Spring football: Can Kiffin walk the walk, more burning SEC questions
The SEC has produced the past three national champions, but it's also produced at least 50 percent of the nation's college football-related drama this offseason.
The high jinks began in December when Auburn stunningly hired
Now, for a month, the focus can turn to the field. Expect plenty of hype out of Oxford, Miss., where enough players return from a 9-4 team to make a preseason top 10 ranking perfectly reasonable. And expect plenty of questions on the Plains as Chizik tries to replace
We know Kiffin doesn't have a verbal filter and we know he doesn't exactly have a working knowledge of the NCAA rulebook. But all those people gleefully predicting a flop may be sorely disappointed. We also know Kiffin can recruit; in a very limited window, Kiffin and his staff upgraded Tennessee's talent. This spring, we should get a taste of Kiffin the coach.
Kiffin, 33, certainly knows how to hire a staff. Go ahead and rip Tennessee for spending so much on assistants, but for a total payroll that ranks fourth in the SEC, the Volunteers bought an impressive amount of gridiron wisdom. It should be interesting to watch Kiffin's father,
Tennessee's offense, which had little identity last season, shouldn't have much trouble adjusting to the younger Kiffin's pro-style scheme. The Volunteers ran a pro-style offense under current Duke coach
The Crimson Tide surged ahead of schedule last season, going from 7-6 in coach
Those players suffered through the ugly end of the
The quarterback job is up for grabs, too. Junior
Yes, but not enough to keep the Gators from again competing for an SEC and a national title. Don't expect a post-title slide like the one that occurred two years ago in Gainesville. The 2007 team had to replace 10 defensive starters. This team doesn't have to replace any. The offense won't find a replacement for receiver
The Gators only suffered significant losses at offensive tackle. It appears
Sometimes fans and media types get a little too caught up watching the ball to notice what's going on around it. Most teams must deal with five or six season-ending injuries a year. Eighteen Georgia players suffered season-ending injuries in 2008. The two worst came early. Offensive tackle
Teams typically fall off after a national title, and it makes sense. It takes significant veteran leadership to win one, and those leaders typically exhaust their eligibility the year they win the title. After losing all those leaders, dismissing projected starting quarterback
The Tigers should be better this season, but they enter spring with some unanswered questions. Former Tennessee coordinator
On offense, the return of left tackle