Setting up for 2013: SEC East

I’m sort of curious what the group’s impression of which schools have the toughest and easiest rebuilding jobs in the SEC East this season.  That’s not the same thing as assessing which schools will win the most or least games; rather, I’m just looking at last season as a baseline and trying to figure out who’s got the most work cut out for them merely in terms of not falling back.

Edward Aschoff’s spring preview is as good a place to start as any, I figure.  With the losses on defense, I know Georgia’s the popular pick in terms of which program in the division took the biggest hits, but looking at his list, is there any school starting farther behind last year’s eight-ball than Tennessee?  New staff, a completely nuked passing attack and a third defensive scheme in three years suggest that the Vols will have personnel issues all over the field.

On the other side of the coin, dare I say it, Vanderbilt looks like it has the most manageable job of regrouping in the East.  Stacy and Rodgers are gone, but there’s talent at running back and Jordan Matthews’ return should make the next quarterback’s job a little easier.  Aschoff doesn’t mention it, but the ‘Dores only lose five starters on defense.

What do y’all think?

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32 Comments

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32 responses to “Setting up for 2013: SEC East

  1. rugbydawg79

    I know I am dreaming but maybe this is the year that Vandy beats uf-I would Love to see the reaction in gainesville–that would be really fun ! I am also hoping USCe has a bigger rebuilding job than most folk are talking about.

    • Dawgfan Will

      Should’ve happened Cutler’s last year. One of the most egregious uses of the celebration penalty cost Vandy that game.

  2. Rebar

    After watching Florida in the bowl game, they would be the team in the east that has the most to prove, to me. That was a pitiful effort.

    • Florida has got to be the team with the tallest hill to climb to repeat last year’s success, just because they were such overachievers last year.

      The defense carried an anemic offense on its back, and after losing Floyd, Jenkins, Bostic, and Elam on defense, they have a lot of rebuilding to do on that side of the ball. Georgia has just as much rebuilding on defense, but they didn’t rely on their defense/special teams to win every single game like Florida did. Plus, regression to the mean, John Brantley is still your QB, you still have no reliable WR threat, and your best pass catcher & OL is gone. To get back to a BCS bowl would be a small miracle.

  3. Dog in Fla

    What do I think? Oh, the usual. I bowl. Drive around. The occasional flashback. Think about laughing and Aschoff

    Florida: “But just as important as Driskel’s development is what happens behind him with redshirt junior Tyler [Perry-Dale] Murphy and redshirt freshman [Breaking Bad] Skyler [Son of Marty] Mornhinweg. Neither has thrown a pass in a college game. Why is that important? Because Driskel” can’t throw?

    Georgia: “Someone still has to take advantage of the opportunity, however” is nowhere.

    Kentucky: If you’re going “to build a stronger team from the ground up” you’re going to need a bigger bang-bang Maxwell “Silverhammer” Smith and one Josh “Harvey-“Clemons from Georgia.

    Missouri: “Tigers found out the hard way that conditioning in this league is a little different than in the Big 12.” Welcome to the funny papers, Henry “the Outlaw” Josey (h/t http://tbogg.firedoglake.com/2012/08/28/the-outlaw-jersey-whale/)

    South Carolina: “A good spring could bring some real controversy to the position.” And if that doesn’t do it, OBC will because he is congenitally unable to keep himself from doing so.

    Tennessee: “but now it’s time to develop vital on-field chemistry between the coaches and players” which used to only involve hydrolysis reactions.

    Vanderbilt: ” should really push Carta-Samuels the whole spring”-time for himmler with Best hyphenated-Siamese nickname – “Magna” Carta-“Richard” Samuels.

  4. Uglydawg

    I apologize at the beginning for this Paws Style post…Forgive me.
    I’ll say there’s at least a 50/50 chance that Georgia is not as depleted on defense as a lot of us fear. The big name defense of last year may be covered by players who were under the radar. This may be the year of the no-name, journeyman defense. TG will have another year of having seen how things perculate in the SEC to smoke in his pipe…and the defense should be able to play a more daring, open, and gambling style,knowing the offense is very capable of covering their mistakes (ie…going for a pic and missing it..or maybe blitzing and stunting more). A great offense can compensate for a few extra mistakes on defense.
    Then, there’s the other side of the 50/50 equation that I want to ignore..after all, on the rare occasion that I buy a lottery ticket, I convince myself I have a chance (at least enough to check the #s ) to win.
    But I’ll say Kentucky and Tennessee have a job, not re-building but just plain learning to function well enough to win a few…and Florida has troubles and they may be coming from WM himself (he may be Florida’s Goff…”one play away, Ray”…unlucky to a flaw). Spurrier will always field a competitive team…esp. against UGA….He’s a great coach that I hate…and we’ll just have to see how fast Missouri can negotiate the curve..that will be interesting to watch. Vandy is a worry…they seem to have a very serviceable team and a coach that is a great motivator…
    BTW..look how fast Old Miss has turned it around (apparently?). It can happen with the right coaching chemestry. In the SEC as a whole…I think Auburn and Tennessee will turn the corner…Old Miss and Vandy will be become even more pertinent, and Florida is can go either way, but I hope it’s down, down, down.

  5. The other Doug

    Put me in the Florida column. I think their team will be OK on defense, but won’t cause enough turnovers to keep the offense in it. I can’t see their offense coming from behind.

    Tennessee has the farthest to go from where they are to where the fans want to be, but the new staff will have some time.

  6. Mike

    UGA will be stopped 5 yards short. But this time in the quest for the SEC East. The longest short distance evaH!

  7. Mike

    BTW, on a more serious not, the last time a highly regarded SEC East team lost all or most of its defense from the pervious year was in 2007. The 2006 Gators won the national championship but lost 9 of 12 defensive players going into 2007. But the offense that returned turned out to be one for the ages.

    The 2007 Florida offense was the best in the SEC and one of the best in the nation. The defense? Not so good. Florida finished 9-4, mostly due to the defense not being able to stop good offensive teams.

    In a similar fashion, I expect the 2013 UGA offense to be the best in the SEC and top five in the nation. The defense? Probably not so much.

    If Grantham could not construct a dominate defense with the talent and experience that he had last year, I am not sure why UGA fans expect him to have one this year?

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      Numbers. Hopefully Grantham is clueing in that college ball is about fresh bodies as much as stars.

    • Biggus Rickus

      Of course, Florida’s 2006 defense was great. Georgia’s 2012 defense was pretty average at everything but forcing turnovers.

    • Macallanlover

      That is a solid point about the Florida 2006/2007 defensive situation, I had forgotten about that example. I share UglyDawg’s feeling that the UGA defense next year will be the upside surprise. I don’t care how talented the Dawgs may have been on defense last season, that group never showed up (well, maybe against Vandy). I never felt comfortble that we could count on them to stop anyone, except perhaps the Gators. I don’t see how we cannot be better in 2013 on defense, maybe not great or dominant, but top to bottom better as a unit. That may mean we will have to win a couple of shootouts, but I like the offense’s chances to do that.

      The East looks like a 3 horse raise again and I think Florida appears to be the 3rd best. Doesn’t mean they cannot win it because it only takes a few plays/calls to turn the results of a deciding game but UGA and SC look to be slightly better. Alol we can do is speculate this far out, lots of time before we know which team will seize the opportunity.

      As fair as your above comment was, the posts below aren’t up to your usual standard here. Did you think Bama abusing us with the run was a suprise to anyone after what we say in earlier games? The only surprise was it took Little Nicky until the 3rd Qtr to exploit that weakness. Yeah, that game was really “just 5 yards” at the end, and it occurred in a part of the field where we had been golden all year. Give Murray two plays in the red zone against anyone and you could make a lot of money betting on UGA to win that battle. That damned odd tip, and unfortunate catch….. But we could play Bama last year, just didn’t go our way at the end. Had dinner with a Gator fan last weekend and his assessment was the two plays where UGA got penalized for hitting the QB and Bama didn’t for a worse infraction was the difference in the game. We will never know but the game definitely could have gone either way with a different result on a key play, or two.

    • stoopnagle

      “If Grantham…”

      I’m glad I’m not the only one.

  8. Uglydawg

    Mike, your last sentence reflects the same sentiment and reasoning that many on here were applying to Bobo’s offensive products a short time ago.
    When CMR cut certain, highly regarded recruits, when it looked as if there wasn’t a stellar QB or RB on the team…the offensive line couldn’t protect the QB…the play calling sucked…etc. we heard it all. All the while, Bobo was growing into the job and players were on campus developing into what we saw in ’12 and should see in spades this year. CMR knows you have to have defensive talent, and I believe he’s got the players to field a good SEC defense. CTG will be a better coach each year.
    If the Georgia running game is as improved as we hope, CMR can keep the defense off of the field. It will take a very good defense to get enough stops against the Dawgs to make them have to resort to the long game. Long, time consuming drives with points at the end will be the prescription if, indeed, as you expect, the defense is very weak.
    Even as the Dawg defenses were said to be tiring late in the game against very good offenses…so will the defenses that face this Georgia team.

    • Mike

      Like I wrote,Grantham had the luxury of working with extremely good experience and talent last year.. The result? Something less than a dominating defense. Was there a notable defensive category where UGA finished in the top ten? Certainly not in scoring defense or total defense.

      For UGA to think they might be greatly successful next year is to suppose that the UGA defense will be at least as good as last year.

      The offense will almost certainly be as good or better. They better be. They might have to win games by scoring a lot of points.

      • Biggus Rickus

        The year before last Grantham had a top five defense with the same players who underachieved last year. It’s not as if he has shown no ability to coach. I expect the defense to be at least as good as last year in everything but creating turnovers.

  9. Uglydawg

    In reality, things usually aren’t as good as you dream they’ll be, nor as bad as you fear. This probably applies to the Dawg’s O and D for this year.

    • charlottedawg

      Who feared worse than a 5 loss season in 2010? especially with an “easy” schedule.

      • Uglydawg

        And who dreamed of having ‘Bama on the ropes until we ran out of time in the SECCG? Not me. I thought Georgia might have a shot at the East and I feared the Dawgs would lose convincingly to the Tide.
        I did use the word “usually”. It’s an observation, not a law.
        But your point is valid. Do you suppose ’10 was a wake-up call for CMR? I think it was and he answered the call. The program is in good shape.
        The single most important change made to Georgia’s football program after 2010 is CMR’s philosophy and demeanor.

        • Mike

          Ah yes. The “we only lost by five yards meme.” The reality is something more disturbing for UGA fans.

          The reason that UGA lost that game was not because the clock ran out. Or because they ended the game five yards short. No, the reason UGA lost that game was becasue they could not stop Bama from running the ball between the tackles. Bama absolutely abused the UGA defense at the line of scrimmage.

          BTW, did you hear that there are no official 40 times for the former UGA players at the NFL combine? They all came up five yards short! (badebum!)

  10. stoopnagle

    Schedule meme?

    Bama doesn’t play Florida, Georgia, South Carolina or Vanderbilt (since that’s where we seem to be with the ‘dores). Guess who is winning the west again?

    Florida goes to LSU and S. Carolina with the Cocks having 2 weeks to get ready for the Gators coming off of a home game with Vandy. Florida’s schedule looks the toughest of UF, UGA and USC.

    South Carolina comes to Athens, of course, and travels to Arkie, Knoxville and Mizzou back-to-back-to-back. I’d say they’ve got it a bit easier than we do despite that time away from Cola. Not sure that Carolina fans will be able to prop themselves up with /schedulememe this year if they don’t get to ATL. Afterall, they have Clowney. *shudder*

    We get our toughest games at home: USC & LSU (besides Jacksonville, of course). Going to Vandy looks tricky with them coming off a bye week. Still: Vandy.

    Speaking of: @South Carolina, @Texas A&M, @Florida… Vandy might play a role in who wins the East, but they won’t win it.

    Is anyone worried about Mizzou, Tennessee or Auburn this year? I think UT is a long ways from competing after Baylor’ing themselves.

    This far out (oh, God, so far out), Georgia looks as good a bet as anyone to get to ATL.