Lane Kiffin and Urban Meyer: Are SEC defenses really FASTER than everybody else?

If you listened to the talking heads on ESPN, one of the biggest things that separates the SEC aka “the conference that has won six BCS championships in a row” is … the speed on defense. It’s almost as if they have a different gear than the rest of college football.

Is that true? Or just a media myth that is perpetuated by ESPN and others?

We asked people who would know, including a couple of former SEC coaches who now hold two of the most prominent non-SEC jobs.

Are SEC defenses really that much faster than the rest of college football?

Lane Kiffin (AP)

Lane Kiffin (AP)

  • Former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin, who is now at USC and has the Trojans ranked No. 1 next year in one ESPN poll. “I believe there is a difference of speed in the SEC. The difference to me is in the front seven, especially the defensive line. There are so many good front seven players in high school in the Southeastern region. Obviously a lot of them go and play in the SEC. Every week in the SEC, you’re usually dealing with a matchup issue somewhere up front. Out here [in the Pac 12] you don’t have as many dominant front seven, and specifically defensive linemen. That’s not a knock on anyone. That’s just studying the NFL Draft. The draft will show you that … where out here, you get better passing games sometimes with quarterbacks and wide receivers. You get different things in different areas of  the country.”
  • Former Florida coach Urban Meyer, who was hired at Ohio State: “Oh no, I think the SEC’s speed is legit. And I can tell you for sure after next year. I haven’t had enough experience yet in the Big Ten. Certainly, the defensive front seven is at a different level in the SEC. We went and recruited a bunch of good guys for our front seven this year for Ohio State, so I hope we can catch the SEC.”
    Urban Meyer (AP)

    Urban Meyer (AP)

  • Former Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof, who was hired in the same role at Penn State: “The SEC is certainly a fast, fast league but we’ve got teams that can run in the Big Ten, too. And when you get on a national scale and talk about winning championships, you have to have a team that can run. Yeah, those guys down there in the SEC can run, there’s no doubt about it. But we’ve got guys who can run here, too, and we’re going to recruits places in the Southeast to get more of them.”

Now it’s YOUR turn. What do you think? And what do you base your opinion on? Please post below.

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178 comments Add your comment

A person SMART enough to know......

March 20th, 2012
12:13 am

A person SMART enough to know......

March 20th, 2012
12:13 am

I must have some of that SEC speed too.

bsg3003

March 20th, 2012
12:15 am

Can’t beat that SEC speed. It’s what separates us from the rest of the country.

bsg3003

March 20th, 2012
12:17 am

lol what would Ted Roof know about defense or SEC speed? his Defense at Auburn was atrocious, especially when he went up against Ut.St, and UGA.

A person SMART enough to know......

March 20th, 2012
12:18 am

SEC SPEED on the field but not so much in the classroom. It is a faster game but the BCS Champs wouldn’t all be SEC teams if they played the game outside in the north sometimes. Weather dictates how the teams play and cold slows down the fastest players too.

The Truth

March 20th, 2012
12:19 am

Speed is the name of the game in the SEC. Bama pays recruits faster than anyone. Greatest Tide tradition since the Bear came over from College Station.

BobDawg

March 20th, 2012
12:20 am

A Person Smart… too funny, yes you do have some of “that speed”…Congrats on your 1st…. LOL

Bulldawg Rick

March 20th, 2012
12:25 am

Speed Kills… Errr Makes for great football!!

SEC Rules!!

bsg3003

March 20th, 2012
12:29 am

A person Smart enough to know… yeah but that would mean when northern teams face the SEC in bowl games, then they would have the advantage playing in a cooler and more stable climate than the climate they are used to seeing up north. That isn’t the case though, SEC has usually been dominant in their bowl games vs their competition.

Kingdaddy

March 20th, 2012
12:37 am

Most of the bowl games are in the South. The speed in the SEC is not myth. No bragg, just fact..

Bigdawg

March 20th, 2012
1:01 am

If I was at Penn State, I’d learn to run fast, too, esp. when Jerry Sandusky’s nearby (badda-boom!).

A person SMART enough to know......

March 20th, 2012
1:10 am

If I was a female at UGa I would learn to run fast or carry a gun. It seems like football players like to beat up their girlfriends in Athens (badda-bing).

Crimson Crush

March 20th, 2012
1:34 am

Carvell left out his most important question for this article …. whether Kiffin or Meyer think they can outrun Coach Saban in the 40 ….

Crimson Crush

March 20th, 2012
1:36 am

bah … the censor software is set to “scared you might say something about the author so flag any post with his name in it ” ;-)

Crimson Crush

March 20th, 2012
1:44 am

I know when I moved from Florida to Alabama a few decades back I was completely shocked when I witnessed my first few high school games . Used to watching high school games in Florida it looked ( and felt) like the whole game was being played in slow motion in Alabama … and that was from the sideline .

Since that time things have changed some but I sometimes wonder if I spent time down there again watching nothing but Florida high school football for a few years and then reverted back to Alabama high school games if I would still notice that same speed gap .

William

March 20th, 2012
1:57 am

Look at the 100m dash times in the south and that will give you some idea of the speed. Fast backs and fast linemen. Growing up in warm weather makes you faster. Playing outside in the yard also helps kids grow up running faster. It’s a cultural thing.

hugedawgfan

March 20th, 2012
4:22 am

Ted Roof’s comments make no sense. He says they have guys that can run in the BIG 10 also but that they are going to recruit the southeast to get that speed? Makes no sense what so ever. What a retard. Thought they already had speed in the big 10 to hang with the SEC? Confusing to say the least.

Crimson Crush

March 20th, 2012
5:30 am

This article is letting the usual AJC standards slip . The really important and burning questions of our time weren’t even asked . Do Kiffin and Meyer think they could beat Coach Saban in the 40 yard dash ? If the answer was no … do they think he uses steroids ?

[...] Are SEC defenses really that much FASTER than everybody else? We asked ex-SEC coaches Lane Kiffin an… [...]

Tampa Gator

March 20th, 2012
6:02 am

Tell us something we don’t already know……

Paddy

March 20th, 2012
6:26 am

Penn St is not going to be a factor in the South for recruiting. Ohio St, maybe. USC,why would you let your kid play for that clown!

dawgEd

March 20th, 2012
6:50 am

An unintended correlation in Tiffin’s comments? Out West, the lack of fast, dominant front sevens enables the development of quarterbacks/receivers.

Beast from the East

March 20th, 2012
6:54 am

Urban has been at The Ohio State University for several months now. The real question is…has he gotten a tattoo yet?

Bandwagon Bammer

March 20th, 2012
6:56 am

Kony2012 – A full size man leads child size troops
Saban2012 – A child sized man leads full size troops

RabidDog

March 20th, 2012
7:02 am

If the defenses are so fast why is Robert Nkemdiche so slow making a decision. Please the paper will have nothing to write about once he makes a decision. That is unless he changes his mind 5 more times.

[...] Junior and Corch insist that SEC speed, baby! is no myth. [...]

slydog

March 20th, 2012
7:36 am

It’s funny how both of the successful coaches acknowledged the differences in the SEC, but Ted Roof had to tell an outright lie…lol. Penn State hasn’t been fast since Kerry Collins was QB…lol. IMHO, it’s style of play and overall athleticism more than speed. Although LB and DL in the SEC are faster and stronger more than the average. If you look at the games and the bowl games, the SEC plays at a faster tempo and pace. Just look at the games.

Vince Drooley

March 20th, 2012
7:45 am

Hey bsg303, while I agree Roof was no defensive wizard, his defense shut down the high flying Oregon defense in the BCS NC game and played a large role in Auburn winning the crystal trophy. Of course, as a Georgia fan, I can understand why you would be unfamiliar as to what it takes to win a BCS title.

FL Jacket

March 20th, 2012
7:46 am

So let me get this straight…are Texas A&M and Missouri now going to magically be faster in the SEC?

Bobo for Attorney General

March 20th, 2012
7:51 am

Michigan State looked pretty quick to me.

nomo

March 20th, 2012
7:52 am

If you don’t believe speedy defenses rule in the south, check out the successful high school teams. Ask the folks at Walton how that prolific offense worked out against one of the smallest defenses in the state (Grayson) – but also very, very fast. Look at the defenses of Lowndes, Camden, North Gwinnett, etc…speedy defenses, usually with an exceptional front seven.

Dap01

March 20th, 2012
7:55 am

The AJC love Lane Kiffin. Why does a coach with an average record and a poor history of character have so much influence with the AJC?

We want a Lane Kiffin update like we want a Tiger update from ESPN.

The Hammer

March 20th, 2012
7:57 am

The only time in BCS history that the Pac 10/12 champion played the SEC champion was last year (2010 season) and they both played to a virtual tie. Why hasn’t the SEC champ ever played the USC Trojans for a championship? What happens this year when the Trojans win another championship, and the SEC champ is shielded from them AGAIN?

FL Jacket

March 20th, 2012
8:09 am

Hammer…

SEC division runners-up also get shielded from regular season failures…

[...] Do SEC defenses really have the most speed in the nation? Coaches weigh in. (AJC) [...]

SC Rules

March 20th, 2012
8:30 am

Mark this down—southern cal v. alabama for the BCS title—Lane’s building a machine in LA — top 5 recruits, LA lifestyle—-SC will be back on top for years!!!

still a dawg fan

March 20th, 2012
8:46 am

All major conferences have speed on defense but where the SEC dominates is in the defensive line.

DawginLex

March 20th, 2012
8:50 am

kiffin hit it right on the nose. It’s the 6′5″ 280 LB d linemen that can run you down that is the difference.

Old Boy

March 20th, 2012
8:52 am

RabidDawg – Nkemdiche is doing exactly what I would expect an ultra-talented high school player to do; he is trying to get his teammates the opportunity to get noticed and potentially land offers. If he waits until after signing day to commit, then it becomes an issue. If I had the ability to potentially help my teammates/friends to get offers, I absolutely would do the same thing.

Old Boy

March 20th, 2012
8:53 am

Correction, first ‘to’ should be ’should’

RxDawg

March 20th, 2012
8:58 am

For the most part it’s a little overrated. The SEC teams probably just have guys like that from top to bottom and incredible depth.

sogadog

March 20th, 2012
9:05 am

I hate to admit it but Michigan State proved coaching trumps speed.

Flo-Ri-Duh

March 20th, 2012
9:07 am

Saban can’t run anything but his mouth so he would be in a close “mouth running” contest with Lame Kitten.

G-Dawg

March 20th, 2012
9:10 am

Agree with Sogadog!

A person SMART enough to know......

March 20th, 2012
9:13 am

I think it is the DOME. Boise St looked like they had SEC Speed last year in the Ga Dome. LOL

BILLY JACK

March 20th, 2012
9:25 am

The SEC is just a superior conf and Kiffin is right about NFL bearing this out.Honestly,the next 10 years the SEC could win the national title 8 or 9 more times.

ElvinBishopBand

March 20th, 2012
9:26 am

FLOriduh…you know something about mouth for sure on this blog! 1980 says it all for you leg humpers!

G-Dawg

March 20th, 2012
9:38 am

Big talk from someone who doesnt even show any allegiances.

Crimson Crush

March 20th, 2012
9:42 am

Honestly,the next 10 years the SEC could win the national title 8 or 9 more times.
===============================================================

No doubt … and the Dawgs will win at least an additional seven more of those spring and summer break national titles to go with em .

PM

March 20th, 2012
9:47 am

The difference is in the amount of athletes in the front 7 with size and speed. They exist in every league there are just more of them in the SEC. Same with coaching, it’s not the only league with good coaches, it just has more really really good ones.