HOOVER, Ala. -- Derrius Guice is one of the best and, as he proved on Monday at SEC Media Days, boldest players in college football.
Given that Alabama has beaten LSU in their last six meetings, it might stand to reason that if anyone is scared in this fierce SEC West rivalry, it would be the Tigers. It's the other way around, however, according Guice. He described the Alabama defense as "scared" last year, and reiterated the stance Monday
"Like I said last year, every time we were about to run they have like the whole box loaded," Guice said, per The Tuscaloosa News.
Scared, in other words, to defend the Tigers rushing attack with a standard seven-man front. Then again, one might suggest that it's LSU who has often been scared to throw the ball against the Crimson Tide, leaving Alabama with the flexibility to bring an extra defender into the run defense. LSU's struggles against Alabama have been rooted in the Tigers' quarterback play, and that was readily apparent last year as QB Danny Etling threw for just 92 yards on 11-of-24 passing in a 10-0 loss to the Tide. Meanwhile, Alabama held LSU's frightening running game to 33 yards (8 of which were gained by Guice) on 27 carries.
Guice might think it would show more bravery for Alabama to defend the run without loading the line of scrimmage, but the results have suggested it's a winning strategy.
Here are five other things we learned Monday at SEC Media Days:
Note: Click through the tabs above to see what we learned on each day at SEC Media Days.
2. Key sidelined for start of camp. LSU edge rusher Arden Key will not be ready to practice when the Tigers open fall camp, per coach Ed Orgeron. The star junior, whose 12 sacks last year broke a school single-season record, is recovering from shoulder surgery. Orgeron wouldn't speculate on the timing for Key's return, but he did anticipate "a great season" for the junior.
3. Bielema likes new scouting access. Bret Bielema described increased access NFL scouts now have to underclassmen as a "baby step" in the right direction Monday at SEC Media Days. For the first time this year, per an agreement between the NFL and the American Football Coaches Association, FBS schools were allowed to designate up to five underclassmen for increased exposure to NFL scouts in the spring. The move was made to help the NFL College Advisory Committee make better assessments on the draft status of underclassmen considering early draft entry. Bielema, however, is more about big steps, not baby steps. He's in favor of pushing back the deadline for underclassmen to file for early draft eligibility, and even letting undrafted underclassmen return to play in college.
4. Hand size no issue for Allen. Jacksonville Jaguars QB Brandon Allenused massage therapy to increase his hand size prior to the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine. His brother, Arkansas starting QB Austin Allen, has no plans to eventually do the same. "He did what needed to be done, I guess. His hand really got bigger from a massage," the younger Allen said. "(Mine is) bigger than his, I think. Hopefully I won't need a massage."
5. Ragnow raves on 49ers' Foster. Arkansas C Frank Ragnow believes the San Francisco 49ers are getting more than just a big-time athlete at the linebacker position in first-round pick Reuben Foster. Here's what Ragnow had to say about the former Alabama star's play against the Razorbacks last year: "He's fast, strong, and he knew some of the plays that were coming before they happened. It was just freaky."
6. Manning back to Rocky Top. Tennessee coach Butch Jones offered no inkling about whether Peyton Manning would consider a more formal role with the Volunteers, but he volunteered a more informal one. "We had an opportunity to bring (Manning) back about a month ago and get him around our quarterbacks," Jones said. It was presumably much-needed, considering Tennessee's quarterbacks are thin on game experience. Joshua Dobbs, now a rookie for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was a longtime fixture in the starting lineup at UT.