HOOVER, Ala. (WHNT) – Coach Gus Malzahn, Chris Davis, Dee Ford, and Jay Proch are representing Auburn in SEC Media Days 2013. Coach Bret Bielema, Chris Smith, Kiero Small, and Travis Swanson are representing Arkansas.
Thank you for joining us today for our coverage of SEC Media Days 2013. Find us tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. for our coverage of LSU and Georgia then at 11:20 a.m. for Alabama and Vanderbilt.
Find out what Saban, AJ McCarron, C.J. Mosley, and Anthony Steen have to say!
We hope to see you then!
Chris Smith, University of Arkansas Defensive End
Travis Swanson, University of Arkansas Center.
Coach Bielema has left the stage. Players Chris Smith, Kiero Small, and Travis Swanson will take the stage shortly to answer questions.
Bielema about predictions: The lower the better. Our kids are coming in with a huge chip on their shoulders. We have some kids who you have never heard of that are coming at you.
Bielema: I knew going into our first team meeting that they had gone through a lot. Everyone had a different story there about how the past season had affected them. Going 4-8 last season was hard for them.
Bielema on if he would report Wisconsin for rule violations: I think the NCAA is doing a good job on monitoring secondary violations.
I’ve called the head coach of a university when I’m concerned about them doing something illegal. If they don’t respond, then we escalate.
Bielema is very impassioned about this issue. He wants rule committees to evaluate the best ways to protect the players.
On Malzahn saying the hurry-up offense dangers are a joke: I’m not a comedian. I’m looking at it from a head coach’s point of view. I’m responsible for the safety and well-being of my players.
You can’t say that a player is the same on down four as he is on down one.
I’ve had a situation where I’ve had to tell a mother that her son might not make it through.
If you want to play a hurry-up offense, I’ll play it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t protect my players.
Coach Bret Bielema, University of Arkansas
Because of the SEC on his shirt, Bielema had an easier time recruiting some key players, he said.
Bielema: We’re going to be a balanced football team, running the football and throwing.
Bielema: When I took over the program, I didn’t watch any film of the players. First impressions last a lifetime and I didn’t want to have a preconceived notion about what a player is capable of.
Bielema: One of our better players, Travis Swanson, is a center. I think that if you can build your team from the inside out, you can have a successful team.
Bielema: A serious fire took down several buildings in his small home town. His thoughts go out to them and he thanked those who reached out to him.
Bielema: We finished up the spring semester injury free and with the highest GPA in several years.
Coach Bielema has taken the stage.
Bielma’s is Arkansas’ 32nd head football coach. He led Wisconsin to three straight Rose Bowls by winning each of the last three Big Ten titles.
The Auburn players have left the media room. Up next is Razorbacks coach Bret Bielma.
Ford on last season: We could have taken that negative young-man mentality and really suffered because of that. But we’re starting over. We’re holding each other accountable to keep positive.
Dee Ford: Our practices are giving us the edge. We’re learing to work together and hold each other accountable.
Dee Ford, Defensive End for Auburn University
Jay Prosch, Halfback for Auburn University
Chris Davis, Cornerback for Auburn University
Four first-year coaches. Four new philosophies. Four new play-styles.
The SEC is set up for a shake-up. Though Malzahn is no stranger to Auburn, he will have to reteach many of the things that made the team an offensive powerhouse.
But can the team put the past year behind them? Can they fully heal from the “mental scars” that Malzahn referred to?
Only time will tell.
Hear from Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn tonight, July 17, at 6 and 10 on WHNT News 19!
Malzahn: There were some mental scars after last year but the team has put it in the rearview mirror.
Malzahn says he wants to have the fastest offense in the nation.
He says all four QB’s wil have an equal shot.
Coach Malzahn has ended his press conference. Stay tuned for the interviews with Chris Davis, Dee Ford, and Jay Prosch.
Malzahn on potential quarterback Jeremy Johnson: I started recruiting him in the 8th grade, so I know a lot about him. He’s a great basketball player and athlete. How quick he can pick up our offense will be the deciding factor.
Malzahn: Any time you have four quarterbacks to evaluate, it’s a concern. Hopefully someone will step up. Hopefully one will emerge sooner rather than later.
Malzahn: In the first team meeting we had, we put last year behind us. Last year was last-year. Now, we did have to do some Dr.-Phill-ing, but we are getting it together.
Malzahn on hurry-up offenses: I thought it was a joke that they were safety issues. I think that if you are going to look at rule changes, we should look at defensive players who fake injuries to slow down the pace of play.
Malzahn: It was a special feeling to get inducted into the Arkansas High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Malzahn on Kyle Fraizer: It takes some time to get back into the swing, but in the past few practices it has been clicking for him.
Malzahn is giving the media a rundown of the strengths of his offensive players.
Malzahn: We were very tough on our guys in the spring and we will continue to be until everyone is up to speed.
Malzahn: I’m really looking forward to the first day of practice.
Malzahn: We completely believe that a fast paced offense is the key, but as a head coach we will manage the flow of the game and slow it down if need be.
Coach Gus Malzahn, Auburn University
Malzahn: We have a lot of young but talented guys. They’re going to have to grow up in a hurry.
Malzahn: Offensively, our biggest challenge this season will be our quarterback. We have four guys who can move the ball down the field, and we will give them an equal shot. But we will not make a decision until we are 110 percent sure.
Malzahn: “I’m grateful for the opportunity to become the head football coach at Auburn University.”
Malzahn: I am proud that we have had no off-season problems.
Coach Malzahn has begun his conference!
Heisman winner Cam Newton, coached by Malzahn, had one of the best single-season’s ever, throwing for 2,908 yards and 30 touchdowns, while rushing fot 1,586 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Auburn’s 2010 offense, guided by Malzahn, set nine school records, including points scored in a season (577), points per game (41.2), total yards (6,989), total offense (499.2), rushing yards (3,987), rushing touchdowns (41) and passing touchdowns (31).
Last season, Malzahn led the Red Wolves to a 9-3 record and a 7-1 conference mark, including a seven game winning streak.
Malzahn won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach in 2010 for helping the Tigers to the BCS National Championship. Malzahn served one year as the head coach of Arkansas State in 2012, where he led the program to the Sun Belt Conference title.
Gus Malzahn served as Auburn’s offensive coordinator from 2009-2011. This is his first year as Auburn’s head coach.
Coach Malzahn is in the building! We’re expecting his press conference to start at 2:20. Stay tuned for minute by minute updates!