With spring practice on the minds of football fans across the SEC, we’re looking at key position battles taking place around the league. Jake Wimberly was joined by Gridiron Now managing editor Mike Huguenin and Ben Garrett of the Ole Miss Spirit on this week’s episode of the “SEC Hot Sauce” podcast on VSporto, where the focus was on quarterbacks.
At Auburn, there is no quarterback controversy, but is Jarrett Stidham the best quarterback in the SEC or is it Drew Lock of Missouri?
“I’ll take Stidham because he can do a little bit more,” Huguenin said. “There is a reason Lock stayed in school, even though he led the league in touchdown passes.”
Jeremy Pruitt continues to look forward, not backwards, at Tennessee, but he can only do so much in year one and a big part of that is who plays quarterback and how effectively.
“I don’t think they have that guy this year and I don’t think its Keller Chryst either,” Huguenin cautioned. “He had every chance to get it done at Stanford, had Bryce Love behind him and still couldn’t get it done.”
In Tuscaloosa Nick Saban says it’s an open quarterback battle between Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa, but movement within the team says otherwise.
“I don’t think Hurts has any chance to win this job; I think this is Tua’s job,” Huguenin said. “I think this is why you’re seeing Gardner Minshew from East Carolina transfer in, because I think Hurts is going to leave Tuscaloosa.”
In Starkville, Joe Moorhead got to see his quarterback Nick Fitzgerald jog for the first time this week after a gruesome ankle injury in last year’s Egg Bowl. A big question remains, though: how much will Keytaon Thompson play or is this still Fitzgerald’s team in 2018?
“I think Moorhead will make Fitzgerald a better passer, and I would look for him to contend for All-SEC honors in 2018; this is his team,” said Huguenin.
Mark Stoops will be looking to replace two year starter Stephen Johnson this spring and while the Wildcats have made strides recently, this year’s quarterback battle will go a long way in either Kentucky’s continued ascension, or a drift backwards.
“It’s Kentucky football, it is what it is, but this offense is more about Benny Snell in 2018 as he should help out whoever the quarterback is,” Huguenin said.
For Ole Miss, Jordan Ta’amu is the guy heading into spring, but lots of buzz exists around freshman quarterback Matt Corral. Will Corral have a chance to unseat Ta’amu this year or is this solely Ta’amu’s team?
“Matt Corral will not push for this job in 2018, but he should play,” Garrett said. “Ta’amu’s mastering of the offense and the way he operates, people have gravitated to him. Ole Miss is ‘ride or die’ with Jordan Ta’amu this year and that’s the way it should be. He’s shown he can run this offense.”
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