SEC internal affairs: Grant to get his shot?
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
Our weekly look at some Internal Affairs in the SEC:
1. A Grant sighting: A neck injury has left Roy Upchurch's status for Saturday's game against Mississippi State as doubtful, meaning Terry Grant may get his shot in Alabama's three-pronged running attack. Grant was the Crimson Tide's leading rusher last season with 891 yards. But he's been buried on the bench this season behind Glen Coffee, Mark Ingram and Upchurch. Alabama coach Nick Saban hopes Grant can provide some of the things Upchurch had brought to the Tide offense, namely some speed to the outside and the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Grant has carried the ball just 28 times for 77 yards this season, as Saban has opted for more physical between-the-tackles runners.
2. Sticking with the Wild-Cobb: Kentucky threw the ball all over the place the past two years with Andre' Woodson setting SEC records. The Wildcats still like to think of themselves as a pro-style offense. But for the time being, they're going with what they do best -- and that's freshman quarterback Randall Cobb lining up in the shotgun and breaking teams down with his quick feet and open-field running. It's Kentucky's version of the spread option, and it produced 226 rushing yards last week in the 42-38 loss to Georgia. Vanderbilt can expect to see more of it this Saturday, especially with the Wildcats so depleted at receiver. Cobb's a special talent, too. Once he cuts down on his mistakes, he's going to be one of those quarterbacks nobody wants to face.
3. Run Kodi run: After rushing for 158 yards last week in Auburn's 37-20 win over Tennessee-Martin, Auburn quarterback Kodi Burns knows that's not going to cut it against Georgia. He's also not likely to pass for 318 yards like he did two weeks ago in the loss to Ole Miss. The Tigers would like him to come in somewhere in the middle of those two extremes against the Bulldogs and without the three second-half interceptions he threw against Ole Miss. Burns looks much more comfortable now that it's clear that he's Auburn's quarterback. He still can't be a gun-slinger, though, whether he's running it or passing it. He carried the ball 13 times last week, which would be a bit risky if he were facing an SEC defense. The last thing the Tigers need is to get him hurt.
4. More shuffling up front: It's become a weekly routine for Georgia offensive line coach Stacy Searels: This guy moves here, and that guy moves there. The latest injury in the Bulldogs' offensive line is to right tackle Justin Anderson, who hurt his foot against Kentucky and will miss the Auburn game and possibly the Georgia Tech game. The Bulldogs are working sophomores Josh Davis and Kiante Tripp at right tackle this week in practice. Since the preseason, Tripp has moved from right tackle to left tackle to tight end and now back to right tackle again. This will be the fifth different combination the Bulldogs have used on the offensive line this season when they face Auburn on Saturday.
5. Musical quarterbacks: Nobody rotates quarterbacks on every play. That is, with the exception of Steve Spurrier. The Head Ball Coach is looking seriously at rotating Stephen Garcia and Chris Smelley on every play, or at least every few plays, this Saturday against Florida. As unconventional as it sounds, Spurrier liked the way it worked last weekend in the 34-21 win over Arkansas. It's not a strategy Spurrier plans on sticking with forever. But since Garcia and Smelley haven't been able to separate themselves, Spurrier's going to run them in and out of the game until they do. He pulled a similar stunt when he was at Florida in 1998 with Doug Johnson and Jesse Palmer.