Saban talks on SEC Media Days



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

Saban: QB questions come right back to line

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's Nick Saban says any quarterback questions come right back to the blockers.

With Greg McElroy expected to replace John Parker Wilson at quarterback, he'll be without three of last season's starting linemen, including All-Americans Antoine Caldwell and Andre Smith.

Saban stressed the importance of that group in a quarterback's success Thursday at SEC media days.

He said James Carpenter showed he could be "a functional" SEC left tackle during spring practice. William Vlachos appears to be the leader at center. The group will be led by preseason all-conference guard Mike Johnson.

The defense has eight returning starters instead of the expected nine. Linebacker Brandon Fanney was not listed on the media guide roster, but his plans weren't immediately clear.

Meyer likes how Gators have worked in offseason

Coach Urban Meyer says the Florida Gators' primary goal hasn't changed despite being a heavy favorite to win a third national championship in four years.

Meyer said Thursday at Southeastern Conference media days the Gators focus daily on doing everything possible to make it to the league title game.

He said the team's strength coaches have raved about the players' summer workouts. Meyer also said he has "never been more anxious to coach a football team."

Meyer said he hopes to know by week's end if receiver Riley Cooper will return to the team or leave for a pro baseball career with the Texas Rangers.

He declined to comment on whether cornerback Janoris Jenkins or linebacker Dustin Doe could face a suspension for legal problems.

Tebow embraces spotlight, chance to share faith

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow isn't complaining about all the attention he receives or the lack of privacy.

The former Heisman Trophy winner said Thursday at Southeastern Conference media days that the attention has included a lot of positives, too. For one, he said it gives him a chance to share his faith publicly and encourage and influence others.

Tebow's return for his senior season has helped make the Gators heavy favorites to win a second straight national title and the third of his career.

He also volunteered that, no, he doesn't know which coach kept him from being a unanimous preseason All-SEC pick.

Nutt: Ole Miss players dealing with hype well

Mississippi coach Houston Nutt was on high alert during the offseason to see how his players would handle the unfamiliar hype.

So far, so good. He said Thursday the Rebels are in uncharted territory as a preseason Top 10 pick by some magazines, but he likes how the players have dealt with the attention, including quarterback Jevan Snead.

The Rebels earned the attention by winning their final six games last season, including a Cotton Bowl victory over Texas Tech.

At SEC media days in Hoover, he was even asked if his team felt the season would be a bust if it falls short of the SEC championship game in Atlanta.

Nutt said the only way to cope with it was to go back to work.

Like any team, he said the key will be avoiding costly injuries.

Richt: Bulldogs buy into QB Cox's leadership

Senior quarterback Joe Cox hasn't played all that much, but Georgia coach Mark Richt says he already has the confidence of his teammates.

Richt said Thursday at Southeastern Conference media days that the majority of the team picked Cox as the best leader. He said they had confidence Cox could get the job done the past two years if Matthew Stafford had been injured.

Richt said he could have a package that takes advantage of backup Logan Gray's athleticism. Highly touted freshmen Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray could get some playing time if one of them secures the backup spot.

On other issues, Richt said he wasn't sure if the team would employ another "blackout" this season. He jokingly said he's not sure the fans would participate in wearing black after the tough game against Alabama last year.

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