1 thing I learned about every SEC team in Week 7
Imagine if you were away in Week 7 without any connection to the outside world.
First of all, that sounds awful. I wish you the luxury of technology in your near future if that’s the case.
(I suppose by reading this you have a connection to the outside world, but I said what I said.)
Now think about what it would be like to catch up to everything over the weekend.
“South Carolina beat Georgia?!?!”
“Vandy lost by 24 to UNLV?!?!?!”
“Tennessee won an SEC game??!!”
What a weekend it was. Much was learned ahead of the midway point of the season.
Here was what I learned about each SEC team in Week 7 (excluding Auburn on bye):
Alabama: Tua isn’t perfectly in sync with every Alabama receiver
Tua Tagovailoa has been described as many things. “G.O.A.T.,” “Steve Young 2.0,” and “lefty Russell Wilson” are a few that come to mind. “Fiery” usually isn’t at the top of that list. But on Saturday, we saw the Alabama quarterback get into a rare heated discussion with Jerry Jeudy on the sidelines following a complete miscommunication on a 3rd-and-5 pass in the 2nd quarter.
“He felt like he saw something, and I felt like I saw something else,” Tagovailoa said according to AL.com. “Coming back to the sideline, we just communicated it. We got everything fixed and will just go on from there.”
Jeudy had a season-low 4 catches for 50 yards. He hasn’t had a 100-yard game since Week 2, either. But the preseason All-American is as good a bet as any to turn it around.
Arkansas: That run defense hasn’t turned the corner after all
What if I told you that Kentucky would start a receiver at quarterback in hopes of winning its first SEC game … and Arkansas would make that dream come true? Welcome to 2019, where week-to-week consistency isn’t Arkansas’ brand of football. Two weeks after stymying the Texas A&M ground game in Dallas, the Hogs were scorched for 330 rushing yards against the Lynn Bowden-fueled Kentucky ground game. Woof. Granted, the game was at least close and it was only 24 points that Arkansas let up.
Still, though. There might only be 2 winnable games left on that schedule. That number is even smaller if Arkansas is going to struggle to stop the run like that.
Florida: Nothing will faze Kyle Trask
A tip of the cap to Trask, who, in a losing effort, showed that he was plenty ready to handle one of the most intense atmospheres in college football. All Trask did for the majority of that game was go blow-for-blow with Joe Burrow and keep Florida alive. On a night in which the Gators were struggling defensively after the losses to Jon Greenard and a banged up Jabari Zuniga, Trask did everything in his power to give them a chance to pull the upset. What a showing it was from Trask in his first career road start. He’s ready for the big time.
Georgia: Invincible? Not even close
“And that’s why they play the games.” Georgia waltzed into Saturday’s game like it was going to win just by showing up … for the 3rd consecutive game, might I add. South Carolina was the perfect candidate to finally punish UGA for that. South Carolina exposed all of Georgia’s weaknesses:
- Predictable offense
- Receivers can’t get separation
- Can’t force turnovers
That South Carolina defensive line got after what was dubbed by many (myself included) as “the best offensive line in college football.” The Dawgs have issues that they need to figure out — more creative offensively, getting on same page with receivers, faster starts, etc. — or else this once-promising season will turn into 9-3 in a hurry.
Kentucky: Lynn Bowden forever
What Bowden did on Jared Lorenzen Night in Lexington was special. How fitting that an unconventional starting quarterback fueled a win like that. And by “unconventional,” I mean one the SEC’s best receivers going back to his high school days to fill in under center … while still returning punts. That had “Paul Hornung Award” written all over it. And while it was the rushing that fueled that offense (196 yards on the ground), the dude can pass. Look at the dime he dropped in the corner of the end zone:
Lynn Bowden finds Clevan Thomas for the touchdown. pic.twitter.com/LoW6MMoQxh
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) October 13, 2019
I know this was supposed to be a temporary thing, but how fun was Kentucky with Bowden as QB1? Sign me up for more of that.
LSU: That offense cannot be contained
Top 5 defense? LSU made everyone forget just how good the Gators have been on that side of the ball. Yes, playing without the aforementioned Greenard and Zuniga for significant chunks of that game hurt, but it was still quite the statement from Joe Burrow and the Tigers’ offense, which has scored 40 points in 9 consecutive games. Three of those came against top 10 teams, too. I’m not convinced anyone can truly stop this LSU offense, which averaged an absurd 10.6 yards per play Saturday night. Efficient, explosive, balanced … what more could you want?
Oh, that’s right. An Alabama win.
Mississippi State: Joe Moorhead’s offense is even worse than I thought
If you know me, you know that I’m the driver of the Moorhead bandwagon. I’ve been driving it for the past 3 years even before he got to MSU. But what we saw Saturday at Tennessee was absolutely horrendous. The offense was predictable, unprepared and disorganized. Kylin Hill didn’t have any holes to run through, which hurt. But why is Tommy Stevens still out there? He’s not the answer, yet Moorhead continues to start him only to bring in Garrett Shrader. It’s probably not a coincidence that continues to happen.
There’s no reason MSU should have the No. 82 scoring offense in America. Moorhead’s offense isn’t working with this team for the 2nd year in a row. And now, LSU comes to Starkville. Yikes.
Mizzou: The Tigers can dictate the tempo with their offensive line
That was a “show me what you got” game from the Mizzou offensive line. Not only was that group tasked with running the ball better than it has so far in the only season, but it needed to protect Kelly Bryant coming off that knee injury. Check and check. To accomplish that against an above average Ole Miss defense — no sarcasm font there — said a lot about that unit. Barry Odom praised them after the game and said that they “took ownership.”
As a result, Mizzou will play its first regular season game in the AP Top 25 of the Odom era.
Ole Miss: A 2-quarterback system is in the works for some reason
We knew that Matt Luke wanted to get Matt Corral back to 100% before he came back. Saturday marked his return, but it came in relief of John Rhys Plumlee. I, for one, wasn’t a fan of that. Plumlee showed the past 2 games why he’s an ideal fit in Rich Rodriguez’s system, yet Corral played in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters on Saturday.
Perhaps game flow dictated that and because Ole Miss trailed, Rodriguez felt more comfortable with Corral throwing the ball. I understand that logic. I just don’t agree with it. I think the offense moves better with Plumlee, and subbing in Corral doesn’t have short- or long-term benefits.
South Carolina: Miracles do happen
Never. No chance. Don’t even play the game.
That’s what I thought of South Carolina’s odds of pulling off the upset in Athens on Saturday. Can you blame me? Will Muschamp was riding a 9-game losing streak vs. ranked foes while Georgia hadn’t lost to an SEC East team since late 2016. More recently in 2019, South Carolina lost to UNC and got smoked by Mizzou.
That team, however, was nowhere to be seen on Saturday. The Gamecocks got after it on the line of scrimmage while Israel Mukuamu picked off Jake Fromm not 1, not 2 but 3 times. South Carolina looked better prepared and better coached all afternoon. And go figure that 3rd-string quarterback Dakereon Joyner closed out the game with Ryan Hilinski sidelined with an injury throughout the second half. That was exactly the signature win that Muschamp has been lacking. His defense finally played like what Gamecocks fans were hoping it would when he was hired nearly 4 years ago.
Tennessee: This defense hasn’t given up at all
Man, the Vols completely swarmed MSU’s stagnant offense. There weren’t any running lanes for Hill and when Stevens and Shrader threw into double coverage, Tennessee took advantage of it. It didn’t even matter that the Vols had issues of their own offensively and Brian Maurer was sidelined with an injury. Darrell Taylor and Nigel Warrior were everywhere, just as Tennessee fans hoped they’d be when the season began. That was the type of performance we thought we’d see more of in Year 2 of the Jeremy Pruitt era.
The Vols are still facing an extremely uphill battle to get to a bowl game, but if that type of effort can be replicated more often in the second half, there will actually be something to build on heading into 2020.
Texas A&M: Kellen Mond hasn’t necessarily regressed, but …
You wouldn’t know it because it feels like everything that happens in the offense is predicated on him making an impressive throw into a tight window or him finding running room with his legs. The good news is that his receivers are incredibly talented and Mond is plenty capable of picking up first downs himself when plays break down. But without any resemblance of a true running game, there’s too much pressure on Mond. His mistakes are magnified, especially against better defenses like Alabama. He’s being forced to play perfect for A&M to look like the team we thought it could be. In a division with some talented defenses, that’s not a recipe for long-term, week-to-week success.
Vanderbilt: Derek Mason is in serious trouble
“Siri, show me what I shouldn’t do with a new boss.”
Siri pulled up videos of Vandy playing football this year, specifically Saturday when it lost by 24 at home to 1-4 UNLV. I’m sorry, but that’s more embarrassing than Tennessee losing to Georgia State. The Commodores have been horrible this year and they were still 2-touchdown favorites. That’s how bad UNLV was. Yet the Group of 5 team riding a 4-game losing streak came into Nashville and blew the doors off Mason’s squad.
Mason is coaching the worst team in the SEC, and perhaps the worst team in Power 5. Even worse, he can’t get anyone to show up for his team’s games. He was asked about his future at Vandy and said everything he was supposed to — “I’m not giving up,” “I believe I can right the ship,” “I’m not worried about my contract,” etc. — but one has to wonder how he keeps his job beyond 2019 if this disaster continues.