Maybe competition is finally getting better. I remember when West Coast teams and Nebraska, OK, etc. had a long run on victories. I wonder how similar the SEC team's defenses are similar. Good topic for a future article.
The Southeastern Conference has long been known as a defensive league. But as we pointed out yesterday, half the league’s teams allowed 400+ yards in their curtain-raisers last week. Granted, some teams played tougher foes — with better offenses — than others. Still, when you see a D give up big plays early in the season, it’s often as much a product of busted assignments and confusion as it is an flashy foe.
It’s early yet. There’s plenty of time for coaches to correct Week One mistakes. But some coaches have more teaching to do than others.
Alabama (vs Virginia Tech), Tennessee (vs Austin Peay), LSU (vs TCU) and Missouri (vs Murray State) were the only league defenses that did not surrender 10 or more plays of 10 or more yards. Below are the 10 SEC schools that did give up yards in chunks:
Florida vs Toledo — 10 plays of 10+ yards
Arkansas vs UL-Lafayette — 12 plays of 10+ yards
Ole Miss vs Vanderbilt — 12 plays of 10+ yards (six of 20+ and five of 30+)
Georgia vs Clemson — 13 plays of 10+ yards (four of 20+ and three of 30+)
South Carolina vs North Carolina — 13 plays of 10+ yards
Kentucky vs Western Kentucky — 17 plays of 10+ yards
Mississippi State vs Oklahoma State — 17 plays of 10+ yards (five of 20+)
Texas A&M vs Rice — 18 plays of 10+ yards (five of 20+)
Vanderbilt vs Ole Miss — 18 plays of 10+ yards (four of 20+)
Auburn vs Washington State — 21 plays of 10+ yards
Alabama and LSU — not surprisingly — looked awfully stout considering the level of their competition and the lack of big plays they allowed.
Schools like Ole Miss, Kentucky, and Texas A&M have some work to do. They gave up big plays and they did so against teams that haven’t been traditional powerhouses on offense (though Bobby Petrino’s presence at WKU makes the Hilltoppers more dangerous).
While Auburn did have to face Mike Leach’s funky Washington State offense, it’s got to be a concern that the Cougars were able to register more than 20 plays of 10 or more yards. We all know that teams with up-tempo offenses typically allow more yards and more points per game. Might that already be the case on the Plains?
This is one to watch moving forward.