July 12, 2018 7:04:16 AM
Every day from 99 days out (May 25) until kickoff, I'll put up a post telling you how many days until kickoff and breaking down something about the upcoming season related to that number.
Today, since we are 51 days away from kickoff, we take a look at: If all goes according to plan and Stewart Reese is MSU's right tackle this year, what is he up against?
Stephen F. Austin: The Lumberjacks have to replace senior John Franklin here; last year's backup is listed as Gary Sampson, a 6-foot-3, 258-pounder from Louisiana. There also could be Demetrion Arnie, who started here once last season but then moved to the other side of the center, allowing Franklin to start.
Kansas State: The Wildcats had two seniors on their two-deep at this spot last year, leaving this as one of the bigger question marks this defense has to face. If they want to make this move, I think this would be a good opportunity to move Kyle Ball to the other side, who has shown some promise in backing up Reggie Walker on the opposite end. Other names in the event that doesn't happen: Bronson Massie and Chase Johnston.
UL Lafayette: This name might sound familiar: Garrald McDowell. If it rings a bell, that's because he's an Ole Miss transfer getting a final season in with the Cajuns, so on this non-conference weekend, Reese gets no break from the SEC grind.
Kentucky: I was big on Denzil Ware going into last season, but frankly Josh Allen was more productive and he's back while Ware is not. That being said, the Wildcats did benefit from having both of them in the rotation and they will have to figure something out behind him, be it Kengera Daniel, Chris Whittaker or something else.
Florida: We all remember the role Todd Grantham had Gerri Green in last year, where he was listed as an outside linebacker but really played more like a defensive end and managed the edge that way. I wonder if Cece Jefferson is going to be that guy for him in year one in Gainesville, and if that is the case, man Reese is going to have his hands full on this weekend. Jefferson racked up nine tackles for a loss in eight starts last season and will obviously be placed in a system that lets him chase more.
Auburn: Well, we discussed in the post on this subject a few days ago for MSU's left tackle, Greg Eiland, about how he would have the unenviable task of facing Marlon Davidson. That leaves for Reese, well, everyone else. That's a bit of an exaggeration, since no defensive lineman plays every snap of every game, but you get my point, but there's also this: in a Kevin Steele system, that means seeing some edge linebackers. That means Big Kat Bryant, TD Moultry, etc. Those guys with big frames but aren't too bulky in those frames, meaning they can get to the edge in a hurry.
LSU: The Bulldogs were lucky to avoid Rashard Lawrence in last year's beatdown of LSU, but if he's healthy this time around, Reese is likely to catch some of his wrath. A tough rotation to crack his freshman season and the aforementioned injury in his sophomore season have not allowed this guy to really show what he is made of, but he was one of the most sought after recruits in the nation for a reason. Obviously, a program like LSU has a lot of dudes to file in behind him, too, so in a season when Reese is going to see a lot of linebackers trying to beat him around the edge, this is going to be one of the toughest defensive line matchups he sees all season.
Texas A&M: Reese will have the joy of dealing with Landis Durham, the senior with a lot of expectations on his shoulders. He put up 12 tackles for a loss last year, which ranked tied for 11th in the SEC, and is projected to be a handful once again in 2018.
Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs really enjoyed the presence of Deldrick Canty out here, but now they must move on. The guys they could look to trying to fill his shoes include Immanuel Turner and Willie Baker, among others.
Alabama: Isaiah Buggs moved around the Crimson Tide front some last year in his first season out of Mississippi Gulf Coast CC, but some of his best and most productive snaps came on the side that Reese will be responsible for. Buggs is a serious power threat, so it makes Reese navigate the tough task of getting out to set the edge but also being quick enough there that he can set himself up for a bull rush or other power move. It's even tougher when that's not the only thing you have to see, and Reese will certainly have that when he faces Alabama's deep rotation.
Arkansas: This is a spot where the Hogs have to figure some things out. I mentioned the big JUCO get, Dorian Gerald, in the post a few days ago for the other side of the line, but it's entirely possible and additional JUCO addition -- Gabe Richardson -- could be the guy on Reese's side. But there are a crew of guys that could be getting the majority of the reps at this spot, including senior Randy Ramsey, junior Jamario Bell and more.
Ole Miss: With all the losses from last season on the defensive front, there is likely to be some shuffling, so this is one where the alignment piece is more tricky than the most (which is saying a ton, because all of this has been hard). Names you will likely see on the edge for Ole Miss include Victor Evans, Qaadir Sheppard, Ryder Anderson and Markel Winters. Where the end up alignment-wise, who knows.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson