Things to Watch (SEC West)

Turning the Tide on defense: It’s difficult to imagine an Alabama defense that struggles with Nick Saban running the show, not to mention knowing how well the Crimson Tide have recruited on that side of the ball. But the first scrimmage of the preseason would seem to suggest that Alabama has a ways to go on defense, part of which was expected when you lose nine starters. The secondary remains the biggest concern, especially with a couple guys back there battling injuries right now. The good thing for Alabama is that it's not a talent issue. The issue is an overall lack of experience. The threesome of defensive end Marcell Dareus, middle linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Mark Barron is as good as it gets, but guys like cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, cornerback DeMarcus Milliner, safety Robert Lester, nose guard Kerry Murphy and linebacker Chris Jordan will end up determining how good this defense will be in 2010. Obviously, if Dareus is suspended for any length of time because of agent-related issues, that would be a huge blow to the Tide.

What to watch in the SEC West

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