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Jarrett Stidham's potential among SEC West's most pressing questions
07-07-2017, 04:39
Post: #1
Jarrett Stidham's potential among SEC West's most pressing questions
With SEC media days beginning next week, we wanted to examine the most pressing question facing each team in the conference.
On Wednesday, we tackled the http://www.ochomesnloans.com/brenton-ber...-1_45.html East. Now, it’s the West’s turn under the microscope.
Alabama: Who exactly is Brian Daboll?
Daboll’s Wikipedia bio must have been bombarded with traffic the day he was announced as Alabama’s next offensive coordinator, taking over for Lane Kiffin and, briefly, Steve Sarkisian. Because outside of New England, it’s hard to imagine that many people were familiar with Daboll’s work. He struggled as a coordinator with the Browns, Chiefs and Dolphins, and spent the past four seasons in the shadow of Bill Belichick as the Pats’ tight ends coach. Now, he’s going back to college for the first time in more than 17 years, and reuniting with one of his first head coaches in Nick Saban. With a developing quarterback in Jalen Hurts, a stable of talented running backs and enormous expectations, Daboll is going to be under the gun to succeed right away.
Arkansas: Can Paul Rhoads fix the defense?
Austin Allen very well could be the most productive passer in the SEC. But as we saw last season, that doesn’t matter too much when your defense is giving up 31.1 points per game. With Rhoads, who served as the defensive backs coach last season, installed as coordinator, coach Bret Bielema hopes to find some semblance of balance. The problem is that Rhoads won’t have the benefit of last year’s leading tackler (Brooks Ellis) or leading pass-rusher (Jeremiah Ledbetter).
Auburn: Is Jarrett Stidham the real deal?
Judging by the afterglow of Auburn’s spring game, you would have thought that Stidham was due a Heisman by June. But the former Baylor quarterback has a long way to go to prove he can be a top-tier player in the SEC. He was promising under Art Briles, playing in 10 games, starting three, and throwing for 12 touchdowns and two interceptions, but that’s a mighty small sample size. He certainly has the arm, though, and enough mobility to thrive in Gus Malzahn’s offense. If everything comes together and he’s a top one or two quarterback in the conference, then Auburn could be in the hunt to win the division. If not and he’s a bust like the similarly hyped Jeremy Johnson, then Malzahn’s job http://www.yadeos.com/fozzy-whittaker-je...-1_16.html could be on the line.
LSU: Will Matt Canada push LSU’s offense into this century?
You’ve got to give Ed Orgeron this: When he had the opportunity to overhaul LSU’s offense, he definitely swung for the fences. And while he struck out on nabbing Lane Kiffin, he was able to get another big name in Canada, who was on everyone’s short list for coordinator of the year last season at Pitt. Canada will represent a stark departure from the conservative days of Les Miles. Or at least that’s the hope in Baton Rouge. Canada is known for his creativity, using motions and misdirection to trick the defense. But the question isn’t whether Canada’s plays work. Rather, it’s whether he’ll be able to perform a similar resurrection on Danny Etling to what he did with Nathan Peterman at Pitt, taking a quarterback everyone left for dead and turning him into a star.
Mississippi State: Is Nick Fitzgerald the SEC’s most dangerous QB?
It took a while to build -- maybe Daeshon Hall Youth Jersey too long if you ask folks in Starkville, Mississippi -- but the buzz has finally arrived for State’s next great dual-threat quarterback. The heir to Dak Prescott’s throne, Fitzgerald started off slowly last season, scoring just two touchdowns in his first three games before catching fire down the stretch, finding the end zone 22 times in the final five games of the regular season while leading the Bulldogs to a bowl berth. Now, with a full year under his belt as the starter and comparisons to Prescott at every turn, it will be interesting to see the next step in his development. His accuracy needs to improve (he completed less than 55 percent of his passes) and he’ll have to get by without his top receiver last season (Fred Ross), but he certainly has all the tools to thrive in Dan Mullen’s offense.
Ole Miss: Will the cloud of an NCAA investigation consume the Rebs?
Hugh Freeze has his quarterback in Shea Patterson and he certainly has a nice group of receivers in D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown and Van Jefferson, so the offense should be fine. And getting star pass-rusher Marquis Haynes to stay another year is obviously a major coup for the defense. But none of those names on paper matter as much as a single document Ole Miss is dealing with: the NCAA’s notice of allegations. Alleged recruiting improprieties and the accusation that Freeze lacked “institutional control” have been the talk of the offseason, and with good reason. The question now, however, is whether that will bleed into the regular season -- if, after so much talk, it will become a full-blown distraction. How Freeze handles the ongoing case in the locker room will have as big of an impact as anything he does this season.
Texas A&M: Can Kevin Sumlin save his job?
We don’t have to wonder whether Sumlin is on the hot seat. His athletic director settled that quickly when he sat in front of a microphone at the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Florida, and said, “Coach knows he has to win and he has to win this year.” And not just that. Scott Woodward added, “He has to do better than he has done in the past.” That means better than the 8-5 record he’s posted in each of the past three seasons. But that’s going to be tough to pull off. Not only does the defense have to Garrett Celek Jersey make due without No. 1 NFL draft pick Myles Garrett, but it also loses its second-best pass-rusher in Daeshon Hall. What’s more, Sumlin’s offense, which has long been a strong point in his tenure at A&M, isn’t exactly on stable ground with a quarterback battle among Jake Hubenak, Kellen Mond and Nick Starkel.
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