Former UGA QB Mettenberger hopes to jumpstart LSU offense
HOOVER, Ala. (AP) -
Les Miles admits he has watched the tape of LSU's disastrous performance in the BCS championship game a few times during the offseason.

It didn't take very long. After all, the Tigers didn't run many offensive plays.

But Miles said Wednesday that LSU has learned from the 21-0 loss to Alabama, and expects to be better on offense this fall thanks to a veteran offensive line, four experienced running backs and new starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

Miles says Mettenberger can "make all the throws" and should allow the offense to be more balanced than last season, when the Tigers had to rely on their running game and punishing defense.

That defense is expected to be very good again. The secondary is led by safety Eric Reid and cornerback Tyrann Mathieu.

Auburn still healing from recent shooting
HOOVER, Ala. (AP) -
Auburn coach Gene Chizik says the football team is still healing from the shooting of three current or former players.

Chizik says the team has been through difficult times since the June incident "and they're not over."

Former Auburn players Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips were among three people killed. Current offensive lineman Eric Mack was one of three injured.

Chizik says he had a long conversation with Mack on Tuesday night, and says the lineman is physically OK.

Another player is trying to come back from disciplinary action.

Chizik says freshman quarterback Zeke Pike has "a lot to do" to rejoin the team. He sent Pike home following the player's arrest on a charge of public intoxication in June.

Pike enrolled in January and participated in spring practice.

Smith: Enjoying ride after replacing Petrino
HOOVER, Ala. (AP) -
John L. Smith's philosophy is pretty simple: "Life's an adventure," and you don't want to miss anything.

The Arkansas coach has certainly had an adventurous time since being summoned to replace ousted Bobby Petrino in April. Smith says it has been a surreal experience.

The gregarious Smith seems to be enjoying the ride, judging by an energetic performance at Southeastern Conference media days.

Would he like to hang onto the Arkansas job for more than a year? Smith says, "Well, certainly. Do I look stupid?"

Smith inherits a team that was in the national title chase until season's end and gets back quarterback Tyler Wilson and tailback Knile Davis.

He says Petrino called him last week, and that was the first time they've talked since Smith took over.

Muschamp: Florida's Powell will play in 2012
HOOVER, Ala. (AP) -
Florida coach Will Muschamp says defensive end Ronald Powell will play this season.

The Gators starter tore a knee ligament in the spring game. Muschamp says he's not sure when Powell will return to the field but that he has been cleared for all weight-room work and straight-ahead running.

Muschamp also said Wednesday at Southeastern Conference media days that tight end A.C. Leonard is transferring. Leonard was arrested in February on domestic violence charges.

Muschamp says quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel are tied going into fall camp and both could play. They combined for two touchdown passes and six interceptions as freshmen.

The second-year coach has emphasized getting stronger late in games and improving on a turnover margin that was among the nation's worst.

QB Russell prepares for life as MSU's starter
HOOVER, Ala. (AP) —
Tyler Russell's presence at Southeastern Conference media days is one of the most obvious indications that Mississippi State is confident with its new starting quarterback.

Coach Dan Mullen said Wednesday he picked Russell as one of his three representatives because he wants his leaders to "make sure they know what they're getting themselves into."

Russell threw for 1,034 yards and eight touchdowns as a part-time starter last season. This year, the job is his.

From a win-loss standpoint, Mississippi State has been stuck in neutral for a couple seasons.

But Mullen believes he's laid the groundwork to finally push the Bulldogs into the upper echelon of the SEC.

Mississippi State returns 13 starters from last season's team that finished with a 7-6 record and won a second straight bowl game.

Kentucky coach says program will rebound quickly
HOOVER, Ala. (AP) —
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips believes last year's mediocre season is a minor bump on the road to consistent success.

Kentucky made five straight bowl games from 2006 to '10, but regressed to a 5-7 record last season. The Wildcats ended the year on a high note, beating Tennessee for the first time since 1984, but must replace many key players.

During the five-year bowl streak, Phillips said Kentucky has did a good job of stocking quality young players and "now those guys have to go out and play."

Kentucky returns 11 starters, including receiver La'Rod King and quarterback Morgan Newton. King led the team with 40 catches for 598 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

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