Between the rapid adoption of no-huddle spread attacks and some truly stellar quarterbacking talent, 2013 could be shaping up as an unprecedented season for the passing game in the SEC. The running game, on the other hand…
The ascent of potentially elite arms arrives as the SEC’s stable of running backs has ebbed.
South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore and Alabama’s Eddie Lacy jumped to the NFL. Florida’s Mike Gillislee and Vanderbilt’s Zac Stacy graduated. At LSU, sophomore Jeremy Hill’s status is unclear after an arrest after an off-campus bar fight left him suspended indefinitely. Only Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon and Georgia’s Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are ready-made ball-carriers rolling off the assembly line.
Now there’s a certain chicken-and-egg aspect to that – are running backs in decline because of less demand, given the vibrant passing attacks, or are SEC offenses relying on the pass more because of a decline in the quality of their running games? And I don’t want to overdo it too much, because there are going to be places like Arkansas, Florida and LSU that will be strongly committed to the run this season even with new running backs. Plus, there’s too much talent that flows into the conference every year for there not to be new stars to emerge.
But there’s still a certain hit-or-miss aspect to this that, barring injury, Alabama and Georgia are immune to. How big a deal do you think that will be this season?