It's tempting as an armchair fan of SEC football to say that I would trade places with the guys out on the field in a heart beat. Sure, the mat drills, the strict diet and the study hall would be kind of a drag. The tasering stinks too. But for the most part, I think any of us would switch places with those who roam the sidelines in Sanford, Neyland and Bryant-Denny, at least for a day.
However, there are some SEC football folk who I would not want to be during the upcoming season. The reasons vary, but for the most part, they boil down to this:
1) Jonathan Crompton. The poor kid's getting death threats though, to be fair, they'll threaten to kill you in Knoxville for double-dipping from the vat of sawmill gravy at the Shoney's breakfast bar. They're strict like that in orange kuntry. Not to mention the fact that his former backup, B.J. Coleman, contends that Crompton's essentially being dangled like live bait for a bigger fish in the quarterback pond. Did I mention that he'll be playing in a new system, and doing so without the Vols' two leading rushers from last season? Plus it's just hard to follow a living legend like Erik Ainge . . .
2) Steve Addazio: He's Florida's new offensive coordinator. Why, you ask, would I feel sorry for a guy who's just assumed command of his own legion of superhero-fast offensive weapons and the greatest player of his generation (TM)? Because expectations can be murder. Because Addazio's prior record as an offensive coordinator is not all that impressive from a strictly statistical perspective. Because the guy who wears the cockeyed headset will be standing over his shoulder pointing and staring. Because Percy Harvin, when healthy (or at least basically upright), was a singular offensive weapon. Because Louis Murphy, while not as heralded, was actually Florida's leading receiver in 2008, and is now an Oakland Raider. Because Florida's top two rushers last season were the departed Harvin and Tim Tebow, who's always one fractured femur-inducing QB keeper away from disaster . . .
3) Jevan Snead: Ole Miss had a breakout performance in Houston Nutt's first season in Oxford, culminating in a Cotton Bowl victory over a favored Texas Tech team (Mike Leach blames the salsa). But that doesn't mean Jevan Snead has it made. For one, he'll be losing tackle Michael Oher. That's a big loss, literally and figuratively. He'll also lose Oher's linemate Darryl Harris. And (the blogger said generalizing wildly) teams that pull off bowl wins like Ole Miss's have a definite tendency to underperform the next season, even when they seem to have built in advantages. Like a creamy cupcake of a schedule in which the toughest road game is either at South Carolina or at Auburn. Also, I can't help but think that, given Nutt's historical proclivity for big gamebreaking tailbacks, Snead may be only one Brandon Bolden/Dexter McCluster/En-Ricky Davis/Cordera Eason explosion away from significantly curtailed numbers. But mostly, he's still named "Jevan." That's pretty bad in and of itself. Not as bad as Mackenzi of course, but pretty bad.
4) Nick Saban: He'll start unproven Greg McElroy at QB, unless the unproven Star Jackson beats him out. He loses Glen Coffee, who had a knack for chewing up yards late in the game during 2008 to help put games away. He'll have to replace Andre Smith who, though imbued with an impressive set of moobs, was also one of the most effective left tackles in recent SEC history. He'll also need to find a #2 receiver to take the heat off of Julio Jones. And he's still fighting a raging oatmeal creampie addiction. Of course, if you're going to O.D. on something, I suppose oatmeal creampies would be one of your better options. Right behind chocolate moonpies (microwaved for 5-10 seconds, naturally) and just ahead of Cadbury cream eggs.
5) Willie Martinez: An obvious choice, no? He's still searching for a couple of effective edge pass rushers. He's contending with a lack of experienced depth in the secondary (which risks being exposed frequently if he doesn't find some of the aforementioned pass rushers). And his unit will be picking up after an offensive group that's very inexperienced at the skill positions, and thus likely to put the defense in some very bad spots from time to time. In other words, I don't think Willie Martinez's seat is going to get any cooler this year.
Let me know who you think may be in for a rough season in the comments. Until Free Form Friday . . .