ATLANTA, Ga. – Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn takes the stage today. The tigers are coming off a 10-win season in which they beat the SEC Champs and the National Championship winner in the regular season. Fourteen starters are returning for the team.
We will also hear from Vanderbilt and South Carolina to wrap up the 2018 SEC Media Days.
That concludes the live blog from SEC Media Days. Thanks for keeping up with us and be sure to tune into our later shows and follow Britton Lynn and Rocco DiSangro on Twitter and Facebook for updates!
“When you get complacent is when you start to fall off.” – Bentley
“Footwork and accuracy” are things that Bentley’s been working on in the off-season.
“I think its very important on getting guys as many reps as they can.” Bentley gives his opinion on the new red shirt rule.
“We have to focus our attention on week 1 against Coastal.” – Bentley
“As long as we win the game is all that I care about.” – Bentley
“I definitely think hes very talented..I think our receiver corp is the best…that’s the mindset you have to have.” – Bentley talks about having Samuel back and praises all of the wide receivers.
Bentley speaks on losing Deebo Samuel last year to an ankle injury: “Our offense took a hit confidence wise…we are glad to have him back out there..he’s a very selfless guy.”
South Carolina QB Jake Bentley on playing in a more up tempo offense: “It’s been different, there’s been bumps in the road…but our guys know what it does to a defense.”
“I see a more up tempo, educated offense than previous seasons.” – Samuel
“The love I have for the game, I wasn’t going to give up on it.” Samuel on what motivated him after his injury last year.
“We all bring something different to the table.” Samuel on the wide receiver core.
Samuel talks about his injury and discusses his hamstring injuries before breaking his ankle.
South Carolina Wide Receiver Deebo Samuel on his recover: “I feel fine. I’m ready to roll.”
“It starts in practice, counting on guys to make plays.” – Wonnum
Wonnum on coming to South Carolina: “My main focus was to work hard and do things on my own, and it’s paid off.”
“There’s not really much pressure, just work harder than we did last season.” – Wonnum
Wonnum expresses his excitement with his brother coming to play alongside him at South Carolina.
South Carolina defensive lineman DJ Wonnum on offensive changes: “Most of the changes I’ve noticed is the tempo.”
“Fatigue makes cowards of us all…when your able to dictate the game…it puts pressure on the defense.” – Muschamp
“I’ve been very pleased with how our coaching staff recruits and develops…we are serious about having a championship program.” – Muschamp
Muschamp reiterates that man-to-man coverage, being physical, and causing turnovers is paramount.
Muschamp compliments Bentley on his precision passing but urges that they must make plays around him.
Muschamp on Jake Bentley: “He did a phenomenal job of turning our season… he’s been a very productive behavior…he must take better care of the football.”
“A lot of quality players…when a Quarterbacks on, it’s really hard to stop.” Muschamp on the numerous amount of talented QBs in the SEC. Says that they must run man coverage and rush 4.
“This will be the best offensive line that I’ve had since I’ve been here…we have weapons on the outside.” – South Carolina Head Coach Will Muschamp
Skule praises QB Kyle Shumur as a calming presence and him being someone you want to lead the team.
“We have all 5 offensive lineman returning…we have weapons, we have to open up holes for him.” Vanderbilt Offensive Lineman Justin Skule
Shurmur on being on a billboard in Atlanta: “That was pretty cool, I got a text from my mom telling me how handsome I was.”
Shumur says that they need to learn how to deal with success as well as learn to not let losses lead to more losses.
Shurmur on his off season activities: “The Manning camp was a tremendous experience…one of my focuses was build chemistry with my receivers.”
“I try not to compare myself to other people…I just try to help Vanderbilt win games.” – Shurmur
Vanderbilt Quarterback Kyle Shurmur is excited about the weapons that he has at his disposal this season.
Wiley gives credit to Kyle Shurmur: “I think he’s one of the best QBs in the SEC.”
Vanderbilt Safety LaDarius Wiley on expectations for their defense: “Still tenacious, all gas no brakes..technically sound, hungry defense.”
Mason emphasizes the importance of having depth, especially on the offensive line.
Mason on SEC Media Days moving to Atlanta: “It’s a great opportunity, to move it to a different city but keep the same footprint…this year Atlanta has been fantastic.”
“I believe this conference makes you a better quarterback…this dude is stepping into his prime as a college quarterback.” – Mason
Mason talks about Notre Dame in week 3, saying that it’s great for our fan base and SEC football is SEC football, they aren’t scared of anyone.
Mason on beating Tennessee the last two seasons: “What happens between the white lines is what matters…we came out and played the game the last two years…we just brought in the best recruiting class that I’ve ever had…they got confidence in their selves…this team is more leader lead than coach led…it’s about these dudes playing ball…with that being said, we have to continue to move forward.”
“Heading into my 5th season, I’m a different dude…I’m sitting at the helm and I’m excited.” – Mason
“I’m excited where this program is…I’m just happy to be head coach.” – Vanderbilt Head Coach Derek Mason.
“I was asked to go on a mission trip early on, but I was hesitant to go because I had never been out of the country….I got to know him (coach) on a more personal level…I’m just happy he does things like that.” ~ Russel on mission trips with Malzahn
“My decision to come back to Auburn was purely about my education. I feel like my time to play football is still open in the future, but I don’t think I would want to come back and get my degree after leaving for the NFL.” ~Russell
“He takes us on mission trips with him, he’s heavily involved in the FCA. He does what he can to keep us involved and help us grow as men.” ~Russell on Coach Malzahn saying coaching is more than a calling, it’s his ministry.
“It’s one of those things we’re kind of used to, but we still have to acknowledge it’s a big game.”
Russell on game against Washington
“We are in a good spot, we can rotate guys in and out.” ~Russell
Auburn Defensive Lineman Dontavius Russell is now on the podium.
“The biggest key to our success is going to be our offensive line.” – Malzahn
Malzahn on playing both Alabama and Georgia on the road: “When you play on the road against any team in this conference, it’s a challenge…we have to find a way to overcome it.”
Malzahn talks about not cussing when he’s coaching. Says that his replacement words are “crud” or “crap” only if he’s really mad: “I try my best to be a great example…coaching is my ministry.”
Malzahn elaborates on having a 14 year career coaching background for high school really benefited him in the long run.
“I think as a coach, I flip the switch.” Malzahn on coaching with intensity.
Malzahn speaks on QB Jarret Stidham: “I know he’s ready to take that next step in being a leader…I’m glad to have him on this team…he’s earned the respect from all his teammates…I feel really good about him being our leader.”
“I think all coaches are excited about the red shirt rule…I think about our injured players.” – Malzahn
“It really was the lowest of the low…we let that one slip away…you either fold your tent or rally together, and we rallied together…real proud of the way that team handled adversity.” Malzahn touches on losing to LSU and bouncing back from that loss.
I am proud of how last year’s team handled adversity after the lost against LSU
“It’s going to be a great measuring stick…we are looking forward to it…being able to be back in Atlanta is beneficial.” Gus Malzahn looks forward to the season opener against Washington.
Gus Malzahn on the new headset rule: “I’ve not heard one coach that does like the rule…my biggest concern is the quality of the game…it’s going to be a challenge.” Goes on to say that headsets are needed to gather information.
Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn on losing to UCF: “All I can tell you is that we didn’t play our best…they deserve all the credit.”
Davis speaks on breaking the Mercedes-Benz stadium: “We are using those games as motivation…we don’t have time to make mistakes…I’m trying to put my team in the best position to make plays…looking forward to this season, and the possibility of being one of the best linebackers in the country.”
Davis says that the thing that would surprise you the most about Head Coach Gus Malzahn would be the intensity he has behind the scenes.
Davis gives high praise to his defensive line. Goes on to say that he wouldn’t able to do what he does without them recreating the line of scrimmage.
Davis speaks on the overwhelming respect that he gets from Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele. “He gives me the keys to drive the car.”
“You’re always going to have doubters.” – Davis
“I’m living a dream right now. Playing college football, representing my school, representing my state.” ~Davis
“I tale a lot of pride in being the Auburn linebacker….I never take a snap for granted.” – Davis
“That was a tough loss…but I think that made us who we were. The first thing Gus Malzahn told us in the locker room was we still had a chance….we found out a lot about ourselves on who we are as men and who we were as a team.” ~ Davis on LSU loss
Davis opens up about the loss to LSU, saying it’s probably the worst loss he’s ever experienced.
“This spring, a lot guys showed flashes…fall camp should be really interesting.” – Davis talks about replacing Kerryon Johnson.
Auburn Linebacker Deshaun Davis on his message for his hometown Mobile: “My message would be to dream…there’s a lot of talent in Mobile that didn’t make it…Just dream, anything can happen.”
Stidham talks about his injury and rehabilitation: “It’s back to normal, I’m ready to rock.”
Stidham on how comfortable he is with the wide receivers: “I just throw an object to them..they do all the work I just try to get it to them…they are hungry to catch some touchdowns this year.”
“I knew he was going to have his guys ready…it is what it is…using it as motivation.” Stidham speaks on Coach Frost and the loss to UCF.
“I love to learn about the game of football, and I love to learn about the Quarterback position.” – Stidham
“I kinda knew from the get-go that I was going to go to Auburn.” – Stidham on going through the recruiting process again after Baylor.
Stidham talks about the strength of the QBs in the SEC and participating in the Manning Passing Camp.
“The biggest thing for me was just mentally.” Stidham talks about what aspect of his game has improved the most.
“I’m just worried abut being the best quarterback for the Tigers.” – Stidham on being on the Heisman watch list.
Stidham on sitting out a year: “A year before the Iron Bowl, I was sitting on the couch…I was working out with 16 year-olds at a high school…I’ve come a long way…it’s a very humbling experience, but it’s very surreal”
Stidham talks about beating the two teams that competed in the National Championship “it is what it is.”
“It’s something I dreamed about for a long time, overall it’s been a great summer.” Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham opens up about his engagement.