Southeastern Conference camps enter their second week and for many coaches this will be the first time they have the kids all to themselves, free of tests and classwork. This week will be very important into developing your top 70 for opening day and defining a two deep.
Week 3 is essentially the final week of preseason camp and some teams will begin preparation for the first game. I would expect to see plenty of scrimmage work from the 14 SEC teams this week.
Guys making a move on the depth chart
Derrick Henry, Alabama - In the race for playing time behind T.J .Yeldon the big physical freshman has continued to impress. He missed the end of spring with an injury but has shown an explosion early in camp.
Nick Marshall, Auburn - The junior-college quarterback is part of the four-horse race for the starters role. He has shown the most explosive feet of any quarterback and could win the job based on his ability to run the football and give the Tigers and added dimension.
Shaq Roland, South Carolina - The sophomore is finally making plays after having a strong spring. Expect to see him in spread packages for the Gamecocks when they open the season against North Carolina.
Jeremy Chappelle, Mississippi State - The junior-college transfer is counted on to shore up the receiving corps after a solid spring practice. Expect him to be a starter when the Bulldogs face the Cowboys (Oklahoma St.) in the opener.
Alex Collins, Arkansas - The true freshman is already making an impact at running back as he led the team in rushing in his first scrimmage. There is no doubt he is going to play in 2013, but does he get the first carry of the season?
Injury update: This tends to be a fluid situation in camp but a couple of significant injuries that I think are worth mentioning with regards to the upcoming season.
Josh Williford, LSU - The senior guard has the most experience of any Tiger lineman, but he apparently suffered another major concussion at a recent practice. Time will tell if he even plays football again, let alone start the opener against TCU.
Charles Sawyer and Senquez Golson, Ole Miss - Both cornerbacks have been injured with Golson (hamstring) the most likely to make it back sooner. There seems to be concern on whether or not Sawyer (ankle) can play in the opener against Vanderbilt. The secondary already lost Nick Brassell to academics and is very thin on the back end.
Matt Rolin, Florida - He was an early-entry linebacker in the spring and had cracked the two deep at Sam linebacker. He will miss the season as he gets knee repaired and will take a redshirt.
Corey Vereen, Tennessee - This early-entry defensive end made a huge impact in the spring for the Volunteers. He suffered a sprained knee and could also miss the opener after having surgery.
This and That…
I almost made it through a blog post without talking Johnny Manziel. In my experience in following these stories the longer it goes without news, the better it will be for Manziel. I think he plays and somehow this distraction will rival the one that Cam Newton had to deal with. The bottom line of this entire story could be “change.” That change could be how the NCAA governs and if student athletes should be compensated.
I sat down with Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley for SEC Football Tonight and he intimated that the NCAA needs to re-evaluate it’s governing policies and rules, especially for the big five conferences. He did say that the NCAA does a lot of good and is necessary, especially to run events like the NCAA Golf Championships.
This week is what I call the “Dog Days of Camp.” Repetition and routine becomes boring and cumbersome for players, especially veterans. This is where you see injuries if guys are not focused while flying around full speed. It is important for coaches to keep things moving and lively to sustain the attention of the athletes. Game week still feels miles away and guys are going to be ready to hit someone other than their teammates after this week. This is also the week that some freshman fall back on the depth chart.