Day 2: Auburn, LSU, Arkansas, Miss State, Kentucky and Florida
AU thoughts: Thought Gene Chizik sounded relaxed, confident and ready to get going. Chiz has recruited well the last three years. He has some guys on the dline who gained experience last year and will be so much better this year. Corey Lemonier should have a big year at defensive end. Jeffrey Whitaker should be a good player at defensive tackle. Other guys like Dee Ford and Gabe Wright should be pretty stellar. Linebacker has been strengthened and the secondary will be better with everybody having a year of experience under their belts. New defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder brings an exciting, attacking style of defense to the Plains and it will work well for the players. He brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the defense also. I think they will respond. Look for better play from the linebacking corps as Van Gorder is a specialist there. I’m excited to see former five-star linebacker Kris Frost play. Frost was out last year with a shoulder injury, but the Auburn coaches are very high on him. Jake Holland and Jonathan Evans should have good years. Need a little more depth at linebacker, but AU has been recruiting well. Some young guys will have to contribute there. Guys like Chris Davis and Jonathan Rose should have very good years at corner. Jermaine Whitehead to me looks like an All-American caliber safety. Robenson Therezie should be an excellent player at safety as well. The Tigers have 16 starters returning, so they should be a lot better. I liked what I saw out of Kiehl Frazier in the spring game. Lutz said in his interview with the media, Kiehl has picked up Scot Loeffler’s offense, and he’s a much better pocket passer and can check down to a short route if the primary receivers are not open. And, if he needs to, he can really run. I expect Kiehl to be a very good player at Auburn. Lutz said he’s a leader now. Chiz said that putting Kiehl in some tough situations last year with the game on the line really helped him. Kiehl should be the man, and I believe he’ll do well. Love Mike Blakely at tailback. He’ll be stellar. You’ve got Corey Grant, Tre Mason, Onterrio McCalebb, Quan Bray and freshman Jovon Robinson who are all excellent players. Robinson hasn’t played a down a college football, but he’s highly touted. He may not need to help this year, but they may use him because he’s so talented. Emory Blake and Lutz will lead the receiving corps. I expect huge things from Blake. He’s excited about what Loeffler brings to the offense. There will be more power football with new fullback Jay Prosch whom they’re very high on. More like the Auburn teams of the past. With Prosch and Lutz blocking and catching, and Prosch running for tough yards, the offense will be much better. The offensive line looks powerful and physical like a lot of Auburn lines in the past on both sides of the ball. Reese Dismukes could be a future All-American at center. Possibly this year. He’s terrific. I expect a good year from the Tigers. They enter the gauntlet right out of the gates with Clemson at the Georgia Dome on Sept 1, at 7 PM ET/6 CT on ESPN. Should be a classic. Clemson should be very strong, so Tigers will be tested. Then they travel to Starkville to play State before a breather against Louisiana-Monroe. If the Tigers can get through those first two, Lutz and Blake think they can have a special season. Host LSU and Arkansas, Sept, 22 and Oct.6 respectively. Get a break after LSU before Arkansas which is good. At Ole Miss, vs. Vandy, vs Texas A&M, a gimme in New Mexico State, vs. Georgia, vs. Alabama A&M and then Tuscaloosa. I’m looking at 9-3 with a possible 10-2 mark. LSU and Arkansas at home are winnable. Auburn can beat Georgia at Jordan-Hare. They call the Georgia Dome, Jordan-Hare East, because Auburn hasn’t lost there under Chizik. It’ll be a good season and with recruiting going well, it’s only going to get better. Really like both new coordinators. Believe they’ll make these guys champions down the road. Maybe not this year, but it’s not out of the question.
LSU: Les Miles is really a comedy character. He just is. The first question directed at Miles was about Honey Badger and his tweeting. Miles’ answers are so humorous. He said something like he doesn’t “participate” in twitter or any of that stuff. Then they asked him about an EA Sports commercial that he’s on. He said his son says that Miles tells him “to put his pants on,” like in the commercial. That was funny. He’s fun. I also like his football team as everybody else does. With a quarterback, Zach Mettenberger, who looks like he’ll be a star, the Bengal Tigers have the pieces in place for a championship run. The talent on offense and defense is there. Eric Reid is a fantastic player at safety. Russell Shepard is an excellent wide receiver/ reverse guy. They’re got the running backs. They have a veteran offensive line. They’ll be a contender for the national title. They play their first three games at home against North Texas, Washington and Idaho. That sets them up nicely for the Auburn game, Sept. 27. Washington is better so they may give the Bengal Tigers some problems, but I expect them to be undefeated heading into Jordan-Hare. Should be a classic war there. If they can get through the Tigers, they have a kick in against Towson, then they go to Gainesville for another war. South Carolina is at home on Oct. 13, Texas A &M is on the road, then the Tide comes to town Nov.3. We all know what that’ll mean if both teams are undefeated. Armageddon three. Miss. State and Ole Miss at home, then Arkansas in Fayetteville. It’s tough, but it’s always tough. The pieces are in place for another stellar year. It’s a matter of if Mettenberger plays well. He seems like a good kid. I think he will be good and the Bengal Tigers will be playing for a national championship in Miami in January of ’13. Could be a rematch with the Tide.
Arkansas: Tremendous personnel. New coach. Ryan Wilson, to me, is the best quarterback in the SEC. Sharp guy, too. Expect big numbers out of him. Knile Davis is outstanding. He’ll be back this year. He’s recovered from his broken ankle and he’ll be ready. Receivers took a hit when a couple of them were kicked off the team for stealing, but they have some pretty good players over there. John L. Smith is a little goofy, but he’ll be fine. For the Hogs, it’s always been, since Bobby Petrino has been there and now, can they play defense? I know they’re better, but are they good enough defensively to stick with Alabama, LSU at home and Auburn on the road. They have Jax State and La. Monroe the first two, which should be fine, then the Tide comes in Sept. 15th at 3:30 ET/ 2:30 CT on CBS. Should be very interesting. Play Auburn at Auburn Oct.6 in a big game, South Carolina at Columbia (big), Texas A&M on the road, Ole Miss at home, Kentucky at home and State is on the road the week before LSU comes to town. Can the Hogs get over the hump and make it to the top echelon of the SEC? They could. Alabama lost some good players, so they’re not unbeatable. LSU is outstanding like ‘Bama, but both games are at home for the Hogs. If Wilson and Davis can shine and the Hogs can play some defense, they have a shot in those two games. Should be fun to watch. Do like the Tide and LSU over Arkansas on paper, but with Wilson and Davis and that explosive offense, if they’re better on defense, they could win those games.
Florida: Really like Will Muschamp. He brings a ton of intensity and energy to the Gators. I’ve already talked about their quarterback situation on my Florida spring game blog, but I’ll repeat that they have two outstanding young quarterbacks in Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett. It’s tough to pick a starter. Like I said in my previous blog on the Gators, Muschamp and offensive coordinator Brent Pease may let this thing play out through the first couple of games of the season. it’s that close and both are stellar. Defense will be excellent. Mike Gillislee is an excellent running back and the offensive line is better and now solid. Got pretty decent depth at rb. Wide receiver looks pretty talented. Jordan Reed, their tight end, is a weapon. There are some young guys on the team. Trey Burton will be kind of like a Russell Shepard-type player for the Gators running the ball some and catching it as well. Excellent player. Andre Debose is back at wide receiver and he’s good. They’ve got some young ones out wide too who look pretty good. The defense will need dend Ronald Powell to get back to full strength. He’s a dominant player. Jon Bostic is a leader at linebacker and there are some solid defensive backs. Should be a very good football team. Can they win the East? Yes. They have LSU in Gainesville, Tennessee in Knoxville, UT will be much improved, South Carolina in Gainesville, Georgia in Jacksonville, Vandy on the road, A&M on the road, Kentucky at home and Missouri at home. Florida State is at Tallahassee. The Gators are back. Will Muschamp is an excellent coach in my opinion. Reminds me of S in a lot of ways. Intense, focused, driven and a motivator. Like his team and his future teams in Gainesville. Florida can definitely win the East.
Mississippi State: Dan Mullen is a decent coach, but State just can’t seem to get over the hump. Their quarterback, Tyler Russell, will be pretty good, but I just don’t think they have enough personnel to beat Auburn, Alabama, LSU and Arkansas. Just not sure if that can be done at State. Mullen will have a solid team, but not a great team as usual in Starkville. See a 7-5 season for them. Maybe one day, but I don’t see it right now.
Kentucky: They’ll be better. I like Joker Phillips a lot. Seems like a good guy who cares about academics. He is a players’ coach and the players all like him. Maybe 7-5 there too. 6-6 is more likely. Florida at Gainesville and Arkansas at Fayetteville are sure losses. Georgia at home isn’t totally out of the question. South Carolina at Lexington is possible, probably not, but they beat the Gamecocks two years ago at home. State in Lexington is possible. Missouri on the road tough. Probably will lose that one. Vandy in Lexington is winnable. And Tennessee in Knoxville will be tough. Non-conference games against Samford, Western Kentucky and Kent State should be Ws. At Louisville the first game of the season, Sunday, Sept. 2, on ESPN at 3:30 PM ET/2:30 CT, will be interesting. Need to get that one. Some good players. Quarterback is a battle between senior Morgan Newton and sophomore Maxwell Smith. Newton is a big guy at 6’4″, 225 and so is Smith, who is about the same size and was rated pretty highly coming out of high school. Newton has been erratic. Shown some good signs, but overall, can’t count on him. Smith may be the guy. 6-6 is reasonable for Wildcats.
Day three first thing tomorrow including S.Blog,Football / Comments (0) / make a comment