Media Days Review: Guy Penrod sat with his wife and a hot Starbucks beverage in the Riverchase Galleria. No crowds around him.
Same building but upstairs, Tua Tagovailoa was making the rounds. As I made my way up the escalator, the murmer became a roar. One of those ropes that separates fans from red carpet celebs was all that kept the masses at bay.
You're probably asking, 'Who is Guy Penrod?' (if you've not already googled it). He just happens to have one of the most powerful voices in music.
You've watched the Gaither Homecoming Series - at least once? He's the one belting out the high notes.
In Birmingham, Ala. he was relatively an unknown on this day. It belonged to someone else.
When I saw the long gray-haired fella in the mall, I immediatley knew he was somebody. Was it Sam Elliot? No. Then it dawned on me. I never forget a face. Names? Yes - everyday.
Among the heards of Bama fans, the chants continued - 'Tua, Tua, Tua!' He might be the biggest Bama star yet, although there is unfinished business - at least that's what Saban might say.
Tua's celebrity came on a 2nd and 26 touchdown. Fast-forward one year and just one win shy of another storybook finish, only to see it foiled by another quarterback - one with long hair (not as long as Guy Penrod's).
He said the Clemson loss was "good." You learn from a loss.
This will likely be Tua's final season in Tuscaloosa. He might be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft next year.
After the Crimson dust settled on the hotel lobby floor, Gus Malzahn arrived. Birmingham is an Alabama town, but there is a good Auburn presence. Not on this day.
There was one lady with her sharpie and a few items to be signed. I saw a guy who resembled Elvis with his sideburns and a Shug Jordan era Auburn hat. And there was Tiger Jake, the Aubie-painted pooch.
Tiger Jake was parading about the Wynfrey like a show horse. He's almost as popular as the Bear twins.
The one Vandy fan in attendance brought his dog - a little pug. The pug and Jake had a brief encounter pulling the leashes of their owners taut. There were no punches thrown.
The media then bagged their belongings and departed with a question, 'Will this be our final trip to Hoover?'
The SEC is taking the show to Atlanta and Nashville the next two years. Hoover is like home to me. They've hosted 17 of the last 18 Media Days, and I've attended them all.
It has an element that will be amiss in Atlanta. Hoover has Tiger Jake, the Bear twins and Ringhead. It has Guy Penrod. If I see him again, I won't request an autograph but a solo instead.