Tuesday, August 19, 2014

College Football Preview 2014: SEC

The long running hold over the national title ended last season, as Auburn collapsed late in a loss to Florida State at the Rose Bowl. With some serious holes to fill across every team, the SEC is left to wonder who will step forward to get back this season. The East is as weak across the board as ever, with only South Carolina, Georgia, and Missouri looking like winners up front, and Mizzou is no lock. In the West, Alabama, LSU, and Auburn look strong as ever, but Texas A&M will slide, and Ole Miss never lives up to billing. The conference received 8 teams in the AP top 25 released this weekend, but that's a stacked deck, and not very reasonable.

Projected Order of Finish

1. South Carolina
2. Georgia
3. Florida
4. Missouri
5. Tennessee
6. Vanderbilt
7. Kentucky

1. Alabama
2. Auburn
3. LSU
4. Ole Miss
5. Texas A&M
6. Mississippi State
7. Arkansas

Most Overrated Team

Most Underrated Team

Coaches on the Hot Seat
Butch Jones, Tennessee
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
Bret Bielema, Arkansas

Alabama Crimson Tide
Projected 2014 Record: 11-1
Head Coach: Nick Saban (79-15, 8th season)
For the first time in what seems like forever, Alabama is coming into a season on a two game losing streak after the freak ending with Auburn was followed by being blasted in the Sugar Bowl by Oklahoma. The season ended in an almost surreal manner, but how much of that carries into 2014, with so many questioning the very toughness of this program.
Replacing AJ McCarron is issue number one, and despite what looks like a three way battle will really come down to Florida State transfer Jacob Coker. Coker has already virtually been handed the job, but before you jump up and down too much about his "potential", remember that this is a guy who bailed without even trying to compete with Jameis Winston for the FSU job. How good is he? TJ Yeldon will be part of a group of backs that will see plenty of handoffs in 2014, and is an absolute beast, and could be the best of a line of really strong Alabama backs who have all failed miserably on the next level (jury is still out on Lacy). Yeldon has scored 26 times in two seasons, and should be a highlight player in this offense, as should be WR Amari Cooper, who could be one of the best in the nation. DeAndrew White and Christion Jones also return to give Alabama a deep stable to throw to. The TE job should go to sophomore OJ Howard, who should also have some success this fall. The line is solid as well, with three starters returning.
THe strength of any Alabama football team is the defense, and that shouldn't change much this fall. Brandon Ivory will return to anchor the NG spot, but he will be flanked by new starters at both DE spots. A'Shawn Robinson is highly thought of at one DE spot, and Jarron Reed will rotate with fellow JC transfer DJ Pettway at the other spot. Trey DePriest is back at LB, and is the new leader in the middle, and is joined at LB by Xzavier Dickson. There are questions in the secondary, however, as only SS Landon Collins returns as a starter. Look for youngster Tony Brown have an impact at CB.
JK Scott will be the new Punter as a freshman, but the PK job is up in the air into fall camp.
Alabama will not slide further into the abyss in 2014, and should bounce back strongly. However, the QB situation isn't stable, and the secondary has some issues with finding three new starters. Any of those things go sideways, and we could see some interesting results.
Opening Game
8/30 West Virginia at Atlanta

Auburn Tigers
Projected 2014 Record: 10-2
Head Coach: Gus Malzahn (12-2, 2nd season)
The Tigers shocked the universe last season by sneaking through to the national title game. A late collapse in that game cost the SEC another title for the cabinet, but Auburn looks strong again, even if I have to take another angle than most.
Here is my angle switch up. I am NOT a believer in Nick Marshall at QB. He is a runner first, and a passer second, and I don't care what kind of adjustments Malzahn says were made during the spring, I won't believe in Marshall until he proves he can throw the football with consistency. HE was great on the ground, but if he tossed up any more wounded ducks, I was gonna go huntin'. If he can find his way through the air, he should have a decent stable of WRs to get the ball to in Sammie Coates, Ricardo Louis, and JC transfer D'haquille Williams. Finding a new RB to get the ball to will be a key priority, as Tre Mason has moved on. There are as many as four backs in the competition now, but the future rests with newcomer Roc Thomas. Four starters return on theline, but one isn't Greg Robinson. Sophomore Shon Coleman is getting first crack at filling his spot at LT.
On defense, half of the line returns in DE LaDarius Owens and DT Gabe Wright. Ben Bradley should step in at the open DT spot, while sophomore Carl Lawson is getting a long look at DE. Cassanova McKinzy is the lone returning starter at LB, but Kris Frost is stepping into the other spot as a junior, so he has time in the game. Three starters return in the secondary in STAR Robensen Therezie, CB Jonathon Minzy, and S Jermaine Whitehead.
Both kickers must be replaced. Daniel Carlson will get first crack at PK, while Jimmy Hutchinson is likely the Punter. Here is the rub...both are freshmen.
Auburn is still strong mostly across the board, but there are questions. Another run to the national title game may be just a bit out of reach, but the talent still remains to be a major player in the SEC West.
Opening Game
8/30 Arkansas

South Carolina Gamecocks
Projected 2014 Record: 11-1
Head Coach: Steve Spurrier (77-39, 10th season)
The ole' ball coach has certainly made South Carolina into an incredible power, but he has to get the Gamecocks to the next level and win an SEC title. This is the year where the door is open for Carolina to break through the barrier, and take down the wall.
Connor Shaw was amazing when given the job full time last season, but with his departure, not all is lost at all. Dylan Thompson has plenty of experience, and has started enough for the team to have full confidence in his play. Behind Thompson at RB is Mike Davis, an underrated back who could push for about 1200 to 1500 yards this fall. Thompson should have his fair share of targets in the passing game as well, as both Shaq Roland and Damiere Byrd return at WR. Rory Anderson adds another body to throw to at TE. Sophomore Pharoah Cooper, a sophomore, will get the opportunity to replace Bruce Ellington. The line will be loaded, with four returning starters coming back to pave the way. This may be one of the deeper offenses in the SEC.
There may be a weak link on the defensive line for SC, as three starters must be replaced. DT JT Surratt is the lone returnee up front. Skai Moore and Kalwan Lewis both return at LB, and that is important, as the run defense was the weakest part of this unit last fall (50th). Both CBs must be replaced in the secondary, but SPUR Sharrod Golightly, SS Brison Williams, and FS Chaz Elder all return from a unit that allowed just 195 yards passing per game last fall.
Elliott Fry is back at PK after hitting 15 of 18 FGs a year ago, but Tyler Hull needs a comeback at Punter after taking a step back in development last fall.
The Gamecocks have been on the verge of taking this thing for a while now, but now it's time to get there and win it, and represent the East in a title game. It's been a while since this division had anyone relevant competing for a title.
Opening Game
8/28 Texas A&M

LSU Tigers
Projected 2014 Record: 9-3
Head Coach: Les Miles (95-24, 10th season)
LSU has taken a back seat recently in the SEC West race, and that cannot sit well with the crazies on the Bayou. Les Miles is still an amazing coach, and has done more for the program than most since, well, Nick Saban. It's time for some of the heralded recruits to do their thing, because the Tigers are slipping to the middle of the pack, and quickly.
Replacing Zach Mettenberger at QB is going to be a top priority, and it may be a freshman getting the job in Brandon Harris. Anthony Jennings also gets a long look, and could take the job before opening day. My pick would be Jennings at this point. Terrence Magee also gets a shot at the open RB job, and has the lead, but that could be a short time job as freshman phenom Leonard Fournette could be the best young back in this conference in years. Senior Connor Neighbors will be used on short yardage and power scenarios. There will also be two new starters at WR this fall, and they could be young. TE Dillon Gordon could become the most important receiver on the field as the adjustments are made early. Three starters return on the line, so there is some decent news after all.
There are plenty of holes on the defensive side as well, starting with the task of replacing both DTs. JeMauria Rasco and Danielle Hunter will both return at the DE spots, and must put on some pressure to get the inside guys loose to make plays. Kwon Alexander and DJ Weiter are both back at LB as well, so they will have to step up to support the new starters in the middle of the line. CB Tre'Davious White is back at CB, and is joined by FS Jalen Mills. A new starter must be found at both CB and SS.
Colby Delahoussaye is back at PK after a strong season had him hitting 14 of 15 FGs. Junior Jamie Keehn returns after averaging 41 yards as Punter. He had a massive 58 yarder to his credit last fall.
LSU is full of important holes in 2014, and that will cost them in the long run, as their inexperience at key positions will likely be a bane. Les Miles will get the Tigers back, but right now, they are most definitely behind.
Opening Game
8/30 Wisconsin at Houston

Georgia Bulldogs
Projected 2014 Record: 10-2
Head Coach: Mark Richt (126-45)
Georgia had better be happy that the schedule is weak in 2014, because they have some rebuilding to do at some core positions, including trying to find a replacement for Aaron Murray at QB.
Hutson Mason will start at QB after getting a look in the season finale win over Georgia Tech, and bowl loss to Nebraska. He is absolutely not Aaron Murray, so it's a step back. There may not be a better backfield, however, in college football than Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. They compliment each other brilliantly, and they are the best one-two punch at RB in the nation. The receiving corps is thin on returning talent, as only Michael Bennett returns. The line is thin as well, with only LT John Theus and C David Andrews returning.
The line is also a bit thin, as only DE Sterling Bailey is back. That issue may be made up by the fact that the entire LB corps returns, which will be necessary to help get the front up to speed. Jordan Jenkins, Amarlo Herrera, Ramik Wilson, and Leonard Floyd all are back, but they must show improvement from a year ago. The only returning starter in the secondary will be CB Damian Swann, but the new starters could all be sophomores and freshmen. Uh oh.
Marshall Morgan is one of the best PKs in the nation after hitting 22 of 24 FGs last fall. He managed a 56 yarder last fall. Adam Erickson is also back at Punter.
The schedule is extremely weak, and that's a great thing, as Georgia has holes all over the field. I predict a ten win season based on that alone, because there are holes everywhere. They could end up finishing well short of that lofty win goal, but only if the teams on the schedule show major improvement themselves.
Opening Game
8/30 Clemson

Ole Miss Rebels
Projected 2014 Record: 8-4
Head Coach: Hugh Freeze (15-11, 3rd season)
The Rebels are kind of like the Arizona State of the SEC. Always expected to be great, but rarely approaching those lofty goals. Hugh Freeze has given some credibility to the program, but they had that under Houston Nutt as well, and they never got close to nibbling at an SEC title.
Bo Wallace should get the snaps at QB this fall, and it would be a shame to see the Rebels go back to their 2 QB system. The only skill position player otherwise to return for the Rebels is WR Laquon Treadwell. The rest of the skill set guys (RB/WR/TE) are new starters. While many have high expectations, most have yet to show it on the field where it counts. There's that "potential" thing again. The only lineman to return is LT Laremy Tunsil. RT Autin Gordon returns as well, but he has huge injury concerns, and may not be ready to go all out.
There are some issues on the defensive line as well, as only one starter returns in Robert Nkemdiche at DT. The LB corps has the same issue, with only Serderius Bryant returning. The secondary may have to support the unit at large, with DB Tony Connor, CB Mike Hilton, SS Trae Elston, and FS Cody Prewitt returning.
Both kickers have to be replaced, and both could be freshmen in PK Gary Wunderlich and P Will Gleeson.
I expect the talent on hand to be good enough to hit 8 wins, but it could also go sideways this fall, and the Rebels could fail to finish with a winning record. This Rebel squad may be a huge enigma, and they could just be all over the place.
Opening Game
8/28 Boise State at Atlanta

Florida Gators
Projected 2014 Record: 7-5
Head Coach: Will Muschamp (22-16, 4th season)
How Muschamp survived last season is beyond me. Gator fans I have run into can't seem to stand the guy, and they are selling season tickets for the first time in over two decades at the swamp, meaning there are empty seats. Muschamp has to win big this fall to survive yet again, because the media doesn't seem to support him or like him either.
Jeff Driskel is back at QB after losing much of last season to injury, but he has yet to impress on any level, and that could be a problem. Kelvin Taylor is back at RB, but he has miles to go before he is considered as one of the better backs in the SEC. Quinton Dunbar is back at WR, and is the only starter returning there. In the new spread offense, that is a major and glaring problem. TE Clay Burton could be the most important player on offense and in the new passing scheme. Three starters return on the line, but the right side must be rebuilt.
The defensive front could be a strength this fall, as every lineman returns in DEs Dante Fowler, Jr. and Jonathon Bullard will join DTs Leon Orr and Darlous Cummings. Michael Taylor and Antonio Morrison will also return at LB, leaving only one starting job open at LB amongst the front seven. The major problem on defense will be the secondary, where only Vernon Hargreaves III is back at CB, and he has been bagned up in fall camp already.
Austin Hardin returns at PK, but was purely awful last fall after hitting just 4 of 12 FGs in 2013. Kyle Christy will likely be the new starting Punter.
Florida doesn't have enough talent on offense to make a difference in the East this season, much less the rest of the SEC. Ranking them in the top 25 in preseason polls is a joke, and I barely see the Gators scrapping out seven wins to barely get to a bowl. Muschamp may not be around in 2015.
Opening Game
8/30 Idaho

Texas A&M Aggies
Projected 2014 Record: 8-4
Head Coach: Kevin Sumlin (20-6, 3rd season)
So then end of the "Johnny Football" era has come upon us, and I for one, am happy about this turn of events. The dynamic, at times, Manziel, had some really big moments, but his free style play wasn't always a winner, and he cost the team with a multitude of turnovers. with his departure brings a new era of possible balance for the Aggies, and less headaches for coach Kevin Sumlin with Manziel's well known off-field shenanigans.
Kenny Hill has already been handed the job at QB in camp, but the future is likely with Kyle Allen, the talented freshman who is a prototype pocket QB. Sumlin is showing great restraint in not throwing him to the wolves right from the go. The only skill set player returning for the Aggies as a starter is WR Malcome Kennedy, so there are holes everywhere on what will be largely a rebuilt offensive unit. The line, however, returns four starters.
This defense has to improve a great deal, as they were an utter disaster last fall. The line returns intact with DEs Gavin Stansbury and Julian Obioha and DTs Isaiah Golden and Alonzo Williams. This group was partly responsible for a miserable showing against the run last fall, as the Aggies ranked just 110th in rushing defense. Darian Claiborne is the lone returning LB. The ghost of Aggie defenses past is turning in its grave when it watches this unit flail. The entire secondary is back, but the Aggies finished just 95th against the pass a year ago.
Josh Lambo came on last fall at PK, and hit 8 of 10 FGs. Drew Kaser averaged a booming 47.4 yards per punt last fall, making him one of the best Punters in the nation. He is on the All-Bilo watch list heading into the season.
A&M could be in trouble this fall, but they could still manage to win 8 games this fall. I may be shooting a bit high, but the early schedule is loaded with cupcake games, other than what should be a loss to open the season at South Carolina. The back end of the schedule is loaded, however, and the lack of experience could be a major issue.
Opening Game
8/28 at South Carolina

Missouri Tigers
Projected 2014 Record: 8-4
Head Coach: Gary Pinkel (102-63, 14th season)
Nobody in America saw the Tigers winning 12 games and winning the SEC East last fall. If anyone in Columbia told you that they saw it coming, they are lying to you. That being said, do not expect a repeat performance in 2014.
Maty Mauk returns at QB, but now everyone has seen what he brings to the table, so he won't take anyone by surprise like he did a year ago. He is talented, but could he be in for a slight sophomore slump? The only skill player back this fall on offense is WR Bud Sasser, and that is just terrible news, as the Tigers have to rebuild across the board. The line returns three starters, but both guards will be new.
Both tackles return on defense in Matt Hoch and Lucas Vincent, but both DEs must be replaced, and those are huge holes. No support comes from the LB corps, as only Kentrell Brothers returns. The secondary is equally as thin, with only SS Braylon Webb is returning. Again, more rebuilding.
Special teams are the only solid ground for the Tigers left, as PK Andrew Baggett and P Christian Brinser return.
I may be sticking my neck out a bit for 8 wins this fall with the Tigers, as they are in full rebuild mode across the board after a surprise season, but I believe that they may still have enough talent in the tank to finish somewhere in the middle of the pack and win those 8 games. Gary Pinkel has had some consistency issues with this program over the years, but he can coach.
Opening Game
8/30 South Dakota State

Mississippi State Bulldogs
Projected 2014 Record: 7-5
Head Coach: Dan Mullen (36-28, 5th season)
The Bulldogs are another yearly average program that never lives up to lofty expectations. Dan Mullen really needs to turn the corner with this program, but again, as is always the case, seven wins seems to be the glass ceiling.
Dak Prescott leads the offense at QB, but I'm not a huge fan of his arm. He is a better runner than passer, but he did manage to toss five TD passes in the bowl win over Rice. Jameon Lewis and Robert Johnson return at WR, and should give Prescott a better shot at improving his passing game. Malcolm Johnson is also back at TE. The Bulldogs need a new starter at RB, and that could be Josh Robinson. There are only two returning starts on the line in LT Blaine Clausell and C Dillon Day.
There are pros and cons to the defense as well, DE Preston Smith and DT PJ Jones are back on the line, but two new starters must be found. Matthew Wells and Benardrick McKinney are both back at LB, bringing some strength and experience back from a unit that finished 37th against the run last fall. CB is all set with the return of Taveze Calhoun and Jamerson Love, but both Safeties need to be replaced.
Evan Sobek is back at PK, but this was a major problem area for the Bulldogs last fall. Devon Bell handled both jobs last fall, but now will handle only Punting duties.
Once again, the Bulldogs have high hopes, but as good as can be expected is seven wins once again. Dan Mullen has been ok during his tenure, but not great. It's time to start getting things right here, and that may only mean 8 wins, but it's something.
Opening Game
8/30 Southern Mississippi

Tennessee Volunteers
Projected 2014 Record: 5-7
Head Coach: Butch Jones (5-7, 2nd season)
Butch Jones was largely heralded when hired by the Vols to replace Derek Dooley. I've yet to see any kind of change yet, and 2014 could be more of the same. Jones is still trying to get his own personnel set up, but when you look at the Rivals Top 100 for 2015, nobody at the top of the list is talking heading to Tennessee right now. Tennessee has largely slipped to the mid tier, or even lower tier of the SEC.
Justin Worley is back at QB, and is the best bet to win now for Tennessee. He was injured and lost time last fall, but looked strong in the spring. He was in a bit of a battle, and was just officially named the starter this week, but it shouldn't have been as much a mystery as it was. Riley Ferguson, however, probably has the brightest future behind Worley. There will be a new face starting at RB this fall, as Marlin Lane gets the nod. He has solid burst, and should step up nicely, and will share some carries with freshman Jalen Hurd. There should be decent talent at WR, as Marquez North and Jason Croom both return, but both need to step up. Von Pearson should step in as the third receiver. Brendan Downs adds another dimension at TE, but he needs to increase his productivity as well. Here's the terrible news. UT must break in an entirely new O Line.
Here's more bad news...the entire D Line needs replacing as well, and that front gave up 207.3 yards rushing per game last fall (100th nationally). It gets even worse on defense where only one LB returns in AJ Johnson. The Vols could get steamrolled against the run once again. The secondary is in better shape, and really did hold strong last fall. CB Justin Coleman returns, as does SS Brian Randolph and FS LaDarrell McNeil.
There are battles in camp in the kicking game as well, as both PK and P must be replaced.
AT the end of the day, it's all about the holes, holes, and more holes. UT must replace both lines, most of their LB corps, and the entire kicking game. It's safe to say that the Vols are likely going nowhere in 2014.
Opening Game
8/31 Utah State

Vanderbilt Commodores
Projected 2014 Record: 7-5
Head Coach: Derek Mason (1st season)
Vandy lost energetic head coach James Franklin to Penn State, but made a splash by hiring Stanford assistant Derek Mason. Mason should slide nicely into the Vanderbilt culture, and understands how to win in an academic environment such as is found at Vanderbilt.
Mason must find a new QB right away. The job could likely fall to RS freshman Johnny McCrary, but he will have competition all camp long from Patton Robinette and Stephan Rivers, an LSU transfer. All new targets at WR must be broken in simultaneously, as no starters return. RB Jerron Seymour does return, but the run game was absolutely anemic last season, and the Commodores ranked just 92nd in rushing offense last fall. TE Steven Scheu is back and could see an increased footprint in the offense. Four starters return on the line, and that should be the basis of improved play across the spectrum.
Vandy was solid on defense in 2013, ranking 23rd nationally in total defense. NT Vince Taylor is the lone returning starter on the line, but both DEs need to be replaced. There is plenty of experience coming back at LB, as three starters are back in Darreon Herring, Jake Sealand, and Kyle Woestmann. The middle of the field should be very much set. The major problem is that the entire secondary must be replaced, and that could create a setback.
Carey Spear is gone at PK, and so the job goes to freshman Tommy Openshaw. Taylor Hudson returns as the starter, but could lose out at any time to Colby Cooke. Neither are great by any stretch.
Mason has some work to do, and has some holes to fill, but Vandy is in a good place, and the talent is getting better. Mason will do a nice job, but a nice job at Vandy is 8 wins and a bowl. The Commodores will never be a title contender.
Opening Game
8/28 Temple

Arkansas Razorbacks
Projected 2014 Record: 3-9
Head Coach: Bret Bielema (3-9, 2nd season)
Imagine that just a couple of seasons ago, Arkansas was in position to win the SEC, and was in the national title conversation. How things can change in a very short period of time, especially when a whore and a motorcycle are involved, which leads to the path of destruction generally left behind by John L. Smith. Smith couldn't coach a girl scout to sell cookies. Now, enter Bret Bielema, and he inherited this mess, and it may take him as many as five more years to fix the problems plaguing this program. It starts with recruiting.
On offense, Brandon Allen is back as the point man at QB. He played hurt most of the season, and so therefore, his number reflected that fact. He should be much improved, but he doesn't have to be the star, as the Hogs are deep at RB. Jonathon Williams is a complete back that can change a game, but he's just one head in a three headed monster that also includes Alex Collins and Korliss Marshall. Expect the Razorbacks to run and run some more. TE Hunter Henry could have a huge season, but the WR corps needs some upgrading. Keon Hatcher is the lone returning starter there, but all eyes will be on freshman Jared Cornelius. Three starters return on the line in LT Dan Skipper, RG Denver Kirkland, and RT Brey Cook. Someone needs to step up and pick up the passing game, because the backs can't do it all by themselves. The run game ranked 21st nationally, but the passing game finished 114th. There is a huge gap that must be closed as Arkansas will need to find balance to win.
The defense has their fourth coordinator since 2011 in Robb Smith, and he has to find some improvements somewhere from a defense that yielded 413.4 yards per game in 2013. Holes are the story in the front seven as only DE Trey Flowers and LB Braylon Mitchell return. The situation isn't much better in the secondary, as only CB Tevin Mitchell and FS Alan Turner return. This is a rebuild job, and will likely be a huge reason why the Razorbacks will not show any improvement in the win column this season.
Zack Hocker is gone at PK, and the job is being handed to a freshman in Cole Hedlund. Sam Irwin-Hill returns at P, and he is probably one of the best directional Punters in the nation.
Bielema must be wondering at this point as to why he chose to leave Wisconsin for this disaster. The money and getting out of the Barry Alvarez shadow couldn't be worth this, could it? Recruits aren't really looking heavily at Arkansas, and if Bielema can't get that fixed, he may as well mail it in. The schedule is brutal, with only two easy wins on the slate in Nicholls State and UAB.
Opening Game
8/30 Auburn

Kentucky Wildcats
Projected 2014 Record: 3-9
Head Coach: Mark Stoops (2-10, 2nd season)
Kentucky has never been a power program in the SEC, but they have slid all the way to the bottom now, and Mark Stoops was brought in to reverse that trend, and so far, it's not working. Stoops is trying to fix the problem with upgraded recruiting, but there is still a depth issue and a talent gap that's going to take time to fix.
The Cats needed a new QB, and had four of them competing in camp. That competition is over this week, and sophomore Patrick Towles won the battle. He has two starters returning at WR to get the ball to in what should be a pass heavy offense coordinated by Neal Brown, as Javess Blue and Ryan Timmons are both back. Towles has the job now, but if he struggles, it could be a short stay at the top. UK will need improved play from the RB position, but they are young and thin at that spot, as JoJo Kemp starts as a sophomore. LT Darrian Miller, LG Zach West, and C Jon Toth return, as does RT Jordan Swindle, but it looks like a freshman takes over at RG in Ramsey Meyers.
The UK defense ranked just 91st last season, and if that number doesn't improve, then UK sinks further into the depths. Again, talent and depth are the issues right now. Bud Dupree and Za'Darius Smith are back at DE, but both DTs need to be replaced, leaving a gaping hole in the middle. Again, yet another freshman could come into play there, with Regie Meant slated to get a long look. Khalid Henderson is the lone returning starter at LB, so help isn't likely to come from the middle. CB Nate Willis and S Blake McClain are back in the secondary, and that unit was the only bright spot on the team in 2013.
Yet another freshman is going to take the field, this time at PK, where Austin MacGinnis is likely to start. Landon Foster is solid at Punter, and averaged over 41 yards per punt a season ago.
UK is trying to get right, and several freshmen could get long looks in 2014, but that talent has to mature quickly. Even with recruiting on the upswing, Stoops has got to get these kids experience right away. Even if that strategy works, this team may be two years away from just qualifying for a bowl.
Opening Game
8/30 UT-Martin

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