A week ago we previewed Spring football in the SEC West. Now let’s take a look at the SEC East. In fact, two schools (Florida and Missouri) have already started.

They are in alphabetical order:


**--Last season: 8-4 (Won SEC East); lost to Alabama 52-46 in SEC championship game; lost to Oklahoma 55-20 in Cotton Bowl.

**--Spring practice starts: Practice started Feb. 18.

**--Spring game: Saturday, April 17.

**--Coach: Dan Mullen, fourth year at Florida.

**--First game: Sept. 4 vs. Florida Atlantic.

**--What to look for: Florida returns only nine starters and must replace four big-time offensive weapons in quarterback Kyle Trask, tight end Kyle Pitts,  wide receivers Kadarious Toney and Trevon Grimes. Pitts, Toney and Grimes combined for 151 catches and 31 touchdowns last season. Can Mullen turn Emory Jones into an effective starting quarterback? He’s played in 24 games as a Gator. Will Jones be pushed by Anthony Richardson? But the biggest questions are on defense, where Florida gave up 30.8 points per game (eighth in the SEC) and were 10th in rushing defense (170.5) last season.


**--Last season: 8-2; beat Cincinnati 24-21 in Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

**--Spring practice starts: Wednesday, March 17.

**--Spring game: Saturday, April 17.

**--Coach: Kirby Smart, sixth season at Georgia.

**--First game: Sept. 4 vs. Clemson (Charlotte)

**--What to look for: With quarterback JT Daniels, running back Zamir White, and explosive receiver George Pickens returning, Georgia will have the best offense in the SEC East.

Daniels, who came on in the last four games of the 2020 season, averaged 10.3 yards per passing attempt.

There were some significant losses on defense like linebackers Azeez Ojulari and Monty Rice, but DT Jordan Davis made a lot of people happy when he announced was returning to Athens.

Linebacker Nakobe Dean is going to have a big year but first he must recover from surgery to repair a torn labrum that will keep him out of spring ball.


**--Last season: 5-6; beat N.C. State 23-21 in the Gator Bowl.

**--Spring practice starts: Tuesday, March 16

**--Spring game: TBD

**--Coach: Mark Stoops, ninth season at Kentucky.

**--First game: Sept. 4 vs. Louisiana-Monroe.

**--What to look for: The Wildcats are starting over on offense, parting ways with OC Eddie Gran in favor of Liam Coen. Coen, 35 has coached under Sean McVay of the Rams.

But in order for the Wildcats to open up the offense they must find a reliable quarterback. Beau Allen and Joey Gatewood, the Auburn transfer, are the likely choices. Gatewood only threw 35 passes as a backup to Terry Wilson last season. Allen threw seven passes. Penn State transfer Will Levis won't be on campus until after spring ball.

The good news is that WR Josh Ali is back after catching 53 passes and he may get some help from Nebraska transfer Wan’Dale Robinson, who caught 51 passes last season. Chris Rodriguez (6 yards per carry) is one of the underrated running backs in the SEC and is poised to have a big year.

Kentucky was fourth in the SEC in total defense last season (380.7 ypg) but new starters must be found at several different positions. The fact that Kentucky DC Brad White is back is huge for the Wildcats.


**--Last season: 5-5; game with Iowa in Music City Bowl was cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus.

**--Spring practice starts: Started Feb. 26.

**--Spring game: Saturday, March 30.

**--Coach: Eli Drinkwitz, second year at Missouri.

**--First game: Sept. 4 vs. Central Michigan.

**--What to look for: It was a pretty good first season for Coach Drink. He found his quarterback in Connor Bazelak and will spend this spring fine-tuning Bazelak’s skills. The Tigers lost a big-time running back in Larry Roundtree III, the No. 4 rusher in the SEC last season. The running back position will be a bit more by committee but Tyler Badie has the potential to be pretty good.

There is experience on this team as 24 of the 31 players return who played at least 200 snaps on offense or defense last season. Six of the eight players who caught 10 more passes last season return.

Missouri was ninth in the SEC in scoring defense last season (32.3 ppg). There is a new defensive coordinator in Steve Wilks, a former DC for the Cleveland Browns.


**--Last season: 2-8. Withdrew from Gasparilla Bowl (vs. UAB) due to COVID-19 virus.

**--Spring practice starts: Saturday, March 20.

**--Spring game: Saturday, April 24.

**--Coach: Shane Beamer, first season at South Carolina.

**--First game: Sept. 4 vs. Eastern Illinois.

**--What to look for: The quarterback room is looking a bit empty for new coach Shane Beamer. Collin Hill, who started eight games last season, has left and is getting ready for NFL Pro Days. Ryan Hilinksi, who started 11 games for the Gamecocks in 2019, has transferred to Northwestern. That leaves Luke Doty, who started at the end of the 2020 season, and incoming freshman Luke Gauthier, who enrolled in January. Wide receiver Dakereon Joyner could move back to QB to provide some depth.

South Carolina will be able to run the ball with the return of Kevin Harris who ran for 6.1 yards per carry and led SEC in rushing per game with a 113.80-yard average. MarShawn Lloyd was a highly recruited running back who did not play last season due to injury.


**--Last season: 3-7.

**--Spring practice starts: March 23

**--Spring game: Saturday, April 24.

**--Coach: Josh Heupel, first season at Tennessee.

**--First game: Sept. 4 vs. Bowling Green.

**--What to look for: Heupel was hired to put some juice back into the Tennessee offense and to develop a quarterback, which has been a problem for the Vols since Joshua Dobbs left after the 2016 season. Jarrett Guarantano, the star-crossed quarterback whose inconsistency tormented Tennessee fans, has gone to Washington State to play his final season of college football. Sophomore Harrison Bailey played in six games and made three starts last season. J.T. Shrout threw 42 passes last season and has transferred to Colorado. Brian Maurer threw four passes season and is still in the program. True freshman Kaidon Salter from Texas signed in December and enrolled in January. It’s going to be a busy Spring in Knoxville.


**--Last season: 0-9.

**--Spring practice starts: Wednesday, March 17.

**--Spring game: Saturday, April 17.

**--Coach: Clark Lea, first season at Vanderbilt.

**--First game: Sept. 4 vs. East Tennessee State.

**--What to look for: Lea, a former Vanderbilt player, returns to Nashville after a stint as Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator. He hired NFL assistant David Raith from the Arizona Cardinals to run the offense. Keep an eye on sophomore quarterback Ken Seals, who returns after a very solid freshman season. Seals completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 1,928 yards, 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The challenge is huge as Vanderbilt scored only 14.8 points per game last season. Vanderbilt recorded just five plays of 40 yards or more in 2021 The Commodores averaged only 3.01 yards per rush.

There are also challenges on defense as opponents completed 73.4 percent of their passes against Vanderbilt. No other team in the FBS gave up 70 percent or more in passing.