Jeff's Journal - #9

Another Friday... another SEC library. This time, we're at the University of Alabama - last stop on Jeff's SEC Journey.
We're heading to Crimson Tide practice this afternoon, then back to Montgomery to edit the SEC previews that will air next week on WSFA 12 News at 6 and 10 (more on the schedule in a minute).

Since my last Journal entry, we've covered nine more Southeastern Conference schools, including South Carolina, where Lou Holtz upon hearing we were from Montgomery, said he would use "small words so your audience will understand."

He had a big smile on his face, so I'm pretty sure he was kidding.

Kentucky coach Rich Brooks told us to, "Bring back the Blue-Gray game ." I told him we've been hearing that an announcement about the game's return could be coming soon.
Sunday at Auburn, the Tiger staff had to put ropes around the intramural fields to give the fans a safe area to watch practice. I'd say there were at least 250 Auburn fans there. That's what happens when you're ranked in the top 10.

Got to meet Georgia Athletic Director Vince Dooley Monday in Athens. It's sad to see a 40-year employee (and one who won a national championship)not go out on his own terms. Dooley's feud with university president Dr. Michael Adams is stirring up a lot of passion in the Peach State. Dooley's handling it in a classy way, of course.

I asked him when he knew Herschel Walker would be as great as he was. He said, "not right away." Dooley says Walker is the kind of player who looked good in practice, but just "exploded" in games.

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt says former Razorback quarterback Tarvaris Jackson made a poor decision by leaving Hog Country to return to his hometown of Montgomery to play at Alabama State . Nutt says T.J. "wanted to play yesterday" - meaning in Nutt's opinion, Jackson was so eager for playing time, he was unwilling to wait on the sidelines while developing his skills.
Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer says Russellville offensive lineman Arron Sears is the best freshman lineman he's worked with in his 10 years as head coach. Sears is already working with the second-team. That's unusual for a true freshman offensive lineman. They almost always get red-shirted.
I asked the Ole Miss media relations folks what type of Heisman campaign they plan to produce for Eli Manning . They say they're going to "low-key" it. No posters. No bobblehead dolls. If the Rebels are winning and Eli is still being mentioned as a candidate halfway through the season, they might send something to sportswriters before the Downtown Athletic Club starts collecting ballots. Eli told us he'd love to win the Heisman because it would mean Ole Miss has won a lot of games.
Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill, who played for Coach Bryant at Alabama in the mid '60's, told us a story about the Bear from 1962

Sherrill says the Tide was playing Mississippi State in Starkville. Alabama's punt returner Cotton Clark (who led the nation in scoring that year), ran into a teammate on a punt return. Coach Bryant was so upset, he pulled Clark out of the game, telling Cotton, "all you care about is scoring!"

But when Alabama drove down to the Bulldogs' 10-yard line, Coach Bryant called on Clark, who scored the game-winning touchdown. Sherrill says he found out that day that Bryant was a tough disciplinarian who would get his point across, but he was still pragmatic enough to use his most talented player when the situation called for it.
By the way, Coach Sherrill says Alabama won that game, "something like 17-14," with Lee Roy Jordan saving the day on defense.

In case you're interested in seeing your favorite SEC school's preview on WSFA, here's the schedule for Jeff's SEC Journey :




Monday (8/18)


WSFA 12 News at 6


WSFA 12 News at 10

Tuesday (8/19)


WSFA 12 News at 6

South Carolina

WSFA 12 News at 10

Wednesday (8/20)


WSFA 12 News at 6


WSFA 12 News at 10

Thursday (8/21)


WSFA 12 News at 6


WSFA 12 News at 10

Friday (8/22)


WSFA 12 News at 6

Ole Miss

WSFA 12 News at 10

Saturday (8/23)


WSFA 12 News at 6

Mississippi State

WSFA 12 News at 10

After 12 plane flights, 5 rental cars and 7 hotels, photojournalist Kevin Fichtner and I are heading home.
While we were on the road, Fic Cam and I played a game that Phil Snow used to play on many a "Skywriters" tour. Trying to find license plates from all 50 states . Kevin and I collected 42 (plus the Canadian province of Ontario). The only ones we're missing are West Virginia, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Nevada.
Let me know if you see them!
Until next week, God bless - Jeff