SEC Media Days 2015: LSU, Georgia and Ole Miss closed out the four-day session in Hoover _lowres

Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze speaks to the media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days, Thursday, July 16, 2015, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

LSU

THEN AND NOW

The Tigers are a wild card. They slipped to 4-4 in the league and 8-5 overall a year ago but have the talent to improve on that. Even coach Les Miles, though, said a return to contender status will require more productivity from the quarterback position. How the defense will perform under first-year coordinator Kevin Steele is another factor for LSU, which was picked third in the West and fourth overall.

THE BUZZ

Sophomore RB Leonard Fournette figures to be one of the most dynamic players in the country and, if he is, that will make it easier for Brandon Harris to evolve into a more productive and consistent quarterback.

MILES SAID IT

“Eight wins, certainly, not enough. We played some really good ballclubs in that eight-win season and played them very close, but our goal is the playoffs, our goal is the SEC championship. We’re shy of our goals and we want more. Leonard Fournette truly is a leader of our team. When we talk about our team goals and the direction of this team, he’s the guy that’s integral to those thoughts.”

MEANWHILE, ON TWITTER ...

“Embrace the pressure, it’ll only produce diamonds.”

— LB Deion Jones (@bigdreams_Bo)

GEORGIA

THEN AND NOW

The Bulldogs went 6-2, a game behind East division champ Missouri, and 10-3 overall a year ago. They were selected to win the East by the media this season.

THE BUZZ

As vital as Fournette is to LSU’s success, RB Nick Chubb is just as vital to the Bulldogs’ success — maybe even more so because coach Mark Richt hasn’t chosen a starting QB. Even Fournette called Chubb the top running back in the SEC, though if his number of carries goes down, that could be a sign the Bulldogs are in position to unseat Missouri.

RICHT SAID IT

“Not until (Chubb) really had to start carrying the load (last season) did I realize how much stamina he could have in a game, in an SEC game, at times carrying it 25, 35 times in a game. That’s pretty impressive, and that’s not our goal for our back. I don’t want a guy to carry 35 times a game his whole career all season long. We want to share the load, but we had some issues with injuries and all, so there wasn’t a lot of depth at that position. So he probably carried it more last year in certain games than he probably will this year.”

MEANWHILE, ON TWITTER ...

“Who is watching your back? Who can you count on? #poundtheG”

— WR Malcolm Mitchell (@Money_mitch26)

OLE MISS

THEN AND NOW

The Rebels looked like a national-championship contender when they started 7-0 last season before losing to LSU 10-7. Then a rash of injuries contributed to four losses in the last six games, including a 42-3 thrashing at the hands of TCU in the Peach Bowl. A healthier team this season could look more like the early version, which beat Alabama, than the late version from last season.

THE BUZZ

Like several of his colleagues, coach Hugh Freeze is unsure who his starting QB will be. Whoever he chooses and how that player performs will be key to whether Ole Miss continues its one-more-win-than-the-previous-year trend in Freeze’s fourth season.

FREEZE SAID IT

“I look at the big picture and, if in a short three years we’re playing in a New Year’s Six bowl, beat some of the top teams in the nation, won nine games, that really validates for me that we’re on the right track and that’s what I would use to focus on.”

MEANWHILE, ON TWITTER ...

“The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary! Don’t get it twisted. You gotta grind if you wanna shine. #blessings”

— TE Evan Engram (@EvanEngram)