Stafford and Tebow aside, unproven QBs mark SEC landscape
How's this for irony?Florida quarterback Tim Tebow has a chance to become only the second two-time winner of the Heisman Trophy in college football history, and Georgia's Matthew Stafford may well be the first quarterback taken in next year's NFL draft.
2008 SEC Preview
The SEC has delivered the last two national champions. The reigning Heisman winner is from SEC country. What will the conference provide in 2008?
• Low: Uncertain QB landscape
• Low: Tebow still learning
• Maisel: UGA's great expectations
• Opportunity for South Carolina
• Skill threat: UT's Eric Berry
• Forde: Five SEC predictions
• SportsNation: Vote on SEC
But with Todd ailing in the spring, Franklin wasn't able to evaluate the quarterback position as fully as he wanted to. He knows Burns can make things happen with his feet. He knows Todd, when healthy, can throw the ball.It remains to be seen if either can do both effectively enough for the spread offense to work. "There might be some games that we go into and find out, 'Hey, you know, something's working in the passing game,' and we might throw it 50 times," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said. "But our game plan is to go into the season, use our running backs, use our offensive line and move the ball down the field. When people start creeping up, you know, [we'll] get the ball deeper down the field and make plays. I think this offense can do that." Of the SEC's first-year starters this season, Ole Miss' Jevan Snead was the most decorated in high school, along with Tennessee's Crompton. Both were Parade All-Americans. And like Crompton, Snead hasn't really had a chance to show what he can do after starting his career at Texas and then transferring to Ole Miss. But if his start to preseason camp is any indication, he could be the most important newcomer in the league in 2008. "He's got a unique combination of skills," said Ole Miss offensive coordinator Kent Austin, back at his alma mater after 15 seasons in the CFL as a player, assistant coach and head coach. "You rarely see a quarterback who's got a very quick arm and a strong arm at the same time. It's usually one or the other. Jevan's got both, and he can throw in a crowd. People will be in his face, and he'll snap the ball off with accuracy."
The other thing Austin likes about Snead is his mobility and penchant for making plays on the run. "He's extremely accurate on the run, both ways -- to his left and to the right," Austin said. "He can buy time and get out of the pocket. He's not a pure runner, but he runs well enough to get out of trouble. But what makes him so dangerous is his ability to throw on the run."The Kentucky quarterback situation has evolved seemingly all summer. Curtis Pulley and Mike Hartline battled to a draw in the spring, and then Pulley got into trouble off the field. It wasn't the first time he'd had issues off the field -- he missed the 2007 season for personal and academic reasons. Kentucky coach Rich Brooks, after digging a little deeper, sent Pulley packing to open preseason practice, which means the 6-foot-6 Hartline is now the guy to beat. "We'll move forward, and that puts Mike Hartline front and center at the quarterback position," Brooks said. "We will take a long hard look at [sophomore] Will Fidler and a couple of the freshmen that are working at that position. Obviously, this is not the way I envisioned starting the season, but it makes things a little more clear for everyone involved." The real fun this season in the SEC, unless you're one of those coaches trying to sort things out, might be counting how many different quarterbacks take meaningful snaps. Here's setting the official over/under at 20. Chris Low is a college football writer for ESPN.com. Send your questions and comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2008 College Football Preview
The long wait for the start of the 2008 college football season is finally over. Get ready for the season with an in-depth look at the teams, trends, players and coaches. Index
• Maisel: Let the campaign '08 debate begin
• Bloggers: State of each conference
• Schlabach: Hot and not for 2008
• Maisel: Full speed ahead for offenses
• Maisel: Defending the fast-tempo spread
• Maisel: Nation's fastest teams
• Forde: SEC coaches in a league of their own
• Forde: Johnson stuck as SEC's roadie
• Schlabach: The nation's alpha-male coaches
• Schlabach: Coaches on the hot seat
• Maisel: Road left to travel for black coaches
• Schlabach: Critical mass await Ohio State
• Edwards: Are BCS voter tired of the Buckeyes?
• Edwards: Parity puts BCS at crossroads
• Feldman: Ten best-kept secrets
2008 Preseason All-America team
• Maisel: Preseason All-America team
What to watch
• Eighth annual Herbie Awards
• ESPN's experts' predictions
• Schlabach: Games to watch
• Schlabach: Intriguing games
• Bloggers: Preseason conference predictions
• Bloggers: Games to watch
• Schlabach: Clemson craving title
• Dinich: In the Wake of success
• Dinich: Coast toast for Hokies?
• ACC needs Canes, Noles to win
• Rittenberg: Innovation not new to Big Ten
• Rittenberg: UM QBs adapt to offense
• Schlabach: Pryor's role with Ohio State
• Maisel: Big 12 QBs face burden of proof
• Griffin: Where have the Big 12 runners gone?
• Griffin: Northern exposure
• Feldman: Is Crabtree the best college WR ever?
• Schlabach: Stewart's challenge at West Virginia
• Bennett: Knight moves focused on Teel
• Tulsa building foundation for success
• Pirates sailing toward uncharted waters
• Watson: Are the Irish coming of age?
• Watson: Tenuta's tenacious D
• Maisel: Army exploring its options
• Watson: MAC QBs hope to share the spotlight
• Dinich: Golden touch working at Temple
• Watson: NIU's Kill found new perspective
• Watson: BYU-Utah going national?
• Watson: TCU looks to regroup
• Maisel: Son also rises at UCLA
• Miller: Stable is the USC Way
• Miller: Huskies counting on Locker
• Low: SEC's uncertain QB landscape
• Low: Tebow still learning
• Maisel: Richt knows expectations
• Schlabach: Coach, QB to keep Owls soaring
• Watson: Will tough schedule propel Fresno State?
• Watson: QB battle has Nevada thinking big
• Georgia tops preseason power rankings
• Preseason Bottom 10: Lollapaloozers
• Conference preseason power rankings
• Bloggers: Ranking the coaches | Hot seat
• Predict the college football upsets each week.
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