Do you have a comment? E-mail me.
Three & Out returns to give you a periodic look at what's going on this spring in the SEC. In today's edition, we take a look at a play-maker in Gainesville, the Georgia quarterback battle and Vandy's spring game.
BACK AGAIN...FOR THE FIRST TIME
This time last year, the buzz in Gainesville swirled around Andre Debose, a talented true freshman that was expected to step right in for the recently-departed Percy Harvin. Debose, a five-star recruit out of Seminole High School in Sanford, Fla., is the running/receiving threat that typically thrives in the Urban Meyer offense. But just as his Gator career was about to start, Debose tore his hamstring, forcing him to miss the entire 2009 season.
Debose returned to the field on Saturday as a starter for the Blue team in Florida's Orange & Blue Debut, and showed that he may be worth the wait.
His stats on Saturday afternoon weren't overly impressive – two catches for 30 yards, including a highlight reel diving catch near the goal line. But Debose was playing at a self-admitted 80 percent and only started team practices a week before the end of spring.
It's not his stats that should scare SEC East teams, it's his existence.
The Florida offense struggled at times (by Florida standards) in 2009, and the absence of Percy Harvin was a big reason why. There's an actual "Percy Position" for the Gators, and Andre Debose was recruited specifically for it. A week after returning to practice, he's already making diving catches in practices and "games."
There's no shortage of talent in Gainesville, but Debose was expected to rise to the top before his hamstring injury. With five months to get back to 100 percent, Debose is now well on his way to matching the hype that followed him to Florida last season.
The Bulldogs have their man...sort of.
Zach Mettenberger was clearly the best quarterback on the field Saturday afternoon during Georgia's annual G-Day game. The redshirt freshman finished the day 6-for-10 for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
At 6-foot-5 with a laser, rocket arm; Mettenberger has drawn comparisons to another Bulldog great – Matt Stafford. While those comparisons are a bit premature and presumptuous, there's no doubt that Mettenberger is the man for the job.
But the man for the job won't be able to take a snap when Georgia opens the season September 4 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette. Mettenberger must serve a mandatory one-game suspension for the first game of the year after an off-season arrest at a Remerton, Ga., bar. So if Mettenberger wins the job, as many expect he will, he could be taking his first collegiate snap at South Carolina the second week of the season.
Talk about a trial by fire.
The South Carolina game is one that Georgia has to win to have a legitimate chance to win the SEC East. It's also one that gives the Bulldogs fits seemingly every year.
I'm not so sure head coach Mark Richt will feel comfortable trotting Mettenberger out there in that situation, even though he may be the best man for the job. Can Georgia survive the early test without their best quarterback? Thanks to a strong spring showing by Mettenberger on the field, but a lapse of judgment off of it, that may be a question that Richt will be forced to answer.
AN OFFENSIVE OFFENSE
Two years ago, Vanderbilt went to a bowl game for the first time since 1982. They followed that up by going 2-10 and 0-for-the-conference last year.
The 'Dores spring practice in 2010 was supposed to provide at least a few answers for the Commodores. Can Larry Smith be the guy at quarterback? Can they find a play-maker other than running back Warren Norman? Following their Black & Gold scrimmage on Saturday, those questions and more remain unanswered.
The Commodores scored one offensive touchdown in the scrimmage. It was on the last play of the game from a quarterback, Matt Casas, who is currently listed fifth on the 'Dores depth chart. The Vanderbilt offense only got inside the 10-yard line three times, including a drive that started on the one-yard line in which they didn't score.
The ceiling isn't very high for Vandy, and it appears that they may have reached it two years ago. It's true that defenses are typically ahead of offenses in spring, but an offensive performance like the one that Vandy put out Saturday afternoon has got to be concerning for Commodore fans.
Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter at @BarrettSallee
2010 Spring Three & Out Archive
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 11, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 8, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – April 5, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 31, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 28, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 24, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 21, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 18, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 15, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 11, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 5, 2010
Three & Out: SEC Thoughts, News & Notes – March 2, 2010
Click Here for the off-season blog archive
Click here for the 2009 regular season Three & Out archive