Notebook: ‘Big production’ in works for Gamecocks-Aggies

jkendall@thestate.comMay 28, 2014 

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com

— The SEC Network is planning its descent on Columbia to broadcast the Aug. 28 game between the Gamecocks host Texas A&M.

“It’s going to be a big production,” Justin Connolly said Wednesday at the SEC’s annual spring meetings. “It’s a chance for us to make a statement, and we are going to put a lot of resources behind it.”

Connolly is ESPN’s senior vice president of college networks and is in charge of running the SEC Network, which will debut Aug. 14 and broadcast its first football game from Williams-Brice Stadium two weeks later.

“I would say what (fans) can expect is the same high quality they would see for a Thursday night opener on ESPN,” Connolly said. “We are going to have a whole lot of bells and whistles just to show what the fans can expect when they tune into the SEC Network, they are going to get an A1 broadcast level experience.”

The network will broadcast its SEC Nation pregame show from Columbia but has not announced where the set will be located.

“We would love to mix it up and see if we can get some different angles as being the conference network that may not be available other places,” Connolly said, “but we are kind of getting into the details of what that might look like.”

Early signing period

The league’s football coaches recommended to the athletics directors adding an early signing day on the first Monday after Thanksgiving, but Steve Spurrier hopes it doesn’t pass.

“I hope it stays the same, personally,” Spurrier said.

So does the SEC, said commissioner Mike Slive, but the league believes a change might be on the way at a national level and wants to have a proposal ready if it does. The early signing period, which would last one day, would be limited to players who have taken no official visits.

Out the door

As the football coaches finished their responsibilities here and Spurrier was walking out of the hotel, a reporter asked him if he was happy to be able to turn his attention to the Aggies.

“No, I am ready to turn my focus on golf tomorrow,” he replied. “I have to play with some buddies tomorrow. We have plenty of time to get ready for Texas A&M.”

Kudos coach

South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner heaped praise on baseball coach Chad Holbrook as the Gamecocks prepare to host an NCAA regional in Holbrook’s second season as coach.

“I am not saying that because he is my only hire, but he’s done a wonderful job,” Tanner said. “I can’t ever remember in my 16 years as a head coach, I had some injuries and some setbacks, but I can’t ever remember to the extent that he has had this year.

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