Published March 1, 2011 - 12:50pm
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ESPN’s Mark Schlabach has a good column out discussing the top storylines in spring football across the country, and of course, there are plenty of SEC items in the list:
Auburn starts reloading
Few teams have as many important pieces to replace as Auburn. The Tigers have to replace Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton, four senior starting offensive linemen and seven starters on defense.
Much of the focus this spring will be on the quarterback battle, as Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley begin competing for Newton’s starting job. Incoming freshman Kiehl Frazier, who ran offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn’s system in high school, joins the competition this summer.
Muschamp era begins at Florida
New Florida coach Will Muschamp, who left Texas to replace retired Gators coach Urban Meyer, is changing UF’s offense from a spread attack to a pro-style scheme. Former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis was hired as offensive coordinator and his biggest task might be restoring quarterback John Brantley’s confidence. Brantley threw nine touchdowns with 10 interceptions and was sacked 22 times last season.
The Gators might move backup quarterbacks Jordan Reed and Trey Burton to new positions — Reed might move to tight end; Burton might end up at cornerback or safety. If they move, Brantley would battle incoming freshman Jeff Driskel for the starting job. Florida also must rebuild its offensive line and find a capable running back.
LSU’s quarterback battle
If LSU is going to unseat Auburn and Alabama in the rugged SEC West, the Tigers must get more out of their passing game. LSU ranked No. 107 nationally in pass offense in 2010, averaging only 155.6 yards per game.
Incumbent Jordan Jefferson completed only 56.5 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He’ll have to hold off juco transfer Zach Mettenberger, a former Georgia player. Former Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe replaces offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.