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.
Sorry, Arkansas. It looks like your head coaching search may have to turn elsewhere. According to a report Sunday evening, Gus Malzahn has agreed to a new contract to stay at Auburn.
As originally reported by Brandon Marcello of Auburn Undercover, the new contract will extend Malzahn’s stay at Auburn for five years with a raise that could reach $7 million. Nothing official has been announced by Auburn and Malzahn was reluctant to address his coaching future during a conference call for the Peach Bowl.
Malzahn’s reluctance to address his future at Auburn was seemingly suggesting he was keeping his options open for a possible move to Arkansas, but given the latest development here, it would seem Malzahn was waiting for the news to become official from the university standpoint. And with lawyers involved to make sure everything is good to go, that may not have been completed just yet.
Auburn won the SEC West Division this season and came up short of an SEC championship, but the Tigers defeated two No. 1 teams in the final month of the regular season with wins at home against Georgia and Alabama. Both Georgia and Alabama are heading to the College Football Playoff, with Auburn preparing to take on UCF in the Peach Bowl.
Malzahn, who was reported to be the number one target for Arkansas following the dismissal of Bret Bielema, spent one season as the head coach at Arkansas State before returning to Auburn. In five years with the Tigers, Malzahn has coached the program to a record of 45-21 with a BCS National Championship Game appearance (where Auburn lost to Florida State) and the Sugar Bowl last season. Malzahn has increased Auburn’s win total each of the past two seasons and is hoping to pick up his second bowl victory at Auburn (Malzahn is 1-3 in bowl games with the lone win coming in the Birmingham Bowl).
With the basketball program connected to a scandal that drew the attention of the FBI, Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs is resigning from his position at the school by June 1, 2018. According to Brett McMurphy, via Twitter, Jacobs may resign sooner if Auburn can find a suitable replacement to take over as AD for the school moving forward.
Jacobs was hired as Auburn’s AD in December 2004 after a long career working at Auburn University for the previous two decades. It was Jacobs who hired two separate football coaches for the program, first with the hiring of Gene Chizik in 2008 from Iowa State and later with the hiring of current Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn. Jacobs also made a change at the head coach of the men’s basketball program as well, and it is the basketball program that may have been the last straw for Jacobs as AD at Auburn, although Auburn’s other sports programs have not been without their own incidents as well.
As far as the football program is concerned, there should be no reason to expect drastic changes any time soon with the Tigers. Malzahn seems to be firmly in place for a while at Auburn and there are no reason to believe any changes would be upcoming for the football program unless Malzahn, for whatever reason, were to leave on his own. That does not mean there is a lack of pressure on Malzahn and Auburn football though. Donors expect the Tigers to be on the same level as Alabama and compete for SEC titles somewhat regularly, and that has not quite been the case under Malzahn, and by extension, Jacobs. Chizik did take Auburn to a BCS national championship though, and Malzahn coached the Tigers to another BCS Championship Game appearance. Auburn has yet to reach the College Football Playoff, while Alabama has been the only SEC school to reach the four-team postseason format each of the three years it has been conducted.
This also means Auburn could be on the prowl for an AD near your favorite program, so be warned. The rumors should start swirling.
A day after being arrested for public intoxication, Sean White has been dismissed by the Auburn football program.
White was just coming off a two-game suspension for undisclosed disciplinary action, but now he will be out of football for the remainder of the 2017 season. The dismissal was first reported by Al.com on Monday morning. The school later confirmed the dismissal.
“Coach [Gus Malzahn] is aware of the situation,” an Auburn spokesman told AL.com. “He is gathering all the facts and will handle this appropriately.”
It would seem Malzahn has decided there was only one decision to be made regarding White’s legal trouble, and that was to cut bait and move on.
White had started 16 games for Auburn during his run with the program, but a broken arm in the Sugar Bowl left the door open for Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham to come in and win the starting job.
What had long been expected has become the reality today at Auburn. Former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham has officially been named the starting quarterback at Auburn.
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn made the official announcement Monday. Sean White will be Auburn’s backup quarterback heading into the 2017 season. The quarterback battle had been one of the biggest topics of conversation for Auburn this summer, with Stidham expected to give White a good run to be the starter in the fall.
Stidham announced a transfer to Auburn from Baylor in December after initially announcing his decision to transfer out of the Baylor program in July 2016 amid controversy at the program. Stidham was granted a release from his scholarship by Baylor but was blocked from transferring to another Big 12 program. In addition to Auburn, other SEC schools that were reportedly jumping in the recruiting mix for his services included Florida and Texas A&M.
At Auburn, Stidham steps into a role that could play vital to Auburn’s chances and hopes of giving Alabama a push for the SEC West Division. Stidham will share the same backfield as one of the top running backs in the SEC, Kamryn Pettway. Auburn’s offense likely upgraded at the quarterback position by a significant margin.