This update was written on the scene of SEC Media Days by Doug Gillett.
When the handouts revealing the results of the media's All-SEC balloting were distributed this morning, Alabama running back Trent Richardson, not surprisingly, was on the first team. Yet despite that, and despite being talked about as perhaps even more talented than his predecessor (Mark Ingram, Alabama's first-ever Heisman winner), Richardson spoke to the media as if he were just a regular college kid plopped in front of a bunch of reporters with cameras and digital recorders. He spoke softly and casually used the phrase "them boys" to refer to both teammates and rival players. "Them boys are gonna try to bang us up, and we're gonna try to bang them up, too."
Yet first-team All-SEC status doesn't appear to affect him much, nor does the prospect of shouldering a greater load while Bama's new QBs learn the ropes. Even the Heisman didn't seem to be a huge motivating factor for Richardson: "It's not a primary goal. If it happens, it happens. That's a dream when you're playing NCAA on the PlayStation or something like that."
If anything, the biggest single thing driving Richardson this season, to hear him tell it, is memories of the tornadoes that devastated Tuscaloosa back in spring. Richardson related the story of Alabama's long snapper, whose girlfriend was more or less pulled right out of his arms by the winds; "Parents holding on to their kids while the wind's going 200 miles an hour, those images are stuck in my head," said Richardson, who has two children of his own.
"If you were in Tuscaloosa, you'd never even know some of those buildings were there, or that some of those houses had been there," he said. "You've got folks out there who lost everything, and they look to Alabama football for everything. . . . We can't let them down."
For more SEC, head to Team Speed Kills. For more on SEC Media Days, stay tuned to SBNation.com's streaming coverage, plus SB Nation Atlanta's as well. Here's the complete 2011 SEC Media Days TV schedule.