Tuesday, May 8, 2007

SEC Spring Review

A while back I did a spring review for the ACC. Now it is the SEC's turn... I will project a little bit of what I know, what I don't know coming out of Spring Practice.

Alabama
What I know...
Nick Saban will raise the level of execution, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The talent will be soon to come. Alabama fans don't expect an SEC Championship this year, but they do expect to beat Alabama. If they don't....?
What I don't...
Can Alabama get better play at the QB position from John Parker Wilson? Who will replace Ken Darby in the backfield? Leading candidate Jimmy Johns (is anyone hungry) had a lackluster spring
Auburn
What I know...
Brandon Cox should bounce back this year after a disappointing junior campaign hampered by injures. The Tigers will still be able to run the ball even with Kenny Irons gone. Auburn does have more talent than Alabama, but for how long with Saban in town.
What I don't....
The Tigers have lost a lot of talent off the defensive side of the ball the last two years. Can they continue to replace top talent year in and year out? Who will step up at receiver?

Arkansas
What I know...
Darren McFadden and Felix Jones are the best combo of backs in the nation (you hear that Clemson?). As long as the Hogs can block, these guys should rack up over 100 yards per game with ease.
What I don't
The Razorbacks lost some very good players from the defense... who will replace Chris Houston, Jamal Anderson, and company? Can Casey Dick do just enough to stay out of the way of McFadden and Jones?

LSU
What I know...
LSU has gotten to the point where even if they lose 4 first round picks they can re load. Matt Flynn should be able to step right in for Russell - if not then Ryan Perriloux should be more than able. The defensive line is still scary good.
What I don't...
Can LSU avoid mental lapses like they had in their two losses? They might have beaten Florida in a rematch at the end of the year. They have the talent, but turnovers have been their achilles heel the last few years.

Ole Miss
What I know...
Ed Ogeron has raised the talent level in Oxford to a level where the Rebels can compete in the SEC. Benjarvus Green-Ellis is a talent in the backfield, but needs some help from the o-line.
What I don't...
Can Brent Schaeffer take better care of the ball? How do you replace Patrick Willis?

Miss St
What I know...
Sly Croom finally has two deep with Division I players. The Bulldogs defense should be good again.
What I don't...
What has Miss St done to improve the offense because it was downright awful at times last year?

Florida
What I know...
Florida has a stockpile of skill position players - Percy Harvin could turn into the next Reggie Bush. Urban Meyer will finally get to run offense with Tim Tebow at the helm.
What I don't...
The Gators have talent to replace the nine draft picks, but they lack experience at the point.

Georgia
What I know...
This team is still very young, but not as young as last year. Matt Stafford is poised for a breakout year under new coordinator Mike Bobo. The Dawgs defense will be still be very stout especially in the secondary. Georgia should be loaded at tailback and the return game should be very dangerous again.
What I don't...
Even with the JUCOs signed on the offensive line, is the depth situation really resolved? Georgia lost two very good pass rushers in Charles Johnson and Quentin Moses along with two starting linebackers - can the Bulldogs sustain a pass rush without blitzing?
South Carolina....
What I know...
South Carolina will still pass the ball all over the field even with Sidney Rice gone and Blake Mitchell not playing up to Spurriers standards. The unheralded running game will be good again. The Brinkley twins will wreak havoc on many SEC QBs
What I don't...
The Gamecocks have had a tumultuous off season with the local police - how upsetting has this been to the team chemistry? They are still in the SEC East and even with upgraded recruiting, I don't know if they can break through to the top three.

Tennessee...
What I know...
The Vols should be a tougher, better conditioned team, but there will be some off the field just like every year.
What I don't...
How long until Erik Ainge is fully healed? Can he reach his potential this year after another year with David Cutcliffe? The defensive line has been a strong point over the last few years, but does have some very big shoes to fill.

Kentucky..
What I know...
People will be very involved in the Wildcats program this year after the strong finish including a bowl win over Clemson. Andre Woodson is the best dual threat QB you have never heard of (if you are a fan of the Big 10).
What I don't...
How will the raised expectations affect the team? Most years Kentucky is just trying to stay out of the cellar.

Vanderbilt...
What I know...
Jay Cutler may be old news after fans see the QB play this year (the QBs name escapes me). The Commodores will be very well coached again and will not beat themselves.
What I don't...
Vandy will give a very good team a very big scare... I just don't know who.

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