a disappointing season in 2012. He missed three games and didn't finish three others. Pinkel said Franklin is ready to make amends.

    Pinkel said Franklin has had a "great offseason" and is ready to bounce back.

    -- Phillip Marshall

    Florida's Will Muschamp talks Gators, takes shots

    1:28 p.m. Florida coach Will Muschamp was talking a mile a minute at Media Days, and it sounded as if was pleased with last season's improvement with the Gators. He also likes the makeup of his team after enforcing new rules.

    "The roster in our locker room is much better. Eight come-from-behind wins in a season says a lot where you are as a program," said Muschamp after last season's 11-2 record. 

    Muschamp, the one-time Auburn defensive coordinator, talked up his offense for 2013. 

    "I think we have chance to be better at all positions" except maybe tight end, Muschamp said. 

    Muschamp said the Gators should be "really good at running back position." 

    Muschamp didn't stray too far from his defensive roots, either. 

    "Defensively, I'm young but old fashion. You better be strong up the middle," he said. 

    Before addressing the mass media, Muschamp didn't miss a chance to take a shot at Ohio State, where former Florida coach Urban Meyer now works. Meyer may or may not have turned in Florida for violations in the offseason. 

    "We appreciate our friends from Ohio making sure we are compliant with NCAA rules. They certainly know a little bit about that," Muschamp said, according to CBS Sports.

    Muschamp was Auburn's defensive coordinator in 2006 and 2007. Alas, the Gators don't play Auburn this season.

    -- Charles Goldberg

    SEC commissioner Mike Slive's take on league, NCAA

    12:45 p.m.: Commissioner Mike Slive gave a qualified vote of support to the NCAA while saying that changes need to be made.

    "Our challenges are complex," Slive said. "They always have been and always will be. With that said, we have supported and continue to support the NCAA as the appropriate governing organization. At the same time, however, we will continue to push for changes we believe are in the best interests of our student-athletes."

    12:36 p.m.: Commissioner Mike Slive says he sees movement in the effort to provide athletes with full cost of attendance scholarships.

    12:35 p.m.: Slive says the "vast majority" of student-athletes do things the right way, but he said he is troubled by those who don't.

    "It is a crushing disappointment when, despite all of these efforts, a young person throws away an opportunity for a promising future," Slive said as he kicked off SEC Media Days. "We are not naïve enough to think we can put an end to unacceptable behavior, but that doesn't mean we won't continue to try, try, try."

    -- Phillip Marshall

    Auburn begins under the lights

    12:01 p.m.: Auburn will begin the football season under the lights, and stay there for at least the three weeks of the season. 

    Auburn will open the season against Washington State at 6 p.m. Aug. 31 in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Then the Tigers will play Arkansas State at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 7. Auburn will open its SEC schedule against Mississippi State at 6 p.m. in Jordan-Hare. 

    The Washington State game will be televised by ESPNU. The Arkansas State game will be on FSN. The Mississippi State game will be on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

    The SEC announced the starting times for the first three weeks of the season for all league teams Tuesday at Media Days.

    Season and select single-game tickets for the 2013 Auburn football season are now available to the general public through the Auburn Athletics Department Ticket Office. All tickets can be purchased online at www.AUBTIX.com. For more information or questions regarding tickets, contact the ticket office by email at tickets@auburn.edu or by phone at 1-855-AUB-2010, ext. 1.

    All the SEC games and TV times for the first three weeks of the season are on the conference's website here.

    -- Charles Goldberg