The SEC struggled in its first week, but all 14 programs have another opportunity on Saturday.
Although the games aren’t as flashy, Arkansas and Tennessee have notable games away from home against Power 5 opponents. Three teams also begin their pursuit of an SEC championship, while South Carolina tries to capitalize on its 1-0 start in conference.
Here is what every SEC coach had to say about their Week 2 slate:
Nick Saban, Alabama
Matchup: vs. Western Kentucky in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
“The team we are playing this week, Western Kentucky, I think most people probably don’t even know that they were a Top 25 team (last season)… . We had two teams in our league that actually lost to teams that were nowhere near this good, nowhere near what they accomplished a year ago, nowhere near the number of players coming back, and a third team that had to win in overtime.”
Bret Bielema, Arkansas
Matchup: at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas
“Great opportunity for us to play one of the best teams in college football over there. Neat thing is they’re coming here next year … unless they Michigan us.”
Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Matchup: vs. Arkansas State in Auburn, Ala.
“Going into the first game, the plan was that we were going to throw a lot at them. We felt like all three quarterbacks had some things they could be successful with. We were going to give them a lot to think about. We weren’t able to execute or run the…. We weren’t as successful as I thought we would be with those, but that was the plan…A little unknown right there, throwing a lot at the opponent. We’re moving forward with Sean White and bringing along John Franklin.”
Jim McElwain, Florida
Matchup: vs. Kentucky in Gainesville, Fla.
“We’ve got to show up no matter what it is. … I know our guys are ready. Here’s the thing. Great teams, the opponents don’t matter. It’s the personal part of the preparation and play and taking pride in who you are and what you’re all about to go out and compete no matter who you’re playing. It doesn’t matter.”
Kirby Smart, Georgia
Matchup: vs. Nicholls State in Athens, Ga.
“The quarterback plan is very similar to last week right now. We’re going to continue to rep both of those guys, give those guys a lot of work, and make a decision as to what we’re going to do, whether it’s later in the week, or game time. Both those guys will continue to work, and that’s the most important thing that they can continue to grow and get better and develop so that our offense can grow and develop and get better.”
Mark Stoops, Kentucky
Matchup: at Florida in Gainesville, Fla.
On Kentucky’s 29-game losing streak to Florida: “I think each season each and every team is totally different from another. The fact that we played Florida well the past two games and the fact the we played ’em well two years ago when we went down there means nothing to us. I’m concerned about our games and you look at the mistakes and the tendencies that you’ve played with, but the past 30 years have nothing to do with us and this team. Really not concerned with it at all.”
Les Miles, LSU
Matchup: vs. Jacksonville State in Baton Rouge, La.
On the QB battle: “How close is (Danny) Etling? That’s speculative. There’s a chance he could see time in a couple different situations.”
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
Matchup: vs. South Carolina in Starkville, Miss.
On position battles: “Every position on our team everybody competes every single week. We’ll see how everybody does in practice this week.”
Barry Odom, Missouri
Matchup: vs. Eastern Michigan in Columbia, Mo.
On J’Den Cox trying out for the team: “Obviously, he’s one of the best wrestlers in the world. I just told him, ‘You make sure you take care of wrestling, and if you want the opportunity to play football, then we will sit down and have a serious conversation about it,’ and we did.”
Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss
Matchup: vs. Wofford in Oxford, Miss.
“Whether you play well and lose or you play bad and lose, how you handle that and how you bounce back is just part of it. You’re not going to win them all, especially if you are playing a schedule like we are playing. The positive is you go into basically a home game with one of the top teams in the nation, it is easy to see that we could have won the game.”
Will Muschamp, South Carolina
Matchup: at Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss.
“Anytime you have positive results, it makes it much easier to believe and have some belief in what you’re trying to do. You’ve got to have some positive feedback regardless of whether it’s football, the business world or whatever you’re doing. You’ve got to have something positive happen for you. In our profession, the result of winning is what you look for.”
Butch Jones, Tennessee
Matchup: vs. Virginia Tech in Bristol, Tenn.
“We are excited for the Battle at Bristol. Great, great opportunity and has been a long time in the making. A lot of behind the scenes work that’s gone on with Jerry Caldwell, the BMS staff, Dave Hart, our administration. So we’re very, very excited to be going into this exciting week and I know it’s been a long time in the making and its finally turning into a reality.”
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
Matchup: vs. Prairie View A&M in College Station, Texas
“Don’t take any of these games lightly. Starts with us in games like this. Things we have to get better. One of those things is like I said for whatever reason the focus. Tell you something else. All these upsets seem to happen in early games, 11 (a.m.) games. Notice that? Different times for different teams. Teams like us are used to playing later in day or at night. Different for everybody.”
Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
Matchup: vs. Middle Tennessee in Nashville, Tenn.
“Some of our guys just need to step up and make some plays. Our third-down efficiency defensively, we could have been better. We struggled to get off the field and extended some drives. We need to protect our quarterback and keep him upright.”