Quarterbacks headline at SEC Media Days

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SEC Commissioner Mike Slive will lead the 2014 SEC Media Days. (CW File)

Sean Landry

Fortunately for the football-starved masses, the unofficial start of college football season lurks just around the corner at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham – The Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover: the 2014 SEC Media Days. The Crimson White will once again be reporting from the event, a four-day media frenzy.

The event “kicks off” July 14 with SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and the Auburn delegation. Media Days will conclude July 17 when Nick Saban and players from Alabama are scheduled to speak.

Here are some developing stories for Alabama fans to keep an eye on.

Jacob Coker

The most important story for Alabama fans is also possibly the most explored story this preseason. The Mobile, Alabama native and St. Paul’s Episcopal School graduate will have his work cut out for him as he attempts to fill the gap left by fellow Mobile native and St. Paul’s Episcopal School graduate AJ McCarron. McCarron’s plaudits are well-known: three national championship rings in four years, two SEC Championships and Maxwell Award Winner. Multiple accounts claim Coker is a more physically gifted quarterback than McCarron, but much like McCarron’s own rookie season – until the Florida State transfer plays a competitive down – fans will have many more questions than answers.

The Other SEC Quarterbacks

Alabama will be far from the only SEC school looking to fill quarterback vacancies. Texas A&M will be looking to replace the polarizing Johnny Manziel with either the pro-style Kyle Allen or the dual-threat Kenny Hill. Aaron Murray left UGA as one of the most decorated quarterbacks in conference history, holding the records for most passing touchdowns and yards in an SEC career. Senior Hutson Mason is expected to replace him. LSU will likely replace Zach Mettenberger with Anthony Jennings, who has already ?commanded a 99-yard game winning drive against Arkansas. Missouri and South Carolina have to replace James Franklin and Connor Shaw, respectively.

Auburn Resurgent

Being one of the few SEC schools returning a veteran quarterback, expectations are higher for the Tigers than they have been for a number of years. Talismanic running back, Tre Mason, has left for the NFL, but many have faith in Gus Malzahn’s system. Only the season will tell if Auburn can replicate its 2013 success and assert itself as the top program in the state.

Will Muschamp and Florida

As surprisingly good as Auburn was last year, Florida was equally disappointing. The Gators started the season 4-1 with dominant wins over Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee. From the fifth game on, however, Florida lost seven straight games, including embarrassing losses to Georgia Southern and Vanderbilt. Florida coach Muschamp will have to show dramatic improvement in both results and team atmosphere to preserve his first head coaching job.