Now that spring practice is done around the SEC, it's time to take a look back at what we learned about the league over the course of the last couple of months.
Remember, everything we learn during spring practice is the gospel for the upcoming season. Really, it's set in stone and lacks the ability to change or evolve. What we learn now is what we will see when the games are played.
Here's what we know in the SEC West:
1. Ole Miss' defensive line is stacked: According to defensive tackle Breeland Speaks, the Rebels could go three-deep at each defensive line position. And he thought that with Issac Gross (neck) out and Herbert Moore (ACL) limited this spring. Only two starters -- ends Fadol Brown and Marquis Haynes -- are back, but 10 lettermen return and ESPN 300 members Benito Jones (a five-star prospect) and Charles Wiley went through spring. Speaks is taking Robert Nkemdiche's spot, and might be a bit faster and a have a little more juice than his predecessor. Haynes has 17.5 sacks in two seasons, while tackle D.J. Jones could be a destructive monster in the middle. Getting Gross back to rotate in the middle is big, and Victor Evans and Garrald McDowell bring even more athleticism to the front. Depth and experience will make this a dangerous unit to defend.
2. Alabama should yet again be dominant on defense: Three potential first-round draft picks are gone, including two defensive linemen. At least five stars from last year's national championship defense should be taken in this week's NFL draft. Meh, the Crimson Tide's defense will be just fine this year. There's a reason the spring game was so boring: The first-team defense dominated the entire way. Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson could be beasts off the edge, and Williams looked particularly good in the spring game with two sacks. Rashaan Evans, who had 17 tackles in the spring game, should make a bigger impact at linebacker this fall. Oh, and let's not forget that stud middle linebacker Reuben Foster is back, as is lineman Jonathan Allen and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
3. Arkansas found a pretty good passing game: Bret Bielema is known for his love of cooking, his tiny dog, his bravado and his obsession with running the crud out of the football. The last part of all that changed a little this spring. Bielema turned to his passing game this spring because of the talent and experience back at wide receiver. He also didn't have much of a running game to work with, as Rawleigh Williams III was non-contact and Kody Walker broke his foot late. Bielema was giddy about Dominique Reed, Jared Cornelius and Cody Hollister having strong springs. He's ecstatic that Drew Morgan (limited this spring) and Keon Hatcher are back. Hatcher missed most of last year with a broken foot, but is starting to get his football legs back, while Morgan led the team with 63 catches for 843 yards and 10 touchdowns.
4. Auburn and Mississippi State still are searching at quarterback: The thought going into the spring was that Gus Malzahn would find his guy before spring was over. Juco transfer John Franklin might be the most physically gifted quarterback on the roster -- and can really run -- but he didn't separate himself from Jeremy Johnson or Sean White, who both struggled mightily last season. Dan Mullen probably wasn't going to immediately replace Dak Prescott; Nick Fitzgerald entered the spring as the leader behind center, but he too failed to separate himself enough to win the job. He's still ahead of Damian Williams, Elijah Staley and Nick Tiano, but the gap is close. Both of these battles are still totally up for grabs.
5. Brandon Harris grew more as a quarterback: Harris, who has been all kinds of inconsistent throwing the football during his two years at LSU, only threw the ball 15 times in the spring game, but most of the spring was devoted to Harris using his arm more. Leonard Fournette rested most of the time, and the coaching staff gave Purdue transfer Danny Etling every chance to push Harris. It worked, as Harris attacked film sessions and work away from the field to improve what he does on it. Harris was pushed to throw more because the staff knows he has to develop more confidence in his passing ability. Harris took some positive steps this spring.