Spring football fuels many different narratives.
Your coach loves your team! But your coach hates your team. This coach thinks his team is going to surprise everyone. That coach doesn't think his team is tough enough. Another coach doesn't think his team will shake off the complacency bug.
At the end of the day, we don't know as much as we think we do after 15 practices that culminate in an overblown, glorified scrimmage.
But here's where folks around the SEC have reason to feel true elation: quarterback.
A couple weeks ago, we noted that there were some intriguing quarterbacking subplots lurking around the SEC. You had Jake Fromm actually pushing Jacob Eason. Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask were battling for the No. 1 spot at Florida. Jalen Hurts was hearing about how talented Tua Tagovailoa is.
Those storylines won't necessarily disappear, but they've certainly died down internally. The guys who are supposed to be running things at quarterback are starting to do just that. Eason is taking full advantage of the pressure from Fromm. Franks took a sizable lead during Florida's spring game. Hurts has been on fire this spring.
“Decision-making, getting the ball out of his hand more quickly, not looking at the rush, not drifting in the pocket, reading and having his eyes in the right place, relative to the coverage and the read that that particular play has," Alabama coach Nick Saban said of Hurts' improvement this spring.
Those aren't the only guys taking hold of the most important position on the field. We had mainstays at Missouri, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Arkansas, but Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason feels loads better about the Kyle Shurmur taking snaps this spring, compared to the Kyle Shurmur who was under center during the first part of the 2016 season. We all knew Shea Patterson was the guy at Ole Miss, but after the way he took hold of Phil Longo's Air Raid offense, the kid could be a superstar in no time.
Jarrett Stidham had the lead in Auburn's quarterback race going into the spring and during the middle part of spring, and he has all but officially wrapped up the competition. The worst-kept secret in the SEC the past few months has been that Stidham will be Auburn's starting quarterback in September, but coach Gus Malzahn has at least tried to make it competitive.
While Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano are still in a heated battle at Tennessee, both have looked pretty good this spring, which has brought some encouragement to a position that just lost longtime starter Joshua Dobbs.
There certainly are still answers around the league when it comes to quarterback competitions -- just ask Kentucky, Texas A&M and, to a lesser extent, LSU -- but any anxieties that surrounded quarterback positions in the SEC heading into the month of April have started to dissipate as spring practices come to a close.
For a school such as Florida, that increasing confidence in the quarterback position is a blessing. Everyone knows the Gators haven't been good at quarterback since Tim Tebow was on campus (2009), but there's a lot of positive buzz around former ESPN 300 recruit Franks, and after his 119 yards and a touchdown in just one half in Florida's spring game, he heads into the spring as the team's top quarterback, with the backing of his head coach.
"He's ahead," McElwain said. "No doubt about it."
The Eason-Fromm dynamic is fascinating. Eason is Georgia's No. 1 quarterback, but Fromm has pushed him on and off the field. Eason has needed to improve his leadership skills since he arrived as a hotshot recruit last year, and Fromm has helped that. He has also helped Eason study defenses in the film room and on the field -- two areas in which he struggled last season.
Yes, Eason is being pushed, and coach Kirby Smart considers this a legit quarterback battle, but all this competition has only made Eason a better starter for the Bulldogs.
“I’m glad [Fromm is] here," Eason recently told reporters. "I’m glad we can learn from each other. And I’m excited to see what happens.”
We are all excited to see what happens at Georgia and other schools with more buzz at quarterback. For a conference that has been muddled in average quarterback play of late, this season could be a lot different.
If spring is any indication, the forward pass could come back with a fury in SEC this fall.