SEC Media Days Football

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops speaks to reporters during SEC media days, Thursday, July 18, 2019, in Hoover, Ala.

1. THE NEED FOR SPEED

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said he wants his Tigers to get back to playing the more up-tempo way they used to, but admitted it isn’t the advantage it once was. An interesting observation considering converting to a spread attack has been LSU’s offseason mantra. “Other teams were griping and all this,” said Malzahn, in what sounded like a veiled jab at Alabama’s Nick Saban. “Now everybody is playing fast.”

2. FORE, PLEASE

John Daly, the 1995 British Open champion, isn’t taking part in this year’s championship at Royal Portrush basically because his request to use a golf cart was denied. So apparently, Daly did the next best thing: he played in the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship Pro-Am near Lexington, Kentucky, on Wednesday with UK football coach Mark Stoops. “Big Arkansas fan, that’s for sure,” Stoops said. “Great guy. Had a lot of fun.”

3. GOING IN STYLE

Usually the players at Southeastern Conference media days are noted for being the most stylish. But Commodores players like wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb of New Orleans Jesuit know they take a back seat to Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason. “You see what he was wearing today?” Lipscomb asked. “He’s got Louis Vuitton shoes. He’s different.” “You look at the suit and the shoes and say, ‘Coach got swagger,’” Mason said. “I do.”

4. GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Kentucky went 10-3 this past season, its first 10-win season since 1977. But a 34-17 loss to Georgia with the SEC East at stake left linebacker Kash Daniel wanting more: “We have to come back this year with a stronger mindset. A stronger mentality that 10-3 is not acceptable.” Maybe that has taken root. “We are a good football team,” wide receiver Lynn Bowden said, “whether you want to believe it or not.”

Email Scott Rabalais at srabalais@theadvocate.com