- Steve Muench, Scouts Inc.
Here's a quick look at some of the biggest story lines Scouts Inc. is watching in Week 4:
• With No. 6 LSU visiting No. 10 Auburn on Saturday, new offensive coordinator Tony Franklin will have to find a way to jump-start his inconsistent spread offense if Auburn is to pull off the upset. On the surface, there's reason for optimism. LSU MLB Derry Beckwith is expected to miss the game with a knee injury, and the visitors' ability to match up to their strongest opponent thus far is made more questionable by their reliance on first-year starting CBs Chris Hawkins and Jai Eugene. But it's false hope. First, a talented LSU defensive line anchored by DT Ricky Jean-Francois will control the line of scrimmage, effectively taking pressure off Beckwith's replacement, MLB Jacob Cutrera. And because RB Brad Lester is questionable after spraining his neck last week, Auburn has injury issues of its own and more concerns about getting the ground game going. Also, Franklin doesn't have the depth, talent or consistency at receiver or quarterback to exploit LSU's secondary.
• Tennessee's ability to run between the tackles will be a major determining factor in its chances of pulling off an upset when it hosts No. 4 Florida this weekend. The Volunteers need to limit explosive Gators QB Tim Tebow's opportunities by sustaining long drives that eat up the clock. They simply don't have the weapons to compete in a shootout with Tebow & Co., especially with QB Jonathan Crompton nursing an ankle injury. If RBs Arian Foster, Montario Hardesty and Lennon Creer get off to a slow start, the door will be opened for the Gators to build a lead that puts pressure on the Vols to keep up by passing. The reason Tennessee's run game has to be successful specifically between the tackles? The backs aren't quick enough to consistently get outside against Florida's speedy front seven.
Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muench examines Week 4 story lines, including Chris Ponder's rise at FSU, Georgia's uneasy pass D and a sweet matchup for Tar Heel Brandon Tate.