With Day 1 of the 2018 SEC Media Days in the books, we take a look at the biggest takeaways from what we saw and heard in Atlanta.
Taking up a new residence at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, GA, the 2018 SEC Media Days got underway on Monday. College football is just about a month and a half away and, as you would figure, there were plenty of people in the building chomping at the bit to get any tidbits possible about the SEC in 2018.
Kicking things off in Atlanta was the commissioner of the conference, Greg Sankey, followed by a trio of coaches speaking on the day: Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M, Mark Stoops of Kentucky and Ed Orgeron of LSU.
As you’d expect the first and last of that group of coaches both had the most asked of them and the most to say. Thus, as we dive into the biggest takeaways of Day 1, Stoops and the Wildcats will be missing as, frankly, there wasn’t much that we didn’t already know that was said by them.
Injury reports appear inevitable
One question that was asked of every coach on the day, but first of SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, was about the effects of legalized sports gambling. Specifically, such legislature would likely require coaches to submit official injury reports before games. While none of the coaches seemed particularly thrilled about the notion, they did seem to be accepting that it was coming.
That’s good, because Sankey seemed to indicate (per CBS Sports) that it was indeed an inevitability that injury reports would be coming. The commissioner seemed to confirm that it won’t happen in 2018, but all while making it seem like something soon to come to the league.
Ed Orgeron and LSU remain a mystery
This spring, Ed Orgeron and the LSU Tigers parted ways with Matt Canada at offensive coordinator as he never seemed to be on the same page as the head coach. The LSU offense was again pedestrian and it seemed to ultimately be directionless, despite being littered with talent. Orgeron even went as far to call hiring Canada a “mistake” that he had to admit.
Now the offense will be in the hands of Steve Ensminger, who was an interim OC back in 2016 for eight games prior to Canada’s hiring. While that’s fine — as is the implementation of the spread offense, as Coach O spoke of on Monday — it’s clear that nothing is settled with this team. There is still talent, there is still hope, but there is questionable direction. The Tigers don’t have a starting quarterback settled, and it remains to be seen how Ensminger and Orgeron will ultimately mesh to construct the offense. As those two things will determine this team’s success, LSU as a whole is a mystery coming into 2018.
No grace period for Jimbo Fisher
Perhaps the clearest thing that we saw on Day 1 from the College Football Hall of Fame was that new Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher is the fastest talker in the SEC. And the clearest thing beyond that we saw is that he’s not expecting his plan to take a while. (After that, it was clear that he’s not about to quiet down according to running back Trayveon Williams.)
As the new guy of the trio of coaches that spoke to the media in Atlanta on Monday and given his profile and pedigree, it was inevitable that the questions would come regarding success and how quickly Fisher expects to achieve it as he arrives in College Station. And with every answer, it was made apparent that the former Seminoles head coach is trying to be one of the best in the nation right away.
Of course, that’s easy to say in July in a conference room. Once Fisher is out in the SEC weekly seeing what the best conference in the sport is all about, his stance on immediate success could change. As for now though, it’s clear that Texas A&M has a confident man heading the program, and one who’s not shy of saying as much.