Published August 24, 2011 - 6:15am
NEW: Discuss this topic in the Google+ community for SEC fans.
Heading into 2011, let’s take a look at whose stock is rising and falling in the SEC West.
1. Ole Miss Program: What can you say about the Ole Miss program right now? It is in such disarray right now with all the turnover among the players. There are very few upperclassmen to provide leadership for the younger talented players who came in on the last recruiting cycle. Houston Nutt has to be looking at his program and asking what happened. The Rebels used to be winning Cotton Bowls and now they are shining the shoes of their in-state rival Mississippi State. For me, this program has to show some life this year; they have to show some passion in Oxford.
2. LSU Quarterback Jordan Jefferson: If you’re looking for the quickest move from stock rising to stock falling, look no further than Jordan Jefferson. The implications and rumors about his bar fight are downright disgraceful. It looks like he is going to follow up his three-touchdown Cotton Bowl domination to roaming the sidelines as LSU kicks off in game one against the No. 3 ranked team in the country Oregon. All signs point to Jefferson not playing at the beginning of 2011, if any at all during the season.
3. Alabama Line Play: Alabama was very mediocre along the offensive and defensive lines a year ago. With all the four- and five-star recruits, one would think the lines would be firing on all cylinders. However, Alabama was middle of the pack in the SEC with only 27 sacks. The offensive line, on the other hand, was downright dreadful at times. The big ugglies gave up a total of 32 sacks, good for 10 out of 12 in the SEC. That won’t cut it, and Nick Saban might kill someone if that happens again in 2011.
1. LSU Running Game: Even with the loss of Stevan Ridley at running back, I think LSU will be just fine in that department. With newcomers Spencer Ware and Michael Ford, I think this running game will be just as good as 2010. I do think Ware will be one of the best running backs in the SEC this coming year after it is all said and done. This department will have to move the football on the ground for LSU’s offense to be effective, and hopefully the quarterback play will alleviate some of the pressure unlike a year ago.
2. Mississippi State Quarterback Chris Relf: Chris Relf is a winner. He never gets the pub – so, I’m giving him some. I love his attitude and coachability under center. He does whatever is necessary to get the job done. In Dan Mullen’s ball-control offense, Relf really carried the load at quarterback and really progressed as a passer throughout the season. I am really looking forward to seeing how well he does in 2011 as an established player in this league.
3. Ole Miss’ Running Game: If there is anything good at Ole Miss right now, it is the running game. Running backs Brandon Bolden, Jeff Scott and Enrique Davis will have to take it upon themselves to be a force for this team. This group has a veteran offensive line in tackles Bradley Sowell and Bobbie Massie. Bolden is a vastly underrated player in this league, and he looks to get the coveted 1,000-yard mark this season in Oxford. I love the way he plays the game, and this running game looks to be the best aspect of this team right now.