Players are gearing up for fall camp, summer workouts are well underway and position battles are ongoing.
Which players will shine? Which transfers will live up to the hype and what offseason questions remain in the SEC?
Find out in this week's Q&A, which was moved up a week to Thursday due to Independence Day.
@BarrettSallee Barrett what's your opinion of Jacob coker. If you can tweet me back— My Info (@Ahavis8My) June 27, 2014
I don't have one. I'm not sure how anybody has one.
Coker, the 6'5", 230-pounder who transferred from Florida State to Alabama this summer and is the likely starter for the Crimson Tide, is very much a mystery.
What do we know? He completed 51.2 percent of his passes in Tallahassee over the last two seasons, has a big arm and can run a little bit.
Aside from that, though, his reputation is built for the most part on hearsay.
I'm not going to base an opinion of him on what his former coaches say he did during closed practices, and I don't believe he pushed eventual Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston for the starting quarterback job at Florida State last year for a second. Sure, he may have according to coaches, but that easily could have been a motivational tactic for Winston, who had all the buzz exiting spring practice in 2013.
The jury is out on Coker—at least it should be. Until he actually plays a game as Alabama's starting quarterback, it's really premature to have a definitive opinion on him one way or the other.
Luckily for Alabama, with all the weapons around him, he doesn't have to be Peyton Manning out there for the Crimson Tide to be successful.
@BarrettSallee what will have the bigger impact for UGA: new DC or attrition in the secondary?— Chase Paris (@chaseparis) June 27, 2014
Definitely new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.
The departures of safeties Josh Harvey-Clemons and Tray Matthews aren't exactly ideal, but head coach Mark Richt told me in May that it's safe to assume that the transfer of Shaq Wiggins and the move of Brendan Langley to wide receiver meant that some of the pieces were starting to come together following spring practice.
Plus, Georgia has talent back there. Corey Moore, Quincy Mauger, J.J. Green, Damian Swann, Sheldon Dawson and several other members of the Georgia secondary are talented players; they were just lost last year. The reason they were lost is because former defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is a terrible teacher.
Pruitt's strengths are his abilities to teach and simplify the scheme, which are precisely the two things that Georgia's secondary needs.
The beauty about Georgia this year is that the secondary doesn't need to be great, it just needs to be adequate. With all the weapons around new quarterback Hutson Mason, the Bulldogs will be able to move the football. If the defense can just force some turnovers and put the offense in good positions, they'll be all set.
Oh man, it's going to be a rough year in Nashville.
Right now, I have Vanderbilt at 0-8 in the SEC and Kentucky at 1-7, with that one win being over Vanderbilt (subject to change before the start of the season, of course).
The overly simplistic reason is that Vandy is hitting the reset button with its personnel and coaching staff, while the rest of the division is taking steps forward.
Georgia and South Carolina are legit national title contenders, and I wouldn't be shocked at all if Florida jumped into that mix as well. Missouri is the defending division champ, and Tennessee has more talent on the roster and more experience with its coaching staff. The 'Dores draw Mississippi State and Ole Miss from the west, both of which will be better and much more consistent.
Where are the wins coming from this year?
New head coach Derek Mason will have a rough go of it in Year 1, but that doesn't necessarily have to be permanent. The biggest challenge he has to face right off the bat is expectations generated from back-to-back nine-win seasons. With time, and patience, he'll be fine.
Do you have a question for next week's Q&A? Send it to SEC Lead Writer Barrett Sallee on Twitter at @BarrettSallee. If your question wasn't answered this week, it has been saved and could be used in the future.
Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All recruiting rankings are courtesy of 247Sports.com, and all stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com.
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