ATLANTA (AP) – The Latest on SEC Media Days (all times local):
The final session of SEC Media Days turned into a bit of a fashion show.
Auburn’s Deshaun Davis sported stylish sunglasses and an orange bow tie. Vanderbilt’s LaDarius Wiley countered with a shiny red vest that matched his bow tie and the collar of his gray plaid suit. But no one stood out like South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel , who wore a glaring white jacket and dress shoes, paired with skinny gray slacks for his moment in the spotlight.
Samuel says he wants “to make an impression” every time he goes out in public. But, being an unpaid college student, he had to put together his ensemble right off the rack. Samuel spotted the jacket at Men’s Wearhouse. Everything else fell into place after that.
Wiley gave props to his mother. She bought his bold suit before her son even knew he was one of three Vandy players selected to attend Media Days. Once he got the word, Wiley knew he had the “perfect look” for the occasion. He called suit “a mixture of classy and a little flashy.”
Derek Mason is enjoying his new life as Vanderbilt’s coach.
“Head coach only,” he said for clarification.
Though Mason actually is entering his fifth season with the Commodores, he is dropping the additional duties of defensive coordinator. Mason hired good friend Jason Tarver, a former NFL assistant with the Raiders and 49ers, to lead the defense after serving as his own coordinator the last three years.
Mason says shedding the extra title allows him to focus on “being head coach and CEO.”
Vanderbilt finished only 5-7 overall and 1-7 in the SEC last season. Even so, offered an optimistic outlook for his team. He says “I believe it is our time.”
Mason says Kyle Shurmur is “one of the most dynamic and underrated quarterbacks” in the league and a reason the Commodores should improve this season.
Gus Malzahn says his Auburn Tigers are motivated to take the next step after coming so close to their championship goals last season.
Auburn took regular-season wins over Alabama and Georgia when each team was ranked No. 1 last season. The Tigers won the Southeastern Conference’s Western Division before losing to Georgia in the SEC championship game – costing them a shot to compete in the College Football Playoff.
Malzahn says at SEC Media Days his Tigers will be “a hungry team trying to take that next step.”
Auburn will return to Atlanta to open its season against Washington on Sept. 1. Malzahn says the game will be “a good measuring stick for where this team is.”
The Tigers are expected to have a strong offense led by quarterback Jarrett Stidham and running back Kam Martin.
Gus Malzahn’s Auburn Tigers are coming off an interesting 2017 season, enjoying the highs of wins over eventual SEC champion Georgia and national champion Alabama before losing to the Bulldogs in the SEC championship game.
Auburn also lost to Central Florida in the Peach Bowl to finish their season.
Malzahn returns 14 starters, including quarterback Jarrett Stidham, and will discuss the Tigers’ outlook on the final day of the SEC Media Days on Thursday.
Auburn finished 10-4 overall and 7-1 in the SEC last season and will return to Atlanta on Sept. 2 to open their season against Washington.
Also scheduled to speak on Thursday will be Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason and South Carolina coach Will Muschamp.
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