Wednesday, August 20, 2008

How Far is LSU From Repeating in SEC?


SEC West #2 LSU Tigers

2007 Results and Offseason
LSU won their second BCS Championship, the only school to do so, despite losing two regular season games including the finale vs Arkansas in OT. The star losses were heavy, but LSU has recruited so well the past five seasons that they can now just reload. The QB is the biggest issue heading into the season after expected starter Ryan Perrilloux was dismissed.

2007 Record: 12-2, 7-2
Ret. Starters: 13
Ret. Lettermen: 44
Off PPG 37.3 (2nd) RYPG 210.5 (1st) PYPG 198.6 (7th)
Def PPG 26.9 (5th) RYPG 126.4 (2nd) PYPG 201.8 (6th)

Offense (7 RS 22 RL)
After Perrilloux was dismissed, the QB competition became wide open with rFR Jarrett Lee and Harvard transfer Andrew Hatch competing in the spring. True freshmen Jordan Jefferson has joined the fray in fall ball and as of a week ago, there was no clear cut decision on the QB. Jacob Hester is gone to the NFL, but LSU won't have a shortage of players to run the ball. Keiland Williams showed flashes of brilliance last year and will be complemented by speedster Trindon Holliday. Charles Scott will also figure into the mix. The o-line returns four starters including the biggest baby in Louisiana History LG Herman Johnson. This group has 96 starts between them. Six of the top seven receivers in yardage return led by the explosive Brandon LaFell and Demetrius Byrd. Richard Dixson is a quality TE who made AA LB James Laurinaitis look stiff in the BCS Championship

Defense (5RS 19 RL)
The d-line lost SEC Def POY Glenn Dorsey but there will not be much of a drop off with the depth retuning. DT Ricky Jean-Francois showed his talent in the BCS Championship as the Bowl MVP despite missing the first 12 games due to susp. DE Kirston Pittman is a speed rusher who had 8 sacks LY and is also the leading returning tackler. Darry Beckwith returns at LB, but Ali Highsmith and Luke Sanders are gone. This is the weakest part of the D. The secondary was the hardest hit losing three starters including 1st Team AA SS Craig Steltz. Both corners are gone as well and expected replacement Jai Eugene struggled at times last year. True freshmen Patrick Johnson was LSU's top recruit and should see the field early.

Special Teams
Colt Davis is back at kicker and was 1st Team All SEC last season. A new punter will have to replace Patrick Fisher. Holliday and Williams will return kicks again and super soph Chad Jones will likely return punts.

Recruiting

Schedule
The FBS Champ plays the FCS Champ (App State) in the first game of the year. Other non-conf foes are v N. Texas, vTroy, and vTulane. From the East they welcome Georgia, but travel to Florida and South Carolina. The Sept 20 game at Auburn will go a long way in determining the West winner.

Final Thoughts
LSU lost a lot of very talented players from last year, but their recruiting will pay off this year with the depth they have built. Don't count Les Miles out in the panetheon of SEC coaches. He is 15-5 against ranked opponents in Baton Rouge. The QB situation has to be settled before they go to Auburn. The home team has won the last eight in the series and the winner has gone to four of the last five SECCG.

Prediction
Likely Wins: vTroy, vN. Texas, vTulane, vOle Miss, vMiss St
Likely Loss: None
9-3, 5-3

Next Up - SEC East #2

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