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.
It did not take long for people to start talking about who the next head coach at Ole Miss will be following the Thursday night resignation of Hugh Freeze. And somehow, one of the betting favorites has quickly become former Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley.
As noted by Rocky Top Talk, the Tennessee blog on SB Nation, the former Vols coach and current assistant with the Dallas Cowboys is listed as the second most-favored coach to take over at Ole Miss, listed at +500 according to BetOnline. SMU head coach Chad Morris is the current betting favorite on the betting website, with Morris listed at +300 to be the next coach of the Rebels.
Other names on the board include former LSU head coach Les Miles (+800), and former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly (+1400). FAU head coach Lane Kiffin has been having fun trolling about the Ole Miss fallout on Twitter, yet he is also on the board at +1600.
For what it is worth, interim head coach Matt Luke has also been given odds to keep the job, and he is listed at +1200.
Here are the latest odds as listed by BetOnline;
- Chad Morris +300
- Derek Dooley +500
- Blake Anderson +700
- Les Miles +800
- Mike Norvell +1000
- Brent Venables +1200
- Scott Frost +1400
- Chip Kelly +1400
- Neal Brown +1600
- Lane Kiffin +1600
- Mike MacIntyre +1600
- Charlie Strong +1600
- Willie Fritz +2000
- Bryan Harsin +2000
- Bobby Petrino +2500
So place your bets wisely. But if you choose to place your money on Dooley, you might as well just send me your money instead.
After multiple stops between short-time professional football jobs in the NFL, UFL, Arena Football League, and the CFL, former Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne is heading back to school for his next gig. He’ll be working for a familiar face as well.
Kinne is joining the coaching staff at SMU, headed by Chad Morris. Kinne played quarterback for Tulsa during the 2010 season, at which time Morris was the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator and quarterback coach under head coach Todd Graham. Though their time together was brief with just the one season in 2010, Morris and Kinne developed a solid relationship and Morris continues to praise Kinne as one of the best quarterbacks he has worked with.
Kinne finished his college career at Tulsa having thrown for 9,472 yards and 81 touchdowns after starting his collegiate career at Texas. He transferred to Tulsa in 2008 and took over the starting job in 2009 and kept it for the final three years of his eligibility. Morris moved to Clemson after the 2010 season to take on the offensive coordinator role for the Tigers.
This will be Kinne’s first coaching job.
With rumors swirling around about possible interest from Baylor, SMU has gone all in on keeping Chad Morris happy where he currently resides. SMU announced on Wednesday that Morris has agreed to a contract extension that will keep him in charge of the program through 2023.
The news is even more significant given the current climate of the coaching carousel that has seen one of SMU’s rivals (Houston) lose one of the top coaching targets in the coaching carousel (Tom Herman) to a power conference program in the same state (Texas). SMU handed Houston one of their three losses this season, and now managed to keep their head coach from leaving for another potential job opportunity. For a program looking to rebuild and become a contender in the AAC, SMU has plenty of reasons to be smiling right now.
Morris has been the head coach at SMU for two seasons now, and while the results have not necessarily paid off in the win column just yet with a bowl trip or a conference title push, the groundwork is being laid for future long-term success with Morris serving as the foreman. SMU has focused on recruiting well within the state of Texas.
While Morris may be signed to a long-term deal at SMU, if he continues to show progress with the program there is a very good chance his name will continue to pop up in the rumor mill in the future. Such is the life of a successful coach from the Group of Five.
The rebuilding of SMU is a project that is no easy task. As Chad Morris gets ready for his second season on the job, he continues to do what he can to build a foundation based on Texas recruits. For the second straight season, SMU assembled a recruiting class consisting of only Texas recruits.
“I’m extremely proud of that,” Morris said last week, per The Dallas Morning News. “You’ll hear a lot of talk about us being Texas tough.
“The toughest thing was trying to create the momentum that we had a year ago, especially coming off a season that wasn’t up to our standards. The majority of our kids were committed to us before the season ever started.
SMU is the only FBS program to land a recruiting class consisting of just players from the state of Texas over the past two recruiting classes. The state of Texas has always been a large and competitive recruiting state, and SMU is certainly facing some stiff competition left and right between traditional heavyweights like Texas and Texas A&M, emerging powers in Baylor and TCU and rising conference rival Houston in addition to other programs from the Big 12 and SEC and beyond making visits into the Lone Star state.
If restoring pride in the SMU program is going to succeed, installing a strong Texas connection is a smart way to go for Morris and the Mustangs.
“It was important for us to do that, to build that continuity, build that relationship with these guys,” Morris said. “The majority of them had big-time offers, so we were battling all the way up to the final hour.”