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The 7 SEC East Questions MrSEC.com Looks Forward To Having Answered In The Fall

question-marksWith summer upon us and fall moving quickly — too quickly — toward us, we’re starting to get plenty of “fall preview” questions when we appear on radio talkshows across the Southeast.  Having answered the question, “What intrigues you about School X” umpteen times already, we thought it might be a good time to put all of the topics that most interest us together in one or two posts.

Below you’ll find our look at the SEC East and the seven questions — one per team — that we look forward to having answered in the fall…

 

Florida

Can offensive coordinator Brent Pease and head coach Will Muschamp put enough skill position talent around quarterback Jeff Driskel to make him successful?  Driskel showed flashes of dual-threat abilities last season, but the Gator offense continued to slump, just as has since Tim Tebow departed Gainesville.  It’s time some of those hotly-recruited tailbacks and receivers on the Gator roster stepped up and gave the Gator QB some help.  Driskel needs some help from someone.

 

Georgia

Can defensive coordinator Todd Grantham get enough out of a rebuilt defense for UGA to capture another East Division crown?  With so many parts returning on offense, it’s expected the Bulldogs will be able to put up points a’plenty.  But can they stop the league’s other teams from putting up points on them?  UGA ranked 4th in the SEC in scoring defense (against conference foes) last season.  To reach Atlanta again, Grantham and crew will probably need to have similar success… and his crew will feature a lot of new faces.

 

Kentucky

How will offensive coordinator Neal Brown’s “Air Raid” offense mesh with head coach Mark Stoops’ defensive background?  Stoops has talked about creating a Florida State-type strong defense in Lexington.  Brown’s throw-it-all-over system — a throwback to his days at UK under Hal Mumme — actually has Wildcat fans excited for football season.  Now, we don’t expect everything to come together in Year One, obviously, but will they start to come together at all?  Check the stats and you’ll find that pass-happy, up-tempo offenses are rarely paired with tough-as-nails defenses.  Maybe it’s because those defenses don’t get enough rest between series or perhaps it’s because there’s no smashmouth offense to go against in practice, but it’s rare to see a pass-first team sport a brickwall defense.  (Example: Bobby Petrino’s teams at Arkansas.)

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UF’s Muschamp Defends Raise For Offensive Coordinator Pease

gfx - they said itEarlier today we told you the Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease would be getting a one-year contract extension and a $100,000 bump in salary.  That’s not surprising aside from the fact the Gators had one of the worst offenses in the SEC last year, Pease’s first in Gainesville.  But head coach Will Muschamp liked what he saw from Pease, regardless of the league’s stat tables:

 

“He did an outstanding job.  You look at a situation where, here he is at Boise State, Kellen Moore threw for 3,000 yards, very difficult for any coach to walk into a situation and you are going into fall camp, basicallly saying, ‘OK, we’re going to play really good defense and regardless of who the quarterback is it’s gonna be a first-year starter.’

… Part of being a really good coach is identifying who you are and understanding who you are, understaings what your football team can do rather than ask them to do something they can’t do.  And that’s something I saw Brent and our offensive staff do throughout the year is create ways for us to be productive.  Was it always what we wanted?  Was it always what we saw ourselves, who we wanted to be at times?  No, but it was productive enough for us to win 11 football games. 

At the end of the day, I’m not a big stat guy, but I’m worried about one stat and that’s winning.  And that’s where I think Brent did a really good job of doing what he had to do to win football games.”

 

Makes you wonder what kind of bump Dan Quinn might have gotten had he not left his defensive coordinator position to take the same job with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.

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UF’s Pease Turns To Harry Potter To Push Gator QBs

Well, there’s just not much to say about this one.  Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease has today used Twitter to send a message to fans and recruits about the Gators’ quarterbacks and passing game.  It’s not the first time he’s used Photoshop to spread a message, but it is — to our knowledge — the first time he or any other SEC assistant has used the image Harry Potter to inspire others:

 

brent-pease-harry-potter

 

Hey, whatever it takes to get people talking, right?

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UF’s Pease Sets Site On Bright Future, National Championship

Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease couldn’t provide fireworks in his first season in Gainesville, but this Christmas season he is providing hope.  Football-style hope for Gator fans that is:

 

“These kids, you start getting attached and seeing what they’re doing.  There’s still work to be done.  The future is bright.  And for me, there is a lot to accomplish here.  And there’s still a goal I want to accomplish in winning a national championship or winning an SEC title and all that.

And I like it here.  I like the people I work with.  I really like the kids.”

 

The Gainesville Sun suggests that Pease’s name will come up with regards to head coaching searches, as it briefly did with the Kentucky opening.  Pease said “there was just minimal conversation” with the Wildcats and that he “wasn’t Plan A… maybe I wasn’t Plan B.”

Pease had been the offensive coordinator at Boise State before landing at Florida last offseason.  But while UF finished 11-1 and ranked #3 in the final BCS standings, defense was the team’s calling card in 2012.  The Gators finished 12th in the 14-team SEC in total offense with just 338 yards per game (328 versus league foes only).  For comparison, Texas A&M’s go-go offense posted 546 per game versus SEC defenses this past season (218 yards-per-game more than Florida).

The future may indeed be bright, but Pease — who’s also been a coordinator at Montana, Northern Arizona, Kentucky and Baylor during his career — will likely have to improve his squad’s offensive numbers or else Gator fans might start wishing he would land a head coaching job.

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Wow Evening Headlines 12/18/2012

Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel is the Associated Press Player of the Year…
The Texas A&M quarterback is the first freshman to ever win the award
Georgia coach Mark Richt says two-way player Malcolm Mitchell will no longer play defense, just wide receiver
The average college football assistant coach makes $200,000 a year in salary
Alabama’s coaching staff is the highest paid in the country
Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease says he had “minimal conversations” with Kentucky when UK was conducting its coaching search
Missouri freshman safety Ka’ra Stewart has been dismissed from the football team following second arrest for pot possession
Follow SEC news every day at MrSEC.com and on Twitter at Twitter.com/mrsec

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Wow Evening Headlines 9/26/2012

Kentucky quarterback Maxwell Smith has a separated shoulder but expects to play Saturday against South Carolina
Arkansas AD Jeff Long is sticking by his coach saying he expects John L. Smith to complete the season
Long expects to hire a long-term coach after the season is over
Texas A&M is planning a 3-year, $425 million renovation of Kyle Field, but they want help from the local government
Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease says facing LSU defense could be defning moment for the Gators
After a one-game suspension, South Carolina S D.J. Swearinger says he’ll target opponents lower
S Bacarri Rambo and LB Alec Ogletree will play for Georgia against Tennessee, according to their teammates
Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo has been banned from off-campus recruiting for 30 days due to a rules violation
Keep up with all the day’s SEC news at MrSEC.com

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UF’s Offensive Coordinator Wants To Be Less… Offensive

No wonder Will Muschamp hired Brent Pease as his offensive coordinator at Florida.  The two speak the same language.  And it’s a language that includes many uses of the F-word.

Last October, Muschamp’s televised tirades and foul language during the Gators’ game with Auburn led to an apology from the coach and a promise to clean up his act:

 

“I do want to apologize for my language on the sidelines the other night.  That’s not something that’s going to be tolerated here at the University of Florida, first of all, by me and our program.  That’s certainly not representative of what this program and this university is about.”

 

That was 11 months ago.  Fast-forward to this past weekend and it was Pease who was dropping F-bombs on live television.  Here’s what the first-year UF assistant had to say about the matter:

 

“I apologize for that.  I hear it more from my mom than anybody else (meaning admonitions, not the F-word).  My mother said to be careful and I need to watch my mouth.”

 

This is all rather silly if you ask me.  As a fan of the late George Carlin, I find the idea of some words being “bad” to be pretty ridiculous.  “There are no bad words,” he famously said in a classic routine.  “Bad thoughts.  Bad intentions.  And wooords.”

Maybe our fascination with “bad” language traces back to this nation’s Puritanical roots.  Who knows?  But with more and more television cameras covering more and more games, lip-readers had better get used to more and more “bad” words crossing the airwaves than ever before.

As George C. Scott said in the movie “Patton,” “When I want it to stick, I give it to them loud and dirty.”  Many coaches do the same.  Those coaches’ moms and a few of their fans might not like it, but it’s just a reality.  Always has been.  There are just more mics and cameras to bring that reality into our living rooms these days.

Man, I miss Carlin.

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SEC Headlines 3/28/12

This week’s going to be a busy one around MrSEC.com Headquarters, so we’re going to go a little light on the headlines today and just dump all together in one big pile.  You can root around in ‘em as you see fit:


1.  So much for Clint Moseley’s shoulder inflammation… the Auburn quarterback was throwing the ball the yesterday.

2.  There’s fierce competition in Tuscaloosa as Alabama rebuilds its secondary.

3.  This Arkansas practice report says tailback Knile Davis is ready for some contact.

4.  LSU’s receivers like their “Fab Five” nickname because they say they’re “all go-to receivers.”

5.  Mississippi State’s practice was “sloppy” but energetic yesterday.  (There are plenty of jokes in that one that I will pass on.)

6.  Ole Miss is looking for the right linebacker/safety hybrid for its base 4-2-5 defense.

7.  Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin delayed spring practice so his new staff could get to know one another.

8.  New offensive coordinator Brent Pease is all over the practice field as he molds Florida’s offense into form.

9.  Georgia’s D-line appears to be having a big spring (or does that mean the O-line is having a tough time?)

10.  New South Carolina hoops coach Frank Martin tried yesterday to distance himself from the “I’ve paid players” type comments he made on CBS last weekend.

11.  Tennessee linebacker AJ Johnson likes the new 3-4 style defense Sal Sunseri has brought with him from Alabama.

12.  Mike Slive thinks Missouri has found “a home that was stable and a home where they felt comfortable.”


(Sidenote — I get a lot of emails claiming that we often ignore offseason or spring football news at Kentucky and Vanderbilt.  Not so.  The media in Lexington and Nashville ignore offseason and spring football news at Kentucky and Vanderbilt.)

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SEC Headlines – 1/16/12 Part Two

1.  Florida may be moving up in the polls, but Billy Donovan is worried that Patric Young has been limited by an ankle injury.

2.  Will Muschamp likes what he’s seeing out of new offensive coordinator Brent Pease as a recruiter.

3.  It’s been 51 games since Kentucky allowed a team to shoot better than 50% from the floor.  (Considering the youth at UK the last two years, that kind of defensive buy-in is truly an amazing feat.)

4.  Steve Spurrier gives as short a comment on the hiring of running backs coach Everette Sands as you’ll ever find in a press release.

5.  Kentucky’s John Calipari was impressed by what he saw of Tennessee on Saturday…

6.  And the arrival of impressive freshman Jarnell Stokes is helping the Vols’ chemistry.

7.  The Vanderbilt football program has pieces to build on in 2012.

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Reports: A&M Hires Snyder As D-Coordinator; Several SEC Slots Still Open

If the word leaking out of College Station is to be believed, there’s one less open coordinator spot in the SEC.  Multiple sources are claiming that South Florida defensive coordinator Mark Snyder is set to take over the same job on Kevin Sumlin’s new staff at Texas A&M.

For those unfamiliar with Snyder, he served as the head coach at Marshall from 2005 through 2009.  Before that he’d had a four-year tour of duty as defensive coordinator at Ohio State.

If the Snyder hire is made official it will leave Florida (offensive), Alabama (offensive), Tennessee (defensive) and Auburn (offensive and defensive) as SEC schools still searching for new coordinators.

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze has said he will handle play-calling duties in 2012 and may or may not hire an offensive coordinator.  He served as his own O-coordinator at Arkansas State last season.

Boise State offensive coordinator Brent Pease has been connected to the openings at Alabama and Florida.  Former head coaches Randy Shannon and Ron Zook have had their names tied to the open D-coordinator slots at both Auburn and Tennessee.

UPDATE — The Auburn defensive coordinator job has now been filled by Brian VanGorder, the former defensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons.

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