Thursday, June 9, 2011
More SEC tandems to keep an eye on
By Edward Aschoff
Wednesday's blog about the Pony Express Award Watch List certainly garnered a lot of attention from SEC fans.
No one seemed overly upset with the tandems listed. It was more about the tandems that were left off that got some fans all hot and bothered.
There were a few combos that I thought would make the list, but not everyone can. It just doesn't work that way.
But that's the beauty of this blog. You people have expressed your frustration and I've looked at the numbers. So here are some other tandems around the league that you should keep your eyes on this fall:
Arkansas: LB/S Jerico Nelson, LB Jerry Franklin -- Franklin and Nelson led the Razorbacks in tackles last season, combining for 187, including 24 for loss. Franklin was second on the team with 6.5 sacks, while Nelson had 2.5.
Florida: DE/LB Ronald Powell, DT Sharrif Floyd, DT Dominique Easley -- This young group could be the heart of Florida's defense this fall. Powell should be the Gators top pass rusher off the edge, while Floyd and Easley should plug holes and frustrate offensive linemen when they line up next to each other.
Georgia: QB Aaron Murray, WR Tavarres King, TE Orson Charles: These will be Murray's main playmakers to start the season. King moved to A.J. Green's flanker spot and showed this spring that he's ready to be the guy. Charles is athletic enough to flex out and play receiver and should be even better in his third season. Both combined for 926 yards and five touchdowns last fall.
Georgia: LB Christian Robinson, LB Jarvis Jones, LB Alec Ogletree -- Alabama might have the most intimidating group of linebackers, but Georgia could have the fastest, most athletic. Robinson is the leader in the middle and Ogletree will be a tackling machine alongside him. Jones should help lessen the blow of losing Justin Houston outside and could be a more complete player than Houston.
Mississippi State: QB Chris Relf, RB Vick Ballard -- Relf showed last fall that he's one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the league, rushing for 713 yards and five touchdowns while passing for 1,789 and 13 more scores. That second number should increase this fall. Ballard rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and scored 19 rushing touchdowns in 2010. These two should be quite the combo this fall.
Mississippi State: CB Johnthan Banks, CB Corey Broomfield, S Charles Mitchell, S Nickoe Whitley -- The Bulldogs might have the most athletic defensive backfield around. This group is a big play waiting to happen. Banks, Broomfield and Whitley each had three interceptions last season, while Mitchell was third on the team with 94 total tackles in 2010.
Ole Miss: RB Brandon Bolden, Jeff Scott -- Bolden was one of the SEC's top rushers a year ago, gaining 976 yards on the ground and 14 touchdowns. Scott added 429 yards and three scores and he's the home run threat in the Rebels' backfield. He and Bolden will get a lot more action this fall with Ole Miss throwing an inexperienced quarterback onto the field this fall.
Tennessee: QB Tyler Bray, WR Justin Hunter, WR Da'Rick Rogers -- This group grabbed the most votes from fans out there. Hunter showed he’s a playmaker by turning his 16 receptions into 415 yards and seven touchdowns in 2010. Rogers had a very impressive spring and will start opposite Hunter. Rogers can play both receiver and in the backfield, so expect his touches to dramatically increase this fall. Bray went 4-1 as a starter and set Tennessee freshman records for passing yards (1,849) and touchdowns (18).
Vanderbilt: RB Warren Norman, RB Zac Stacy, RB Wesley Tate -- This group didn't put up monster numbers in 2010, but it will be the strength of the Commodores offense this season. Norman should be fully healthy this fall and will be the lead horse, while Stacy should continue to put up solid numbers. Tate might be the most athletic of the bunch and he's bigger than Norman and Stacy.