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What SEC football coaches think about early signing day

Florida’s Jim McElwain, left, on the new early signing period: “I truly believe it’s going to call some people’s bluff.” And Alabama’s Nick Saban: “I think evaluation is important, and I think the sooner you have to make decisions on these guys, the greater opportunity you have to make mistakes.”
Published May 16, 2017

After years of debate, college football will have its first early signing period with a 72-hour window beginning Dec. 20. SEC coaches still aren't sure how it's going to work in practice. Some excerpts from Monday's post-spring teleconference:

LSU coach Ed Orgeron: "It's a war out there. Now you have two of them."

Florida coach Jim McElwain: "It will put some players that have maybe taken reservations rather than commitments places, it's going to call that bluff, as well as a lot of schools that have a lot of offers out. … I truly believe it's going to call some people's bluff, both from the players' side and the schools' side. It'll be interesting to see."

Alabama coach Nick Saban: "I think evaluation is important, and I think the sooner you have to make decisions on these guys, the greater opportunity you have to make mistakes."

Tennessee coach Butch Jones: "I think there's a lot of things we have to get ironed out. We'll adapt, and we'll adjust." Jones added that he would have been in favor of it when he was at Central Michigan or Cincinnati, because his programs would have had fewer signing-day surprises, like when under-the-radar commits get late offers from bigger programs.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart: "I'm very interested to see how this plays out, because I think we're dealing in a world we haven't dealt in. When we have that, there's usually repercussions we haven't thought of. The biggest complication it's going to bring about is, you're going to have guys having to make intense decisions, possibly during the week of their (high school) playoffs. There are going to be a lot of different pressures."

Missouri coach Barry Odom: "It's obviously going to speed things up. We've got to do a tremendous job on evaluating kids earlier and more through at an early age." Odom also said his staff will increase the pressure his staff puts on in-season visits so prospects see and experience everything they need during game weekends before they (potentially) make a decision in December.

Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

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