HOOVER, Ala. (WHNT) – From Texas A&M, Coach Kevin Sumlin, Toney Hurd Jr., Johnny Manziel, and Jake Matthews will be joining us. From Kentucky, Coach Mark Stoops, Donte Rumph, Raymond Sanders, and Avery Williamson will be joining us.
Live Blog: SEC Days – Mississippi State and Tennessee http://via.whnt.com/KVSjLMU
Interviews with University of Kentucky students have ended. Stay tuned for a link to our next live blog, featuring Mississippi State and Tennessee.
Raymond Sanders: “People have always been telling me that I’m too small. My mom always told me that it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
Coach Stoops’ press conference has ended. Players from Kentucky will be in the room momentarily to take questions.
Stoops said that when he began as defensive coordinator at Florida State, he had to inject a lot of positive energy into the program. He went on to say that he had to bring the same positive energy to Kentucky’s program.
Stoops on what he learned from Jimbo Fisher, Florida State’s head coach: I learned a lot from coach Fisher. I learned about effective recruiting drives and how to organize a team.
Stoops: I believe at Kentucky we have three quarterbacks who are able to win at a competitive level.
Stoop on playing Western Kentucky in thier first game: I don’t know coach Petrino personally, but I expect an offensive-minded team.
Stoop: From what I’ve seen in the first 15 days in spring practice, we need to improve.
Stoop on the SEC East: We need to work on our recruiting to be successful in this league. Of course you need to look at Florida and South Carolina, but we are really focused on ourselves.
Stoop on Kentucky recruiting: We need to expand beyond Kentucky. We need to start there, but we need to branch out into Ohio.
Stoops, the former Florida State defensive coordinator, is the new head coach at Kentucky.
Coach Mark Stoops with the University of Kentucky has taken the stage.
The Texas A&M players have left the media room. Up next is Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops to address the media and answer questions.
Johnny Manziel answered many questions about his off the field behavior. One point he drove home over and over– he’s dedicated to keeping himself out of trouble. He only wants to be recognized for his on the field achievements.
Manziel: I’m ready to stop. There will be no more talk on Twitter after this. I’m ready to concentrate on and play football.
Manziel: Twitter is what it is. I’ve learned a lot.
I knew the spotlight would be on me. I knew I would be watched.
Sumlin has ended his press conference. We’re expecting the players to enter shortly to answer questions.
“Are we going to change him fundamentally? No. Are we going to develop him as a quarterback? Yes,” said Sumlin on Manziel.
“We sit down and talk about your strengths and weaknesses as a player. We try to develop their game. Johnny’s challenge, and it still is, is to be able to anticipate the game as it will become,” said Sumlin about Manziel’s first season since winning the Heisman.
“We want to develop him from a athlete who is a quarterback to a quarterback who is an athlete.”
“Has he handled that perfectly? No. I think that’s all a learning experience and a growing experience because quite frankly, it’s something that no one’s ever been through at that age.” Sumlin on Manziel’s Heisman hype.
On Manziel winning the Heisman: “It wasn’t the worst thing to happen to him, but it might have been for me!”
That comment got a lot of laughs from the room.
Sumlin on Manziel not using Twitter: “We have discussions all the time.”
A lot of questions about Manziel being fired at Sumlin.
Sumlin on dealing with media hype: When you’re talking about hype and attention, it’s great for our fans and community. As a coach, it’s improtant to be consistent, set the tone, and not ride the wave up and down.
“He’s made some good decisions, he’s made some poor decisions. Unfortunately, the poor decisions are the ones that are publicized.” -Sumlin on Manziel
“Off the field, there is no question that he’s made some mistakes.” -Head Coach Kevin Sumlin talking about Johnny Manziel.
In his first year as the Aggies’ head coach, Sumlin led A&M to its first 11-win season since 1998 and shook up the SEC.
Sumlin: We lost some good players from last year, but that’s the good thing about college football. Your team is changing every year.
You have to have a plan for when that happens.
Sumlin: That momentum has translated into positive things. It’s translated into a great recruiting class this year. It has translated into more applications to Texas A&M and more donations.
Sumlin: As a team, we have to hit the reset button. As a team, we recruited 31 new players since last year.
Sumlin: It’s a great time to be at Texas A&M.
It’s great to have relevancy in the league and in the nation. As a coach, that’s where you want to be. At Texas A&M, the excitement level is really high.
Coach Kevin Sumlin has taken the stage.
Shaw’s address has ended. We’re expecting Coach Kevin Sumlin with Texas A&M to take the stage shortly.
2013 points of emphasis: Targeting of defenseless players, coaches sideline behavior, and unsportsmanlike conduct.
Unsportsmanlike conduct rules have been expanded. After the play, if two players “chicken fight,” they can both be penalized with unsportsmanlike conduct violations, according to Shaw.
“I hope this get through to players and they change their conduct,” said Shaw. “I hope this makes the same change and impact as the changes to the unsportsmanlike conduct rule changes a few years ago.”
The type of foul being concentrated on are hits “above the shoulder,” according to Shaw.
SEC Coordinator of Football Officials Steve Shaw is talking about changes to the rules for the targeting and redefinition of “defenseless players.”