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2011 Spring Preview SEC West Questions
Mississippi State QB Chris Relf
Mississippi State QB Chris Relf
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 22, 2011


The big questions surrounding each SEC West team going into spring practices.


2011 SEC West Spring Preview

The Spring Questions

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

Can the defensive front get into the backfield? As good as the Tide defenses have been, end even with a top NFL draft pick like Marcell Dareus working at one end, the pass rush has been a bit weak. Bama finished sixth in the SEC, and 54th in the nation, in sacks last season and was 11th in the league in tackles for loss. The 2009 national title team was second in the SEC in tackles for loss and fourth in sacks, and now the call has gone out to start getting to the quarterback on a regular basis. LB Courtney Upshaw led the team with seven sacks, but getting more from all three spots up front would be nice. The veteran secondary doesn’t exactly need a ton of help, but with all four starters returning, a pass rush could make the pass defense phenomenal.

Arkansas

Can the Hogs be better against the run? The defensive front was expected to turn things up a few notches with a veteran group returning, and it did by getting into the backfield on a regular basis and helping the D finish ninth in the nation in sacks and 13th in tackles for loss. Run defense wasn’t exactly the group’s forte, but with a good, strong group returning, and a few beefeaters on the inside, there’s room for improvement. There’s too much size, too much depth, and too many good tackles to be so average against the better ground games, and if Bryan Jones and DeQuinta Jones can be strong inside, the defense might not have any major holes. With Missouri State, New Mexico and Troy to start, the stats will be good early on, but the proof will come with a trip to Alabama in late September.

Auburn

Who gets to be the one who follows that? It might seem crazy now, but Cam Newton, as good as he was last offseason, didn’t have a rock-solid grasp on the starting gig. Barrett Trotter was in the hunt for the job with a good passing arm and nice mobility, and while he’s not nearly the player that Newton turned out to be, he has the skill and the talent to continue to make the offense go. Sophomore Clint Moseley will get every shot to win the starting gig, and top recruit Kiehl Frazier is coming aboard later this summer, but it’s Trotter’s job to lose. Don’t be too stunned if he’s very, very good.

LSU

Can new offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe make that much of a difference? It was a complete and total miracle that LSU won 11 games with the nation’s 107th ranked passing game, 92nd in passing efficiency, and 11th in the SEC in total offense. The team might be good enough to challenge for the SEC title as is, but if it wants to play for the national title, and that’s a realistic expectation, the attack can’t stink. Kragthorpe isn’t looking to rebuild the machine, but he’s looking to simplify how it works by making the reads easier for the quarterbacks. The moves have worked so far as Jordan Jefferson has thrown well in early practices, while the coaching staff has said it likes what Jarrett Lee and Zach Mettenberger were doing. With eight starters returning, including the entire offensive line, the expectations are for the production to start to come.

Ole Miss

Can the secondary improve? It’ll be all about the offense and the quarterback situation, but the bigger deal should be a secondary that was a complete and utter disaster allowing 246 yards per game and finishing last in the SEC and 109th in the nation in pass efficiency defense. It’s not like the SEC was full of high-octane passers, but when LSU is putting up 258 yards through the air and Mississippi State is throwing for 288, there’s a problem. Two starters need to be replaced, but it should be an open casting call to find playmakers. The pass rush will be there to help the cause, and now the hope will be for Marcus Temple – who’ll miss spring ball with a sports hernia - to eventually be a shut-down corner and for a few young prospects, particularly Charles Sawyer, to step up and shine right away.

Miss State

Can Manny Diaz be replaced? He might not be a college football household name, but he did a fantastic job with a defense that finished 21st in the nation in points allowed, was fantastic at getting into the backfield, and was a rock against the run. He left to take over the open Texas defensive coordinator job, and now it’ll be up to Chris Wilson to run the D, with Geoff Collins from FIU coming in to assist, and there’s no excuse to not keep the production going. Seven starters return led by a terrific line that should be fine even without Pernell McPhee on the outside, and with all four starters returning to the secondary.

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