Questions Abound in SEC at Quarterback Postition
The SEC was the king of college football in the defensive category last year, but there are a lot of questions about who will be leading some teams on the other side of the ball going into the fall. Last year, a lot of people wondered if the defenses of the SEC were really that good, or if the offenses were just having a down year. Most people stopped asking that question after Florida’s defense held the highest powered offense in college football history to 14 points in the BCS Championship game, but it was a valid question to some degree. Even Florida’s offense took until the third quarter of the Arkansas game to really find itself and start putting together the string of blowouts that led them to the National Title.
In 2008, we started the season knowing that Tim Tebow, Matthew Stafford, and John Parker Wilson would be good, but the rest of the quarterback position conference-wide was unknown. Jevan Snead really came through for Ole Miss, but look what happened at LSU, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Auburn. There just simply were not enough leaders under center in the SEC last year.
Unfortunately for SEC fans, this year looks to be no different. We start off the year knowing Tebow and Snead will lead effectively, but there are too many questions elsewhere in the SEC to even list all of them. What about Crompton of Tennessee? What about Cox of Georgia? What about Jefferson of LSU? And Mallett of Arkansas? Can these unproven quarterbacks step up and lead their offenses like the conference has been known for in the past? Or will they allow the tough SEC defenses to make the SEC once again known for its’ defense? You know it's got to be bad when Florida's backup quarterback is considered by many to be the 3rd or 4th best quarterback in the conference, and he hasn't even played a full game yet.
Some of the problem may be that the same leaders of the teams with the underwhelming offenses last year are returning to lead those teams once again this year. Auburn and Tennessee may have high hopes due to new coaching staffs, but the same quarterbacks from their 5-7 campaigns last year will be tossing the ball for them again this fall.
Whether or not they are good, chances are they’re going to have to be great to compete with the talent level the defenses around the conference have this year. Just look at the 11 returning starters on Florida’s defense. Take a glance at the talent that played defense in Baton Rouge this spring. Saban’s squad in Tuscaloosa doesn’t look like they’ve gotten any softer either.
Without a question, the defenses will be above the norm at 6 of the 12 SEC schools this year; And with only 2 proven leaders tossing the ball around in the SEC, it’s got to make you believe that the SEC will once again be known for its defense in the 2009 season.
PROJECTED 2009 SEC QUARTERBACK STARTERS:
- Florida- Tim Tebow
- Tennessee –Jonathan Crompton
- Alabama – Greg McElroy
- Georgia – Joe Cox
- Auburn- Kodi Burns
- South Carolina- Stephen Garcia
- Vanderbilt – Chris Nickson
- Mississippi State – Tyson Lee
- Ole Miss- Jevan Snead
- Arkansas – Ryan Mallett
- LSU – Jordan Jefferson
- Kentucky – Mike Hartline
Rusty Thompson is one of the founders of GatorTailgating.com.