SEC Media Days report: Jimbo wants Arkansas

ATLANTA — Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said when the SEC expands to 16 teams with the addition of Oklahoma and Texas no later than the 2025 season, he hopes the Aggies will continue to play in Arkansas every year.

“You want Texas,” Fisher said. “When Texas comes into the league, when that schedule comes up, definitely because of that rivalry.

“I think LSU is a big rivalry. But those are probably our two biggest. Then Arkansas addresses that as well.

Razorbacks coach Sam Pittman said Wednesday he would like Arkansas’ annual games to include Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri.

Harsin wonders

Auburn coach Bryan Harsin, who seemed more comfortable on the main podium in his sophomore year at the SEC Media Days, chose not to dodge the controversial subject of the campus investigation he was brought to. faced in February.

Many sportswriters in Alabama and elsewhere predicted that the investigation, after a 6-7 season, would cost Harsin his job after one season.

“I know some of you watching me weren’t expecting me to be here at this time,” Harsin said Thursday during his opening remarks. “I’m going to dive into that in a second, address the gorilla in the room.

“Going back to what happened in February, what I’m going to do now is fix it. Going forward, this will be the last time I talk about this.

“There was an investigation. It was uncomfortable. It was baseless. It was an opportunity for people to attack me personally, my family and also our program. And it didn’t work. Right now, our goal is to move forward. »

Harsin tried to wrap up moments later in his remarks, saying, “There’s a lot of information out there. If you need more, just google it.

Later, a reporter asked him what he had learned through the investigative process, and Harsin handled it gently, although he clearly didn’t want to delve into it.

“It was quick and precise with our players and we moved on,” he said. “We focus on bigger and better things.”

smart money

After leading the Georgia Bulldogs to the national championship last season — their first since 1980 — coach Kirby Smart has received a contract extension that will earn him a total of $112.5 million over the course of the season.

Georgia announced the extension Thursday, and various media outlets reported on the financial numbers.

Smart, 46, who is 66-15 in six seasons at Georgia, earned $7 million last season, according to a college football coaching salary database compiled by USA Today. In the spring of 2018, he was granted a seven-year, $49 million extension after the Bulldogs won the SEC regular season championship and lost to Alabama in the 2017 national title game.

ESPN reported that Smart will earn $10.25 million this season, with the contract payout capping at $12.25 million in 2031 with an average of $11.25 million over its term.

All good

All has seemingly been forgiven between Alabama coach Nick Saban and Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher if you are to believe what they said at SEC Media Days.

“Look, we’re great,” Fisher said Thursday, a month after he used words like “despicable” and “narcissistic” to describe Saban. “Two competitive guys who get into it.

“We all learn from the things we do in our business. Two competitive guys on one subject everywhere, as they say.

Fisher called a press conference at which he sharply criticized Saban, who said the Aggies bought their highly valued recruiting class through financial deals for Name, Image and Likeness.

“I have no problem with Jimbo,” Saban said earlier this week when he did the interview on Media Days. “I always take criticism or anything in a positive way to personally assess myself in terms of maybe there’s something I can do better.”

Fisher, conveniently forgetting that he called a press conference to rip Saban apart, said it was unfortunate that their disagreement was made public.

“We all learn from him,” said Fisher, who was Saban’s offensive coordinator at LSU. “We will all learn – he will learn, I hope I learn – from the things we do and say, and we move on.

“But I have a lot of respect for him and their program, as always.”

KJ’s Fuel

Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson gained a lot by being projected as the 14th best starting quarterback in the SEC by last year. His dual-threat production propelled Arkansas to a 9-4 record, as he passed for 2,676 yards, rushed for a team-high 664 yards, completed 67.3% of his passes and accounted for 27 hits.

Some forecasters, like former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow of the SEC Network, did not include Jefferson in their top five SEC quarterbacks going into the season.

Again, the lack of recognition is a trigger for Jefferson.

“I’m watching this,” Jefferson said Wednesday. “I mean, I look at the stats. I look at the rankings. It’s just adding fuel to the fire. That’s all.”

Ty’Ki lowest hour

Arkansas coach Sam Pittman has promoted the work of offensive lineman Ty’Kieast Crawford over the past year, saying the North Carolina-Charlotte transfer deserved playing time on a unit that fires all starters except left tackle Myron Cunningham.

“Ty’Kieast Crawford is going to be a guy that’s going to play somewhere in there,” Pittman said. “This guy is an exceptional football player and had a great off-season.”

The Razorbacks bring back bonus-year senior Dalton Wagner at left tackle, senior Ricky Stromberg at center and junior guards Brady Latham and Beaux Limmer.

Luke Jones came out of spring training as a top left tackle. Crawford worked at guard and also at right tackle when Wagner missed time in the spring due to minor ailments.

The storm breaks

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey had to speak loudly to project himself above heavy rain when introducing the first two coaches Thursday, Bryan Harsin of Auburn and Josh Heupel of Tennessee.

The College Football Hall of Fame has a fiberglass roof, allowing the sound of rain and thunder to echo through the room.

Heupel said he would project with his coach’s voice as he took to the podium during a particularly loud swell in the storm.

Alabama’s Nick Saban came to the stage during a stormy outburst on Tuesday, but the weather immediately calmed down. The same thing happened for Harsin, but lasted for a while during Heupel’s opening remarks.

Smash of glass

Auburn defensive end Derick Hall was talking about teammate Tank Bigsby when fate intervened.

Right behind him in the hospitality section of the event, a glass fell on the artificial turf surface of the College Football Hall of Fame and shattered into pieces.

“Wow! Hall said. “When Tank goes through the hole, that’s what you hear.”

golf ball grip

Ole Miss Coach Lane Kiffin mentioned Monday that he signed mustard bottles and golf balls during the offseason, a reference to the chaotic end to the Rebels’ 31-26 win at Tennessee last season, when fans Volunteers bombarded the field with objects like these and others. during the last minute.

Asked about his fondest memories of that game on Thursday, Heupel said he didn’t sign any mustard bottles or golf balls, but added, “I wish I had a golf ball that night. It’s a joke.”

The game was stopped for 20 minutes with 54 seconds left after the Vols were ruled to have missed 1 yard on a fourth and 24 play.

All about Times Square

Tennessee purchased space on a video billboard in New York’s Times Square earlier this week.

Quarterback Hendon Hooker and wide receiver Cedric Tillman were in New York to visit various companies, including NASDAQ, as part of their name, image and likeness deals on Tuesday. Their images, with an orange and white checkerboard of Tennessee in the background, adorned the Times Square and 42nd Street video board.

The short bridge

Auburn players practiced an ancient coaching technique by operating the bleachers this summer.

The bleacher runs, which the Tigers call “bridges,” saw coach Bryan Harsin join the players.

Running back Tank Bigsby said players made 17 “decks” on Wednesday and were targeted for 20 today. Their record, Bigsby said, was 22 last season.

Busy schedule

Auburn opens the season with five straight home games against Mercer, San Jose State, Penn State, Missouri and LSU before heading to face defending national champion Georgia.

When a reporter prefaced a question by stating the Tigers had a tough schedule, Harsin chimed in for a quick second.

“Does anyone have an easy schedule at the SEC?” Harsin asked.

The reporter then asked about the importance of getting off to a good start with the home five to open the season.

“Home or away, you want to get going fast,” Harsin said. “It’s great to be at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

“Being around our fans, bringing in these teams, playing Jordan-Hare, we’re thrilled about that. I hope we will have success through these five games.

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