Now that the offseason is upon us, let’s examine the to-do list for SEC officials and teams over these next seven months:
Closing the Cam Newton loophole: This is something the NCAA needs to address as well and has indicated that it will seek to close the current loophole. In short, if a family member is shopping a prospect to a school, there needs to be some kind of repercussion. Otherwise, there are going to be a lot more family members doing just that in the future, and when they’re caught, they’re going to claim the prospect knew nothing about the solicitation, whether the prospect did or didn’t. SEC commissioner Mike Slive has also acknowledged that the league needs to go in and clean up its own language concerning this issue.
Replacing Newton: Speaking of Newton, talk about some giant shoes to fill. He was at Auburn for only a season, but what a season it was. He took the Tigers from a possible contender in the Western Division to the best team in college football. Rising junior Barrett Trotter is the guy to beat this spring at quarterback. Rising sophomore Clint Moseley will also be a part of that battle. The guy Auburn fans are excited to see is incoming freshman Kiehl Frazier of Springdale, Ark. The 6-foot-3, 212-pound Frazier played in the spread offense in high school and can both run and throw it. He will be one of the Tigers' top signees in February.
Too many byes: No school should ever have to go through another season where six of its SEC opponents have byes the week before it plays those teams. That was the case with Alabama this season, and it’s just too much of a competitive disadvantage. No school wants to be in that position. The SEC tried to fix the problem last season to no avail, but is continuing to look at future schedules across the league to make sure an abnormality like this doesn’t happen again.
Finding a passing game: With former Louisville and Tulsa head coach Steve Kragthorpe taking over as LSU’s offensive coordinator, the Tigers need to find a passing game next season if they want to be a part of the SEC and national championship equation. They finished with an SEC-low 10 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions this season and ranked 107th nationally in passing offense. Getting the quarterback up to speed will be Kragthorpe’s first order of business, whether that’s rising senior Jordan Jefferson or transfer Zach Mettenberger.
Restoring the edge: Will Muschamp inherits a Florida program that’s oozing with talent, but lost its edge last season. Getting that edge back will be No. 1 on his to-do list this offseason and spring. It helps that Muschamp retained strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti, who’s one of the best in the business. Marotti will undoubtedly set the right tone during the offseason conditioning program. The chemistry was lacking within the team last season, which was uncharacteristic of an Urban Meyer-coached team. Overall, there were just too many people pulling in too many different directions and too much drama off the field. Muschamp’s challenge is getting that oneness back again that was so evident when the Gators were winning national titles under Meyer.