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February 1, 2010

Rivals.com Spring Practice Primer: SEC

We're two days from National Signing Day, and that also means the start of spring practice is just around the corner.

The first team to open spring ball? It's Duke, on Feb. 15. (Uhh, that's two weeks from today.)

To get you primed for spring practice, here's a look at the start dates for all 120 FBS teams plus the overriding problem each program must deal with during spring drills.

SEC Spring Practice Primer

Practice begins: March 12.
Spring game: April 17.
Biggest task: You can bet Nick Saban will make sure his defending champions don't get big heads. You also can bet that revamping a secondary that needs three new starters is Saban's No. 1 concern. The Tide also need three new starting linebackers and three new starting defensive linemen, but the secondary issues overshadow the other two positions.

Practice begins: March 30.
Spring game: April 24.
Biggest task: Finding a feature back is the top issue on offense. Defensively, the Hogs need some big-play guys to emerge -- especially in the secondary.

Practice begins: March 23.
Spring game: April 17 (practice ends April 18).
Biggest task: QB Chris Todd and RB Ben Tate were surprisingly effective in 2009. Alas, both are gone. The Tigers don't want to have to wait until fall drills to figure out the new starters at the positions. JC transfer Cameron Newton already has enrolled and is expected to win the quarterback job, but can he throw it well enough?

Practice begins: March 17.
Spring game: April 10.
Biggest task: New QB John Brantley has a big arm, which means it's imperative that three or four receivers step up during spring drills; Florida's top two receivers are gone from this past season. New defensive coordinator George Edwards, who arrives from the Miami Dolphins, needs to identify some defensive ends he's comfortable with.

Practice begins: March 4.
Spring game: April 10.
Biggest task: There is work to do on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the No. 1 concern is deciding on a new starting quarterback. It would help that player if a couple of receivers step up to serve as complements to A.J. Green. Defensively, new coordinator Todd Grantham is installing a 3-4 scheme, and he must develop a rotation in the middle of the line and find out if he has enough linebackers.

Practice begins: March 31.
Spring game: April 24.
Biggest task: New coach Joker Phillips needs to decide on a starting quarterback and do some rebuilding with his offensive line. Defensively, some playmakers must emerge with the departures of some key members of the back seven.

Practice begins: Feb. 25.
Spring game: March 27.
Biggest task: Offensive coaches have to rev up the attack, which was woeful this past season. QB Jordan Jefferson needs to become a more competent passer, and a feature back needs to emerge. The defensive staff needs to improve the pass rush.

Practice begins: March 23.
Spring game: April 17.
Biggest task: The Bulldogs need to decide on a starting quarterback and find someone to replace the production of RB Anthony Dixon.

Practice begins: March 27.
Spring game: April 17.
Biggest task: Coach Houston Nutt needs to find a new starting quarterback and develop some depth in his receiving corps. The defensive line has to be rebuilt, too.

Practice begins: March 16.
Spring game: April 10.
Biggest task: The offensive staff needs to find a way to get the running game in gear. The passing attack has big-time potential, especially if opponents actually respect the run. Replacing Eric Norwood's big-play ability is the top priority on defense.

Practice begins: March 18.
Spring game: April 17.
Biggest task: The new coaching staff has a lot of work to do on offense -- like finding a new quarterback, finding a go-to receiver and rebuilding the line. The key on defense is to find some pass rushers.

Practice begins: March 17.
Spring game: April 10.
Biggest task: The Commodores have to find a way to throw the ball more consistently; they were inept in that aspect this past season.

MORE: ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-10 | MAC | C-USA | MWC | WAC | Sun Belt | Indy

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