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Preseason All-SEC honors go to Ole Miss' Manning

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Aug. 1, 2003
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. Ole Miss' Eli Manning was tabbed as the Southeastern Conference's No. 1 passer in the preseason All-SEC team selections.
The senior quarterback picked up 59 votes from the league-wide media to take the first-team spot from Georgia's David Greene on Thursday.
Auburn's Karlos Dansby was a near unanimous pick among the 78 voters to be the league's top defender.
The senior linebacker picked up 77 votes to land on the defensive first-team.
Alabama led all teams with five first-team selections, with offensive linemen Wesley Britt (53) and Justin Smiley (44), running back Shaud Williams (34), linebacker Brooks Daniels (38) and defensive lineman Antwan Odom (48) all landing on the first team.
Ole Miss wide receiver Chris Collins (19) and linebacker Jesse Mitchell (19) were second-team selections, and Mississippi State University's T.J. Mawhinney (19) and place-kicker Brent Smith (10) also made the second team.
A full listing of the All-SEC first and second teams is on C2.
Look out Jerry Seinfeld
Georgia defensive end David Pollack kept a room full of reporters in stitches when the reigning SEC Player of the Year walked up to the microphone during the final day of the SEC Football Media Days.
The junior defender got off one of his best zingers at the end of his 10-minute block with the media.
When asked what quarterback David Green thought about the possibility of the Bulldogs using a two-quarterback system, Pollack, Greene's roommate, gave a simple answer.
"Do you really think I would tell you if he said something," Pollack said.
The reporter said it was worth a shot, to which Pollack responded with, "Well, you struck out."
Say my name
SEC coordinator of officials Bobby Gaston said he wanted players numbers to be announced when they are guilty of a rule violation during the course of a game when he addressed the media on Wednesday.
The idea of pointing out the culprit of a flagged play did not sit well with MSU head coach Jackie Sherrill on Thursday.
"How would the officials like to be recognized when they blew a call?" Sherrill asked.
Georgia's David Pollack didn't seem to mind the suggestion as much as the Dean of SEC coaches.
"I don't care," the Georgia defensive end said out of the corner of his mouth.
"It means they'll call the other guys out for holding me," Pollack elaborated. "I don't think anybody is going to cry about it."
Pollack also shared his views about what offensive lineman are taught to do in the football trenches.
"Offensive lineman are going to hold anyway," Pollack said. "I think it is in their nature."
You can't go home again
One of the main games on Auburn's schedule will be the squad's Oct. 11 date against Arkansas, at least for head coach Tommy Tuberville.
The native of Arkansas has never been able to notch a win over the Razorbacks, and the team saw last year that Houston Nutt's teams cannot be overlooked.
"You would think that last year was the perfect scenario (for Auburn to win)," Tuberville said. "(Arkansas) played six overtimes (against Tennessee) and played to 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. We had an open date and were feeling good about ourselves, and we had (Arkansas) at home. Then we couldn't tackle anybody. They took it to us."
Which team are you?
Tennessee is embracing a different role this season the underdog.
At least that's the mindset the Volunteers seem to be taking after an uncharacteristic 2002 season.
"We're kind of the forgotten team," said quarterback Casey Clausen.
The Volunteers signal caller may be overstating the memory lapse when it comes to his team, but Tennessee has been pushed to the side in favor of SEC champion Georgia and preseason favorite Auburn.
The Volunteers finished off an 8-5 season with a 30-3 humbling by Maryland in the Peach Bowl. Now, they're looking for redemption.
"This team certainly is hungry and humble," said head coach Phillip Fulmer. "We want to get the bad taste out of our mouth from last season or at least the end of the season. It certainly wasn't up to our standards."
Don't ever give up
LSU will be keeping the words of former North Carolina State head basketball coach Jim Valvano, "Don't give up, don't ever give up," in mind in 2003.
The Tigers were knocked out of the SEC championship game by Arkansas when Matt Jones connected with Decori Birmingham for a 31-yard touchdown pass with nine seconds seconds left.
That was the second most memorable finish for LSU in 2002. First was the so-called "Bluegrass Miracle," when Devery Henderson caught a deflected Hail Mary pass for a 75-yard score with no time left for a 33-30 win over Kentucky.
The Arkansas game served as offseason motivation.
"How much it hurt will certainly be a contributing factor in what type of level of aggressiveness we come back with," coach Nick Saban said.