SEC West Pre-Spring - Team Problems

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 13, 2012


2012 SEC West Pre-Spring Preview - What Every SEC West Team Should Be Grouchy

2012 Pre-Spring Preview   

Why To Be Grouchy - SEC West


East Florida | Georgia | Kentucky
Missouri | South Carolina | Tennessee | Vanderbilt  
West Alabama | Arkansas | Auburn
LSU | Ole Miss | Miss State | Texas A&M

2012 SEC Pre-Spring Preview
- CFN 2012 Pre-Preseason SEC East Rankings
- CFN 2012 Pre-Preseason SEC West Rankings
- Why Every SEC East Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every SEC West Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every SEC East Team Should Be Grouchy
- Why Every SEC West Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every SEC East Team Needs To Work On 
- What Every SEC West Team Needs To Work On 
2012 Recruiting Rankings SEC East | SEC West   
 
Alabama

Alabama might have been the best team in America last year, but it caught several big breaks to prove it. The offense should be just as good, if not better, but the defense should take a little step back with the loss of seven starters from a group that finished No. 1 in the nation in total defense, scoring defense, run defense, pass defense, and pass efficiency defense. The Tide should be better than Michigan, Arkansas, and Missouri, but it’s not a plus that the D has to get its feet wet by facing those three away from home in the first six weeks. This year, Bama has to go to LSU.

Arkansas

The team should be better with a little big of time, but there’s work to do this spring. Receivers Joe Adams and Jarius Wright are gone, as are two starters from the line. Adams was more than just one of the team’s top targets; he was also a devastating punt returner finishing second in the nation averaging a phenomenal 16.89 yards per try. The defense that made great strides loses tone-setting end Jake Bequette, who led the team and finished third in the nation in sacks, and will also miss the top two tacklers, linebacker Jerry Franklin and safety Tramain Thomas.

Auburn

Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn is off to Arkansas State, as is workhorse running back Michael Dyer. The offense was all Dyer for long stretches, and now the passing game has to show more pop even though the quarterback situation is still a question mark and without a dangerous No. 1 receiver. Emory Blake could be the main man, and tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen has Rob Gronkowski-like upside, but they didn’t exactly jump-start the attack last year. The offensive line should be fine in a little bit of time, but both starting tackles – A.J. Greene on the left side and Brandon Mosley on the right – have to be replaced.

LSU

LSU might have loaded up over the last few years with some terrific recruiting classes, but it’s asking for too much to be as dominant defensively after losing four key starters from the front seven including tackle Michael Brockers and linebackers Stefoin Francois and Ryan Baker. The secondary might have Tyrann Mathieu and Eric Reed, but Morris Claiborne was the best defensive back in college football and Brandon Taylor was a top-shelf strong safety. In all, the Tigers lose six defensive starters, have to replace two starting offensive linemen, and won’t have No. 1 target Rueben Randle around to rely on.

Ole Miss

Houston Nutt might have done new coach Hugh Freeze a solid and played a ton of underclassmen last season, but the talent level isn’t there compared to the other SEC West teams. The offense needs more rushing options, and a quarterback has to emerge who can move the ball. Ole Miss is in a constant quest for a quick fix for a passer, and the situation still hasn’t been settled after a year of one of the nation’s most inefficient passing games. The offensive line was a major disappointment, but it’s still not a plus that starting tackles Bradley Sowell and Bobby Massie will be playing in the NFL next year.

Mississippi State

The talent level might be better across the board, but the experience is missing in some key spots. The bigger problem, though, is that Mississippi State is still in the SEC West. There’s no margin for error, and while the Bulldogs should be strong and should be a lock for a bowl game, but the team’s top defensive player – DT Fletcher Cox – took off early for the NFL. Both safeties Charles Mitchell and Wade Bonner are done, as is pass rushing end Sean Ferguson. The offense loses heart-and-soul back Vick Ballard and three starters on the offensive line.

Texas A&M

There are major question marks at the skill spots. The receiving corps should be fine even with Jeff Fuller off to the NFL, but quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Cyrus Gray were two key parts of last year’s attack will be missed. The defensive front seven should be devastating, but three starters are gone from the secondary with only strong safety Tony Hurd back. One of the team’s biggest losses is kicker and Lou Groza winner, Randy Bullock, who led the nation in field goals hitting 29-of-33 shots. The biggest problem is the schedule with nine bowl teams to deal with including new West mates Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, and Auburn. If that wasn’t enough, the Aggies have to play Florida from the East.

East Florida | Georgia | Kentucky
Missouri | South Carolina | Tennessee | Vanderbilt  
West Alabama | Arkansas | Auburn
LSU | Ole Miss | Miss State | Texas A&M

2012 SEC Pre-Spring Preview
- CFN 2012 Pre-Preseason SEC East Rankings
- CFN 2012 Pre-Preseason SEC West Rankings
- Why Every SEC East Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every SEC West Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every SEC East Team Should Be Grouchy
- Why Every SEC West Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every SEC East Team Needs To Work On 
- What Every SEC West Team Needs To Work On 
2012 Recruiting Rankings SEC East | SEC West