In the long and tortuous lead-up to the season, somewhere the impression was created that the SEC was a quarterback-less league.
Oh, they had bodies to fill the position, but they were clueless temps, just there so the center snap wouldn’t keep rolling until the other team picked it up.
Lest we forget, that notion filtered down from the coaches themselves, as they struggled just to name someone who knew a few of the plays and didn’t come out onto the practice field every day with his helmet on backwards.
So, after the first week, who distinguished themselves among a field that was not nearly as inept as advertised.
It wasn’t Auburn’s Jeremy Johnson, but that may be because his team played an opponent with a pulse, Louisville. Auburn won his much anticipated debut as the Tigers full-time leader, but he was less than efficient (11-of-21, three interceptions).
The one pubbed-up quarterback in the conference, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott, had more trouble than expected against Southern Miss. He declared afterward that he had, “missed some easy throws, throws that I can’t miss.” We’ll get a clearer read Saturday when the Bulldogs host LSU.
Among those who played the traditional creampuff opener, here were the top five SEC quarterbacks after Week One:
- Brandon Allen, Arkansas: The senior had a career day in a 48-13 victory over UTEP. Going 14 of 18 for 308 yards, four touchdowns and no INTs is a good way to impress your new offensive coordinator. Fear the Hog.
- Two-headed tandem of Will Grier and Treon Harris, Florida: The one-time Gator quarterback Jeff Driskel now leads the country in QB rating after his first game with Louisiana Tech. No matter, for Florida has two of the top 16 after Grier and Harris combined for 19 for 36 for 379 yards and four TDs vs. New Mexico State. The on-going competition continues.
- Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee: The junior from Alpharetta did his dual threat thing against Bowling Green, rushing for 89 yards and a touchdown and throwing for 205 yards and two more scores.
- Jake Coker, Alabama: A solid first start for the senior, a fairly mistake-free 15-of-22, 213 yards against another real opponent, Wisconsin. (He, however, took a couple sacks that will unnerve jittery fans from Anniston to Wetumpka). The depth of the Tide’s talent requires a good caretaker behind center, and Coker just may fit the bill.
- Chad Kelly, Mississippi: The nephew of Buffalo Hall-of-Fame quarterback Jim Kelly has had a rather tortured trek to Oxford. Dismissed from Clemson after arguing with coaches, winning a JuCo national title in Mississippi, arrested last winter after a bar fight back in Buffalo (took a plea deal). He won the starting job for Ole Miss and was one of three QBs who torched UT-Martin 76-3. He ran for a touchdown and threw for a couple more.
Honorable Mention: Greyson Lambert. Had only Georgia asked Lambert to do more, he might have cracked the top five. Alas, any a preliminary read on him will have to await a Saturday in which he has not been handed a plain vanilla game plan.