Day 1 of SEC Media Days

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) - WSFA 12 News has a crew in Birmingham for this year's SEC Media Days. We'll have a live report each night at 6:00 and 10:00pm and extra video of the day's events right here on WSFA.COM.

Wed -
Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino
Vanderbilt Coach Bobby Johnson
Mississippi Coach Dan Mullen
Kentucky Coach Rich Brooks

Thurs -
Alabama Coach Nick Saban
Georgia Coach Mark Richt
Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt
Florida Gators Coach Urban Meyer

Fri -
Auburn Coach Gene Chizik
S.C. Coach Steve Spurrier
LSU Coach Les Miles
Tennessee Coach Lane Kiffin

Brooks hopes to take UK to next level

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) - Kentucky's Rich Brooks figures it was appropriate he was the last coach to speak at Southeastern Conference media days in the first session.

He joked Wednesday that he is used to being picked to finish last each year. That's hardly a lock these days for a team that has won bowl games each of the past three seasons.

One reason for Brooks to be optimistic is that he expects quarterback Mike Hartline to be much improved. He cites the progress Andre' Woodson made before his junior season.

Brooks said there should be a stronger supporting cast for Hartline as well after he worked with five freshman receivers last season.

He said the next step for the improved program is competing for an SEC title.

Mullen tweets, then talks MSU football

Dan Mullen showed his youth and tech savvy with a quick tweet before addressing a few hundred Southeastern Conference reporters at media days.

The first-year Mississippi State coach joked about tweeting "I am on stage," while punching buttons on his cell phone.

The 37-year-old Mullen breezed through a 14-minute opening statement Wednesday on his goals for the team, his personnel and his multiple spread offense.

Mullen won't be coaching Tim Tebow like he did as Florida's offensive coordinator, but he praised the leadership of returning quarterback Tyson Lee.

Mississippi's Mr. Football Tyler Russell also joins Lee and sophomore Chris Relf in what Mullen says will be "pretty stiff" competition for the starting job.

Vandy wants to build on last season

The Vanderbilt Commodores aren't getting much of a break after recording their first bowl win in five decades.

The Commodores must play 12 straight weeks without a break, and coach Bobby Johnson said that coaches have to take that into consideration in not overworking players during preseason workouts.

Johnson said that might be the biggest challenge facing his team, not trying to make a second straight bowl game for the first time in Vandy history. The 'Dores' win over Boston College in the Music City Bowl was their first postseason victory since 1955.

Another challenge for Vandy: Picking a starting quarterback. Larry Smith led the team to the bowl win in his first start while Mackenzi Adams alternated with Chris Nickson in the season's second half.

Arkansas coach says team will improve

Arkansas' Bobby Petrino is hoping to approach the recent success of second-year coaches in the Southeastern Conference.

Petrino said Wednesday at league media days his team should be much better, deeper and more experienced after winning just two SEC games last season. At Florida, Urban Meyer won a national championship in his second year. Alabama's Nick Saban won 12 games in Year 2 last season.

Petrino said he feels by the second year players know better what the coaching staff expects and can react quicker on the field. The Razorbacks also have 6-foot-7 quarterback Ryan Mallett, who sat out last year after transferring from Michigan.

Petrino said Mallett is more mobile after trimming down more than 25 pounds from the 265 he weighed upon arriving.

SEC warns against "self-inflicted wounds"

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive says the league won't be able to sustain recent success without avoiding "self-inflicted wounds," such as NCAA sanctions and coaches drawing attention to themselves at the expense of others in the SEC.

At SEC Media Days in Hoover Wednesday, Slive said he has told conference coaches it is time to recommit to following the rules.

Five years ago, the league adopted a policy requiring coaches to report concerns about other SEC schools to their athletic directors.

Several coaches have publicly aired out complaints or accusations about their peers or other schools in recent months.

Slive also pointed to the league's three straight football national titles and other athletic successes in saying this period might someday be regarded as the league's "golden age."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)