SEC lunchtime links
August, 22, 2013
By Alex Scarborough | ESPN.com
Kirk Herbstreit is excited about the return of college football. Are you? Read up on the SEC this afternoon and don't miss "The Herbie Awards" tonight at 8 ET on ESPNU.
- Alabama's offensive line continues to shuffle, but optimism is prevailing about the group's ability to establish chemistry.
- School is back in session and the Auburn football program is back in its normal routine as well. With a little more than a week remaining, Gus Malzahn has begun the process of preparing for Washington State. So far, he's impressed with what he sees.
- The injury bug has hit Arkansas often of late. This week it stung again, taking a wide receiver out of the fold for an extended period.
- Florida's passing game is still evolving under offensive coordinator Brent Pease, who is hoping to bring more balance to the Gators attack this season.
- It doesn't feel like that long ago that Mark Richt was taking over the Georgia football program. Now, though, he's the dean of the SEC.
- Kentucky looks to be improving on defense, but a secondary that lacks depth and size could be a concern.
- Playing neutral site games comes with added benefits. For LSU, Les Miles likes the exposure, the quality of opponent and the ability to go into the Houston market for recruits.
- Ole Miss' schedule this season is downright brutal, with four of its first seven opponents ranking in the top 25. Next year should be somewhat of a reprieve as the Rebels face a more balanced calendar.
- Oklahoma State provided Mississippi State with plenty of bulletin-board material when it claimed that the Bulldogs wouldn't be able to keep up with the Cowboys offense. On Wednesday, the team responded to the question of conditioning.
- Safety wasn't the right fit for Ernest Payton at Missouri. Though he certainly looked the part, a move to cornerback was necessary. There he can play with the aggressiveness he wants.
- South Carolina got some good news when senior defensive end Chaz Sutton announced that only an act of God would keep him off the field for the Gamecocks' season opener against North Carolina.
- Get ready to find out who the next starting quarterback of the Tennessee Vols will be. Butch Jones will use practices Thursday and Friday to determine a winner.
- Vols runnning back Marlin Lane believes that "if you stare in the past, you're always going to be brought down." After missing the final week of spring practice because of a suspension, Tennessee's promising tailback has a different mindset.
- "They allowed him too much freedom," former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown said of Texas A&M's handling of Johnny Manziel.
- They call him "Black Death." It's not a name that's taken lightly. Texas A&M's strength and conditioning coach takes his job seriously.
- Four former Vanderbilt players pleaded not guilty to rape charges, and wide receiver Chris Boyd pleaded not guilty to a lesser charge. Boyd's attorney said the district attorney did not mislead the family.
Kirk Herbstreit's Gameplan Breakdown
12:00 PM ET South Carolina 21 Clemson 12:00 PM ET 16 Georgia Tech 9 Georgia 12:00 PM ET Kentucky 22 Louisville 3:30 PM ET Florida 3 Florida State 3:30 PM ET 4 Mississippi State 19 Ole Miss 4:00 PM ET Tennessee Vanderbilt 7:45 PM ET 15 Auburn 1 Alabama