Adams: SEC has imbalance at QB spot

The quarterback position rarely has been so out of balance in the SEC.

You have Florida Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and Ole Miss' Jevan Snead, a likely first-round draft choice, at the top end. Then, there's everybody else, including players who have struggled in starting roles, alternated as starters, or have no starting experience at all.

Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt can appreciate the disparity as well as anyone. As a head coach at Arkansas, he often had to get by without a top-flight quarterback.

"It makes all the difference in the world," Nutt said at last week's SEC spring meetings. "Everybody can try to fool themselves, saying 'We've got this defense or we're experienced in the offensive line,' but this quarterback thing in the SEC is crucial.

"You can't explain (to inexperienced quarterbacks) the speed of the game. They have to experience it."

Arkansas, Alabama, LSU, South Carolina, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Auburn will open the 2009 season with different quarterbacks from their season openers of last year. In most of those cases, the uncertainty at the position is a continuation of last season.

South Carolina, LSU and Vanderbilt all started three different quarterbacks last season. Their third starters from last season - Stephen Garcia at South Carolina, Jordan Jefferson at LSU and Larry Smith at Vanderbilt - will begin this season as No. 1 quarterbacks.

Tennessee also was prominently involved in the quarterback shuffle. The Vols opened with Jonathan Crompton, replaced him with Nick Stephens and also tried B.J. Coleman before going back to Crompton, who will compete with Stephens for the starting position this fall.

Tyson Lee ended the 2008 season as Mississippi State's starting quarterback but could be challenged by true freshman Tyler Russell. Ryan Mallett, who was a part-time starter at Michigan as a freshman, is the new starter at Arkansas.

The quarterback situations at Alabama and Georgia are similar in that their teams have plenty of talented, experienced players at other positions. Both junior Greg McElroy at Alabama and fifth-year senior Joe Cox at Georgia have been described by their coaches as accurate passers who have a command of their offenses.

Georgia coach Mark Richt has been there twice before with mixed results. In his first season as a starter, fifth-year senior DJ Shockley led the Bulldogs to an SEC championship. But fifth-year senior Joe Tereshinski faltered in his starting opportunity and was replaced by true freshman Matthew Stafford in 2006.

"We're more close to the situation we had with DJ," said Richt in assessing Cox's chance for success. "I really think it would be very difficult to knock him out of the box (as the starter).

"You could break the huddle and he could tell you what any one of the other 10 guys are to do on the play. And I believe when the play is over, he could tell a defensive guy if he was out of position."

However, it takes more than a firm grasp of the offense to succeed as an SEC quarterback. An NFL arm isn't required, but you have to be able to pass effectively in a conference renowned for defense.

Nutt expects some of the SEC's new starting quarterbacks will be more than effective.

"There will be names pop up that you don't realize how good they are," Nutt said. "We will be talking and writing about them at the end of the year.

"I just don't know who they are yet."

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or >adamsj@knoxnews.com.

© 2009 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 31

kiffownsfla writes:

Go vols!

teampenny#658108 writes:

Wish we had a freshman QB. Do not believe we have the talent or depth at QB. Not hearing much about a top QB wanting to be part of 2010 class at this time. Will know more by end of month. Go Vols

kiffownsfla writes:

in response to teampenny#658108:

Wish we had a freshman QB. Do not believe we have the talent or depth at QB. Not hearing much about a top QB wanting to be part of 2010 class at this time. Will know more by end of month. Go Vols

Dude we will get a qb I say lamison will transfer to ut.

Volomatic writes:

in response to zrotag:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

still a rumor. He doesn't make the announcement till tomorrow. Even then its a long way from Feb. We'll see if it sticks. He's good but if he still plans on his missionary trip then BYU can have him. Plenty of under rated guys not getting the attention the deserve. Lets see what happens after the season starts ang some of these kids start playing again

PepperGrinder (Inactive) writes:

Yep

gnm53108 writes:

Nick Stephens.

gnm53108 writes:

Headline should read...Adams: Has imbalance at Head spot

CorchUrbenMyers writes:

Grate articul! No balance at all eggcept for my timmy of coarse!

AllVol2008#1353998 writes:

in response to biggestutfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

My thoughts exactly . . . .

dvhill100 writes:

It will be interesting to see which unknown/underrated QB steps up. Ole Miss and UF are set, but everyone else has questions. It will be entertaining.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

"Imbalance"!

That's the highest compliment I've seen over the forgettable '08 outings.

panties4tebow writes:

Tweet Tweet

vol4good#206163 writes:

in response to DCflorida3:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It is so nice to go to a TENNESSEE web site and find that it is overrun with Florida Fans. You guys must really be worried, or you have nothing else to do. Just a couple of years ago, with these same QB's in Place, Tn was playing in the SEC Championship game. This is the SEC and alot can happen in one year! Relax--have an orange juice and go pester the bammer fans! GO VOLS!

CorchUrbenMyers writes:

in response to vol4good#206163:

It is so nice to go to a TENNESSEE web site and find that it is overrun with Florida Fans. You guys must really be worried, or you have nothing else to do. Just a couple of years ago, with these same QB's in Place, Tn was playing in the SEC Championship game. This is the SEC and alot can happen in one year! Relax--have an orange juice and go pester the bammer fans! GO VOLS!

why wood we pester the bammer fans we haint wurried bout them and theys knot in air division that is what im hereing anyways

crappieking writes:

in response to DCflorida3:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It will be interesting to see if you go to bed with a man tonight.

mattfriedman58#226364 writes:

in response to DCflorida3:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

As you may recall, we won a national title once with a pretty “shaky” quarterback. It was the TEAM that made that happen, not just the QB. Now I’m certainly not implying we’ll be anywhere close to a NC this year or next, but if the rest of the team is solid then we will certainly have a ‘decent product’.

notoriousBIGorange writes:

in response to DCflorida3:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're a fool if you think UT will lose 5 games this year OR next. And you will be crying in 2010 when Tee Bow is drafted in the 4th round and your coach bolts to Notre Dame. Then you will be begging Spurrier to come back.

notoriousBIGorange writes:

Oh yeah...WRITE IT DOWN..

sampears writes:

in response to notoriousBIGorange:

Oh yeah...WRITE IT DOWN..

well played my friend, well played!

QB_10 (Inactive) writes:

I am sure CLK is glad that Nick Stephens hand is back to 100%, because he will be needed--hopefully this year he has an O-Line that holds the blocks and some wide receivers that can run the proper routes and catch the ball.

FYI: Everyone mark down the Ohio University game, this game is not going to be a push over, they are rated the 2 nd most improved team in the country and should have beaten Ohio State last year, with 17 returning players and 2 QB's that can run faster then any player on UT defense...

troubleinc writes:

in response to gnm53108:

Headline should read...Adams: Has imbalance at Head spot

Amen to that.

notoriousBIGorange writes:

in response to QB_10:

I am sure CLK is glad that Nick Stephens hand is back to 100%, because he will be needed--hopefully this year he has an O-Line that holds the blocks and some wide receivers that can run the proper routes and catch the ball.

FYI: Everyone mark down the Ohio University game, this game is not going to be a push over, they are rated the 2 nd most improved team in the country and should have beaten Ohio State last year, with 17 returning players and 2 QB's that can run faster then any player on UT defense...

Did you REALLY just say that Ohio U has TWO QB's that can run faster than anyone on UT's defense??? You must be smoking crack...

QB_10 (Inactive) writes:

in response to notoriousBIGorange:

Did you REALLY just say that Ohio U has TWO QB's that can run faster than anyone on UT's defense??? You must be smoking crack...

You really do not know football, Ohio University does have 2 QB's that are faster than all 11 UT defensive players. Ohio State had and has an NFL loaded defense and they just could not figure out. Do not even say that UT defense was remotley close to Ohio State, they OSU only recruited 1 kid UT has Eric Berry..Be a little more insightful next time, because making comments about smoking crack is just classless.

I will give you one more to ponder- Jonathon Crompton is benched by the OU game halftime and Nick Stephens takes over for the 2nd year in a row against a MAC school, wins the game and leads UT to a bowl game. Just my view point

Pacemaker writes:

in response to QB_10:

You really do not know football, Ohio University does have 2 QB's that are faster than all 11 UT defensive players. Ohio State had and has an NFL loaded defense and they just could not figure out. Do not even say that UT defense was remotley close to Ohio State, they OSU only recruited 1 kid UT has Eric Berry..Be a little more insightful next time, because making comments about smoking crack is just classless.

I will give you one more to ponder- Jonathon Crompton is benched by the OU game halftime and Nick Stephens takes over for the 2nd year in a row against a MAC school, wins the game and leads UT to a bowl game. Just my view point

Good comment! Every team looks over another team due to the hype its getting. OHIO was the game before the BIG USC game (remember that) OHIO ambushed them....But to credit to Ohio ...they played one heck of a game. I agree with the speed of the QB.....but the comment about the 11 defensive players being slower than the QB ....maybe all 11 lineman we have! LOL

notoriousBIGorange writes:

in response to QB_10:

You really do not know football, Ohio University does have 2 QB's that are faster than all 11 UT defensive players. Ohio State had and has an NFL loaded defense and they just could not figure out. Do not even say that UT defense was remotley close to Ohio State, they OSU only recruited 1 kid UT has Eric Berry..Be a little more insightful next time, because making comments about smoking crack is just classless.

I will give you one more to ponder- Jonathon Crompton is benched by the OU game halftime and Nick Stephens takes over for the 2nd year in a row against a MAC school, wins the game and leads UT to a bowl game. Just my view point

OK genius, you're obviously right and posted the 40 times to prove it. And of course, CLK, CMK, and CEO only recruited defensive players that were slower than all of the QB's at a MAC school. Sure, we ALL believe that. Being insightful means having the stats to back up such a rediculous comment. Without the 40 times, many of us will choose to not believe your comment as it is simply your opinion. Ba-bye.

QB_10 (Inactive) writes:

in response to Pacemaker:

Good comment! Every team looks over another team due to the hype its getting. OHIO was the game before the BIG USC game (remember that) OHIO ambushed them....But to credit to Ohio ...they played one heck of a game. I agree with the speed of the QB.....but the comment about the 11 defensive players being slower than the QB ....maybe all 11 lineman we have! LOL

How right you are--USC, that dirty trojan, i am interested in looking and seeing where CLK has UT in 2010. He will get a hall pass using either JC or NS, I like Nick Stephens he has that fire and will be instructed this summer and fall to be more patient about his reads. JC limits the offense to dunks and dumps and fumbles.

QB_10 (Inactive) writes:

in response to notoriousBIGorange:

OK genius, you're obviously right and posted the 40 times to prove it. And of course, CLK, CMK, and CEO only recruited defensive players that were slower than all of the QB's at a MAC school. Sure, we ALL believe that. Being insightful means having the stats to back up such a rediculous comment. Without the 40 times, many of us will choose to not believe your comment as it is simply your opinion. Ba-bye.

Hey Biggie- your just mad tht Sean Diddy Combs is the man

notoriousBIGorange writes:

in response to QB_10:

Hey Biggie- your just mad tht Sean Diddy Combs is the man

You mean Puff Daddy, Puffy, P Diddy, Diddy Bop, Boppity Bop, Poopie Doopie or whatever his name is this week?

tdforvols writes:

in response to QB_10:

I am sure CLK is glad that Nick Stephens hand is back to 100%, because he will be needed--hopefully this year he has an O-Line that holds the blocks and some wide receivers that can run the proper routes and catch the ball.

FYI: Everyone mark down the Ohio University game, this game is not going to be a push over, they are rated the 2 nd most improved team in the country and should have beaten Ohio State last year, with 17 returning players and 2 QB's that can run faster then any player on UT defense...

Sorry QB_10 but I ain't buying it. Ohio is going to get smoked in Neyland come 09/26.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

It is important some teams provide the balancing of the scale.

leedsvol2007 writes:

I am taking a wait and see viewpoint on Crompton.

There are more than a few examples of quarterbacks that stunk it up there first season and came back to be either vastly improved or downright good in their 2nd year. Clint Stoerner, Bert Jones, Ben Leard, and Erik Ainge are a few that come to mind who did not get it done early but later became high caliber SEC quarterbacks.

For those whose memories don't go back to the 60's s an 70's Bert Jones was an LSU quarterback that was not very good his first 2 years then had a break-out senior year and went on to be a Pro-Bowl quarterback for the Baltimore Colts leading them to several division championships in the 70's.

Crompton struggled with his poise, Clawson's system, an elbow injury that required surgery, and a bum ankle last year. He looked better the last couple of games and in the spring. We will see what happens when he faces outside competition.

Personally I think coaches often take too much blame but in Clawson's case it seems justified. He put in too much too fast and screwed up what should have at the very least been a good offensive line and receiver corps.

Stephens showed flashes but in reality did not play any better than Crompton. Stephens has a fine arm but a weird delivery and he too seems not to see the whole field.

Crompton seemed much more comfortable with Kiffin's system in the spring than with Clawson's and looked healthy showing the athleticism he exhibited early in his career. Hopefully he will play like the top prospect he was when he signed.

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