SEC teams in the Wednesday spotlight

BY MATTHEW HARRIS

Advocate sportswriter

Associated Press photo by BUTCH DILL -- Auburn coach Gene Chizik, left, shakes hands with Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin after the Aggies defeated Auburn 63-21 on Oct. 27.
Associated Press photo by BUTCH DILL -- Auburn coach Gene Chizik, left, shakes hands with Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin after the Aggies defeated Auburn 63-21 on Oct. 27.

A look at the six teams who will take their turn in front of the microphones at Southeastern Conference Media Days in Hoover, Ala., on Wednesday:

Texas A&M

AVAILABILITY: 8:30-11:10 a.m.

COACH: Kevin Sumlin

PLAYERS: DB Toney Hurd Jr., QB Johnny Manziel, OL Jake Matthews

QUESTION SUMLIN IS SURE TO FACE: First, Coach, go ahead and tell us all, “I told you so.” Thanks for being patient after last year’s slew of condescending questions. Now, with a new set of offensive coordinators and a three solid running backs, how have you adjusted the offense to account for different defensive looks after the season Johnny Manziel had? How might his role change?

Kentucky

AVAILABILITY: 8:30-11:10 a.m.

COACH: Mark Stoops

PLAYERS: DT Donte Rumph, RB Raymond Sanders, LB Avery Williamson

QUESTION STOOPS IS SURE TO FACE: Mark, you’ve talked about building along the lines and the need for patience. But you’re on track for an elite recruiting class and have a top-shelf offensive coordinator in Neal Brown. What’s a reasonable expectation level for this program during the first season of your tenure, and how do you keep your players and fans even-keeled if losses start mounting?

Mississippi State

AVAILABILITY: 11:20 a.m.-2 p.m.

COACH: Dan Mullen

PLAYERS: DL Kaleb Eulls, LB Benardrick McKinney, QB Tyler Russell

QUESTION MULLEN IS SURE TO FACE: After four seasons, the program has improved but still seems to hit a ceiling annually. Against ranked opponents, you all have gone 2-16, a mark that includes 10 consecutive losses. There are potentially five top-25 teams on your docket this season; by this point, is it fair to say those are the games by which the Bulldogs should be judged?

Tennessee

AVAILABILITY: 11:20 a.m.-2 p.m.

COACH: Butch Jones

PLAYERS: OL Antonio Richardson, OL Ja’Wuan James, LB Jacques Smith

QUESTION JONES IS SURE TO FACE: Butch, first, congrats on stopping your habit of shadowing Brian Kelly. Now, your offenses ranked an average of No. 33 nationally at Central Michigan and Cincinnati. But you lose one of the passing leaders in the SEC and four top receivers. How much will you lean on the run game early as quarterback Justin Worley slides into the starting spot, and what receivers do you anticipate filling the void?

Auburn

AVAILABILITY: 2:20-5 p.m.

COACH: Gus Malzahn

PLAYERS: CB Chris Davis, DE Dee Ford, FB Jay Prosch

QUESTION MALZAHN IS SURE TO FACE: In only two seasons, there is a consensus that this program has fallen off. What steps have you taken to instill discipline? Given that you are tied to the previous staff, how have you tried to make that message credible on a team where you inherited many of the same players you recruited?

Arkansas

AVAILABILITY: 2:20-5 p.m.

COACH: Bret Bielema

PLAYERS: DL Chris Smith, OL Travis Swanson, FB Kiero Small

QUESTION BIELEMA IS SURE TO FACE: In the past 18 months, no one would say there has been a lot of stability on The Hill. Outside of creating a player-friendly environment, what’s been the biggest hurdle to clear in terms of instilling the values of your program at Arkansas, and how long will it take — on the field — before you feel this team reflects your philosophy stylistically?