Arkansas RB Knile Davis
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@barrettsallee Can Knile Davis return to form and stay healthy for the whole season?— Tim Stidham (@tjstidham14) August 23, 2012
Yes, he absolutely can.
Knile Davis fractured his left ankle prior to last season, and he hasn't played a down since the 2011 Sugar Bowl following the 2010 season—a season in which he led all SEC running backs in rushing with 1,322 yards on the ground.
Davis has broken his right ankle twice, but was seen squatting 600 pounds last month. Clearly, that's a good sign.
The Hogs have two tuneup games vs. Jacksonville State and ULM prior to hosting Alabama, so I expect head coach John L. Smith to use those as dress rehearsals for Davis, and he will be good to go for the rest of the season.
Will he match the output that he had in 2010? That's asking a lot, but it's certainly not out of the question.
The grind will certainly be an issue for the SEC newbies, and probably the biggest issue.
Aside from that, I'm curious to see how each offensive coordinator—Missouri's David Yost and Texas A&M's Kliff Kingsbury—tweak their offenses to deal with the ultra-athletic front sevens that exist in the SEC.
Plenty of head coaches and coordinators come in saying that they are going to "get the ball in the hands of playmakers in space," but it's the ones that are flexible with the methods in which they do that who stick around.
Watching what works against SEC defenses and what doesn't will be fascinating to monitor as the season goes on.
It's certainly possible.
The loss of Da'Rick Rogers really hurts Tennessee in Week 1, when they face off against a tough N.C. State defense led by cornerback David Amerson. The timing of Rogers' suspension couldn't be worse for the Vols, as it comes just eight days before kickoff.
Auburn and Clemson is a tough one to pick. I think Auburn will be better off with both new coordinators—Scot Loeffler on the offensive side of the ball and Brian VanGorder on defense. Still, want to see it before I truly believe it, particularly with Loeffler.
This one will come down to the battle up front between Auburn's deep and suddenly experienced defensive line against a Clemson offensive line that has some holes to fill.
It's close, but I say Auburn wins a squeaker and the ACC misses out on the two-game SEC sweep.