The SEC may be packing up their media day extravaganza and moving from Alabama to Atlanta, but this year’s media day schedule shows the SEC will still carefully roll out plenty of storylines over the course of a four-day love fest for the conference.
The SEC is setting up shop at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, which feels like a great landing spot for the new media day fun for the SEC. The conference has established Atlanta as a destination point for the end of the regular season and the city just played host to the first College Football Playoff national championship game between two teams from the same conference, the SEC (Alabama and Georgia). So why not kickstart a new football season with the media in Atlanta too?
New Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher will be the headline act for the first of the four media days for the SEC. Fisher will make his SEC Media Days debut as head coach of the Aggies on Monday, July 16. Other coaches speaking that day will be LSU’s Ed Orgeron and Kentucky’s Mark Stoops. Day 2 will be an interesting one with Georgia’s Kirby Smart in the spotlight coming off the SEC championship last fall and new Florida head coach Dan Mullen addresses the media for the first time as the Gators coach, although the former Mississippi State head coach is no stranger to the SEC media day circuit by now. Day 2 will also be the first SEC Media Day introduction for new Arkansas head coach Chad Morris and second-year Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke (Luke took over as head coach in Oxford after SEC Media Days last summer following the removal of Hugh Freeze not long after media days).
But when is Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaking, you ask? Day 3 (Wed., July 18 for those keeping track). Saban headlines the third day of the media day event for the SEC. Two other coaches speaking that day will be new head coaches in the SEC with former Saban assistant Jeremy Pruitt representing Tennessee and Joe Moorhead of Mississippi State stepping to the SEC podium for the first time. Missouri’s Barry Odom is also scheduled on day three. Day 4 will feature Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, South Carolina’s Will Muschamp, and Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason.
Player representatives for each school in addition to any other speakers will be announced at a later time.
After losing Josh Heupel as an offensive coordinator to be the head coach at UCF, Missouri head coach Barry Odom needed to find a replacement. He ended up bringing former Tennessee head coach and Dallas Cowboys assistant coach Derek Dooley into the Missouri program to fill the void. For Dooley, a chance to return to the college game and in the SEC is one he embraced, and he seems to be looking forward to putting his past at Tennessee behind him as he hopes to help keep Missouri moving forward.
“Getting back into the crosshairs is a little bit more my personality,” Dooley said Friday at his first press conference with Missouri media, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s easy to stay removed from the firing line. You guys have the ammo and you’re firing away. That’s OK. That’s your job. But there’s a lot of personalities (in coaching) that don’t like that. And that’s OK. They’re great coaches. But I guess that’s not mine. I’m a glutton for punishment.”
As far as Odom is concerned, he seems optimistic about hiring an offensive coordinator with a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
“He’s got something to prove,” Odom said. Odom also said he has something to prove. After a rough start to the 2017 season, Odom made a passionate claim he was the right guy to coach the Tigers. Sure enough, Missouri turned things around in a big way to reach a bowl game. The season ended with a loss to Texas in the bowl game, but that gives Odom a sense of unfinished business, a mantra his entire program can buy into this offseason.
Dooley certainly does. Back in the same division as Tenessee, Dooley hopes his work as offensive coordinator at Mizzou will erase the image he had when he went 15-21 as head coach of the Vols. Dooley will have a talented offense to work with next fall, which is led by the return of the SEC’s leading passer from last season, Drew Lock.
More than satisfied with the in-season turnaround of the football program in 2017, Missouri has extended the contract of Barry Odom by two years. The school announced the contract extension Saturday, locking in Odom through the 2023 season with the new extension.
“I am excited for the future of this program, as we have made positive steps over the course of the last two years,” Odom said. “I am so appreciative of my team and staff; they continually work together to make Mizzou Football a great representative of our University.
The contract extension still has to formally be approved by the university board and president, but that should be merely a formality. The financial details of Odom’s contract will remain in place as previously agreed to, but it is noted Odom would be eligible to receive a cut of the ticket sales if Missouri makes enough on tickets.
“According to the MOU, in any season during the agreement that ticket revenue from Mizzou home football games exceeds $11.7M, Odom will receive an amount equal to 20% of that amount,” a statement from the school explains.
Odom is losing a few caches to other jobs this season but is making adjustments to provide some stability after losing Josh Heupel to be UCF’s head coach.
The Missouri Tigers have been a bit of a mess this season, which means the changes for 2017 are already underway. Today, on the eve of Thanksgiving, Missouri has fired defensive line coach Jackie Shipp.
“Jackie Shipp is no longer coaching for us, due to an internal matter where his conduct didn’t meet our expectations for coaches,” Missouri coach Barry Odom said in a released statement. “We have a very high level of expectation for our student athletes, and for our staff that applies to an even higher level.”
Bu this may go a little deeper than just coaching an inadequate defensive line. According to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Shipp may have been fired for his conduct with a player prior to last week’s road game at Tennessee. An argument with a player led to Shipp not coaching in the game and not traveling home with the team.
Shipp joined the Missouri program this season to fill a vacancy left by Chris Wilson, who accepted a job with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. Shipp joined the Mizzou program after three years with Arizona State and a long stretch with Oklahoma.
Missouri’s defensive depth just got hit with a serious injury big. Missouri head coach Barry Odom announced today linebacker Mike Scherer and defensive lineman Terry Beckner Jr. have been lost for the rest of the season due to ACL injuries.
“It rips my heart out that he’s done everything he’s done and it ends for him with that injury,” Odom said when reflecting on the injury to Scherer. The senior also suffered a torn MCL in addition to the ACL injury. Scherer’s season comes to an end after leading the Tiger sin tackles this season.
This is the second season in a row Beckner has injured his ACL. Beckner tore his ACL and MCL last November, but the latest injury was to the opposite knee.
While Scherer will be forced to call it a career, Odom said Beckner will most likely be able to make a return to the team in 2017. It is just a matter of when he will be able to rejoin the team, as his rehab would likely linger into the winter and spring months. As noted by Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Beckner did not miss any preseason camp activities this year.
There was some positive injury news for report from Missouri. Defensive back John Gibson and safety Thomas Wilson each returned to practice on Tuesday after having a strained knee and taking a hit that required a concussion test, respectively. Wilson was not diagnosed with a concussion, allowing him to return to practice.