SEC West: Question Marks heading into 2018
In the SEC, football is king. However, every team has question marks heading into the 2018 season. Some are a bit more pronounced than others, but question marks all the same. So, let’s look at what may be the biggest issue facing each team in the SEC West this season.
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Alabama won last year’s National Championship Game in dramatic fashion. If they want to repeat, they have to answer a couple of questions. Jalen Hurts started every game last season before being benched for ineffectiveness at halftime of the NCG. Then, true freshman Tua Tagvailoa led the Tide to a comeback win. If Hurts is named the starter, does Tagvailoa transfer? If Tagvailoa is named the starter, does Hurts transfer or change positions? The other huge question mark for Bama is in the secondary. They have to replace SIX defensive backs from last year’s squad. The secondary is usually a strength for Alabama. It will be interesting to see how they replace the sheer quantity of players, much less the talent level they must replace.
With the grind it out offense of Bret Bielema now a thing of the past, it will be interesting to see how quickly the Razorbacks adapt to new coach Chad Morris’ up-tempo scheme. Are the personnel in place to make a quick turnaround? That is doubtful. It could be a long season in Fayetteville.
Auburn will enter 2018 having to replace all three positions on the interior offensive line. Because of all the pull blocks, Gus Malzahn asks his linemen to do, these are thought to be the most important spots on his O-Line. How quickly the Tigers get the right players in place will determine how close Auburn gets to replicating their success from 2017.
Will LSU ever have consistency on offense? Steve Ensminger replaces Matt Canada as offensive coordinator. He will have sophomore QB Myles Brennan and redshirt freshman QB Lowell Narcisse battling to try to bring solid QB play to the Bayou Bengals. This is something that has held LSU back for years.
Interim coach Matt Luke got the full-time coaching gig. This is probably because no one wanted this mess. Ole Miss is in the middle of a lengthy probation that saw them receive a two-year bowl ban and a reduction of 24 scholarships over 6 years. Most of their players were allowed to transfer without restrictions. The Rebels depth this season (and in future seasons) will be in shambles.
New head coach, former Penn State offensive coordinator, Joe Moorhead led one of the top offenses in the nation a year ago. He will bring creativity to an offense bereft of playmakers. They also have to deal with QB Nick Fitzgerald coming from season-ending ankle surgery.
TEXAS A&M AGGIES
The Aggies paid Jimbo Fisher $75 million dollars to leave Florida State. He now has the task of converting Texas A&M from a hurry-up spread offense to a more pro-style attack. Redshirt sophomore QB Nick Starkel is a good piece to have for this transition.
Are there other question marks for these SEC West teams? Let us know in the comments.