The Hurry Up: Biggest Takeaways from the SEC (Week 1)


Weekly in The Hurry Up from Southbound and Down, I’ll provide that one thing that stuck out most to me from each SEC game from the weekend.  After that it is up to you.  We’ll leave the comments section open and you are free to tell me I’m an idiot, agree, or explain why you know something we don’t.  This is an SEC page, after all, home of some of the most boisterous fans in the country.  Let your thoughts be known…and feel free to call out your rivals.  This isn’t a troll hunt…this is a place to be proud.

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South Carolina:  Jon Hoke was the right hire.  There is no chance South Carolina wins this game a year ago only scoring 17 points.  North Carolina is far from South Carolina’s biggest tough of the season, but the defense will allow Spurrier a little more freedom and security in his offensive game planning this year.

Vanderbilt:   Derek Mason is an excellent coach.  Yes, seriously.  I didn’t say head coach.  By slowing Western Kentucky’s offense and only allowing 14 points, he kept his Commodores in the game from his defensive coordinator post.  With performances like this, he assures himself a quality DC job when he inevitably is forced out in Nashville.

Ole Miss:  All Hugh Freeze’s talk about the starting QB was coach-speak.  Once the game kicked off, the job was Kelly’s and he showed why.  He threw double the passes of his competitors and tightened his grip on the starting job.  If Kelly plays to this level against stiffer competition, Ole Miss could be in for a special 2015.

Georgia:  Greyson Lambert was efficient but unimpressive, going 8-12 for 141 yards.   He won’t always put up numbers that efficient once the level of competition stiffens, but efficient, unimpressive play is all Georgia needs.   They attempted 14 passes all game but scored 51 points…efficiency is the only quarterback requirement for the Bulldogs to win the SEC East.

Arkansas:  Brandon Allen was efficient AND impressive, going 14-18 for 308 yards and 4 touchdowns.  I don’t care that the competition was less than stellar, no one expected this kind of production from Brandon Allen.  If he can maintain this level of play, the preseason hype will have been well warranted.

Auburn:  It does not matter who plays running back in this offense.  You can talk about Jeremy Johnson flopping or Will Muschamp succeeding, but I can’t get over how effective this running game is.  Sure, Peyton Barber is no slouch.  But he was the backup. Malzahn’s offense for running backs is the equivalent of what Texas Tech used to be for quarterbacks.

Missouri:  Mizzou is still Mizzou.  There is no big takeaway from a 34-3 victory over a directional school.  They beat them by a reasonable amount but did not blow them away.  This is what Mizzou has done in games the last several years.  They rarely impress but they lose even less often.

Tennessee:  Joshua Dobbs is great, the Tennessee secondary is not.  Dobbs lived up to the hype, going 15-22 for 205 yards and 2 touchdowns.  He also added 89 rushing yards and a touchdown.  This game was closer for longer than it should have been, though, due to the secondary allowing 433 yards.  133 of these came from running the same 9-route for Gehrig Dieter.

Texas A&M:  John Chavis was absolutely the right hire and TAMU deserves more recognition.  I don’t want to overreact…I was guilty of it last year when TAMU throttled South Carolina.  But with all the similarities between Auburn and Texas A&M a year ago, they should be in the same conversations.  They both added a top-flight defensive coordinator…and it appears both will succeed in the new home.

Kentucky:  Mark Stoops is not as good a defensive coordinator as we thought.  His challenges with the Kentucky defense have been discussed on this site before, but he should not be allowing 33 points to Louisiana Lafayette.   I understand ULL is solid and Hudspeth is a good coach, but Stoops has elevated the talent level enough at Kentucky that his should no longer happen.

Florida:  Jim McElwain was the right hire (offensively).  I know that blowing out New Mexico State is not impressive.  But please convince me that Florida scores anywhere close to 61 points in 60 minutes against air under Will Muschamp.  I’m not ready to declare Florida the winners of the 2015 Coaching Carousel, but at least they finally have offense.

Alabama:   This is a throwback version of Nick Saban’s Alabama teams.  Unless Coker is unseated, this team will be more like the Greg McElroy/JP Wilson teams than the McCarron/Sims versions.  Jacob Coker simply does not have the deep ball for the Alabama offense to operate like it did in 2014.  That isn’t a problem, though…not with Derrick Henry. 

Mississippi State:  Dak Prescott needs to stay healthy.  If he is hurt, the Dogs are in trouble.  I don’t mean knocked out for the season…Dak needs to maintain his dual-threat component.  It appeared as Mullen told Prescott to be a pocket passer and nothing more, expecting State to blow out Southern Miss.  That led to a 14-10 score at halftime and a change of plans for Prescott.  If Prescott has to be a pocket passer, a bowl game is State’s ceiling in 2015.

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