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Sprints Prepares for SEC Media Days By Listening to What Coaches are Saying Now // 07.18.11

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SEC Media Days begin Wednesday
We'll be on the always-bizarre scene in Hoover, as usual. We can only hope for a subpoena or an inquisition into a player snubbed from unanimous first-team status or another Robbie Caldwell moment. In other words, a normal year at SEC Media Days.

More on coverage plans as the day approaches. But we're pegging Gene Chizik as the most likely to be subpoenaed unless you've got a better idea.

Les Miles talks about the Willie Lyles investigation
And for Miles-speak, this is actually pretty easy to understand.

"I think it's fundamental. I think it's necessary. We're going to comply. We're going to be very cooperative," Miles said before speaking to fans at the Riverside Hilton as part of his off-season speaking tour. "That's really all I can say." ...

Miles was asked if Lyles would be a distraction as LSU's nationally televised season opener against Oregon on Sept. 3 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, approaches.[para] "I worry about distractions that are wide in scope," Miles said. "That's just one of them."

And it's nothing compared to the distraction that Oregon faces on the same issue.

'That's the plan'
Of course Dan Mullen believes his team has a chance to win the SEC West. He wouldn't be a very good football coach if he didn't at least say that. But what does he say about "the school up north," which he again studiously avoids naming.

Marcello: Last year after the Egg Bowl, you said, "We're never going to lose to this team again." You stand by that?

Mullen: That's the plan.

Marcello: What if Ole Miss beats you this year? How will you react?

Mullen: We better work an awful lot harder next year. I'll be honest with you, I don't ever plan on losing to them. Hopefully I never have to come up with that scenario.

Never is a long time. (Unless, of course, you plan on heading to Columbus at the end of the season, in which case it's a relatively short time.) But Mullen has never been hesitant about pouring gasoline on the Egg Bowl rivalry, and that is one thing that will likely never change.

As long as Mullen is in Starkville, of course.

Houston Nutt's plan: 'Avoid disasters'
The Ole Miss coach is setting some very ambitious goals for his eventual starting quarterback. Whomever that may be.

The guy who keeps this job and wins the job is the one who is going to avoid disasters, take care of the football and put this team in the end zone consistently. That's the guy who is going to be our guy.

Ole Miss: Avoiding disasters since -- well, 2011, anyway.

Two Mississippi State players are missing
Not literally, we hope, but no one seems to know where they've gone after their names disappeared from the team's roster.

The most underrated athletics director in the SEC
It's kind of easy in a division that includes a legend at Florida, a recently-departed incompetent at Tennessee and someone who took over for a panty-wielding drunk driver at Georgia, but it's incredible how easily South Carolina athletics director Eric Hyman gets overlooked. Consider that he's just finished up the most successful year in Gamecock athletics, bar none.

"I can't sit here and tell you we're right in the middle of everybody we compete with as a team from top to bottom," Hyman said. "But we're getting closer. That's a reflection on Coach Spurrier and his coaching staff and what they have accomplished in six years. But I keep telling people, 'If you're going to do it the right way, it takes time.' "

Hyman didn't hire Steve Spurrier, but has benefited from the fact that Spurrier is a far better program builder than Lou Holtz ever was. The true test of Hyman's acumen, of course, is going to be how well he replaces Spurrier when the head ball coach's era ends in a few years.

The next step is sending Derek Dooley door-to-door
There's nothing unusual about Tennessee having some trouble selling tickets, especially in what continues to be a sluggish economy. What is unusual is that their solution is apparently to harass fans.

"What (used to) happen was we spent most of our time servicing the upper 5 to 10 percent (of ticketholders), but now we've got a mechanism to make sure we're reaching out personally to the $100 donor in Kingsport who has never gotten a direct call," Fuller said. "Now, all of a sudden, he's got a personal ticket representative in the department that he can develop a relationship with."

And if you believe that, you also believe that you'll personally talk to Flo if you call Progressive.

Tennessee cagey about public-records request about public-records requests
Tennessee's recent troubles have attracted so many open-records requests, it prompted an open-records request to find out how many open-records requests have been filed. (Why would I even make that up?) Apparently, the work of redacting those documents was handled by the Citigroup CEO.

To acquire more than a year's worth of invoices from UT's NCAA investigation legal team, the News Sentinel paid $166.11.

The cost stemmed from the nearly four hours it took one employee to compile and properly redact the 204 pages worth of documents.

The employee's hourly rate was set at $43.27.

It's good work if you can get it. Or an example of how state agencies across the nation routinely attempt to thwart the people's access to the documents they own by employees they pay by charging exorbitant rates for the documents in practices so corrupt they would make some third-world dictators blush. Take your pick.

(Again, nationwide. This is not a shot at the University of Tennessee so much as it is a shot against those who don't think we have the right to know what our government is doing.)