<
>

SEC morning links

1. With all apologies to Oregon and Ohio State's place on center stage, the SEC stole the news cycle yesterday. Between Jonathan Taylor's signing at Alabama and Georgia's announcement of a new offensive coordinator, it felt like the conference's day for debate. Even former LSU wideout Odell Beckham Jr. got some publicity as it was announced that he would play in the Pro Bowl. But while some might have seen Taylor's transfer to the Tide or Beckham's trip to the NFL's all-star game coming, I didn't sense many expected Brian Schottenheimer to land in Athens. For the Bulldogs, it's an intriguing hire. By going outside the box and reaching into the NFL, coach Mark Richt sent the signal that he doesn't want his pro-style offense to change much. But maybe getting someone with a pro pedigree like Schottenheimer's will give Georgia the extra boost it needs to get a more effective passing game going. It will at least shake up the tone of the offensive meeting rooms. With a new coordinator and a new quarterback, Georgia has the chance at a fresh start. How quarterback, coordinator and head coach mesh will ultimately determine whether the out-of-left field hire was a success.

2. Did you know that LSU played one day game the entire season? What about the fact that an SEC team has lost four consecutive Sugar Bowls? Mark Inabinette of Al.com has your "SEC football by the numbers," including an interesting nugget about how it's been 71 years since a punter got off a longer kick in the Sugar Bowl than Alabama's JK Scott.

3. Watching a series of tweets from Manny Diaz's introductory newsconference at Mississippi State last night got me thinking: Is more of the same right for the Bulldogs? Because essentially that's what coach Dan Mullen went for when he brought Diaz back five years after he left to become an assistant at Texas. And, honestly, I'm not sure of the answer because watching Mississippi State's defense last season was such a confounding experience. On the one hand, you had to respect their athleticism and aggressiveness flying to the football. But on the other hand, they allowed so many big plays and gave up a ton of yards between the 20s. So what should Diaz's goal be this offseason? In my mind, it's to embrace the idea of continuity while preaching better consistency and fundamentals. Keep the "Psycho Defense" philosophy, only limit the mistakes of the recklessness that such a mindset demands.