Ever wonder what goes on in the mind of coaches in the SEC? Of course they only release “coach speak” when meeting with the media and are notorious for being bland, saying the same ole’ information.
Well, AthlonSports.com does an anonymous interview every year with coaches and asks them to talk about their conference foes.
You can read the full article here, but the best quotes are below.
Remember these are all coaches talking about opposing schools.
“The dropoff from Trent Richardson to Eddie Lacy might not be as much as people think. Lacy is actually bigger, I think, and he had some runs against North Texas, when we were breaking them down, where he looked like a clone of Richardson. He is very, very capable of being an 1,100- or 1,200-yard rusher next year.”
“Here’s how good they were last year on offense: They lost Knile Davis, a first-team All-SEC running back from the year before, and they still had the No. 1 offense in the league.
Wilson gets beat up a lot. They have a lot of five-man protection packages where they are getting people out in routes quickly, and he recognizes that he has to get the ball off, and he knows that he is going to get hit. That being said, I don’t think they have an upper-level offensive line. That is one area on offense that can get better.”
“I don’t know about the quarterback situation. I guess they don’t either. That’s never a good thing.
Their secret weapon, if it’s really a secret, could be (tight end) Philip Lutzenkirchen. I think he’ll have a big year. He’s coming off shoulder surgery, but he has the ability to make big plays.”
“All of their receivers have tremendous potential, but none of them were very productive. In many ways, tight ends Trey Burton and Jordan Reed were their best receivers. Those guys and the two running backs, Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey, scared me catching the ball more than any of their receivers.
They were better on defense than what we thought they would be, from watching them on film.
Will Muschamp has a good reputation. He has been with some good teams, very successful teams.”
“If you look up quarterback in the dictionary, you would find a picture of Aaron Murray. He has nice composure, good leadership and a good handle of what they want to do. They might not be as sophisticated on offense as a team like Arkansas, but Murray knows what they want. He is a winner and has all the intangibles. From their perspective, the one thing I think they would say is that he has to cut down on his interceptions. He had some bad interceptions last year.
Defensively, they might be 3-4 from a personnel standpoint, but they do a lot of four-down linemen fronts, so it’s a little deceiving. They have the one guy (Jarvis Jones) who is considered a linebacker, but they like him rushing the passer a lot.”
“I don’t think Maxwell Smith is going to be the answer long term for them at quarterback. He came in and gave them a spark late in the year, but he is not a guy who is going to be a top-flight quarterback in this league.
Their personnel just wasn’t very good last year. They had higher expectations for Morgan Newton, who started off the season as their quarterback. He did some good things as a freshman a couple of years ago, but just didn’t pan out, for whatever reason.”
“They are big and very, very good up front on defense. They have so many guys who can play.
Their performance in the national title game was disappointing. They should have played better. They were a better team than they showed that day.
One thing that is amazing about what they did last year — they scored nine non-offensive touchdowns. We used that as an example to our team throughout the spring. You can score points in so many other ways than just on offense.
I’ve heard good things about Zach Mettenberger. He’s a big kid who can make all of the throws. If he settles in, watch out. If that team gets really good play from the quarterback position, I’m not sure anyone can beat them.”
“I look at them as scrappy. They’ve kind of had a couple down years, and they’re trying to re-invent themselves.
I’d say they’re a spread version of Georgia Tech, and that’s what they try to do. They try to run the ball. (Dan Mullen) might not have all the speed guys on the edge, like he did when he was at Florida working for Urban Meyer, but they are trying to do a lot of the same stuff. Once they get the players that fit their system completely, they could be dangerous, like Florida used to be.
They’re gonna be a well-coached team, especially with Mullen running the show. They always play hard. They’re fast.”
“The Tigers have had some nice teams in the past, but I’m not so sure ‘nice teams’ will cut it in the SEC. I think Missouri is going to experience some serious problems competing in their first year in the SEC. The offense will give them a chance to be fairly successful, but I don’t think they’ll be physical enough on defense.
My biggest question is if the Tigers can survive a conference schedule featuring South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Texas A&M plus non-conference games against Arizona State and Syracuse.”
“I like (running back) Jeff Scott. He can be really good. He is one of the leading punt returners in the conference. I think he can be a formidable upper-level SEC running back. But they need to get better on the offensive line. That is a big priority. And Scott will have to stay healthy. He was in and out of the lineup. He is one of the few playmakers they do have.
I don’t know much about the new coaching staff. I know Hugh Freeze was at Ole Miss before, and I know he did a good job at Arkansas State.”
“When you play South Carolina, you have to stop 21 (Marcus Lattimore). Their gameplan was to turn and hand the ball to him. So from a scheme perspective, they weren’t that hard to defend.
I have the utmost respect for them. They won with a different formula last season. They had an outstanding defense. They found unique ways to move the football. It wasn’t the pass-happy teams that we saw from Steve Spurrier at Florida in the ’90s. They utilized the strengths that Connor Shaw has, which are his feet and his mobility.”
“A healthy Tyler Bray is really, really good. Just put on the Cincinnati game from early last year (Tennessee won 45–23). He was incredible in that game. He has a lot of ability. He needs to get himself straight mentally.
With (wide receivers) Da’Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter coming back, and throw in the junior college guy they have coming in (Cordarrelle Patterson), and they are going to be scary, I think.”
“Like Missouri, they’re going to find the going gets tougher now that they’re in the SEC. First the schedule now has Florida, Arkansas, LSU and Alabama — all of those are projected top 25 teams. Then add in former Big 12 member Missouri and trips to Mississippi State and Auburn. The Aggies will have a tough time adjusting, more so than Missouri because the Aggies lost more key players.”
“(James) Franklin came in as a recruiter, and he’s lived up to his reputation. But now that he’s getting his guys, he has to coach them up.
I love (running back) Zac Stacy. I think he is really good, one of the best in the league. I think he can be an NFL back if he continues to get better. He can catch and he can throw and he can run. He is tough guy.
Their offense improved so much during the season. Never seen anything like it. Their staff deserves a ton of credit. They seemed to re-invent themselves after the first few games.”