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Notebook: Petrino likes his defense

Arkansas: Bobby Petrino has been very vocal about his defense being the best it's been since his arrival, but what should guide this unit through the season is the defensive front.

With Jake Bequette and Tenarius Wright flying off the ends, the Razorbacks should have a ferocious pass rush and there is a wealth of depth in the middle.

"I'm excited for our defense this year because I really feel like it's the first time when we're physically where we need to be on the defensive front. Our inside guys will be big and physical and athletic. We've got speed on the edges, which matches what we see every week in the conference."

Florida: The one thing that stuck more than the ineptitude of Florida's offense last season was the lack of confidence quarterback John Brantley had. He was a former high school phenom and had a ton of hype thrown his way, but when it was his time to take hold of the Gators, he looked timid.

That old Brantley appears to be gone. He's taken more of a leadership role and with Charlie Weis' new pro-style offense Brantley is taking charge in the pocket.

"He's got his swag back," wide receiver Deonte Thompson said. "He's right.

"His confidence is the biggest thing. Just from summer workouts, 7-on-7 drills, he's come in and taken control of the huddle. A lot more verbal."

Mississippi State: There might not be a better defensive tackle tandem in the league than the one that resides in Starkville. Fletcher Cox and Josh Boyd combined for 53 tackles, 13 for loss and five sacks last year.

With the Bulldogs losing quality linebackers from a year ago, Mississippi State will need the defensive line to step up and Cox believes he and Boyd will definitely hold up their ends.

How do they get better? Both constantly look to outperform each other during drills and inside the weight room.

"We always compete against each other," Cox said. "We're never satisfied. We set a standard and meet our standard."

South Carolina: Steve Spurrier hasn't lost his sense of humor and he knows how to motivate his team. The Head Ball Coach yet again downplayed his team's success from the past year, saying that the Gamecocks still have a lot of work to do.

That hasn't upset his players at all. In fact, they embrace his barbs because they act as an extra motivator for them.

Check out these loving words from Spurrier today: "You know we lost our last two games last year, so we're not sitting around patting each other on the back too much. We got clobbered in the SEC game by Auburn and didn't play when the game was on the line. Against FSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, we fought back, got back in the game, but when it was on the line, didn't do much."