Talking season is officially over as the 2019 SEC Media Days have wrapped up in Hoover, Alabama, though what a week it was. Missouri was the first team to start things out, and they did it with a bang. With Kelly Bryant making an appearance and the postseason ban being the talk around the conference, Mizzou was the center of attention on Monday.
Even though he hasn’t played a down in the SEC Kelly Bryant has gained a lot of respect from the players and coaches around the league due to his 16-2 mark as a starter at Clemson. “I’m excited to see big things out of him this year,” - Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm said of Bryant. The two will face off in Athens on November 9th.
Jake Fromm on Kelly Bryant: “I’m excited to see big things out of him this year.” #Mizzou #UGA #SECMD19 pic.twitter.com/YkrX40u7qo— Sammy Stava (@StavaonSTL) July 16, 2019
Having played against Bryant in the 2017 season in a 34-10 Clemson win, South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley is looking forward to do it again for one final time, in a different rivalry game.
“He’s getting his second chance opportunity to play at Missouri, which is really cool for him. I’m excited to see it, he’s definitely an elite quarterback, so I’ll be ready, it’ll be a fun game,” - Bentley said. The Tigers and Gamecocks will play in COMO on September 21st.
While Texas A&M doesn’t play Missouri this season, head coach Jimbo Fisher was certainly impressed with what Bryant did against the Aggies last season when at Clemson. With a 28-26 win in College Station.
Kelly Bryant went 12-17 with 205 passing yards and two total TDs. “He’s a heck of a player. I think he will do very well at Mizzou, that’s for sure,” - Fisher said.
South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp appreciated Kelly Bryant’s talents, but praised his leadership more. “I probably think his best attributes as a player are his intangible qualities. The guy is an outstanding leader. Just an outsider looking in, you can see the positive impact he’s already had on that program.”
In what might have been considered a transition season, Missouri needed a quarterback like Kelly Bryant for the post Drew Lock era, not only on the field, but off the field as well. “I fell in love with everything they had to offer. I already made my decision. I’m not going to turn back on it now,” - Bryant said.
If Bryant doesn’t land in Columbia it might have caused a few seniors to bolt after the news of the postseason ban. Bryants leadership is one of the big reasons why these seniors have stuck together.
That’s the advice Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke gave to Missouri, having gone through a postseason ban in Oxford for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. “I think the most important thing is keeping everything in house, making sure your team stays together, because they are dealing with a lot of stuff on social media and hearing all the negativity. So playing for each other and playing together will be huge,” - Luke said.
And that’s what Missouri has done, at least so far. You can make an argument that this postseason ban has actually made this team a lot closer. Aside from Terry Petry, nobody else has entered the transfer portal despite the uncertainty of making a bowl game, which is pretty incredible if you think about it with the culture they’ve built. Barry Odom deserves a ton of credit for that.
“That’s a close, close group and I think those opportunities that were presented to us are going to help us as we get down into the fall into the season,” - Odom said.
“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It’s greener where you water it,” - Missouri senior linebacker Cale Garrett said.
Whether the ban sticks or not, this season still has the chance to be something special. It started off right at SEC Media Days as Kelly Bryant and Missouri have the league’s attention.