HOOVER, Ala. — The superstar quarterback and the reigning national championship team desperately seeking one — any reasonable facsimile will do, really — share the spotlight to start Southeastern Conference media days.
New SEC West coaching rivals Houston Nutt and Bobby Petrino will also take their turns at the podium — on different days.
The three-day event kicks off Wednesday with some 700 reporters descending on suburban Birmingham along with the 12 head coaches and two players from each team. The last two national champions are up on Day 1.
Florida's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow steps to the auditorium's podium Wednesday like the coaches, while the rest of the players will be seated at tables in adjoining rooms for their sessions at the Wynfrey Hotel. Later comes LSU's Les Miles, who is trying to defend a national title while seeking a No. 1 quarterback after booting presumed starter Ryan Perrilloux from the team.
The top candidates to replace starter Matt Flynn are Harvard transfer Andrew Hatch and redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee.
Alabama's Nick Saban will have to take a back seat among SEC Western Division coaches after hogging much of the attention last summer before his Crimson Tide debut. The two new high-profile "rookie" coaches are Mississippi's Nutt and his successor at Arkansas, Petrino, who returned to the division following his not-quite-one-full-season cameo with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.
Nutt appears Thursday and Petrino Friday, but the new Razorbacks' coach does take the stage the same day as his former boss at Auburn, Tommy Tuberville. Auburn brass made a clandestine run at Petrino two days before the Iron Bowl in 2003 when Tuberville was briefly on the hot seat.
Among the top players appearing besides Tebow are LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson, Auburn defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks and Tennessee running back Arian Foster. Tebow and Mississippi State's Wesley Carroll are the only quarterbacks making the trip.