Wednesday, July 21, 2010

SEC Media Days 2010: Alabama Front and Center

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 07: Head Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide stands on the sidelines during the Citi BCS National Championship game against the Texas Longhorns at the Rose Bowl on January 7, 2010 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
The Alabama portion of SEC Media Days 2010 should have been called, “Sports Agent Smackdown 2010.”

When Nick Saban made his rounds from room to room, the questions were all the same…and they all dealt with sports agents.

Saban, who has never been the shy one when it comes to delivering his opinion, lowered the collective “boom” on agents who are out to harm collegiate athletes.

"Agents who do this, and I hate to say it, how are they any better than a pimp?" Saban told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

Alabama's Nick Saban on rogue agents: 'How are they better than a pimp?'

The recent investigation of three SEC schools (Alabama included) has caused an upheaval and the Tide coach, as can be seen in the video above…went nuclear.

Saban suggested that “shady” NFL agents who make it a point to break the rules should be held accountable, and the NFL should take away their license for an entire year.

Alabama's Nick Saban speaks at SEC Media Days

While discussing the most recent agent scandal to journey through college football, Saban also touched on the Andre Smith situation which prevented the former Tide star from playing in the Sugar Bowl against Utah.

Saban said the University of Alabama could have prosecuted the agent responsible in the Smith case, but declined…due to an NCAA risk.

If a school prosecutes an agent, the school has “turned in” the rogue agent, but in the process they (the school) would admit to allowing the athlete in question to play “make a deal” with the unsavory agent.

In what could almost be described as chilling, Saban said the agent in the Smith episode…was back the following year.

In other news, Greg McElroy, Mark Ingram and Dont’a Hightower each ran the “media gauntlet” at the Wynfrey Hotel, and by and large fielded “generic” questions about the 2010 campaign.

The Alabama contingency also took questions regarding sports agents and the impact they have on college football.

Greg McElroy, in one media room, spoke in high praise about defensive back Dequan Menzie who appears to be healthy following a torn Achilles.

The ‘Bama quarterback said Menzie looks great and has been at full-speed during
7-on-7 drills.

McElroy also expressed high admiration for wide receiver DeAndrew White calling him, “an incredible talent."

Alabama's Greg McElroy speaks at SEC Media Days

Tide linebacker Dont’a Hightower fielded questions regarding his knee, his role on the 2010 defense and his responsibility as a team leader.

Hightower missed the majority of the 2009 season after suffering a serious knee injury against Arkansas.

Alabama's Dont'a Hightower speaks at SEC Media Days

Finally, it came as no surprise that Mark Ingram was asked about his Heisman win, how he has improved and what he expects from the 2010 Alabama offense.

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 07: Running back Mark Ingram #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after an extra point during the Citi BCS National Championship game against the Texas Longhorns at the Rose Bowl on January 7, 2010 in Pasadena, California. The Crimson Tide defeated the Longhorns 37-21. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
The 'Bama running back, as he so often seems to do, made it a point to express his desire to remain a team player and do everything in his power to make Alabama a better football team.

Ingram told reporters he has spent hours in the film room going over his game.

The Heisman winner said pass protection was one of the many focal points during his spring and summer work.

During his time at SEC Media Days Ingram mentioned he has taken out an insurance policy. Many expect the Tide star to depart Alabama after the 2010 season and take his talent to the NFL.

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