Auburn: New offensive coordinator Tony Franklin is still tinkering with Auburn's new offense, the spread option. The starting quarterback job is between junior college transfer Chris Todd and Kodi Burns, who played in the Tigers' win over Clemson in last year's Peach Bowl. Mario Fannin has moved from tailback to slot back and looks comfortable in his new spot ...... On defense, the front has two of the SEC's best players in tackle/end Sen'Derrick Marks and rush end Antonio Coleman. Tray Blackmon is a linebacker to watch for when Vandy skirmishes with the Tigers.
Duke: What do you know. Duke, which went 1-11 last year, is in for another rebuilding season. But Duke will get better under coach David Cutcliffe. One Duke player to watch is junior quarterback Thad Lewis, who threw for 2,430 yards and 21 touchdowns with just 10 interceptions last year, Cutcliffe, a quarterback guru (see the Manning brothers), is working closely with Lewis during camp. The thing is, Lewis has only one proven receiver to throw to, Eron Riley, who caught 40 passes for 830 yards and nine touchdowns last year ....... Look for Duke's defense to struggle again. But there are some 'D' players to watch in camp, including defensive tackle Vince Oghobaase and linebackers Michael Tauiliili and Vincent Rey.
Georgia: The preseason No. 1 has already suffered a big blow. Left tackle Trinton Sturdivant needs reconstructive surgery on his injured left knee and will be out for the season. Sturdivant went down with a knee injury in the team's first scrimmage of the season in Athens. The sophomore started all 13 games at left tackle left season and earned freshman All-America and freshman All-SEC honors. Josh Davis is expected to replace Sturdivant.
Kentucky: The Wildcats opened camp with two players vying to replace star quarterback Andre Woodson. Make that one. Curtis Pulley has been kicked off the team for violating team rules. He was fighting with Mike Hartline for the job. Pulley was arrested on traffic charges in July in Hardin County. In June, he also received a citation for marijuana possession in Louisville. Pulley missed last season because of academic reasons.
Rice: One of the main focuses during Rice's camp will be defense. The Owls' finished 118th in the nation in yards allowed per game (510.8) and scoring defense (42.9). But Rice does have some of its own firepower. Returning is quarterback Chase Clement, who threw for 3,377 yards and 29 touchdowns, setting 18 school and four Conference USA records last year.
Tennessee: Of course, the Volunteers will look different without quarterback Erik Ainge and coordinator David Cutcliffe. Jonathan Crompton has been waiting patiently in the wings and had a good enough spring to make Volunteer fans hope that they will forget about Ainge very soon. With new offensive coordinator Dave Clawson, Tennessee will move players around quite a bit more. If it works, it will be confusing to the defense. If not, it will be a long season in Knoxville. But Tennessee rarely has long seasons ...... Tennessee is trying to shore up its secondary after it ranked 11th in the conference in pass defense. It should be noted that that was an inexperienced group. Cornerbacks Brent Vinson and DeAngelo Willingham made notable progress as the 2007 season went on and strong safety Eric Berry shined in second half of the season. Safety Demetrice Morley is back after missing last year for academic reasons.
Wake Forest: The defense is coming along nicely. as it should. Wake Forest returns nine starters from last year's 'D', which ranked 27th overall last year. Quarterback Riley Skinner continues to develop in camp. He was tops in the nation with a 72 percent completion rating. But Skinner struggled in the red zone. He had 12 touchdowns, but 13 interceptions.