April 6, 2019 SEC spring games:
12 p.m. EST
National L-Club Spring Game
1 p.m. EST
Red-White Spring Game
3 p.m. EST
3 p.m. EST
South Carolina Gamecocks
Who will be QB Jake Bentley’s backup?
As the Gamecock offense prepares for the 2019 season, one thing is assured: Senior Jake Bentley will be the starting QB. However, as you progress down the quarterback depth chart, things begin to get hazy. South Carolina currently has three players vying for the role of No. 2 QB: redshirt sophomore Jay Urich, redshirt freshman Dakereon Joyner, and true freshman Ryan Hilinski. Both Urich and Joyner have minimal game experience; in 2018 the quarterbacks combined for only 2 completions on 3 passing attempts. The newcomer of the group, true freshman Ryan Hilinski, was highly recruited coming out of high school as the No. 2 pro-style QB and No. 25 on the ESPN300.
Over the course of spring practice, all four of the Gamecocks top quarterbacks have equally split reps with the first team. “We have more competitive depth through our roster than we’ve had in our first four years” stated head coach Will Muschamp during an address to the media after practice. Being the Gamecocks No. 2 QB is a pivotal role. In 2018, senior QB Michael Scarnecchia was called up in multiple games due to Bentley’s injury battles. Pending the spring game, I expect to see Ryan Hilinski solidify his place at number two on the depth chart, Urich secures the third spot, and Joyner mitigated to solely a wild-cat role or transitioned to another skill position.
How will LSU replace former stars on defense?
LSU will enter the 2019 season without one of their most dominant linebackers in program history: Devin White. With White declaring for the NFL Draft, a starting spot is open at the ILB position as the “Rover” (the linebacker who lined up closest to the boundary). The reason why White was able to excel at the Rover was his speed. The top prospects to fill the void left by White are junior Jacob Phillips and junior Patrick Queen. Phillips played opposite of White at the “Mack” position. Phillips had a productive 2018 campaign, recording 57.5 total tackles while possessing enough speed to play the Rover. The other candidate,
What changes will head coach Chad Morris make to improve the offense?
After an abysmal performance in Morris’ inaugural season that yielded only two wins for the Razorbacks, the pressure is on to see major gains on offense. Morris originally made his name as the offensive coordinator at Clemson, due to his dynamic and highly explosive offense; however, in 2018 the Arkansas offense took a step backward in their to passing and rushing production. Prior to Morris, the Razorbacks had run a pro-style offense. Upon his arrival, Morris installed the spread offense. The adjustment in the offensive scheme is commonly identified as a culprit for last season’s regression. Saturday will provide fans with their first glimpse of the Razorback offense in its second year running Morris’s up-tempo spread scheme.
Ole Miss Rebels
What will the wide receiving corps look like after losing three starters?
The Rebels will be without three of their top wide receivers from 2018: D.K. Metcalf, AJ Brown, and DaMarkus Lodge. All three will be either first round or early round picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, and Brown leaves as the Rebels’ all-time leader in receiving yards. This would be an immense void to fill for any NCAA team, let alone for a team playing in the SEC West. The two pieces that Ole Miss can expect to produce at the WR position are sophomore Elija Moore and junior Braylon Sanders. Moore has the potential to be a dangerous weapon as a slot option, but his size and speed limit his ability to be a threat downfield. Sanders is better equipped than Moore to be a downfield threat, but has been battling injuries throughout his career at Ole Miss.
To add depth at the WR position, the Rebels will be forced to turn towards their 2019 recruiting class. Ole Miss signed five wide receivers: JUCO transfer Dontario Drummond and freshmen Dannis Jackson, Jadon Jackson, and Johnathan Mingo. Of those five, Drummond and Jadon Jackson are early enrollees and will be available for Saturday’s spring game. Expect Drummond, with his veteran experience, to receive significant playing time immediately, while the freshmen will most likely play on a rotational basis.