SEC in the headlines: Helms returns for LSU

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Back from my seven-school tour in 11 days (and, yes, a little weary-eyed), here's a look at some of what's happening around the SEC on Friday:

* LSU welcomes center Brett Helms back to practice after a two-week absence with a strained calf muscle, but quarterback Jarrett Lee misses his third straight practice with back spasms. LSU coach Les Miles says he'll wait until game day to make any announcement, but it sounds like redshirt sophomore Andrew Hatch will be the Tigers' starter at quarterback in the season opener against Appalachian State.

* The Gamecocks are hoping bigger is better at linebacker. Jasper Brinkley and Eric Norwood form one of the biggest (and they think best) linebacker tandems in the country. Look for Norwood to still get his chances as an outside pass-rusher in certain situations.

* More trouble for Florida defensive tackle Torrey Davis, who was already in Florida coach Urban Meyer's doghouse.

* Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer likes what he sees from tailback Montario Hardesty in the Vols' final preseason scrimmage, but he's not so sure about everything else. In particular, Fulmer thinks the Vols still have a long ways to go with some of their second units.

* Alabama's Lorenzo Washington, the starter at nose tackle last season, is moving to defensive end. Alabama coach Nick Saban is searching for ways to get his best players on the field, which means he must be pleased with what massive junior-college transfer Terrence Cody is getting done at nose tackle.

* Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville gets his seniors to weigh in on the Tigers' quarterback battle, which remains unsettled between Kodi Burns and Chris Todd. Tuberville says both will play. He just doesn't know which one will be the starter.

* The Wildcats are especially deep at tailback and plan on going with a four-pronged attack this season.