SEC Media Days Football

Arkansas NCAA college football coach Bret Bielema speaks during the Southeastern Conference's annual media gathering, (AP Photo/Butch Dill), Monday, July 10, 2017, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Butch Dill

ARKANSAS

Goodbye 2016, hello 2017

The Hogs did not finish well in 2016, stumbling to a 2-4 record in their last six games (including a 35-24 loss to Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl after they led 24-0 at halftime). Coach Bret Bielema is still looking to get over the hump, going either 7-6 or 8-5 in each of the past three seasons, finishing above .500 in SEC play once in his tenure.

What’s up?

Arkansas should be a solid offensive team, with quarterback Austin Allen (25 TDs, 3,340 yards) coming back. The defense will be the thing to look out for. Arkansas is switching to a 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads. The Razorbacks gave up 31.3 points per game last season, including an SEC-worst 37.3 points against conference foes.

Coachspeak

“I knew we had to take a new look at things. We took an internal look at us coaching-wise, what we were asking them to do, how we were asking them to do it. Took an even stronger look at our personnel, which made us drive the decision to change to a 3-4. … Our kids have been great. They’ve owned and embraced what we didn’t do well at the end of the year.” — Bielema

LSU

Goodbye 2016, hello 2017

This time last year, Les Miles was giving his annual progress report on his family vacation. A lot has changed since. Ed Orgeron took over for Miles after the fourth game last season and did enough to earn the full-time job. He’ll get his chance to prove he learned from that disastrous first tenure as a program’s leading man, when he went 10-25 as Ole Miss’ coach from 2005-07.

What’s up?

Orgeron made it clear Monday that his team has an ongoing competition at quarterback, but he made it just as clear that, if the season began Tuesday, Danny Etling would be the starter. He still wants to see Myles Brennan get a chance to compete against Etling, Lowell Narcisse, Justin McMillan and Lindsey Scott, but Etling is the clear-cut leader.

Coachspeak

“Obviously there's a lot of people on our schedule that are very, very good football teams. So we can't just point to Alabama, but they are the benchmark on the stand that the head coach at LSU must beat Alabama. I think the way to beat Alabama is to recruit on their level. They are recruiting at a high level now, and they do a great job of evaluation. And coach, coach your team very well, and get your team ready to play. Again, last year, we weren't that far off.” — Orgeron

TENNESSEE

Goodbye 2016, hello 2017

Last year started with such promise for Tennessee, which was ranked No. 9 in the preseason poll. But the Vols never looked like a top-10 team even as they won their first five games. Tennessee finished 4-4 down the stretch. The expectations aren’t nearly as high this season, but the pressure might be higher on coach Butch Jones, who is 30-21 in four seasons at Tennessee.

What’s up?

Much of those expectations last season centered around quarterback Josh Dobbs, who accounted for nearly 4,000 yards and 39 touchdowns through the air and on the ground as a senior. The Volunteers have to figure out who is going to replace him. The top contenders are junior Quinten Dormady and redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano.

Coachspeak

“The way I view it is, we didn't accomplish everything we set ourselves out to. And, again, our goal every year is to win a championship and compete to win a championship. So, was it a disappointment? No. Did we not accomplish some of the things we set out to do? Absolutely. We have to learn from the things that went wrong that we could have done better.” — Jones

Follow Luke Johnson on Twitter, @ByLukeJohnson.