<
>

Internal affairs in the SEC

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Let's go inside as we do every week at this time for our "Internal affairs" look at the SEC. The toughest job this week belongs to Texas coachMack Brown , who has to find a way to motivate his club against an Arkansas team that looked wretched last Saturday in a 49-14 home loss to Alabama. You've got to hand it to Brown, though. The more he talks, the more it sounds like Arkansas actually has a chance. If I'm hearing him correctly, that Alabama-Arkansas game came down to a handful of big plays that the Crimson Tide made to turn the game around. Hey Mack, Lou would be proud:

1. Alabama picking its spots: To be specific, that's picking its spots with the blitz. Nick Saban is one of the best in the business when it comes to mixing up coverages and bringing pressure at just the right time. The Crimson Tide didn't blitz as much against Clemson in the opener. For one, they didn't need to and got pressure with their front four, but they were also protecting themselves against the Tigers' screen package. Saban will go after Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford more. You know he's watched the tape from that South Carolina game where the Bulldogs had to scale back on some of the stuff they wanted to do in the passing game in the second half because they couldn't protect Stafford.

2. More of Moody: Emmanuel Moody got his most work of the season last week against Tennessee and led Florida in rushing with 55 yards on nine carries. The main thing is that he held onto the ball, a must if you're going to play running back for Urban Meyer. Look for Moody to be even more involved in the running game this week against Ole Miss as Florida returns home. He has the makeup to be the Gators' featured back, but it's obvious that Meyer is bringing him along slowly. The transfer from Southern California insists that he will remain patient and take the carries as they come.

3. Making it simple: In three games against FBS teams this season, Mississippi State has scored three touchdowns and turned the ball over 10 times. The Bulldogs will continue to try to get some of their younger playmakers like running back Robert Elliott more involved and simplify things as much as possible. Changes you won't see are to the Bulldogs' offensive staff. Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom was adamant on his weekly call-in show this week that he wasn't going down that road. "I'm the offensive coordinator. I'm the bus driver. I'm the equipment man, the lawn guy. I'm the secretary. I'm everything. Because whatever's not going right, it's me," Croom said Monday night.

4. Turning Todd loose: It's pretty clear by now that Chris Todd is Auburn's quarterback. Kodi Burns hasn't played a snap in the last two games. And if anything, the Tigers are going to give Todd more of a license to throw the ball this week against Tennessee. Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin wants to throw the ball more to set up the run. He said the Tigers should have thrown it at least 10 more times against LSU. Todd finished 17-of-32 for 250 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He looked much more comfortable throwing the ball in the second half and gave the Tigers the lead with 6:40 to play on a 15-yard scoring strike to Robert Dunn.

5. Crompton taking coaching: It's been tough sledding so far for Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton, who's turned the ball over and struggled to finish drives. The Vols' coaches haven't lost faith in him, but they would like to see him respond better to what they're preaching every day on the practice field. There's a sense among some on the Tennessee staff that Crompton needs to be more realistic about the way he's playing right now. He has the talent and the tools. He just has to go do it. If there's not some improvement against Auburn, the Vols will then look seriously at trying to get Nick Stephens some time in the Northern Illinois game.