Mandatory Summer Workouts Will Be Critical for New SEC QBs

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterMay 5, 2014

USA Today

It's not only a new era in college football with the advent of the four-team College Football Playoff, but it's a new era during summer workouts. 

This summer marks the first year that summer offseason conditioning programs are mandatory instead of being "optional."

Instead of simply working on strength and conditioning and taking part in player-organized practice sessions, coaches are allowed to have limited contact with players this summer. According to Marq Burnett of the Anniston Star, conditioning and weight training can now be termed "mandatory," and coaches can spend up to two hours per week of film study.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban
Alabama head coach Nick SabanUSA TODAY Sports

Alabama head coach Nick Saban is pleased with this development, according to Burnett.

"I think for young players to have the opportunity to visit with their coach for a couple hours and be able to learn is probably a real advantage for the development of young players," Saban said.

For the SEC as a whole, though, the extra film study will be absolutely critical to the development of new quarterbacks.

The quarterback turnover is massive this season in the SEC, with up to nine of the 14 teams having new, full-time starters taking the first-team snaps. Those film sessions are going to be critical for the development of those inexperienced quarterbacks.

Take Alabama, for example. 

Blake Sims' lackluster 13-of-30, two-interception spring performance lowered the bar for Florida State transfer Jacob Coker. Now, not only can Alabama build on what Sims needs to work on, it can give Coker even more of a jump-start than optional summer workouts would have given him thanks to the mental reps in the film room.

Over at LSU, true freshman Brandon Harris and rising sophomore Anthony Jennings will battle it out for the starting quarterback job during fall camp. While Harris was the star of the spring game, accounting for four touchdowns, neither looked like game-changers thanks in large part to inconsistent wide receiver play.

LSU OC Cam Cameron
LSU OC Cam CameronJonathan Bachman/Associated Press

As a result, not only will the two quarterbacks get extra work with their inexperienced wide receiver corps, it will give offensive coordinator Cam Cameron the chance to adapt his system to the dual-threat strengths of his two signal-callers.

At South Carolina and Georgia, it will give senior starters Dylan Thompson and Hutson Mason, both of whom are true starters for the first time in their respective careers, the chance to not only build on their spring practice performances but their highs and lows of last season as well.

The absence of former stars Johnny Manziel, AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray, James Franklin, Zach Mettenberger and several other former SEC star quarterbacks makes this an interesting year in the conference.

While four of the last five national title winners and seven of the last 10 teams to play in the BCS National Championship Game have had first-year starters at quarterback, the massive turnover has created a lot of uncertainty in the SEC.

But not all offseasons are created equal.

This particular one comes with a rule change that was put in effect at the perfect time to help ease the transition for all of these new SEC starting quarterbacks. That should allow them to hit the ground running at a full sprint once fall camps start.


Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All spring game statistics are courtesy of box scores available on each school's website.