SEC notebook: USC student lends Wildcats a hand

Two Kentucky players need help with bow ties

dcloninger@thestate.comJuly 17, 2013 

— Kentucky players Raymond Sanders and Avery Williamson looked sporty on Wednesday during Day 2 of SEC Media Days, but owed an assist to South Carolina.

Had it not been for a USC student, each would have attended with untied bow ties.

“I walked in this morning, and one of the guys walked up to me and said, ‘Hey, do you know how to tie a bow tie?,’ ” said Grayson Austin, a junior USC student and an assistant in the media relations department. “I said yes, since I was wearing one.”

Sanders and Williamson had tried all morning to tie their own ties. Without questioning them face-to-face why they were wearing bow ties without knowing how to tie them — it was later revealed they always got somebody to do it for them — Austin went to their room and helped them out.

“I’ve been wearing them for about four years,” said Austin, who sported a pink bow tie with blue sharks on it. “I just like the style, and it shows confidence.”

So who taught him how to tie them?

“I went on YouTube and looked up the video.”

Speaking of ...

Texas A&M safety Tony Hurd Jr. heard SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw preach about the league’s new targeting rule, and recognized how difficult it might be to avoid a penalty. It might also be hard to celebrate since there might be fewer hard hits to preen about.

“I love sharking,” Hurd Jr. said. “That’s the only time I get to shark.”

I remember

One of Gus Malzahn’s first moves at Auburn was to hire Ellis Johnson, who was fired after an 0-12 season at Southern Miss, as defensive coordinator. Johnson was USC’s DC for four seasons before leaving for the Golden Eagles.

The change has been immediate, and not just besides the familiar 4-2-5 alignment Johnson will use.

“He’s very sound,” Malzahn said. “He has a lot of respect from other coaches. He’s going to line our guys up and let them play.”

To tweet or not to tweet

Tennessee coach Butch Jones spoke of his “Grandma rule” for his players being on Twitter. Since the social media tool often has shown not-well-thought-out opinions by users, Jones has cautioned his players to remember that.

“It’s just like educating our children,” Jones said. “We bring a lot of people in to really train them. One bad Tweet can change everyone’s opinion of you. If you can put it in an email to your mother, your grandmother, then you can hit send.”

To tweet or not to tweet II

Arkansas trusts three of its players to Tweet responsibly. All three Media Day representatives — Kiero Small, Travis Swanson and Chris Smith — are pictured on the cover of Arkansas’ media guide, with their Twitter handles.

Assistant athletics director for media relations Zack Higbee came up with the idea, as well as picturing coach Bret Bielema with his Twitter handle (@BretBielema), as a way of promoting the team’s ability to be engaging.

Another new guy

Mississippi State has had four defensive coordinators since 2009, coach Dan Mullen’s first year, and has had different styles and philosophies during that time. What are the buzzwords for what new DC Geoff Collins wants?

“A lot of juice,” linebacker Benardrick McKinney said. “A lot more mayhem — more sacks, interceptions as a group.”

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