Every writer in the SEC is making lists these days, and quite frankly I’m feeling a little left out.
While I spend hours putting together a detailed plan that would make the NCAA Tournament selection process less controversial, other guys are simply throwing out list after list titled, “The Five Biggest Questions Facing (insert team or conference here).”
So I’m getting in on the act. In an attempt to play Dr. Frankenstein (that’s Frahnk-un-shteen!), I’ve listed below the 12 SEC body parts that we’ll all be talking about this Fall.
Here you have ‘em:
Alabama—Terrence Cody’s stomach
Cody is trying to lose a bit more weight this year in preparation for his eventual move to the NFL. If his coaches are right, and Cody plays even better with 10-15 fewer pounds on him, look out. He’s already pretty dang nimble for a guy his size.
Arkansas—Ryan Mallett’s shoulders
Bobby Petrino is known as a passing guru. Arkansas fans are excited about the future he’s building in Fayetteville. And now the final piece—a big-time quarterback—appears to be in place. So the whole season may rest on how well Mallett can perform after sitting out for a year. Good luck, kid.
Auburn—Kodi Burns’ arm
Tony Franklin was not a big fan of Burns last year. Now, Gus Malzahn is putting his own spread offense together and he too will probably end up turning to Burns to run it. Running hasn’t been a problem for the Tigers’ quarterback, but passing has. If the Tigers can’t generate a passing attack this fall, don’t expect Malzahn’s offense to look much different from Franklin’s.
Florida — Tim Tebow’s heart
Just get ready for it. Florida will still be awfully good this year. And every time the Gators win a game, you’ll hear how Tebow is pulling it off with unproven wideouts and a couple of new offensive linemen. I’m telling ya, it’s gonna happen, so get ready for it.
Georgia—Kiante Tripp’s legs
Tripp is moving back from the offensive line to defensive end, where the Bulldogs happen to have their biggest weakness. If Tripp is fast enough off the edge to create a consistent pass rush, Willie Martinez will take a lot less heat this year than last.
Kentucky—Randall Cobb’s lungs
Mr. Everything for the Wildcats last year, Cobb played quarterback, starred at receiver, and even returned punts. If Mike Hartline doesn’t show improvement as the Cats’ signal-caller this year, don’t be surprised to see Cobb get some more time under center and less time for breathers.
LSU—Les Miles’ rump
Just one year removed from a national championship, Miles’ seat could actually get quite hot if the Tigers don’t show some serious improvement over last year’s disappointing season. One game he really needs to win is at Alabama on Nov. 7.
Ole Miss—Bradley Sowell’s feet
Never heard of Sowell? That’s because he played behind all-everything left tackle Michael Oher last year. And this year, his feet will be the ones having to fill Oher’s shoes. That’s a pretty big challenge.
Mississippi State—Anthony Dixon’s back
If you watched State’s offense last year, I’m guessing you never said, “look at all those talented skill players.” Dan Mullen may be bringing a version of Urban Meyer’s spread with him to Starkville, but he’s not bringing any of the Gators’ players with him. That means you can expect Dixon to get carry after carry after carry in 2009.
South Carolina—Stephen Garcia’s brain
Is Garcia finally ready to take quarterbacking the Gamecocks seriously?
Is he ready to make better decisions with the football and stop throwing it into coverage?
Is he ready to stand in the pocket and wait for a play to develop rather than taking off at the first sign of pressure?
Is he ready to keep his nose clean off the field?
Seeing that he is Steve Spurrier’s only semi-proven commodity at QB, he better finally start making the right decisions.
Tennessee—Lane Kiffin’s mouth
If Kiffin can stir up this much controversy and tick off so many fellow coaches in the offseason, can you imagine what this guy might be able to pull off during a season? Can you imagine the kinds of things he might say in a post-game interview? Or the week before a big game? With Spurrier now much more quiet as he finishes with six losses each year, the SEC was in need of a new villain/mouthpiece. Kiffin seems to fit the bill.
Vanderbilt—Terence Jeffers’ hands
The transfer from UConn is expected to be the Commodore's best, and only, weapon in a thin receiving corps. The new quarterback, Larry Smith, has shown that he can throw the football. But he’ll need someone to catch it on the other end. That’s why Jeffers is so important. It’s also why so many Vandy fans are sweating his schoolwork right now.