The next two weekends will provide SEC fans with the closest thing to real football that they’ll get for months. More than three months removed from the last game of the 2014 season, nine of the league’s schools will be holding their spring games on either April 11 or April 18.

Those teams are Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss and South Carolina on April 11 and Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State and Missouri on April 18.

What do we want to see from each team in their spring games?

  • Alabama — Progress from the secondary: Quarterback is just as pressing of an issue, but Lane Kiffin showed last year that he can take a former defensive back and have him pilot a record-setting offense. Alabama won’t be winning any national titles if the back end of the defense is as leaky as it was last year, though. The secondary will have to show its made strides under Mel Tucker, even without Cyrus Jones and Geno Smith (presumably). Eddie Jackson must show improvement at cornerback, while development from young players like Hootie Jones, Tony Brown and Marlon Brown would push the secondary to a higher level.
  • Auburn — Aggression from the defense: Gus Malzahn has already lauded the work Will Muschamp has done early in practice. Come the 18th, we’ll need to see that translate to a more game-like atmosphere.There will be a lot of changes, schematically and personnel-wise, on the defensive side. With a mostly full war chest, will the Tigers be able to play fast enough to handle Auburn’s offense at full speed?
  • Florida — Which quarterback is a better fit?: Jim McElwain has proven to be adaptable as an offensive coach, from running Alabama’s pro-style power offense to a spread look at Colorado State, so it’s safe to say he’ll be able to make the most out of whoever ends up as his starter at quarterback. The question is which passer he’d rather work with in his first year, returning starter Treon Harris or redshirt freshman Will Grier. McElwain wants the two working together and supporting each other, but only in rare cases does a two-quarterback situation (like Chris Leak and Tim Tebow) work, so one of the two will have to grab a hold of the job.
  • Georgia — Can a quarterback separate?: Recent reports indicate that the Bulldogs’ quarterback competition is down to a two-man race between Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta. They’re two different players — Ramsey a pocket passer, Bauta more of a runner — and if one of them can prove themselves a cut above the other, it will determine how Brian Schottenheimer will run his offense in his first year as OC.
  • LSU — Competence from the quarterbacks: The defense is responding very well to the changeover at coordinator, but the far bigger question comes under center. Brandon Harris and Anthony Jennings are once again battling over the job, but without major strides from at least one of them the offense will once again be stuck in the mud. Whether Les Miles and Cam Cameron can coax competent play out of one of their passers could be a deciding factor in the SEC West race.
  • Mississippi State — Replacing the outgoing starters: The Bulldogs lose as much talent as anyone in the SEC and are faced with replacing 12 starters from last year’s team. From the offensive line to the defensive secondary, there are roles all over the roster that the Bulldogs need someone to step up into. Those two position groups are most vital, as the offensive line was MSU’s biggest strength last year and the secondary the biggest weakness.
  • Missouri — Consistency from the receivers: As of Saturday’s scrimmage, rising sophomore wide receiver Nate Brown was still sidelined with a knee injury from early in spring practice. That leaves an inexperienced receiving corps even thinner after losing three senior receivers from last year’s team, and the team struggled with drops in its first spring scrimmage. The Tigers have their quarterback in place, a potential star at running back and a veteran offensive line, but they’ll have trouble winning a third straight SEC East title without some viable pass catchers.
  • South Carolina — Improved pass rush: The Gamecocks’ quarterback situation won’t be sorted out until later this summer, but they need to see improvement from the pass rush immediately. With Marquavius Lewis and Dexter Wideman already on campus, plus new co-defensive coordinator Jon Hoke, there’s good reason to think the results could start to show by next weekend.