SEC Football: Contenders in the West, Post-Spring Practice

Kevin McGradySenior Writer IApril 17, 2011

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Knile Davis #7 of the Arkansas Razorbacks runs the ball against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Going into spring training it appeared that Alabama and LSU would have a huge head start on the rest of the SEC West. This might have been the case at that point. This is certainly no longer the case as spring training closes this year.

Not much can be guaranteed from spring game performances. There are some things that were evident. The biggest factor from spring games that reveals the future is how comfortable the players from each team look in their positions.


The Arkansas defense looked as strong as last year’s version, and possibly improved.

The Arkansas offense is still suffering some growing pains on the offensive line.

The Arkansas quarterback position is not in question at this point.


The defensive secondary looked solid, but has not gained any speed from last season. They did look more comfortable in their positions than early last season.

The linebackers looked very good in both rushing defense and pass coverage. This will most likely be the strength of this Alabama team.

The defensive line looked slow to react and confused at times.

The offensive line looked slow on their feet and vulnerable in pass protection. Their run blocking was so-so depending on what players were in at the time.

Neither quarterback looked good, nor did they look that bad. They were not in sync with their receivers and seemed more comfortable with short safe passes. 


The Auburn defense looks very solid all over. It appears this unit could be considerably better than the 2010 version if they continue to improve. The Auburn defensive line looked comfortable and very confident in their positions.

The Auburn offense looked strong with Barrett Trotter as quarterback with Mike Dyer in the backfield. Once the quarterback and positional rotations started it seemed to throw the offense out of sync.

The Auburn offensive guards are simply massive. It has been years since Auburn had that kind of size and power on the inside of the offensive line. The tackles were repeatedly beaten in pass protection.

The Auburn punting game was inconsistent but it seems they have found a solid punt returner for this season. 


The LSU defense was strong overall and looked very capable. Their defensive line did look slow to react and confused at times.

The LSU offense is still hard to read. The LSU offensive line put in a mediocre performance in both pass and run blocking.

LSU still does not have a quarterback at this point.

Mississippi State

This is a well drilled and trained team that is lacking in overall talent. Talent is the one element they need to take it up one notch.


There is simply not much to report here. There is a long ways to go before this team and contention will be mentioned in the same sentence. 

Hierarchy Post Spring Training

Tier One Favorites

No SEC West team belongs here at this point. All of them have flaws that must be addressed if they are to compete for the SEC.

Tier Two Contenders

Arkansas, Alabama, Auburn, LSU

It is very easy to see any of these four teams winning the SEC West with a little improvement. It is also easy to see the SEC West Champion winning the SEC in 2011.

Tier Three Solid

Mississippi State

This team will play some good football in 2011, but do not expect them to contend.

Tier Four


It appears there is a long season ahead for fans of this team at this point.