Welcome to Around the SEC! Each week we’ll bring you the biggest news from around the Southeastern Conference, highlighting everything you need to know to get you ready for a new week of hard hitting SEC football. We’ll focus on the West today and check on the East later in the week.
The first SEC game kicks off in under a week! Here’s all you need to know about the SEC West leading into the final week before college football begins again. Will Alabama settle on a QB? Where does Florida stand with a new offensive coordinator? Can Ole Miss follow a solid 2013 up with a better 2014?
VANDERBILT: Coach Derek Mason has named QB Patton Robinette the starter for the season opener vs. Temple. Robinette is the only returning QB on the roster with in-game experience. He played in 10 games last season, beating traditional SEC East powers Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida.
TENNESSEE: Senior QB Justin Worley was named the Vols’ top QB choice heading into week one. Worley is by far the most experienced QB on the team as head coach Butch Jones hopes his senior QB will lead the way. Tennessee will open with Utah State on Aug 31.
ALABAMA: Could this be the worst Bama team in years? A bad Bama team could still win 9 games, but Nick Saban and Co. still have not declared a starter at QB. Blake Sims and Jacob Coker are the front runners. Issues also arise at the cornerback position, as the returning players were not impressive last season. The new crop of CB freshman are struggling to get into the first string. Alabama gets a break early in the year, having a few warm up games until Florida comes to town the last week of September.
OLE MISS: Hugh Freeze heads into 2014 with a head full of steam. Following a couple of great recruiting classes, Freeze has many eyes fixed on the Rebels. QB Bo Wallace returns with a barrel of talent and game experience. Former number one recruit Robert Nkemdiche is back, recording eight TFLs and two sacks in 2013. Who’s out: freshman wide receiver, Sammie Epps, who was arrested last week on charges of driving without a license and marijuana possession inside a motor vehicle last week. Ole Miss kicks it off vs. Boise State on Aug 28th as part of the opening day of college football.
The Tigers were tied with Alabama for most players selected on the coaches’ All-SEC teams (with OL La’el Collins making the first team). Both had 11 players selected to the exclusive list.LSU:
FLORIDA: QB Jeff Driskel hopes a new offensive coordinator will cure the Gators’ offensive woes of 2013. Florida will have SEC East powers Georgia and South Carolina chomping at the bit to get to Driskel early, but most agree he is progressing nicely in the new system. The man backing up Driskel is still unknown, with freshmen Will Grier and Treon Harris remaining locked in a position battle for the job.
TEXAS A&M: At least seven true freshmen will appear in the season opener at South Carolina on defense. The nation’s number two recruit, DE Myles Garrett, should see plenty of playing time in game one.
Thanks for reading Around the SEC West–game week coverage continues all week long!