Saturday, March 8, 2014

SEC spring cleaning

Nice and tidy look around the SEC by Paschall here as the conference heads into spring practice, complete with key departures, position battles and the top story lines for each team. And for a guy that is eternally fretting over the offensive line, I think he hits the nail on the head with Georgia:

Spring start: March 18
Spring game: April 12
GATA Andrews!
Worth following: This spring was supposed to be about the adjustment from Aaron Murray to Hutson Mason at quarterback, but that occurred late last season. The health of tailback Todd Gurley (ankle) may be Georgia's top storyline this summer if Gurley doesn't do much this spring, but the chore for now is replacing Kenarious Gates, Dallas Lee and Chris Burnette on the offensive line. John Theus has moved from right tackle and will get the first opportunity at replacing Gates at left tackle. There are nine starters back on defense with four new coaches, headed by coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, who had the same role at Florida State last season. Pruitt looks to improve a secondary that was young last season and had to learn on the fly, which resulted in several disastrous moments.
And I agree that we'll see next to nothing of Gurley this spring. There's just not much reason to chance anything with 1) the talent we already know he has, 2) the fact that he never played a game last season while fully healthy and 3) the depth at the tailback spot.

Some other thoughts from Paschall's conference synopsis:

  • Auburn returns their starting quarterback form their SEC championship and national title contending 2013 team, but he hasn't locked down the starting spot for 2014.
  • There are some that may suggest that previous statement is not true and Marshall is the definite returning starter. But ask them this - if Malzahn has a better arm on the bench, doesn't Johnson deserve a long look?
  • Although it's always (always) fun to laugh at florida, after reading their paragraph I can't help but think that Driskell and Roper have to be awfully eager to shut the critics' up a bit.
  • Meanwhile Muschamp is somewhere grimacing over watery eggs this morning.
  • As much attention as Bama gets, I rarely am intrigued by anything form Tuscaloosa in the springtime. But this six-way quarterback battle to replace AJ McCarron should be a fun storyline.
  • One of the more interesting teams to watch this spring will be Missouri. Not much drop off (if any at all) at the quarterback position with Maty Mauk taking over permanently for James Fanklin. But who's going to pick up Henry Josey's 1100 rushing yards?
  • Some uncomfortable similarities between Georgia and SEC East foe Sakerlina this spring - fairly seasoned backup quarterback finally replacing a school legend under center, and many questions in the secondary.
  • All five starters from Tennessee's offensive line have to be replaced? That's a ton of bricks!
  • And it will be curious to see how Vanderbilt's transition to a 3-4 goes. Not sure they have someone to anchor down in the middle yet.