2011 SEC College Football Preview

Ryan Wright@@HogManInLAAnalyst IIIJuly 26, 2011

2011 SEC College Football Preview

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    This is part one of a series previewing the 2011 SEC college football season.

    2011 SEC Football Preview

    If last year was the year of the quarterback in the SEC, 2011 is the year of the defense.

    Gone are All-American, All-SEC and SEC veteran quarterbacks Cam Newton (Auburn), Ryan Mallett (Arkansas), Greg McElroy (Alabama), Mike Hartline (Kentucky) and Stephen Garcia (South Carolina)… no wait, he’s been reinstated again for the fifth time.

    This season stout defensive ends, brutal linebackers and stud corners will be on a mission to contain an immensely talented group of SEC running backs. 

Year of the SEC Running Backs?

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    Knile Davis (Arkansas), Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina), Vick Ballard (Mississippi State), Michael Dyer (Auburn), Brandon Bolden (Ole Miss) and Trent Richardson (Alabama) headline a rushing attack that tops all other NCAA conferences.

    Mississippi State (Chris Relf), Georgia (Aaron Murray), Florida (John Brantley), Tennessee (Tyler Bray), Vanderbilt (Larry Smith), LSU (Jordan Jefferson) and South Carolina (Garcia) are returning starting quarterbacks to help anchor their teams. Arkansas (Wilson), Kentucky, Ole Miss, Auburn and Alabama will have to rely on their running games early as they break in new starting quarterbacks. 

Tough Defenses Should Rule the SEC in 2011

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    Yards and touchdowns will be hard to come by in the SEC. Alabama, Arkansas and LSU have the misfortune of having great defenses and playing in the same division. South Carolina should lead the East division in defense while Kentucky, Florida and Georgia have great potential with their defensive units. 

Defensive Playmakers in the SEC

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    Some of the defensive names out of the SEC you’ll be hearing this fall include:

    CB Morris Claiborne, LSU

    DL Sam Montgomery, LSU

    DL Malik Johnson, Tennessee

    DE Jake Bequette, Arkansas

    LB Jerry Franklin, Arkansas

    SS Tramain Thomas, Arkansas

    DT Josh Chapman, Alabama

    LB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama

    LB Don'Ta Hightower, Alabama

    S   Mark Barron, Alabama

    S   Robert Lester, Alabama

    LB Danny Trevathan, Kentucky

    CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina

    DE Devin Taylor, South Carolina

    DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina (freshman)

What Will Happen in the SEC During the 2011 Season?

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    Will the defensive standouts for any given team be enough to lead their SEC team to the conference’s sixth straight BCS championship?

    Will another SEC team catch magic in a bottle like Auburn did during the 2010 season?

    Or will a team from one of the other power conferences seize the opportunity to claim the crystal trophy in a down year for the SEC?