SEC Football Q&A: Who Will Win Auburn's Quarterback Battle in 2013?
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Every Thursday on The SEC Blog, we will feature questions from the Bleacher Report inbox, Twitter and email at email@example.com. Q&A got pushed back to Friday this week due to scheduling issues.
You have SEC questions, and I have SEC answers. Thank you, everybody, for your questions this week. And if I didn't get to them, they will still be saved and used in the future.
And we're off:
@barrettsallee Who do you think will be Auburn's qb ?— Robert Payne (@aumjrpayne) April 11, 2013
I wrote before Auburn's spring practice that Kiehl Frazier should be the guy, and nothing that we've seen this spring has made me come off that prediction.
One problem, though: We haven't seen that much.
Auburn, like many other SEC programs in this day and age, keeps spring practice behind closed doors for the most part. But what is evident from the post-scrimmage quotes from Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace is that both players seem confident in their progress in the offense.
We will know more during Saturday's spring game. I expect Frazier to show that he's progressed tremendously from the guy who threw two touchdown passes and eight interceptions in five games last season.
Frazier was bad in 2012, but a lot of his problems were due to the lack of an identity on offense and slow decision-making. Now that he's in head coach Gus Malzahn's system, which is similar to the one that he was successful with in high school, he should be much more comfortable.
With that said, though, if neither quarterback separates himself this spring, I wouldn't be surprised if true freshman Jeremy Johnson or junior college transfer Nick Marshall wins the job later this summer. Marshall has a ton of talent, but he will have to cut back on the 20 interceptions he threw last season for Garden City (Kansas) Community College.
@barrettsallee What unit on an individual team is the most underrated heading into 2013?— DOTS (@BDohertyCFB) April 19, 2013
I'll go with Georgia's secondary, mostly because due to its inexperience.
Damian Swann played well down the stretch last season at cornerback, picking off four passes on the season, including two in the Capital One Bowl versus Nebraska. The junior is the most experienced player in the secondary, but help is definitely on the way.
Freshman safety Tray Matthews and sophomore safety Josh Harvey-Clemons showed signs of what they're capable of in the G-Day game earlier this month, and both could start for the new-look defense in the opener against Clemson.
Toss in Sheldon Dawson or early enrollee Reggie Wilkerson at the other cornerback spot, and Georgia has a talented back end of the secondary that's only going to get better as the players become more comfortable with each other.
Georgia is very much in the BCS National Championship hunt again in 2013, despite massive roster turnover on defense. Behind last year's group of superstars—many of whom underachieved at times—is a talented group of defenders that will provide the foundation of Georgia's defense moving forward.
The most immediate impact will be in the secondary, where Georgia is loaded with talent.
@barrettsallee Does Bo Wallace have what it takes to propel Ole Miss to challenge Bama for an SEC West title?— Gage Arnold (@GageArnold) April 11, 2013
Not yet, no.
If there's any injury that has flown under the radar this spring, it's Bo Wallace's shoulder injury. The rising junior sat out this spring following offseason surgery, which will hurt his progression in head coach Hugh Freeze's offense.
Wallace was hit or miss last season, throwing 22 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions. He added 390 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground, but that's way too many interceptions for a quarterback if he wants to win the SEC West as it's currently constituted.
He needed this spring to get better in the offense. Mental reps will only go so far. When he comes back, he's going to have to match what he processes with what he's capable of as a passer. That's easier said than done against SEC defenses.
Not impossible, though. Ole Miss was a very impressive 7-6 last season, especially considering it played Texas A&M, LSU and Vanderbilt down to the wire. Good, but not great.
It's one step at a time for Ole Miss. Get eight or nine wins this season and then we'll talk about the SEC West title in 2014.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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