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Thursday July 19, 2012SEC Football Media Days Notebook: Muschamp Has No Plans to Ban Twitter, Plus More Tidbits

Gainesville, Fla.

Chris Harry
By Chris Harry
GatorZone.com Senior Writer

HOOVER, Ala. -- Gators coach Will Muschamp and Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher share many of the same philosophies as former colleagues on Nick Saban's staff at LSU.

However, their social-media policies differ.

Fisher interrupted his vacation earlier this week to tell the Seminoles he is banning them from using Twitter indefinitely.

"Twitter is a privilege,'' Fisher told Warchant.com. "When you represent an organization you have to represent it very well or don't represent it. When we are responsible enough to deal with it, we'll deal with [a return to Twitter]."

Muschamp was asked about his Twitter policy at the SEC Football Media Days, which concluded here on Thursday.

As long as the players use it responsibly, Muschamp has no plans to ban them from using the fast-growing social-media message service.

"We don’t have a lot of rules. Number one rule is: don’t embarrass the program, the university or your family,'' Muschamp said. "We monitor that through a service we have to make sure. We ask them to not talk about any football business on there.

"Unfortunately we got some knuckleheads here and there that will make poor decisions and put something on there. They don’t understand the ramifications of putting something out there that’s not appropriate, but we handle it quickly. I think freedom of speech is one of the great things we have in this country. I don’t have any problem with it, as long as they handle it the right way."

As for Saban's policy, he allows Crimson Tide players to use Twitter but tells them not to discuss team information the way Muschamp tells the Gators not to.

But don't expect Saban to start Tweeting anytime soon.

"There are few certainties in life,'' Alabama's Barrett Jones told reporters. "Death, taxes, and Nick Saban not on Twitter.”

HOGGING THEIR SHARE OF SEC WEST SPOTLIGHT

Arkansas coach John L. Smith is in a situation the likes of which most coaches would never have to deal with.

Following the controversial offseason dismissal of Bobby Petrino, Razorbacks athletic director Jeff Long had to find a coach -- and fast -- to take over a team that returns 15 starters and figures to give both Alabama and LSU a run after going 11-2 and defeating Kansas State in Cotton Bowl.

Enter Smith, by way of Weber State, but before that a defensive assistant on Petrino’s staff for two seasons (as well as former head coach at Michigan State, Louisville, Utah State and Idaho).

Talk about a whirlwind few months.

"Our players have done a great job of saying, ‘A little adversity will only make us stronger.’ That’s what they’ve done,” Smith said. “My coming in, walking in the door, it was unbelievable. I had to wipe the tears away because of the kids and the reception that I got. That being said, I told them, this is one thing we’re going to continue to reiterate: this is a program; this is not about someone leaving or coming. This is a program.”

And one that Petrino clearly had on the rise.

The Razorbacks will be loaded on offense, starting with senior quarterback Tyler Wilson and the return of junior Knile Davis, who rushed for 1,322 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2010, but missed 2011 with an ankle injury. Both are high-level NFL prospects.

The pieces are place. Now the Hogs have to adjust to change at the top on the fly.

“I think we’ve handled it pretty well as a team,” Davis said of the coaching shakeup. “I think if anything’s happened, I think we’ve gotten closer. I think we had a good replacement in John L. [and] I think it’s great that he kept the coaching staff that we already had so the transition has been easier than most people think.”

MORE BIG PLAYS, MORE CLANGING COWBELLS

It’s been 13 years since Mississippi State’s only appearance in the SEC Championship Game -- and 71 since its lone conference title.

Hope, of course, springs eternal at media days, which means Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen got the annual question about the MSU program trying to close the gap on the likes of stalwarts Alabama, LSU, Auburn and now Arkansas in the SEC West Division.

The Bulldogs are 3-12 vs. the West in three seasons under Mullen, with all three wins coming against rival Ole Miss.

“We’ve had the opportunity to beat every one of those teams,” said Mullen, the former UF offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. “The big difference for us is we have to make game-winning plays.”

Last season, MSU was in a one-possession game in the fourth quarter against LSU before losing 19-6, tussled with ‘Bama well into the third quarter, eventually falling 24-7, and were blown out 44-17 by Arkansas.

“We’re not far off, which means we’re not far off from the national title,” Mullen said. “As we continue down the road, continue to develop, grow the program, you start to see that confidence -- not just in our team and our coaches, but our administration, student body, fan base -- in the expectations we have. When you play with confidence, you start to win those games. You make that big play; that one play difference.”

RICHT IN FAVOR OF MEDIA'S PREDICTION

The SEC announced Thursday that the assembled media picked Georgia to win the SEC East, followed by South Carolina and Florida.

Bulldogs coach Mark Richt, seemingly always under pressure to win big in Athens, is all for the Bulldogs to repeat as SEC East champs. Georgia doesn't have to face LSU, Alabama or Arkansas from the SEC West during the regular season.

"I hope the media's right this time,'' he quipped Thursday morning. "But we haven't done anything yet. We haven't played a game. We haven't won a game. We know our league is tremendous. We know the Eastern Division is going to be a rough road."

IT’S IN THE GAME

Have you seen Les Miles’ commercial for EA Sports? The one where Miles catches the LSU mascot, Mike the Tiger, playing the video game NCAA ’13 with Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III in an LSU uniform?

Miles, whose team figures to be in the conference and national championship hunt yet again, was asked about the spot Wednesday.

“The lines were narrowed so that I could perform them effectively,” Miles said with a smile. “I really thought Mike the Tiger stole the show. We didn’t get along on the set. He was kind of working the camera. It was really a difficult time.”

In feigning disappointment with Mike, Miles says, “You were like a son to me.”

Well, Miles’ 13-year-old son saw the ad and weighed in.

"You’ve talked to me like that, you really have,” Miles recalled his son saying. “Good news, bad news, I guess.”

FREEZE FITS RIGHT IN

Gator fans know all about former Florida coach Steve Spurrier's knack for taking a jab or two at opponents. Spurrier hasn't changed during his time at South Carolina.

He took a playful jab at Georgia's schedule this week at the expense of Ole Miss.

"If I made the schedule, Georgia would be playing LSU, and we’d be playing Ole Miss,'' Spurrier said.

Freeze, in his first season at Ole Miss, had his chance to respond on Thursday. Sounds like he'll fit in perfectly in the SEC

"I guess my thought would be 2013, they're on our schedule,'' Freeze said of the Gamecocks. "We will circle that date and maybe change his perspective about what he thinks about Ole Miss football."

GatorZone.com senior writer Scott Carter contributed to this report.

 

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