A look around the SEC

Take a team-by-team look at the SEC.

Originally Published: October 20, 2004
By Chris Low | Special to ESPN.com
Will Alabama's overcome its injury woes? When will Matt Jones return to the lineup? Does Florida have any chance to win the East division? Our SEC notebook addresses those questions and provides looks at Auburn's improbable rise, Georgia's road test, South Carolina's fortunate timing and much more.

Alabama

  • The injury news just keeps getting worse for Alabama, which already lost quarterback Brodie Croyle and tailback Ray Hudson for the season.

    The latest casualty is quarterback Marc Guillon, who replaced Croyle. Guillon has a torn muscle in his lower back, and an MRI also revealed two bulging discs in his back.

    Guillon could play in an emergency situation this Saturday against Tennessee, but he would be reduced to throwing short passes. He's experienced pain any time he's thrown the football.

    Alabama head coach Mike Shula was already planning to start Spencer Pennington for the third straight game. The Crimson Tide are 2-0 with Pennington as the starter, even though he completed just 4-of-9 passes for 72 yards last week in the 27-3 win over Southern Miss.

    One of those completions came when he threw it up into double coverage, and Tyrone Prothro jumped up and caught it for a 35-yard gain.

    The running game remains Alabama's forte, but don't be surprised if Shula asks Pennington to throw the ball more against the Vols.

    "I'm going to have to be sharp," said Pennington, the fourth different starting quarterback in Shula's 20 games as head coach. "I'm going to have to eliminate the turnovers and get us into the right plays. I have to get the ball into the hands of the playmakers on the team and just move the chains 10 yards at a time. When we have a chance to make plays, we have to make them."

  • Alabama's 5-2 record is a testament to the importance of being strong on both the offensive and defensive lines.

    Tennessee senior center Jason Respert said the Crimson Tide has the best front seven on defense the Vols have seen this season, and that's saying something. They've already faced Georgia, Auburn and Florida.

    Offensively, Alabama remains first in the SEC in rushing and ninth nationally with an average of 243.3 yards per game. The Crimson Tide has continued to pile up the yards no matter how many quarterbacks and running backs go down.

    Sophomore tailback Kenneth Darby, in his first start last week, had a career-high 197 yards on 29 carries


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