SEC Football Q&A: Which Team Will Be Alabama's Primary Threat in 2013?

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterFebruary 21, 2013

COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 15: A Texas A&M helmet during a game against the Baylor Bears at Kyle Field on October 15, 2011 in College Station, Texas. The Texas A&M Aggies defeated the Baylor Bears 55-28. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

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

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:

@barrettsallee What SEC team poses the greatest challenge to Bama in the fall?

— Chris Jones(@CMJones7) February 21, 2013

Without a doubt, it's Texas A&M.

Not only do the Aggies return 2012 Heisman Trophy-winner Johnny Manziel at quarterback, but running back Ben Malena, wide receiver Mike Evans and superstar offensive tackle Jake Matthews also return to lead what will be one of the nation's most potent offenses. The loss of offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury will be minimal, as this is still head coach Kevin Sumlin's offense.

Defensively, the Aggies are forced to replace several stars including sure-fire first-round pick Damontre Moore at defensive end. 

Julien Obioha should be able to fill the void if he comes back healthy and the Aggie secondary should be stout with cornerbacks Deshazor Everett, Da'Vante Harris and safety Toney Hurd, Jr

Plus, the schedule sets up so well. Texas A&M gets two tune-ups before its Week 3 showdown with Alabama in College Station and also gets two weeks to prepare for road trips to Ole Miss in mid-October and LSU on the next-to-last weekend of the season 

A&M will be Alabama's biggest threat, but Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and even the rebuilding LSU Tigers will all be knocking on the door.


@barrettsallee should UF keep Purifoy at CB (1st rd potential) or gamble at WR and hope there's enough depth? it doesn't fit Champs style..

— Josh.O (@Josh_Point_Ooh) February 21, 2013

I'd keep Loucheiz Purifoy at cornerback, although head coach Will Muschamp told the Orlando Sentinel earlier this month that he will play wide receiver this spring.

Sure, the Gators will only have four healthy scholarship wide receivers this spring including early enrollee Demarcus Robinson, but moving Purifoy for the sake of depth when he's an important piece of the new-look Gator defense isn't the best idea.

He needs reps at cornerback with the fresh faces on that side of the ball and spring practice is the best time to do it. Plus, he has what it takes to become a star in the Gator secondary. Derailing his development—even if it's only on a temporary basis—might do more harm than good.

This isn't a crazy idea, though. Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell moved to cornerback last offseason due to depth issues, but found his way back to offense as the season progressed. 

Having versatile players is a coach's dream, and while the depth issue at wide receiver is a bit scary, knowing that there are players on the roster than can fill that void is a good problem to have.


@barrettsallee How do you think Arkansas will adapt to the new hybrid Wisconsin/Tennessee offense that we will be implementing this year

— RazorCoverage (@RazorCoverage) February 21, 2013

It all hinges on the quarterback, and that's why Arkansas' battle this spring is one of the most intriguing in the SEC

That's the most critical decision for new head coach Bret Bielema, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and the Razorback staff; and one that—at least ideally—needs to be wrapped up sooner rather than later.

No matter who wins the job, I think the transition will go quite well due to the dynamic duo of sophomore Jonathan Williams and freshman Alex Collins at running back. Either of the two could be an every-down back in the SEC and the combination will serve as the best friend to the eventual winner of the quarterback derby.

Chaney was successful at Tennessee due in part to an ultra-talented wide receiver corps, which has been a staple in Fayetteville for quite some time.

2013 should be no different. Julian Horton, Javontee Herndon and Mekale McKay headline a solid group of receivers that will allow Chaney to stretch the field.

Even though it's a new system, I don't think the offense will look much different than the one that landed the Hogs in the Sugar Bowl following the 2010 season.


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