SEC Coaches Recognize Tide Players

Christion Jones

There are several schools of thought on pre-season polls. The most vocal is those who say they don’t like the polls. The truth is that most college football fans can’t get enough information, and the pre-season polls are part of that. Personally, I like the polls. If I didn’t, I’d do the same thing I do with radio talk shows I don’t enjoy. I ignore them.

Some years – not every year – I vote on a pre-season All-Southeastern Conference football team. I’m really not qualified to do that. I know Alabama football pretty well, but a Crimson Tide player can’t be voted Pre-Season All-SEC at every position.

I know a smidgen about the teams that Alabama will play during the year. Like players getting a game plan the week of the game, I’ll know more about them when they are next on the Bama schedule. As for teams not on the Tide schedule, I know precious little.

The solution for me is to read up on the all-star nominees provided by each school and then make a guess. It’s about like a legislator casting his vote on a bill based on what the lobbyists have told him.

SEC coaches, however, should have a greater grasp of the top players in the conference. For one thing, many of the top players were recruited by several SEC teams. For another, the coaches have had to scheme against them.

As the opening week of college football arrives, so comes the Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Team.

Alabama, which opens the season Saturday against West Virginia in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, has dominated the pre-season polls among SEC teams. The Crimson Tide has been the favorite to win the SEC Championship and is second in the two major polls that have been released, trailing only 2013 champion Florida State in both the Associated Press and Coaches rankings.

And so it is with the Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Team. Alabama had first team selections at eight positions (best in the league), although it was by seven men. As with the earlier media poll, Bama’s Christion Jones was first two at two positions, kick return specialist and all-purpose player.

Alabama’s first team selections on offense are wide receiver Amari Cooper, tight end O.J. Howard, and offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio.

Bama’s first team picks on defense are safety Landon Collins, linebacker Trey DePriest, and lineman A;Shawn Robinson.

Tailback T.J. Yeldon was on the second team, while center Ryan Kelly and offensive tackle Austin Shepherd were named to the third team.

Alabama and LSU each placed a league-leading 11 representatives on the pre-season honor squad.

This marked the 12th consecutive year of the SEC Coaches Preseason All-SEC Teams.

All 14 SEC schools were represented by at least one member on the All-SEC teams, including seven schools with seven or more selections each. Ten SEC schools had at least one first-team selection.

Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players. The suspicion is that not only did they not vote for their own players; they didn’t vote at all.

A danger in reading too much into the Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Team is that the head coach didn’t really fill in the blanks. It is known that some coaches do not bother with this responsibility, turning it over to a staff member, such as the sports information director. That’s not to say that the voter isn’t knowledgeable, only that it may not be who it’s purported to be.

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