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Dye-Gest Column: Plenty of Talent On Display at SEC Football Spring Games

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about SEC football teams in spring games and Auburn's baseball and softball teams in this edition of his Dye-Fest column.

Quarterback Jarrett Stidham (above) is shown in Auburn's spring game.

I have watched all of the SEC spring football games that have been played the past couple of weeks and I know you can’t necessarily tell a whole lot about a team from these types of scrimmages, but you can see what type of players each program has. It looks to me that there isn’t going to be a change on who the most talented teams are for the 2017 season.

If I had to pick the top five or six based on the talent it would Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Georgia and Florida. All of those teams have impressive skill players. Texas A&M may belong in that bunch I?mentioned.

Behind them South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Mississippi State look like the next group. I?am not sure where Missouri would fit in there. Vanderbilt isn’t having a spring game and Arkansas hasn’t played its spring game yet, but my guess is that the Razorbacks will be close to a .500 team in the SEC.

Alabama’s receivers looked very good in their scrimmage. It probably has to do with that team working a lot on passing the ball this spring. The quarterbacks also looked good to me. Georgia certainly looked like a normal Georgia team with a lot of talent and the Bulldogs have two great running backs coming back this season. Florida looks like a talented group, too.

LSU has a lot of players and that showed in the spring game. It won’t surprise me if LSU proves to be the most athletic team in the league this fall. I am impressed with how those guys can run on both defense and offense.

It looks to me that Alabama, LSU and Auburn have the most players. I thought Auburn had the talent to challenge for the league championship last year. I think with an improved quarterback situation this year the Tigers will be able to move up. Auburn wasn’t alone in that regard last year with teams like Florida, Georgia and LSU having to deal with quarterback issues.

From what I have seen there are going to be a lot of good football players in the league on both offense and defense. The SEC will have plenty of stars and some superstars, too.

Auburn's baseball and softball teams are continuing to win a lot of games. Despite suspending three players last week, including two key players for Coach Clint Myers, his softball team won another SEC series taking two of three on the road vs. South Carolina.

If you are a coach at this level, or have been a coach, you understand that kids are going to get into trouble. That doesn’t necessarily make them bad because sometimes they make stupid mistakes. You don’t love them any more or love them any less because of it, and you hope they learn from it.

It hurts you, but it ultimately hurts them the most if they are the right kind of kids. If they aren’t they are heading down the wrong street anyway. Hopefully, that will get itself worked out sometime between now and the end of the season.

I continue to be impressed with the development of the baseball team, which is in the middle of the race for the SEC championship. Pitching has carried the Tigers much of the season, but it looks like the hitters are coming around.

A lot of guys are squaring up the ball and the extra base hits are starting to come. Sunday’s game against Arkansas featured about as many doubles from the Tigers as I remember seeing in one game.

When you look at the lineup the Tigers are putting on the field there are no weak spots that I see and that goes for how those guys are hitting and how they are playing in the infield and outfield. In Sunday’s game to decide the series winner, the pitchers didn’t walk a single Arkansas batter and Auburn’s fielders didn’t make an error. That is a recipe for success.

It sure looks like this group has a lot of chemistry. That starts with Coach Butch Thompson and his staff setting the right tone and his seniors buying in. Sometimes that happens during coaching transitions and sometimes it doesn’t with seniors because they are going to be gone soon and they know it.

After taking two of three games last weekend vs. Arkansas, the team that was leading the SEC, the Tigers get to try it again as they travel to Starkville to take on this week’s SEC leader, Mississippi State. That is going to be a big, big test for these Tigers because of the environment. We will see what type of grown men Auburn has because they are going to be on them from the get-go. This team is fun to watch and I am looking forward to seeing what they can do in Starkville.

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