The SEC is very proud of reciting the fact that they issued over 1,200 media credentials for this year's SEC Media Days. For context, they say that's more than were issued for the BCS National Championship Game.
You might think that with a record number of attendees, many of whom are traditional newspaper sports reporters, questions would be coming on a non-stop frequency. After all, for most of the reporters there, this will be their only shot in person with these head coaches other than the coach they cover full-time.
That's pretty much how it worked for Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. Reports and photos of the media swarm around his table on Wednesday were expectedly ludicrous. However, when the time came to talk to some of the coaches, the conversation began to drag a few times. Today, it began once the Aggies left the room and in came Kentucky's Mark Stoops, a first year coach:
So, so true. RT @HKellenbergerCL: No one really has questions for Mark Stoops, but there's time to fill. This is where Bob Holt shines.— Chris Bahn (@cbahn) July 17, 2013
Bob Holt has covered the Razorbacks for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 1981. (To see one of my favorite moments of his career that's on YouTube, I encourage you to see Bill Snyder's post-Cotton Bowl press conference. At the 1:45 mark, Holt asks him "what'd you think of Joe Adams' punt return?" Which is totally awesome. Both the punt return and the question.) It's easy to make fun of the local sports media for, well, several things, but we should give Holt plenty of credit here. Someone's got to keep the energy going, and he was just warming up with Stoops.
For whatever reason, Gus Malzahn didn't seem to hold enough interest to generate a lot of questions from a lot of people, or at least the other reporters didn't try to hard to slow Holt down. It was a surreal few minutes. It even became a hashtag on Twitter. Here's some of the things people began tweeting during the Malzahn/Holt interaction:
Bob Holt has asked four of the last five questions, I believe. He covered Malzahn in Arkansas, of course. Bob Holt!— bradlocke (@bradlocke) July 17, 2013
Welcome to SEC Bob Holt Days.— Hugh Kellenberger (@HKellenbergerCL) July 17, 2013
Simply a tour de force performance today from him. RT @Szvetitz The Bob Holt Microphone Award.— WarEagleExtra (@wareagleextra) July 17, 2013
Maybe Bob Holt should be an SEC defensive coordinator. Only guy who can keep up with Malzahn right now.— Marc Torrence (@marctorrence) July 17, 2013
Bob Holt is killing it with Gus at the podium. It's his own hurry-up offense.— Matt Knowles (@MattyTeaks) July 17, 2013
BOB HOLT IS ON FIRE. #bobholt— bradlocke (@bradlocke) July 17, 2013
Does @SEC_Chuck know what the record for most questions asked by one reporter to one coach in a podium setting? Bob Holt has to be close.— WarEagleExtra (@wareagleextra) July 17, 2013
Just an epic run by Bob Holt, today.— Matt Knowles (@MattyTeaks) July 17, 2013
SEC MEDIA DAYS STAT UPDATE: Bob Holt of the Arkansas Dem.Gazette has just set the record for most questions to one coach with 19 to Malzahn.— Glenn Guilbeau (@LSUBeatTweet) July 17, 2013
BOB HOLT OWNED IT. He ran that show. It was a vintage Mike Tyson flurry of punches. Boom boom boom boom boom. It doesn't even really matter what exactly the questions were. You can find the transcript floating around online. There were questions about Kiehl Frazier and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and some others that related to Auburn or to Malzahn's deep connections in Arkansas. But regardless, it was amazing to watch.
Excellent job, Bob.
Unfortunately, the paper's sports editor, unbeknownst to him, made a little faux pas. SI.com's Andy Staples captured this picture of what is reported to be Wally Hall playing solitaire on his laptop during Bielema's press conference a bit later:
All of us very hard at work at SEC media days as Bret Bielema talks. pic.twitter.com/GkN98hWapU— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) July 17, 2013
@Andy_Staples Nice, Wally Hall of the ArkansasDG playing Solitaire on his laptop has the HEAD COACH OF THE TEAM HE COVERS IS ON STAGE!— TJ Carpenter (@TJCarpenterWHB) July 17, 2013
To be fair to Wally, there was an unnamed reporter asleep on the front row of the room during Bielema's press conference, and Bielema called him out in the middle of his remarks until he woke up. So he wasn't alone.