SEC Football Q&A: What Is the Biggest Area of Concern for Auburn in 2013?

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SEC Football Q&A: What Is the Biggest Area of Concern for Auburn in 2013?
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Auburn QB Kiehl Frazier

Every Thursday on The SEC Blog, we will feature questions from the Bleacher Report inbox, Twitter and email. 

Do you have a question for next week's Q&A? Send it to SEC lead writer Barrett Sallee via the B/R inbox, on Twitter @BarrettSallee or at bsallee@bleacherreport.com.

 

You've got SEC questions, and I've got SEC answers. Thank you, everybody, for your questions this week. And if I didn't get to them this week, they are still saved and will be used in the future.

And we're off:

As Van said, the potential areas of improvement are numerous. Basic areas of improvement like tackling will be a big point of focus this offseason, especially considering Auburn's inability to tackle and take proper angles for the majority of the Gene Chizik era.

But a team is only as good as its quarterback, and that's where Auburn needs to really improve.

Michael Chang/Getty Images
Auburn QB Jonathan Wallace

The trio of Kiehl Frazier, Clint Moseley and Jonathan Wallace were remarkably mediocre last season, completing 57 percent of their passes for 1,846 yards, seven touchdowns and 15 interceptions among them. It was reported by AuburnSports.com on Wednesday that Moseley is leaving the program, which leaves Wallace and Frazier battling for the top spot along with one or two potential signees.

Wallace played well down the stretch, tossing four touchdowns and four interceptions after taking over midway through the Texas A&M loss. But didn't throw a touchdown and tossed three picks in Auburn's losses to its biggest rivals Alabama and Georgia, both of which resulted in the Tigers being shut out.

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn QB Kiehl Frazier

Frazier has more upside. He was the USA Today high school player of the year in 2010 coming out of Shiloh Christian School in Springdale, Ark., and was recruited by new head coach Gus Malzahn specifically for this offense.

He looked lost from the moment he stepped on the field in 2012 under former offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, and perhaps the return to the old system—one he grew up with—will allow Frazier to reach his potential. First things first, teaching Frazier to make the proper decisions is Job No. 1, because he took too many sacks in 2012 and never looked comfortable in the pocket.

 

I don't think so. At least, not at the moment.

The Alabama Crimson Tide looked like world-beaters on Monday night in the BCS National Championship Game because, for the most part, they are—especially with two or more weeks to prepare.

But Texas A&M still knocked them off in 2012 and LSU took them to the wire.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Texas A&M RB Ben Malena and QB Johnny Manziel

The Aggies are really intriguing. We know Johnny Manziel will be back at quarterback along with running back Ben Malena, but offensive tackle Luke Joeckel will be gone. Head coach Kevin Sumlin altered his offense to fit his personnel before the 2012 season, so there's nothing to suggest that he won't prior to the 2013 season.

LSU is having its share of issues with all of the early departures to the NFL, but as long as quarterback Zach Mettenberger can develop as a downfield threat, the Tigers will be fine. Mettenberger wasn't great this year, but I firmly believe that a lot of his problems stem from the coaching staff trying to hide him early in the season.

The East is still a question.

Georgia's offense will be fine, but with four defensive linemen, two linebackers and four members of the secondary gone, Todd Grantham's defense is going to be drastically different than the one that had trouble stopping the run WITH all of those stars.

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
South Carolina QB Dylan Thompson

South Carolina is losing a ton of senior leadership on its defense as well, but having defensive end Jadeveon Clowney back will certainly help. The biggest question will be on the offensive side of the ball where there will be a quarterback battle between Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson, as well as at running back after Marcus Lattimore declared for the NFL draft early.

Florida wasn't so much destroyed by Louisville as it was exposed by Louisville in the Sugar Bowl. On top of several key defenders either graduating or leaving early, Florida has no threat of a downfield passing attack. Jeff Driskel is either going to have to improve or the Gators are going to have to find a new quarterback for them to legitimately become a national title threat in 2013.

 

It's an interesting question, and for the sake of argument, I will answer under the assumption that the SEC Championship Game would remain (because there's no chance of it going away).

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier

Doing away with divisions will ensure that the top two teams in the SEC play for the SEC title regardless of where they are located on a map (even though geography is more of a guideline than a rule).

I like the status quo because seasons like 2010 where all the power is in one division seem more like the exception rather than the rule.

But if we are going to change it, I'd much rather abandon divisional play than use division standings to decide division titles, like South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier suggested last offseason

College football is great because the regular season produces drama that is simply unmatched in other sports, including NFL football. Doing away with divisional play would certainly increase that intrigue for the top two spots in the conference—especially if the college football postseason eventually does expand (which it shouldn't).

 

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