Monday, June 05, 2006

Bring It, Summertime, Bring It.

Fresh off a two-day backyard grilling extravaganza in some of the best weather to be found on the planet. Sunny and warm in the day, cool and starry at night. Day one was a party in miniature. The laughs flowed almost as freely as the gin drinks (see Friday night’s post). It was just what the doctor ordered. Day two was a solo affair that involved significantly less boozing, reading a great book and falling asleep in the loungy deck chair as the day wore on.

What better lead-in for a column on the upcoming SEC football season. The strongest conference in the nation is gearing up for several pivotal battles as former cupcakes and up-and-comers look to knock off a handful of would-be powerhouses. The talent has been spread around pretty well throughout the conference over the last few years and with so many SEC players going pro lately, the playing field has been greatly leveled. For many teams the pressure to win will fall to the younger players.

My Florida Gators are one of those teams. A very young team, but a very talented team. Their offense is set to explode under option-mad coach Urban Meyer’s second year. And the defense has surprised a lot of us with its aggressiveness. The shut-down prowess they exhibited last year when the offense failed to carry the team was nothing short of thrilling. And, you know, it’s not a stretch to say that two of the losses couldn’t be pinned on the defense. Offensive miscues and Leak’s timid movement outside the pocket lost games as much as any defensive gaffes. But with a full season of Meyer’s approach under their belts, some impressive rookies ready to start and one of the best damn QB recruits in the nation waiting in the wings, the offense is looking much improved and far more dangerous than last year.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution sports columnist, Tony Barnhart lays out the upcoming SEC season for us. Key matchups, player and coach hotseats, and assorted drama. Dig it.

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