Internal affairs in the SEC
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
We go inside as we do every week at this time with our "Internal Affairs" look at the conference. And, no, I'm not going to break down the rationale that different people use in voting in the polls:
1. Garcia on the move: Don't look for Stephen Garcia in the direct-snap Wildcat Formation or anything, but South Carolina is going to do its best to move him around and not allow the LSU defense to zero in on him in the pocket Saturday night in Columbia. Garcia, a redshirt freshman, is making his first collegiate start. He's pretty fearless running the ball, and Steve Spurrier likes his ability to make throws and make things happen on the run. Plus, you know the Tigers are going to be gunning for him.
2. Going five wide: That may be overstating it a bit, but Tennessee is going to try and open it up a little more and play to quarterback Nick Stephens' strengths. Throwing the deep ball is one of the best things he does, and sophomore receiver Denarius Moore has emerged as the Vols' best deep threat. Look for the Vols to get more of those guys on the field in spots to see if they can do a better job of spreading defenses out and backing safeties off the line of scrimmage. Whatever it is, Tennessee's got to find a way to keep defenses honest and run the ball better.
3. Adams takes over: With Chris Nickson nursing a bum throwing shoulder, Vanderbilt's passing game has been non-existent the last few weeks. Enter Mackenzi Adams, who's more comfortable in the pocket and pretty patient when it comes to allowing things to develop. The Commodores will play to Adams' strength, and although he won't run as much as Nickson, they will call some designed running plays for him. The biggest difference is that he's healthy and capable of making Georgia pay this weekend if the Bulldogs don't respect his ability to throw the ball.
4. Dueling quarterbacks at Auburn: The Tigers have a little extra time to figure it all out, but the main thing is that Kodi Burns is in and Chris Todd is out. Auburn doesn't play again until next Thursday (Oct. 23) at West Virginia, but Tommy Tuberville is finally committing to Burns. The Tigers completed just 10 passes in last week's loss to Arkansas. There's also a chance that true freshman Barrett Trotter may play for the first time and not redshirt if the Tigers think he's going to play significant minutes the rest of the way.
5. Turning Dixon loose: Anthony Dixon is healthy again, which means he's going to get the ball as much as he can take it the rest of the season, starting Saturday against Tennessee. Plagued by a painful groin injury, Dixon had been unable to practice much and lost some of his sharpness. But he came back last week against Vanderbilt after an open date and carried the ball 27 times for 107 yards. The most he'd carried the ball previously this season in a game was 18 times. Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom is ready to ride Dixon the rest of the way.