Sidelines with John Clay

Links: SEC Football Media Days and Joe B. Hall visits UK practice

Head Coach Dan Mullen, of Florida, speaks during the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days, Monday, July 15, 2019, in Hoover, Ala.
Head Coach Dan Mullen, of Florida, speaks during the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days, Monday, July 15, 2019, in Hoover, Ala. AP


The Herald-Leader starts its look at and lists of John Calipari’s first 10 years as Kentucky coach. “When Kentucky basketball is at its best it has swagger. It’s not enough merely to win in Lexington. Fans of the winningest program in the history of college basketball demand style with that habitual substance. Championships. On-court domination. Off-court class. Cutting-edge recruiting. National pride.”

Kentucky’s 10 most thrilling wins under Calipari, by Mark Story. “10. Kentucky 103, North Carolina 100 (Dec. 17, 2016) — In a scintillating display of high-tempo basketball, Malik Monk scored a UK freshman record 47 points and hit the go-ahead three-point shot with 16.7 seconds left to beat UNC before 19,298 in the T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas.”

Bringing SEC Football Media Days to Nashville not a good idea, says Joe Rexrode of the Tennessean. The event has been traditionally held in Hoover, Alabama, but last year was held in Atlanta. Back in Hoover this year, it will be in Atlanta in 2020 and Nashville in 2021.

Florida welcomes high expectations, reports Robbie Andrew of the Gainesville Sun. “That’s what happens when you follow up 4-7 with a 10-win season that culminates with a 26-point win over an iconic college program (Michigan) in a New Year’s Six bowl game and a ranking of No. 7 in the final national poll.”

Florida’s quarterback is already an MLB draftee, reports Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times. “One of the newest members of the Red Sox organization wasn’t wearing Boston colors when he walked into the Hyatt Regency Birmingham–Wynfrey Hotel on Monday afternoon.”

Kelly Bryant is trying to find himself at Missouri, reports the Kansas City Star. Bryant was the starting quarterback at Clemson before being replaced by Trevor Lawrence. He then transferred to Mizzou, where he will be the starter this season. Missouri is at Kentucky on Oct. 26.

It’s a pivotal year for LSU, reports Wilson Alexander of The Advocate. “Last year there was negativity,” Tigers coach Ed Orgeron said. “Now this year they say we’re going to have a really good football team. I do believe we’re going to have a really good football team, but we have to get back to work.”

LSU could shake up SEC West, reports Barrett Sallee of CBS Sports. “The final years of the Les Miles era and beginning of the Ed Orgeron era at LSU have shared a common theme during “talkin’ season” -- the offense. The one thing that has prevented LSU from emerging as a true contender in the SEC West since it last won the division in 2011 has been the inability to adapt and play outside of its conservative comfort zone.”

The ACC has a depth problem in football, says Joe Giglio of the Raleigh News and Observer. “It seems like really long ago, but in 2016 the ACC produced its best football season ever. Eight teams won a bowl game, seven teams finished in the top 25 of the final Sagarin computer rankings (two more than the SEC), Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson won the Heisman Trophy and Clemson won the national title.”

Is Brony James worth the hype? Asks Rob Dauster of College Basketball Talk. “The circus that surrounded Bronny James, the oldest son of NBA legend LeBron James, during his time at the Peach Jam was unlike anything that I’ve ever seen for a player his age. Bronny is 14 years old. He has yet to take a single high school class. He played U15 on the EYBL circuit, which is the youngest group of kids that play at the Riverview Athletic Center.”

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John Clay is a sports columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader. A native of Central Kentucky, he covered UK football from 1987 until being named sports columnist in 2000. He has covered 20 Final Fours and 37 consecutive Kentucky Derbys.
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