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2011 Spring Preview - SEC West Key Positions
LSU CB Morris Claiborne
LSU CB Morris Claiborne
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 22, 2011


The positions to watch for each SEC West team going into spring practices.


2011 SEC West Spring Preview

The Spring Position Concerns

Click for each team's spring preview
East Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | South Carolina | Tennessee | Vanderbilt 
West Alabama | Arkansas | Auburn | LSU | Ole Miss | Miss State
 
2011 SEC Spring Preview 
- SEC Spring Preview - Does SEC Champ = BCS Champ?
- 2011 SEC East Spring Buzz | SEC West   
- 2011 SEC East Spring Attitudes | SEC West
- 2011 SEC East Big Spring Questions | SEC West 
- 2011 SEC East Key Positions To Watch | SEC West
- SEC East Spring Rankings | SEC West
 
West

Alabama

Quarterback. Trent Richardson will be more than fine taking on more of a role at running back, and Darius Hanks and Marquis Maze are dangerous receivers who can be steady veterans until a few of the great young prospects can be ready, but someone has to step in at quarterback and replace the very smart, very steady Greg McElroy. While McElroy will be a NFL backup, the Tide might be upgrading the talent level if it’s A.J. McCarron or Phillip Sims under center. They each have great size and they have special talents, and they should wage a fantastic war to get the honor of running a national title-level team. The Alabama quarterback doesn’t have to bomb away for a bazillion yards, but he has to make plays on third downs and he has to keep the mistakes to a bare minimum.

Arkansas

Offensive tackle. While everyone is going to be talking about QB Tyler Wilson and his potential as Ryan Mallett’s replacement, he’ll be phenomenal if he gets time to work. The Hog pass protection wasn’t exactly a rock last year, and now it has to go on without DeMarcus Love on the left side and Ray Dominguez on the right. This is a HUGE line that should be great in the interior, but true freshman Brey Cook has to be fantastic at one tackle and Grant Freeman needs to shine on the other side.

Auburn

Besides quarterback, offensive lineman. The linebacking corps needs two new starters, the defensive tackles have to be replaced, and losing receiver Darvin Adams and Terrell Zachery will hurt, but the Tigers have nice young prospects waiting to step in and produce almost everywhere. The problem is on the offensive front with four starters gone including tackle Lee Ziemba and center Ryan Pugh. Right tackle Brandon Mosley is the only returning starter, and while there are some nice prospects, particularly guard Ed Christian and tackle A.J. Green, who got hurt with an ankle problem but is healthy again, it’s asking a lot to form a consistent, tight line from the start.

LSU

Kicker, punter and returner. The quarterbacks will be under the spotlight, a new left tackle has to step in to replace Joseph Barksdale, and a new starting running back has to replace plowhorse Stevan Ridley, but the biggest challenge could be to replace Josh Jasper, who led the SEC in field goals last year and helped; Derek Helton, who helped the punting game finish 13th in the nation and third in the SEC; and Patrick Peterson, who averaged 29 yards per kickoff return and 16 yards per punt return is also an issue. For a team that played so many close games, the difference between being good, winning the SEC West, and winning the national championship could be the emergence of key special teamers.

Ole Miss

Quarterback. Jeremiah Masoli was supposed to make a huge splash and was expected to be a difference-maker, but instead of leading Oregon to a national title, he ended up struggling to get the Ole Miss offense going. Before Masoli came in and was eligible, the job was supposed to go to Nathan Stanley, a tall, promising player who could quietly become a very steady, very productive player. However, he’ll have to fight off Randall Mackey, a tremendous runner who’ll get his chances this fall after getting his knee healthy. He’ll also have to hold off JUCO transfer and former Louisville Cardinal, Zack Stoudt, and West Virginia transfer Barry Brunetti.

Miss State

Linebacker. The Bulldogs have to replace left tackle Derek Sherrod, but that’s about it for the big losses on offense. All-star Pernell McPhee was a strong defensive end, but the Bulldogs have several good players waiting to step in. The punting game also must be addressed with Heath Hutchins gone. The biggest position, through, to work on is linebacker with Chris White, K.J. Wright, the team’s top and Emmanuel Gatling, who made 45 stops, all gone. Cameron Lawrence is ready to go in place of Gatling on the outside, but the spotlight will be on Brandon Wilson to try to take over for White in the middle and Mike Hunt – two words – getting the first look for Wright. However, sophomores Deonte Skinner and Chris Hughes along with middle prospect Ferlando Bohanna are promising. Basically, it’s going to be an interesting offseason to find the right three prospects.

Click for each team's spring preview
East Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | South Carolina | Tennessee | Vanderbilt 
West Alabama | Arkansas | Auburn | LSU | Ole Miss | Miss State
 
2011 SEC Spring Preview 
- SEC Spring Preview - Does SEC Champ = BCS Champ?
- 2011 SEC East Spring Buzz | SEC West   
- 2011 SEC East Spring Attitudes | SEC West
- 2011 SEC East Big Spring Questions | SEC West 
- 2011 SEC East Key Positions To Watch | SEC West
- SEC East Spring Rankings | SEC West