SEC: Conner Shaw

It's that time of year again. ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach has revised his early Top 25 for the 2011 season now that spring practices have concluded and fans from all around are weighing in.

Schlabach has seven SEC teams ranked -- the most of any conference -- in his revised rankings. All seven teams made Schlabach's post-signing day Top 25, but so did Auburn. This time around, the Tigers fell out of the rankings and were replaced by Georgia at No. 17.

Alabama stayed at No. 2, LSU moved down a spot to No. 5 and Arkansas remained at No. 11.

South Carolina and Florida slid down in the rankings. South Carolina dropped from 15th to 19th.The Gamecocks certainly have the talent to compete for an SEC title, but the uncertainty at quarterback could hold them back. Senior Stephen Garcia was indefinitely suspended from the team this spring and there's still no word if he will return or not. That will leave Conner Shaw in charge of the offense. He's got the talent, but he's inexperienced.

As for Florida, the Gators fell from 20th to 24th. The loss of All-SEC cornerback Janoris Jenkins and the multiple unknowns on offense were the reasons for Florida's decent.

Mississippi State stays put at No. 25. The Bulldogs should have an exciting offense to put on display this fall, but will they be able to keep up with the likes of Alabama, LSU and Arkansas?

Schlabach also labeled Arkansas and South Carolina as potential BCS title dark horses for this fall. Arkansas has the offensive talent to frustrate just about every defense it faces and the defense is much improved. But road games at Alabama and LSU are a concern. If the Razorbacks can upset Alabama early this fall, the season finale in Baton Rouge could potentially be for the SEC West title.

SEC spring game roundup

April, 11, 2011
4/11/11
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Four SEC schools concluded spring practice over the weekend with their annual spring games. While a ton can’t truly be taken from these glorified scrimmages, it was a chance for players and coaches to perform in a game-like atmosphere in front of their home fans.

Florida, LSU, Mississippi State and South Carolina held their spring games.

Here are some highlights from those games:

Florida
  • An announced crowd of 53,000 showed up to watch the Blue defeat the Orange 13-10. Blue has won four of the past five spring games.
  • Fans couldn’t have been overly thrilled with the offensive performances from the Gators. The teams combined for 340 yards of total offense, while the Orange defense held the Blue to the fewest points (13) by a winning team in the history of Florida’s spring game. The Blue had six total completions, tied for the lowest in spring game history The Orange had the fewest total offensive yards (143) in spring game history.
  • Quarterback John Brantley, who coach Will Muschamp said is Florida’s unquestioned starter, began 0-for-6 and finished with 45 yards on 4-of-14 passing. Backup Tyler Murphy led with 68 yards and 7-of-11 passing.
  • One standout was rising sophomore defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who had a game-high four tackles (three for loss) for the Orange.
  • Here's a link to more on Florida's spring game the Gators' official website.
LSU
  • A crowd of 25,032 was on hand as the White team defeated the Purple team 22-7.
  • Starting running back Spencer Ware was the star of the day, leading all rushers with 94 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries for the White. Ware, who has the responsibility of taking over for Stevan Ridley (1,147 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in 2010), also caught two passes for 50 yards.
  • Senior quarterback Jordan Jefferson wasn’t stellar, but he did finish with 102 yards passing and 31 rushing. Sophomore transfer Zach Mettenberger was 5-of-8 for 86 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Kadron Boone to start the second half for the Purple. Boone had a game-high four catches for 77 yards.
  • Purple safety Ronnie Vincent recorded a game-high 10 tackles and an interception.
Mississippi State
  • A 2-yard touchdown run by fullback Sylvester Hemphill with 1:19 left in the fourth pushed the Maroon past the White 23-20 Saturday.
  • It was a day for the backup Bulldog quarterbacks. Redshirt freshman Dylan Favre went 17-of-26 for 199 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also rushed 10 times for a game-high 41 yards. Sophomore Tyler Russell finished the game going 15-of-26 for 210 yards, a touchdown and an interception. In limited action, starter Chris Relf was 4-for-8 for 68 yards had one rush for a 1-yard touchdown.
  • The receivers really stepped up Saturday. For the White, sophomore Ricco Sanders led the way with 96 yards including a 37-yard reception. Junior Chad Bumphis had six catches for 48 yards and Arceto Clark had 52 yards on four catches. For the Maroon, redshirt freshman Robert Johnson had seven receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Heavens had five receptions for 62 yards while tight end Brandon Hill had 74 yards on four catches.
  • Defensively, the Maroon’s Ferlando Bohanna had a game-high eight tackles, including three tackles for loss and two sacks. The Maroon defense recorded 11 tackles for loss.
South Carolina
  • An announced crowd of 30,000 watched as the Garnet team defeated the Black team 21-17.
  • Even without suspended quarterback Stephen Garcia, South Carolina’s passing game was pretty impressive. The Black’s Conner Shaw led the way with 176 yards and a touchdown on 17-of-26 passing. The Garnet’s Dylan Thompson finished with 168 yards a touchdown and an interception on 6-of-13 passing.
  • Two big plays of the day came from a 62-yard touchdown reception by DeAngelo Smith from Thompson and a 34-yard interception returned for a touchdown by safety DeVonte Holloman.

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