SEC halftime report


Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Florida running back Mike Gillislee are two of this year's standouts in the SEC up to this point. (Photos by staff photographer Doug Finger and The Associated Press)

Published: Friday, October 12, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 10:35 p.m.

We're only halfway done with the season, but it's time to look at the standouts and surprises so far:

BEST OFFENSIVE PLAYER

Florida RB Mike Gillislee

He isn't a very vocal player, but Gillislee's effort against LSU came straight from a megaphone.

The well-rounded workhorse of a running back punished the third-ranked defense in the country last week, running it 22 times for 112 yards in a second half that saw him score both of Florida's touchdowns in the 14-6 win. His 34 total carries was tied for third most in school history.

Gillislee leads the SEC in rushing with 109.6 yards per game to go with seven touchdowns.

But aside from his production, Gillislee has helped shape the character of his team.

“I certainly feel like a lot of times teams take the personality of their feature players, and Mike is kind of who we are right now,” said Florida coach Will Muschamp.

Honorable mention: Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel and Alabama QB AJ McCarron.

BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER

Georgia LB Jarvis Jones

Apparently, Jones doesn't need to be at 100 percent to produce like an All-American.

Georgia coach Mark Richt said last Friday that he believes his linebacker has been playing through a groin injury from Week 2 that forced him to miss the team's following game.

Still, Jones has managed 36 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss (third in the SEC), 5.5 sacks (second in sacks per game), 3 forced fumbles and an INT.

Jones is dealing with an ankle sprain from last week, but he has a bye to rest up.

“He's a guy that, if he had to play this week, he probably could've played this week,” Richt said. “Since we don't, he's definitely one guy that we're going to allow to get as healthy as possible before we get going again for Kentucky on Monday.”

Honorable mention: South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney.

BEST FRESHMAN

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel

The redshirt freshman is doing it with his arm, throwing for 257 yards a game (third best in the SEC), completing 69.3 percent of his passes while tossing 11 TDs and 2 INTs. He's also doing it with his legs, running for 99 yards a game (also third best in the league) and seven scores.

If Manziel hadn't already turned heads, he definitely did two weeks ago against Arkansas when he racked up an SEC-record 557 total yards.

“(Offensive coordinator) Kliff Kingsbury has done an excellent job with him,” said Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. “We've tweaked some things offensively to give him a few more tools in his toolbox. We really limited him in that first game.”

Honorable mention: Georgia RB Todd Gurley.

BEST HEAD COACHING JOB

Florida's Will Muschamp

No team has been better after halftime than UF .

That's a product of Muschamp, who's made sound second-half tweaks on a team that now plays with the identity and philosophy he wants. Florida convinced the nation of its transformation last week, moving up to No. 4 in The AP poll.

“Coach Boom” has brought the electricity back to The Swamp and has the Gators feeling confident with a key, three-week stretch coming up.

Honorable mention: S. Carolina's Steve Spurrier.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Slumping Arkansas

Even after the fiasco in Fayetteville with Bobby Petrino, Arkansas was still a preseason Top 10 team and many felt the Razorbacks had the talent to compete in the SEC West.

However, the head injury to quarterback Tyler Wilson that forced him to miss the second half of the loss to Louisiana-Monroe and the loss to Alabama seemed to derail the Razorbacks. Plus, running back Knile Davis — a second-team All-SEC selection in 2010 — hasn't shaken off the ankle injury he suffered before last season.

Dishonorable mention: Auburn.

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