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2013 SEC Spring Preview
Georgia QB Aaron Murray
Georgia QB Aaron Murray
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 10, 2013


SEC Spring Preview - East Division. Why to be excited, grouchy and what needs working on.

2013 Spring Preview   

SEC East


2013 SEC Spring Preview   
- 2013 SEC West Schedule Analysis
- 2013 SEC Composite Schedule & Week Rankings   
- CFN 2013 Pre-Preseason SEC East Rankings
- CFN 2013 Pre-Preseason SEC West Rankings

East Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | South Carolina | Tennessee | Vanderbilt 
West Alabama | Arkansas | Auburn | LSU | Ole Miss | Miss State

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Florida
Start: March 13, Spring Game: April 6

The brutal performance against Louisville in the Sugar Bowl might have been the best thing that could’ve happened to the Gators. The team needs to upgrade and improve in several areas, and a dominant win with a 12-1 record might have given a false sense that everything worked – now, motivation won’t be a problem. The talent from some phenomenal recruiting classes is still there with 13 starters returning along with punter Kyle Christy, and now it’s time for some of the prep hype to turn into production. Several key spots are open and there should be a few great battles to form a rotation, but on straight speed and athleticism, few teams in America can match the Gators. The secondary might have lost safety Matt Elam, but Loucheiz Purifoy is on the NFL radar as one of the nation’s best corners and there’s enough versatility to play around with corner Jaylen Watkins and a few other options. On the other side, yes, Jeff Driskel really is that good and now he should get a chance to open it up a bit.
- Click for the full CFN Florida spring analysis

Georgia
Start: March 2, Spring Game: April 6

Last year the excitement surrounded the “Dream Team” defense, but this year it’s the offense that has the potential to be unstoppable with ten starters returning and only losing solid-but-replaceable receiver Tavarres King. All five starters are back up front, and while tackle John Theus and Chris Burnette might not take part this spring as they heal up, it’s not a bad thing for the development of the depth. All the stars return to the backfield that made everyone immediately forget about Isaiah Crowell, and Aaron Murray is still slinging it around instead of pushing Geno Smith for the honor of being the No. 1 quarterback taken in a mediocre draft. On the other side, massive losses of defensive talent should make this a fun offseason full of position battles. Several of the key recruits and JUCO transfers are in early to vie for spots right away.
- Click for the full CFN Georgia spring analysis

Kentucky
Start: March 18, Spring Game: April 13

There’s always a burst of enthusiasm and excitement when a new head coach takes over, and Mark Stoops comes in looking to change plenty of things around right away. For a team that was so miserable in so many areas over the last few years, and with some of the weaker SEC teams like Vanderbilt and Ole Miss showing that it’s possible to succeed in the brutal league, there aren’t any excuses being made. Like all new coaches, Stoops is saying all the right things about the team needing to attack more, being more aggressive, and get stronger and nastier overall, but in this case it could actually be true. He’s a different type of coach than Joker Phillips, and it’s going to be a different-looking team.
- Click for full CFN Kentucky spring analysis

Missouri
Start: March 12, Spring Game: April 20

This might be a different-looking team if everyone is back and healthy. Quarterback James Franklin had an odd season, fighting through injures and never really establishing himself as the type of Johnny Manziel-like all-around playmaker he was supposed to grow into. He lit up Tennessee and he did what he could against Georgia, but he missed a bulk of the season and was never the player he was throughout 2011. Now he’s back and healthy, and the big hope is for running back Henry Josey to finally be back and ready to go after missing all of last year recovering from a brutal knee injury two seasons ago. It’s putting a lot of eggs in one basket, but if he’s close to being back to form, and if star receiver prospect Dorial Green-Beckham can start to play up to his ability, the potential is there to come up with a night-and-day turnaround. Getting back four starters on the line will help.
- Click for full CFN Missouri spring analysis

South Carolina
Start: March 5, Spring Game: April 13

Jadeveon Clowney isn’t in the NFL. While he should be protecting his investment – a $5 million insurance policy doesn’t cover nearly enough – he’s going to be cranking it up full tilt as the signature star of the 2013 season not named Manziel. While the defense that finished 11th in the nation has some key holes to fill, the offensive side should be settled after spending the last part of last season getting used to life without Marcus Lattimore. Losing receiver Ace Sanders takes away an all-around playmaker, but Bruce Ellington is a good No. 1 target and Nick Jones, Shaq Roland and Damiere Byrd are set to start doing more. The backfield will be fine without Lattimore and Kenny Miles thanks to the return of Brandon Wilds from injury and Mike Davis looking to do more behind a line that welcomes back four starters, and the quarterback situation will be … well … interesting. There are options now with Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson each in the mix for playing time.
- Click for full CFN South Carolina spring analysis

Tennessee
Start: March 9, Spring Game: April 20

Butch Jones is different than Derek Dooley. He’s a bit more fiery, a bit more pumped up, and he should bring a bit more of an edge. Dooley was a 180-degree turn from the Lane Kiffin problems and he appeared to be the right guy to try doing everything the right way, but his teams were never able to put it all together on both sides of the ball. Jones has a ton of work to do to get the offense in sync, but the defense that finished dead last in the SEC in yards and points allowed welcomes back seven starters including two on the line and three of the top four linebackers. A.J. Johnson is one of the SEC’s best young defenders and a key piece to work around, and the secondary that gets back three starters should be stronger if there’s more of a pass rush up front. The offense might have concerns, but the building blocks are there with four starters returning on the line, including three seniors, from a group that allowed just eight sacks on the year.
- Click for full CFN Tennessee spring analysis

Vanderbilt
Start: March 15, Spring Game: April 13

Jordan Matthews is back. The star wide receiver chose to return for his senior season to join seven other returning starters from a team that went 9-4 and came achingly close to beating both South Carolina and Northwestern. James Franklin has made Vanderbilt cool, with a good recruiting class full of real, live SEC talents coming in, but before the 2013 class has time to mature, this year’s team should be good enough to battle with the conference big boys with a decent O line and a terrific secondary that welcomes back three starters. The key, though, was Matthews, whose decision to play one more year gives the offense the type of gamebreaker needed to help ease in former Wyoming starting quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels – or even promising prospect Patton Robinette - to the starting job.
- Click for full CFN Vanderbilt spring analysis