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Coffee and Magnolia: July 17th

Thursday morning news and notes

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

War Eagle, friends.

Gus Malzahn and a small band of 2013 Tigers picked up two ESPYs last night in Los Angeles, the trophies for best play and best game each being won by Chris Davis and his Kick Six.

At SEC Media Days, the executive director of the College Football Playoff, Bill Hancock, said the possibility of a regular season rematch in a semifinal would not be engineered around, adding that "the best four teams" will be selected each year, no strings attached.

SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw also spoke in Hoover yesterday, discussing a range of topics having to do with the way the game is officiated and ran. He said the conference will experiment with one eight-man crew this season, following an example set by the Big 12, to help the rule enforcers have a little less to be responsible for seeing. Shaw also said a "healthy debate" needs to be had over the pace of play questions that have been raised by a few SEC coaches in recent years, though Missoouri's Gary Pinkel on Wednesday called concerns over the hurry up offense "fiction." He said officials will move in a "crisp jog" when spotting the ball between plays.

The beat crew wrapped up Wednesday's sessions with a recap video covering Bret Bielema and Les Miles' turns in the spotlight. Bielema said, "Knowing what I know as a head coach," he thinks Nick Marshall will start against his Hogs in the season opener.

Mike Szvetitz shared some thoughts on Les Miles, the LSU coach celebrating his tenth SEC Media Days appearance, and his never letting his audience down when it comes to entertainment value. Szvetitz also has a story on Pinkel saying he was proud of the way his team handled the media situation after Michael Sam's coming out this spring, and that he felt they showed how great of a team they were in rallying around him and each other.

Mizzou's Tigers spoke in their player interviews about how the SEC Championship loss still hurts, and how confusing it is to play against Auburn's offense. Along those lines, CBS Sports has an interesting story about the recent run of success the SEC West has been on against their Eastern Division foes.

Texas A&M offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi said at Media Days on Tuesday that Kansas City Chiefs first round draft pick Dee Ford reminds him of former teammate Von Miller.

ESPN's senior vice president of college networks, Justin Connolly, shared a talk about the upcoming launch of the SEC Network and had a rosy report in nearly every regard, though Ryan Black points out he didn't have any new major carriers to announce as partners in the rollout.

Nick Marshall was announced as a member of the Davey O'Brien Award's preseason watch list, an award for the nation's quarterback, which was won by Cam Newton in 2010.

LaDarius Owens checks in at #21 on AuburnSport's preseason countdown of Auburn's Top 40 players heading into 2014.'s Michael Casagrande posted a cool story about Arkansas beat writer Bob Holt of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Holt is a favorite of many coaches and media members along the SEC trail, known for his relentless pursuit of answers to his questions. One highlight of Holt's 2014 in Hoover is his asking seven of the 27 questions Malzahn fielded in his presser, despite Holt's ADG colleague across the room writing the Auburn preview for their paper.

ESPN showed off the trailer for an upcoming SEC Storied documentary about Charles Barkley, Bo Jackson and Frank Thomas, called ‘Bo, Barkley and the Big Hurt.'

Gus Malzahn's staff was proud when their numbers came out to show that every signee from this past year's recruiting class is qualified for enrollment and ready on campus, fully academically eligible. Forty-five of his 47 signees have gone on to qualify and enroll.

Last for today, the Concussion Blog reports the first lawsuit has been filed in Canada over concussions suffered by an ex-player during his time in the CFL, adding to the growing concern across the sport about player health, particularly when relating to their heads.