The media circus comes to Hoover, Ala., beginning today as more than 1,200 credentialed media members descend upon the Wynfrey Hotel for the 2013 Southeastern Conference Media Days.
The next three days, the media will poke and prod SEC players and coaches for information about the upcoming season. Georgia’s Aaron Murray, Arthur Lynch and Garrison Smith will be joined by coach Mark Richt at the Bulldogs’ portion of media day.
Here are two UGA storylines to keep an eye out for:
Georgia Returns Talented Offense
Quarterback Aaron Murray and tight end Arthur Lynch will be speaking for Georgia on Thursday. The two seniors will help lead a powerful Georgia offense in 2013. Lynch had the second most receiving yards last year of returning receivers after junior Malcolm Mitchell. Murray and Lynch are likely to be asked how the team will make up for the production of Tavarres King and Marlon Brown.
There will also likely be a focus on what the pair thinks of the running back tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. The two star tailbacks should help Murray a great deal by forcing defenses to crowd the line of scrimmage in anticipation of Georgia’s potent run game.
Question Marks Still Surround Georgia’s Defense
There have been many questions asked about how Georgia defense will look in the 2013 season, questions that are still waiting for answers. People knew the team would have to find a way to replace the likes of Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree, Bacarri Rambo, John Jenkins and company, but a slew of offseason injuries and suspensions means there is still doubt about what the defense will look like when it hits the field versus Clemson in August.
Senior defensive end Garrison Smith will be at Media Days speaking on behalf of the Georgia defense. There will be lots of chatter about the questions surrounding the defense and Smith will be tasked with eschewing fan’s fears over the defense’s uncertainty.
Here are three overall SEC storylines to look for:
The Johnny Football Show Comes to Town
Without a doubt, the biggest topic of the event will be the sophomore season of Texas A&M’s Heisman winning quarterback Johnny Manziel. Manziel has been a fixture in the headlines this offseason, turning heads for leaving the Manning Passing Academy early and sending tweets about wanting to get out of College Station.
Manziel is slated to speak at Media Days on Wednesday morning, which will almost surely make for a packed house, as the star quarterback wasn’t allowed to speak to the media at all during his freshman campaign. Expect nearly every player and coach in attendance to be asked about his expectations for Manziel’s sophomore season.
Alabama Looking at a Three-peat
The word dynasty is thrown around a lot in sports, but there is no other way to describe what Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban has turned the University of Alabama into. Since arriving in Tuscaloosa in 2007, Saban has won three national championships, including the last two years.
Needless to say, what Alabama has done the past few years puts it into the conversation for best team, over a period of time, in the history of college football. However, a third consecutive national championship would put the program in rarified air. Only the University of Minnesota — from 1934 to 1936 — and The United States Military Academy from — from 1944 to 1946 — have ever won three Championships in a row.
Jadeveon Clowney: Heisman Hopeful
It is almost a consensus that South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will be one of the first players selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. Many think he would have been picked first overall in the 2013 Draft, if it weren’t for the rule preventing sophomores from entering. In what will likely be his last season at South Carolina, Clowney will be searching for two things: an SEC Championship and a Heisman Trophy.
A defensive player hasn’t won the Heisman since 1997, when Michigan’s Charles Woodson won the game’s most prestigious award. Clowney is already appearing on pundit’s lists of Heisman candidates and drawing hype as the first defensive player who truly has a chance to challenge for the Heisman in years. Look for players and coaches to talk about Clowney’s Heisman ambitions throughout the three-day event.