Brett Davis

College football preview 2016: Each SEC head coach's biggest worry

Scout's SEC panel of experts talk about the biggest problem each coach in the conference faces.

Alabama: How many times have we heard the cliche, "The only pressure on me is what I put on myself." Alabama's Nick Saban is considered the nation's best coach and best recruiter, so unless he's up counting his money or polishing his awards, it would seem he would sleep well. Like all coaches he probably worries about the things he can't control, notably player behavior in the off-season. It struck this summer. -- Kirk McNair, Bama Mag

Arkansas: Playing in the SEC week after week. Arkansas is a quality program, but playing in the best conference in college football doesn't make it very easy to grow. -- Jackson Safon, Scout.

Auburn: Gus Malzahn's biggest concern has to be making sure he picks the right player to be the starting quarterback from a group that includes senior Jeremy Johnson, junior newcomer John Franklin and sophomore Sean White, who finished the 2015 season atop the depth chart. -- Mark Murphy, AU Tigers

Florida: Jim McElwain won't say it, but I will still say the offensive line is the thing that should most worry him about the new season. This group is a year away from being good, but still a lot of growing up to do. -- Bob Redman, Fightin Gators

Georgia: Kirby Smart has to be concerned with Georgia's lack of depth. -- Dean Legge, Dawg Post

Kentucky: The offensive tackle positions have been keeping Mark Stoops up at night dating back to the end of last season. Kentucky will likely have to rely on one of these three options: a former walk-on (Cole Mosier), a juco transfer (Tate Leavitt) or a newcomer directly out of the high school ranks (Landon Young). -- Jeff Drummond, All Wildcats

LSU: Nick Saban's defense worries every SEC team and Les Miles is no exception. -- Billy Embody, Tiger Blitz

Mississippi State: Will the offensive line come-together by opening week, and after that can it stay healthy, so as to keep the quarterback(s) healthy too? -- David Murray, Gene's Page

Missouri: The Missouri offensive line wasn’t good last season, and that was with two NFL draft picks (C Evan Boehm, LT Connor McGovern) and four senior starters. The Tigers will be young up front in 2016. -- Nate Latsch, Black And Gold Illustrated 

Ole Miss: The NCAA cloud hanging overhead? Oh, you meant on the field. Well, probably the secondary. Yes, Ole Miss returns its starting cornerbacks. But Tony Conner still has to prove he's healthy, and gone are a pair of four-year starters in Trae Elston and Mike Hilton. Who steps in? There's no shortage of candidates, but finding the right mix is easier said than done. -- Ben Garrett, OM Spirit

South Carolina: The offensive line. Veteran tackle Brandon Shell was the only bright spot up front, and he's gone. It looks like this unit will struggle against SEC fronts. -- Bryan Matecun, Scout

Tennessee: That's easy: Sept. 24, 2016. Tennessee owns an 11-game losing streak to rival Florida, including back-to-back one-point losses. Not only does Big Orange Country want bragging rights but this one will again have Southeastern Conference championship game implications attached. -- Danny Parker, Inside Tennessee

Texas A&M: Every coach feels pressure to win, but after a disappointing 2015 and an overly dramatic offseason, Kevin Sumlin may feel it more than most. Sumlin expects his new offensive coordinator (Noel Mazzone) and new quarterback (Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight) to help avoid a third-straight five-loss season. -- Mike Olson, Scout.

Vanderbilt: Last year Derek Mason's offense scored only 15.2 points per game. With a semi average SEC offense Vandy probably wins 6 or 7 games in 2015. The defense, which he coordinates, was superb last season but his success or failure as a head coach will likely come down to whether or not the offense can improve its production. -- Don Yates, Vandy Mania


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