Best of the Day (so far)
Florida football coach
- Meyer took some time off earlier this year to deal with personal issues related to his health. The coach declined to delve into the basis of his problem other than to make vague references to his esophagus and chest pains.
- "It's like waking up every morning with a toothache in your chest. Haven't felt anything since late January. I feel fantastic. I have a greater appreciation for the guys around me."
- He doesn't think it's fair that people get on him for taking leave: ``A lot of them do it without saying leave. They take a few weeks off here and there. It's just not in an article. I have to learn to really trust our staff. I'm pleased with how it's going."
- Meyer reportedly took his family on a trip to Rome, where he saw Pope Benedict. ``Big Gator fan," he quipped. Sounds like Meyer only saw the Pope from long range.
- He said doctors, for a long time, couldn't explain what was wrong with Meyer: ``To have someone say we're not quite sure? That's very humbling. Then they said: This is it. Take this. Now it's time to go."
- On learning to let go: "I can bolt for five days, I've never done that in my life. The stadium's still standing and everything."
Alabama football coach
- He told a funny story about how Saban was holding an aggressive phone conversation (presumably with a subordinate) when Derek Dooley came upon the Sabans this morning. Dooley told Terry Saban, Nick's wife, that he didn't understand why Saban would be so rough with assistants back in the day. Now Dooley understands. ``It's so they don't bring all that mouse manure stuff to you," Saban said. ``(Dooley) gets it."
- He said the only change he's made to his spring regimen is to fill space formerly filled by recruiting responsibilities. Head coaches can have only limited involvement now. ``Not being able to do that, I have more time off, more speaking -- things I don't enjoy very much. I'm not wired to where I can sit around and do nothing. Even at the lake … I got the chainsaw out and was trimming trees. And I have a lot of trees I can cut."
Tennessee football coach
- He's a straightforward guy, speaks pretty abruptly. He seems to sugarcoat less than the average SEC coach.
- On getting Tennessee's support system realigned: ``When you come into a low-resource program, you want to get your culture right and do things a certain way. There’s really nobody there to do it. In some ways, it’s easier, but you don’t have the resources to do it. At Tennessee, we have so much support. It’s phenomenal. A lot of areas touch you and it’s hard to get them all on board philosophically in a month. It takes more than a year to slowly get to know each other. We’re making progress.
- His mother, Barbara, has become a popular figure in Tennessee ... so much so that Derek playfully suggested that she no longer interview with outlets in Tennessee. She already has done that. ``She's violated the interview policy -- and she doesn't give a damn about what I say."
- On his relationship with Nick Saban: ``Philosophically, we're cut from the same cloth." Dooley said he still enjoys hanging out with Saban. ``I always have a good time."
- He told a funny story about his first year at Louisiana Tech, which included a thumping at LSU. Afterward, some of his coaches were telling players to keep their heads up. Dooley said he soon told players a different story: ``Bull----. Put your head down. Next time, I'm going to bring a box of Sharpies and some pictures so you can get some autographs. That's the way you played," he said Tuesday.
South Carolina football coach
- He was asked about the pre-season conditioning programs of yesteryear ... and couldn't help discuss Doug Johnson's regimen prior to the 1997 season. ``He was out playing professional baseball and drinking beer all summer. We did a poor job of giving him a summer plan."
- On why Steven Garcia played the entire season at quarterback despite playing poorly for long stretches: ``He went the distance because we didn't have anyone else. We had to live with everything he did."
- He said retirement hasn't been a serious consideration for him. ``I've been going 4 or 5 years for the last 20. Back then, though, 50 used to be on the far side of coaching."
Georgia football coach
- He's not into the expansion thing: ``I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon."
- ``The commissioners who have managed this league of date have done a great job. I just don't want to add any more league games. That's for sure."
- There is talk that a new NCAA rule will dole out automatic suspensions for players who don't pass nine credit hours per semester. ``I doubt it will affect anybody. If they know they have to get nine, they'll get nine."
- On Bobby Bowden's retirement: ``He didn't really retire. He had to retire."
- On the possibility of (again) attempting to ban artificial noisemakers: ``I've never seen it enforced to a point where it matters. Once it's loud -- super loud or just loud -- we just have to adjust."
Arkansas football coach
- "I'm like you guys, I'm sitting here wondering what's going to happen. I didn't get any talking points. The commissioners didn't give me talking points."
- On the cowbells at Mississippi State: ``The first time I went there was when I was at Auburn. That was the year they did away with the cowbell -- and enforced it. Who is going to enforce it? That's the question. I didn't really notice. Those stadiums are so loud. You have to be well prepared on your silent cadence. By that time of the year, you're so used to (din)."