Expect new dad Bielema to be talk of event
Shortly after lunch Monday, Commissioner Greg Sankey will kick off the SEC football media days in Hoover, Ala.
All of the assembled reporters — about half the number that will attend Wednesday’s session when Alabama’s Nick Saban thanks the media for being there and almost sounds like he means it — will listen to every word.
But many of the reporters will be thinking about Bret Bielema, who likely will make his scheduled appointment Monday.
His wife, Jen, had their first child early Saturday morning. The wife and baby, just as they should, come first.
According to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, there are no planned changes to Bielema’s schedule, but if he did skip, who could blame him after the arrival of his baby girl?
Bielema — who is supposed to be shadowed by an SEC Network reporter from the time he steps on the plane with players Austin Allen, Frank Ragnow and Kevin Richardson until the Hog hoopla ends late in the afternoon — will most likely have the Razorback Foundation
jet on standby while he goes through the rounds with newspapers, radio and TV reporters if he attends, and if he does he’ll win the Monday news conferences.
Partly because he’s generally pretty witty but also because the other two coaches scheduled for Monday are not exactly quote machines.
LSU’s new head Coach Ed Orgeron is extremely direct, which can be entertaining, but oftentimes his statements can lose something in translation. Orgeron, with his wildly southern Louisiana accent, could use a translator at times.
Tennessee Coach Butch Jones’ quotes are predictable and boring.
So hands down, Bielema will be the lead story if he makes it to the meetings.
He would join Vanderbilt Coach Derek Mason, Saban (Wednesday will be nothing like a President Donald Trump news conference) and
Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze as the daily winners of the news conferences.
On Tuesday, mostly each coach’s hometown media will be interested in Florida’s Jim McElwain, Georgia’s Kirby Smart and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen. All three are verbally cautious to the point you sometimes wonder whether they are going to take a breath while on the podium.
Besides Saban, Wednesday’s card has Kentucky’s Mark Stoops, Missouri’s Barry Odom and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin. Stoops is a Stoops; Odom, like everyone at Missouri, is scared to say anything lest it be taken out of context; and Sumlin just doesn’t seem to like the media, or anyone else for that matter.
Thursday has Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, who’s been a careful talker since he was the head football coach at Hughes High School; South Carolina’s Will Muschamp, who could stand to bring a little of his sideline passion to the news conference; and Freeze.
Freeze and others at Ole Miss have had a lot of explaining to do, and the head coach shouldn’t miss this opportunity to further indict others in an effort to maintain his innocence.
There will be football news, and it will be reported with zeal.
It won’t be released until Friday, but expect the media to pick Georgia to win the Least Division, and Alabama to win the West and the SEC championship.
It won’t be unanimous for the Crimson Tide. Teams like Georgia and Florida will get a few geographical votes — and there will be a few homers in the crowd (always is among the 1,000 media who are expected) who’ll remain true to their school — but the bottom line is football starts Monday and Bret Bielema is a new dad.