Plenty of SEC questions; NC State looking good

There are questions to be answered all over the SEC, but things are looking up for NC State in the ACC.

Updated: June 9, 2003, 5:30 PM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. |
Q: How good is Georgia going to be this year, and is the SEC West better than the SEC East this year? -- Nick Lanza, Athens, Ga.
David Greene
David Greene threw for 2,836 yards and 22 TDs while sharing time with D.J. Shockley last year.
Georgia's quarterback situation is looking good with David Greene and D.J. Shockley both returning, but there are questions about the rest of the team. Fred Gibson, Damien Gary and Michael Johnson combined for 88 receptions and are all back at the wide receiver position, but the loss of Musa Smith in the backfield is huge. Sophomore Tony Milton is listed as the top tailback after spring practice. He started one game in place of an inured Smith last season, and his performance will determine a lot for the Bulldogs offense. And don't forget the losses of Jon Stinchcomb, George Foster and Kevin Breedlove on the offensive line.

On defense, Johnathan Sullivan's departure puts a lot of pressure on David Pollack to get the job done at defensive end without a lot of help from the tackle position. Linebacker is also an area of concern, with Thomas Davis, Tony Taylor and juco transfer Odell Thomas stepping into starting roles. The recruiting efforts of Mark Richt will have to start paying off big-time this year, because Georgia looks to be in somewhat of a rebuilding/reloading year.

The same thing is true in the rest of the SEC East, though. Tennessee also returns its quarterback in Casey Clausen, but the Vols lost a ton of talent to the NFL, as well, and is also looking at young players getting a significant amount of playing time. Florida, meanwhile, is replacing Rex Grossman and Taylor Jacobs on offense and the bulk of its defensive front. Lou Holtz always has South Carolina in a competitive mindset, and Vanderbilt is still trying to get back to that.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst
Mel Kiper has served as an NFL draft analyst for ESPN since 1984. He is a regular contributor on SportsCenter and ESPN Radio and writes weekly for ESPN Insider.