One reason to think there might be grounds for seeing a defensive resurgence in the conference next season is because of turnover at the quarterback position. John Pennington has a nice breakdown, comparing the situations going into last season and next season, here. This is how he describes the new crop:
School Top 2013 QB Returning Total Off. 2013 Yds/Gm 2013 Our View of Situation Ole Miss B. Wallace 3701 284.7 Good, Just needs to keep cutting down on turnovers Auburn N. Marshall 3044 234.2 Best, But Marshall still needs to improve as a passer Miss. State D. Prescott 2769 251.7 Good, Prescott was a solid leader in ’12 when healthy Arkansas B. Allen 1581 143.7 Worst, Injuries were an issue, but Allen needs work Kentucky J. Whitlow 1492 124.3 Bad, Likely an open race as Whitlow’s health always a ? Missouri M. Mauk 1300 100.0 Good, Mauk showed he’s a solid heir to the job Tennessee J. Worley 1295 161.8 Bad, An open race once between up to 4 guys Georgia H. Mason 960 240.0 Good, Mason wasn’t great, but he should be ready for ’14 Vanderbilt P. Robinette 856 85.6 Bad, If Franklin walks out how will new coach see/use him? S. Carolina D. Thompson 810 101.2 Good, But not great… he’s not been a Shaw clone to date Florida J. Driskel 515 171.6 Bad, New OC and likely an open competition Texas A&M M. Joeckel 293 73.2 Good, Whoever gets the nod should excel in Sumlin’s system Alabama B. Sims 228 28.5 Good, The people around Bama’s QB will help a lot LSU A. Jennings 199 22.1 Good, Beat Arkansas and Iowa and run game will help
Yeah, there’s a drop there from Manziel, Murray, McCarron, Shaw, etc. When arguably the top returner at the position “still needs to improve as a passer”, I’d say you’re looking at a potential situation where secondary play should take a step up.
Maybe Lakatos’ successor can take advantage of that.