It's not easy getting college football coaches to honestly comment on another coach, player or team. Most coaches don't want to give opposing teams billboard material, which is why there is a lot of coach speak or overused cliches used during the year.
In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2014, Athlon asked coaches in the SEC to talk anonymously about their opponents.
The SEC was home to some of college football’s top quarterbacks in the nation last year. However, one offseason later, and the conference is essentially rebuilding from scratch at the quarterback spot.
The list of names departing is heavy: Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Alabama’s AJ McCarron, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, Missouri’s James Franklin, South Carolina’s Connor Shaw and Georgia’s Aaron Murray.
A week after James Franklin decided to leave for Penn State, Vanderbilt has found his replacement. According to the Tennessean, Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason will be the Commodores’ next coach.
Mason is a highly regarded defensive coach and was a key piece in Stanford’s recent run of success. The Arizona native worked at Stanford from 2010-13, including the last three years as the defensive coordinator.
Another season, another loaded year for returning talent in the SEC. While the league is short on proven quarterbacks, there’s plenty of depth at defensive end, receiver and linebacker. LSU running back Leonard Fournette leads the way for Athlon’s projected top 40 SEC players for 2016, followed by Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett.
The start of the 2016 college football season is just a few days away. California and Hawaii meet in Australia on Aug. 26 in the first game of the year, with the full slate for Week 1 starting on Thursday, Sept. 1 and ending on Labor Day with Florida State and Ole Miss.