Four SEC Teams In Need Of A Strong Defense In 2014
There's an old saying that defense wins championships.
That statement couldn't be more true - as we've seen in the last decade of college football. While certain teams have made it to the national championship game after having put up a lot of points during the season, the fact remains they had to get stops to win the title.
This year will be no different as SEC teams will be jockeying for position to earn one of the four spots in the four-team playoff.
While some teams have powerful offenses that can do damage, others do not have that luxury and will have to depend on their defenses to make plays if they want to be successful.
So, which teams have a shot at the SEC title with strong defenses?
We all know what the Bulldogs have on offense. They have the two-headed monster of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall at running back, as well as, a wealth of receivers that can make plays. There is no doubt the Bulldogs will have no problem putting points on the board.
However, the biggest issue will be with the defense. While the defensive line and linebacking corps looks stout, there are many question marks in the secondary with only one starter returning. The one positive the secondary has going for it is new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, who comes over from Florida State and is also the defensive backs coach. There is no doubt he will have his guys ready to go, but will it be enough for the weekly rigors of the SEC?
Of course, the front seven can help out the inexperienced secondary by getting pressure on the quarterback. If they can cut down a quarterback's time in the pocket, the secondary will have a better chance to succeed.
The Bulldogs will be tested on defense early with games against Clemson and South Carolina to start off the season.
There are a lot of questions about the Tigers on offense with a new quarterback set to take the helm. With that said, the defense is going to have to step up if the Tigers are going to take the wide-open SEC West.
After a year in which the secondary took a step back with only 11 interceptions, the Tigers have a lot to prove. The defensive line is also going to have to come up big against the run as they will face a steady stream of run-first teams during the season.
And with Wisconsin as the season-opening game, we will get to see right away if LSU is a national title contender.
The Rebels have a good group returning on offense and will look to put up more points on the board in 2014 than they did last season.
On defense, there is a lot to like with defensvie end Robert Nkemdiche and linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche, as well as defensive back Cody Prewitt. The Rebels have the players to stop both the run and the pass. The key will be is whether they can play consistently, something that has plagued the Rebels in years past.
This is the year where Ole Miss has an open window to win the SEC West. It is a short window as LSU, Auburn and Alabama look to be great in 2015, but it's a window nonetheless.
This goes without saying because Florida's offense just plain stinks. There is not much faith the defense can put into the offense, so if the Gators want to have any success in 2014, they are going to have to be one of the top scoring defenses in the country.
When a team goes into the season with that kind of hope, it does not look good. But, this is college football and you never know.