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SEC Preview 2006 - Unit Rankings
Auburn QB Brandon Cox
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 9, 2006


CollegeFootballNews.com 2006 SEC Preview Unit Rankings


SEC Preview | All-SEC team and top 30 players | Top 5s | Unit Rankings
- Alabama Preview | Arkansas Preview | Auburn Preview 
- Florida Preview | Georgia Preview |
 Kentucky Preview
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LSU Preview | Ole Miss Preview |  Mississippi State Preview |
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South Carolina Preview | Tennessee Preview | Vanderbilt Preview
 

Offenses

1. LSU
There's speed to burn in the receiving corps, live arms abound among the quarterbacks, and NFL talent in the backfield and on the line. Now it has to come together after an inconsistent and slightly disappointing season. JaMarcus Russell is the number one quarterback, but Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux are each in the hunt for meaningful playing time. Dwayne Bowe, Craig Davis and Early Doucet will catch plenty of deep balls if the running game improves enough to open things up. That could be an issue with Alley Broussard and Justin Vincent each coming off torn ACLs. The offensive line will be significantly worse than last year, but it still should be among the best in the SEC if the three new starters can be consistent.
2. Auburn
3. Tennessee
4. Florida
5. Georgia
6. Alabama
7. Arkansas
8. South Carolina
9. Kentucky
10. Vanderbilt
11. Ole Miss
12. Mississippi State

Quarterbacks  
1. LSU
Has one team ever had a collection of big arms like LSU owns? Ryan Perrilloux and Matt Flynn can throw, and then there's JaMarcus Russell, who can flick his wrist and put the ball anywhere in the stadium. The quarterback situation hasn't really progressed into a full-blown controversy with Russell being named the number one man when he's 100% healthy from a shoulder injury, but many Tiger fans wouldn't mind seeing Flynn get the full-time role or else take the good with the bad with Perrilloux until he gets his kinks worked out. LSU can win and win big with any of the three.
2. Florida
3. Auburn
4. Tennessee
5. Georgia
6. South Carolina
7. Alabama
8. Kentucky
9. Arkansas
10. Ole Miss
11. Vanderbilt
12. Mississippi State

Running Backs
1. Georgia
New running back coach Tony Ball has one of the nation's best stable of backs to work with. Thomas Brown, Kregg Lumpkin and Danny Ware are all good enough to start for anyone in America, and they form a great three-headed monster that should be more productive than is was last year when the ground game only averaged 162 yards per game. The only problem is that none of the backs ever get into a groove because of the rotation, but all three average around five yards per crack. There's speed, but there weren't enough home runs last year. Once Brannan Southerland recovers from a shoulder injury, the fullback situation will be fantastic helped by the return of Des Williams from a torn pectoral muscle.
2. Arkansas
3. Auburn
4. Tennessee
5. Alabama
6. LSU
7. South Carolina
8. Florida
9. Kentucky
10. Ole Miss
11. Vanderbilt
12. Mississippi State

Receivers
1. LSU
There's too much NFL talent here to be merely average. The loss of world-class sprinter Xavier Carter to the pro track ranks take away some speed, but he didn't do much on the field. Dwayne Bowe, Craig Davis, Early Doucet and Brandon LaFell all have next-level skills with size and too much speed for 99% of the college secondaries. They also have experience enough to grow into a special unit. The Tigers have decent tight ends in Keith Zinger and Mit Cole, but they have to be involved in the passing game.
2. Florida
3. Tennessee
4. Auburn
5. South Carolina
6. Alabama
7. Georgia
8. Vanderbilt
9. Mississippi State
10. Arkansas
11. Kentucky
12. Ole Miss

Offensive Lines
1. Arkansas
The line gets five starters back even with the loss of center Kyle Roper thanks to the return of star tackle Zac Tubbs. Run blocking isn't an issue for the veteran group, but the big hogs will have to learn how to pass protect on a consistent basis. Jonathan Luigs is a rising star at center, while tackle Tony Ugoh and guards Robert Felton and Stephen Parker as rock-solid. There's enough depth to create a solid two-deep rotation.
2. Auburn
3. LSU
4. Alabama
5. Tennessee
6. Georgia
7. Florida
8. Vanderbilt
9. Kentucky
10. Ole Miss
11. South Carolina
12. Mississippi State

Defenses
1. Florida
Most of the publicity will be focused on the offense, but it'll be the defense that carries the Gators. The front seven should be terrific as long as injuries don't strike the linebackers. There are plenty of options on the line with tackle Marcus Thomas and ends Ray McDonald, Jarvis Moss and Derrick Harvey all good enough to be in the hunt for all-star honors. If corners Reggie Lewis and Avery Atkins hold up, he secondary will be fine even after losing three starters. Safety Reggie Nelson is about to emerge as an all-star.
2. Auburn
3. LSU
4. Tennessee
5. Georgia
6. Ole Miss
7. Mississippi State
8. Alabama
9. Arkansas
10. South Carolina
11. Vanderbilt
12. Kentucky


Defensive Lines
1. Florida
Can anyone outside of the SEC name a player on one of the best lines in America? It's an unsung group that has at least three potential All-SEC talents if everything comes together. Marcus Thomas decided not to turn pro and should be a terror in the middle. Jarvis Moss will be a serious threat to set the record as the school's all-time single season sacker if he sees plenty of one-on-one coverage. There's more than enough depth to get the type of rotation that defensive coordinator Greg Mattison wants to employ. 
2. Georgia
3. Tennessee
4. Auburn
5. Mississippi State
6. LSU
7. Alabama
8. Ole Miss
9. Arkansas
10. South Carolina
11. Vanderbilt
12. Kentucky

Linebackers
1. Florida
Brandon Siler and Earl Everett will be one of the SEC's best 1-2 linebacking punches, and then all bets are off. Brian Crum looks the part, but has yet to show off any of his skills on a regular basis. If he doesn't rock on the strongside and if Jon Demps isn't 100% healthy after seeing his promising true freshman season cut short, there could be trouble.
2. Auburn
3. Ole Miss
4. Arkansas
5. Tennessee
6. Georgia
7. Alabama
8. LSU
9. Mississippi State
10. Kentucky
11. South Carolina
12. Vanderbilt

Defensive Backs
1. LSU
Even with the loss of top corner Ronnie Prude this will be one of the SEC's best secondaries. The safety combination of LaRon Landry and Jessie Daniels is one of the nation's best, while Chevis Jackson is on the verge of being a perennial All-SEC performer at corner. There's enough speed among the reserve to still field a decent group if disaster strikes.
2. Auburn
3. Florida
4. Tennessee
5. Georgia
6. Mississippi State
7. Ole Miss
8. Alabama
9. South Carolina
10. Arkansas
11. Vanderbilt
12. Kentucky

Special Teams
1. Georgia
Georgia might have the nation's best special teams with a pair of All-America caliber kickers in PK Brandon Coutu and P Gordon Ely-Kelso and talented kick returners Ramarcus Brown and Thomas Flowers. Brown needs to add more pop to what was an average kickoff return game last year, but everything else is sound with great coverage units and highlighted by Coutu's big leg.
2. Florida
3. Tennessee
4. LSU
5. Auburn
6. Arkansas
7. Kentucky
8. Mississippi State
9. Alabama
10. Vanderbilt
11. South Carolina
12. Ole Miss