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Alabama…junior quarterback Greg McElroy. The Crimson Tide rallied for a strong win that showed a lot of guts against Virginia Tech last week, but part of the reason they were trailing early was a slow start by their new quarterback. He had issues staring down receivers and making quick decisions. Florida International will be a lay-up in week two. Let’s see if McElroy’s play follows suit.
Auburn … junior receiver Mario Fannin. The new Auburn regime got off to a good start with a strong win over Louisiana Tech last week, and Fannin looked like a great fit in Gus Malzahn’s offense as a receiver/running back/H-back with 8 catches for 82 yards. He moved around and lined up in different spots all game, serving as a possession outlet for Chris Todd.
Florida…junior cornerback Joe Haden. The Gators ace cover guy also had six tackles last week against Charleston Southern. Against Troy’s pass-a-second, no-huddle offense, that total will probably increase. Haden and partner Janoris Jenkins are in for a workout.
Georgia…senior quarterback Joe Cox. Will Cox wind up like the last Joe QB to try and lead the Bulldogs? Last week wasn’t a good start at Oklahoma State, and South Carolina’s defense may not be the outfit to try and get right against. But Georgia doesn’t have much of a choice.
LSU …junior safety Chad Jones. He became something of a folk hero in Baton Rouge this summer, playing a key role as a relief pitcher in LSU’s run to another baseball national championship. On the football field, Jones has been a star-in-the-making for two seasons now, but never been able to meet the hype. Is he a baseball player trying to play football? After last week’s poor performance, marred by missed tackles, it’s a question Jones has to answer. Vanderbilt ran for 400 yards in week one – so the missed tackles can’t happen in week two.
Mississippi State…freshman receiver Chad Bumphis. Dan Mullen recruited Bumphis to fill the oft-discussed “Percy Position” in the Mississippi State version of the Florida offense, and he showed up in week one with two touchdown catches. Auburn’s defense had some issue in week one, can the Bulldogs steal a win this Saturday?
South Carolina…senior linebacker Eric Norwood. There wasn’t much that was particularly entertaining about South Carolina’s win over NC State last Thursday, but Norwood was something to see, blowing up the Wolfpack O-line and racking up 8 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries. He has to be salivating after watching Georgia struggle to protect Joe Cox against Oklahoma State.
Tennessee…senior quarterback Jonathan Crompton. He had the best game of his career against Western Kentucky, and now he has to face a team that was involved with one of his worst in UCLA. Crompton ran Lane Kiffin’s offense excellently last week, but how much of that had to do with the (lack of) competition?
Vanderbilt...freshmen running backs Warren Norman and Zac Stacy. This duo combined for 238 yards last week against Western Carolina, and after the success Chris Polk had last week against LSU, stopping them has to be considered job one for the Tigers.
Off this week…Arkansas, Ole Miss, Kentucky.