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Wednesday, August 20, 2008
SEC in the headlines: High on the Hogs


Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Heading out to watch the first part of Arkansas' practice Wednesday morning. Looking forward to seeing some of the younger players, especially with so many expected to play key roles this season. Check back later, and I'll have some updates with several players and will sit down with Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino later this afternoon. In other words, we'll be High on the Hogs most of the day. And, yes, I've already been to Wal-Mart.

Here's a quick look at what's going on around the conference:

* Arkansas was in desperate need of a middle linebacker, and the Hogs have found one in former safety Jerry Franklin.

* It's no fun trying to keep up with the Hogs' running backs in Bobby Petrino's passing game.

* Defensive tackle is still the chief issue for Florida on defense. Only Lawrence Marsh has established himself as a starter.

* Surprise, surprise. Alabama coach Nick Saban says freshman receiver Julio Jones can play. Jones has put on a show this preseason camp.

* With junior-college newcomer Raven Gray still not all the way back from his knee surgery, Auburn turns to tight end Gabe McKenzie for some snaps at defensive end.

* Steve Spurrier isn't sure what to make of the Gamecocks' final preseason scrimmage. Tommy Beecher is still the starting quarterback, butSpurrier wouldn't rule out that Chris Smelley might also play in the opener against North Carolina State.  

* Tennessee tight end Brandon Warren is thankful the wait is finally over and he may also play some defensive end this season.

* Ole Miss freshman Enrique Davis is making his move in the Rebels' backfield. Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt loves Davis' burst and acceleration.

* Mississippi State's running back stable is getting to the point of being over-crowded, and the Bulldogs couldn't be happier.

* Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution gives us the "unauthorized" look at Georgia offensive line coach Stacy Searels, who doesn't talk to the media. Searels may be the most important figure on Georgia's team this season with the job he faces in re-tooling the Bulldogs' line now that Trinton Sturdivant is lost for the season.

* Vanderbilt punter Brett Upson is back after a scary bout with abdominal pain. 

* Special teams will be as important as ever this season for Kentucky with all the questions on offense.