I’ve touched on it before and it’s been noted elsewhere that with the departure of so many talented quarterbacks from the SEC, the conference is likely to see many teams rely more on their running games. But it’s worth keeping in mind that even during last season’s Year of the Quarterback, it’s not exactly as if the SEC was a pass-happy league.
SEC teams ran the ball on 57.3 percent of their plays from scrimmage last season. That marked the highest percentage from any of college football’s “Power 5” conferences, edging the Big Ten’s 56.8 percent.
Pac-12 teams ran least, keeping it on the ground only 51.9 percent of the time. SEC champion Auburn ran the ball 71.9 percent of the time. SEC teams ran the ball more than 55 percent of the time in each of the past six seasons.
So, it may be the contrarian in me, but I have this feeling that if we’re looking at a heavier dose of the run from some offenses, those that can still throw the ball with some effectiveness are going to have an advantage taking what defenses will be geared to try to stop.
And that leads me to something I heard Mark Richt say on Sports Center about an hour ago (here’s to the rewards of home recuperation). Talking about Mason’s chances this year, Richt made a point about it not being simply that his quarterback had been patient and liked being at Georgia. He stressed that Mason’s a fifth-year senior who’s benefitted from being in the same program, with the same position coach, the same offensive coordinator and the same offensive system the entire time. There’s something to that, and outside of South Carolina’s Thompson, I’m not sure there’s another starting quarterback in the conference this season who could make the same claim. Throw in Mason’s surrounding cast, and you may really have something other conference offenses will have a hard time matching.