MEMPHIS — A proposal by the NCAA to pass a rule that would prevent football coaches from offering scholarships to high school players until the July after their junior seasons is getting favorable responses from Southeastern Conference coaches.
Many players now get offers the summer before their sophomore and junior years while attending summer camps at various universities.
"There were about 25 guys at our (summer) camp who are going into their junior year who have received scholarship offers from other schools," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "These guys haven't even taken their ACT yet. How can you evaluate if they haven't qualified?
"You need to slow down the process so you can talk to the high school coaches and guidance counselor to get an evaluation of a young man's character, attitude and intelligence."
Florida coach Urban Meyer would like to see the NCAA pass the rule but doesn't know if it could be enforced effectively.
"It would be difficult to enforce," he said.
The league's warmest of seats
Entering this season, the SEC coaches whose job security might be in question the most are LSU's Les Miles and Georgia's Mark Richt.
Miles' 2007 team won the BCS national championship, but he's a combined 8-8 in the SEC since then. The decline is mainly due to an offense that averaged almost 14 fewer points and 134 fewer yards last year than in the 2007 season. Because of the mediocrity, his contract hasn't been rolled over the last two years.
"I don't think that's an issue; I'm fortunate to have a good contract," said Miles, 51-15 (77.3 percent) overall and 27-13 (67.5 percent) in the SEC after five seasons. "My issue is how to coach and how to prepare my team."
LSU defensive back Patrick Peterson said the team has confidence in Miles.
"We love coach Miles, and we have to play better to help defend him," Peterson said.
Richt, who is 90-27 overall (76.9 percent) and 50-22 (69.4 percent) in the SEC in his first nine years at Georgia, isn't sweating his job, though the Bulldogs were 8-5 last year (4-4 in the SEC).
"The things I can't control, I just trust the Lord with that," Richt said.
Georgia punter Drew Butler bristled when asked about Richt's job being on the line this season.
"That talk is ridiculous," he said. "It's just stuff being written to sell newspapers."
Rebels wanted in Atlanta
Gary Stokan, president of the Atlanta Sports Council and Chick-fil-A Bowl, is always seeking different SEC teams to play in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game that opens the regular season.
Alabama played in the first two Chick-fil-A Kickoff games, in 2008 and last season, and this year LSU faces North Carolina of the ACC in the Sept. 4 opener in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.
Stokan doesn't have his teams booked for 2011, but an attractive game might be Boise State and Ole Miss, which is already scheduled to be the 2011 season opener in Oxford.
"That would be a great matchup," Stokan said at this past week's SEC media days. "Tell Houston we'd love to book that."
Ole Miss coach Nutt doesn't want to move the game from Oxford to the Georgia Dome, where the Rebels have never played, either in the SEC championship game or the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
"I'd like to play in that game (in Atlanta) and our fans are pumped up about that game (against Boise State)," Nutt said. "But I probably want to leave everything the way it is. Please give us a rain check."
Dooley has expert to lean on
New Tennessee coach Derek Dooley has a valuable sounding board in his father, Vince, who is considered one of the greatest coaches in SEC history.
From 1964-88 at Georgia, Vince Dooley won 201 games, six SEC titles and a national championship in 1980.
"He's a tremendous resource," Derek said of his father. "Where I use him most is when you have to make tough decisions. We saw it this summer (after Tennessee players got in a bar fight in early July)."
Dooley admitted his father has become consumed with knowing everything possible about Tennessee.
"He's learning the geography of the state, the political history of the state, the great Civil War battles of the state, what's the motto of the state, the history of our program with all the coaches and records," Dooley said.
-- Ron Higgins: 529-2525