SEC Media Days 2015: They said what? The best and worst quotes from Thursday _lowres

Associated Press photo by BRYNN ANDERSON -- Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze speaks to the reporters at Southeastern Conference Media Days on Thursday, July 16, 2015, in Hoover, Ala.


In the spotlight: Wednesday, 9:05 a.m. to 12:05 p.m.

Coach: Nick Saban

Players: DL Jonathan Allen, TE O.J. Howard, DB Eddie Jackson

Hot take: Saban’s 10th team in Tuscaloosa is full of questions, but isn’t that how it always is? And still, the Tide has won four of the past seven national titles. Bama is reloading with four- and five-star talent on defense, but Saban lost his top two rushers for the first time in his Alabama tenure. RB Bo Scarborough is turning heads, but a QB battle will consume preseason camp for the third straight year.


In the spotlight: Wednesday, 9:05 a.m. to 12:05 p.m.

Coach: Bret Bielema

Players: LB Brooks Ellis, TE Jeremy Sprinkle, DL Deatrich Wise Jr.

Hot take: The name on the back of the jersey — "Allen" — will be the same, but Arkansas’ quarterback will be Austin Allen, brother of former starter Brandon Allen. Austin has thrown only 19 passes in his college career, but he easily won the starting quarterback job during spring practice. He’s more of a risk-taker, some say, than his brother. Meanwhile, the Hogs get nine starters back on a defense that must improve from 2015.


In the spotlight: Monday, 11:35 a.m. to 2:25 p.m.

Coach: Gus Malzahn

Players: DL Montravius Adams, WR Marcus Davis, DL Carl Lawson

Hot take: Auburn showed its support of Malzahn with a slight contract extension this spring, but the coach’s seat is, arguably, hotter than any other coach's in the conference. That BCS title run in 2013 seems like ages ago. Eight- and seven-win seasons followed, and the Tigers are itching to stay afloat in the toughest division in the college game. And they might have to rely on their defense, of all things, to do it.


In the spotlight: Thursday, 9:05 a.m. to 1:35 p.m.

Coach: Les Miles

Players: RB Leonard Fournette, OL Ethan Pocic, DB Tre'Davious White

Hot take: The Tigers return 18 starters, including a Heisman Trophy hopeful at running back, an upperclassman quarterback and as many as three defenders who could go in the first round of the NFL draft. Expectations are sky high, and Miles’ seat is still toasty from that drama-filled November. Is it win (the SEC West) or go home for Miles? LSU has lost to Alabama five straight times, a run that likely must end for the Tigers to reach Atlanta for the SEC title game.

Mississippi State

In the spotlight: Tuesday, 9:05 a.m. to 12:25 p.m.

Coach: Dan Mullen

Players: LB Richie Brown, DL A.J. Jefferson, WR Fred Ross

Hot take: Surely the Bulldogs can’t win without QB Dak Prescott, right? Prescott helped State to consecutive seasons with at least nine wins, a program first. He’s now with the Dallas Cowboys, but his replacement could be someone similar: Dual-threat Nick Fitzgerald was a triple-option QB in high school. Expect a lot of running from whoever State’s QB is, and you’ll notice the Bulldogs have changed from a 4-3 front to a 3-4, too.

Ole Miss

In the spotlight: Thursday, 9:05 a.m. to 1:35 p.m.

Coach: Hugh Freeze

Players: TE Evan Engram, DT D.J. Jones, QB Chad Kelly

Hot take: The Rebels have improved by one win in each of Freeze’s first four seasons, going from 7-6 in 2012 to 10-3 last year. Have they reached their peak? Ole Miss lost three first-round draft picks from the 2015 squad but returns Kelly, arguably the conference’s top quarterback. The NCAA’s investigation in Oxford likely will cloud media days for Freeze and his Rebels.

Texas A&M

In the spotlight: Tuesday, 1 to 4 p.m.

Coach: Kevin Sumlin

Players: DL Myles Garrett, QB Trevor Knight, WR Ricky Seals‐Jones

Hot take: The Aggies are bringing QB Trevor Knight to SEC media days even though the Oklahoma transfer hasn’t played a down for A&M. That speaks volumes about Sumlin’s faith and expectations for the senior. Under intense pressure, Sumlin lost two five-star quarterbacks during the offseason, and A&M replaced offensive coordinator Jake Spavital with UCLA’s Noel Mazzone in hopes of reviving a unit that has limped since the glory days of Johnny Manziel.

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger