LSU Football: Tigers' Position-by-Position Spring Practice Preview

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IMarch 4, 2013

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 30:  LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles during practice on October 30, 2012 at the LSU Athletic Building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images


Zach Mettenberger returns as the Tigers' starting quarterback, and he will look to improve on an up-and-down 2012 season.

With a full year of starting experience under his belt and Cam Cameron now calling the shots on offense, Mettenberger should have every chance to thrive in this LSU offense. Look for 20-plus touchdown passes from the Tigers' senior signal-caller.

Stephen Rivers and Rob Bolden should be one story to watch this spring. Bolden has much more in-game experience than Rivers, having started for Penn State before transferring to LSU. However, Rivers was the primary backup last season and looks to be the heir apparent to Mettenberger once he graduates.

Also keep an eye on true freshman quarterback Anthony Jennings, who is a mobile quarterback who could be in the mix for snaps if he performs well this spring.


Running Back

Who will be the starting running back for LSU this season?

Will it be Alfred Blue, who was the Tigers' best running back last year before going down with a season-ending injury in Week 3?

Will it be Jeremy Hill, who had a phenomenal freshman season, filling in for Blue when he went down, and went on to lead the Tigers in rushing yards and touchdowns?

Or will it be Kenny Hilliard, who ranked second on the team in rushing yards and touchdowns and is a workhorse back with an NFL-ready frame?

We shall wait and see.


Wide Receiver

Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry have established themselves as the clear-cut starters at wide receiver for this LSU football team.

But the question is, who fills in that third wide receiver role?

Will it be a veteran like Kadron Boone or James Wright, or will a freshmen come in and secure one of those roles, like Quantavious Leslie or John Diarse, who is expected to enroll early and partake in spring practices?


Tight End

This should be a great position battle to watch in the spring and all the way into the regular season.

Travis Dickson and JUCO transfer Logan Stokes will likley battle it out in the spring for that starting tight end spot. But mega-recruit DeSean Smith will arrive on campus in the summer and should instantly turn that into a three-man race.

Keep an eye out to see if one of these guys makes a big statement early on in spring practice coming up.


Offensive Line

The offensive line will be a huge question mark this season, and hopefully some of those questions can be addressed in spring practice.

The issue certainly isn't a lack of talent on this offensive line; in fact, if anything, it's that there is too much talent and it needs to be spread out appropriately.

Will La'El Collins make the move from guard to tackle?

What will happen with Josh Williford? Will he take one of the starting guard spots?

What about freshman Ethan Polic? Can he compete for one of the starting spots?

This should be a great battle throughout spring camp and into the summer.


Defensive Line

The defensive line is hands down the biggest question mark for this LSU football team heading into spring practice.

All four starters in 2012 have graduated or are moving on to the NFL, which makes for a wide-open competition.

Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson are the early favorites to take over at the starting defensive tackle spots, but the defensive end position is much more unclear. Look for guys like Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco to compete for those starting defensive end spots.

This competition should only get better once the true freshmen arrive.



This position is loaded with talent, it's just a matter of who will be playing where.

Lamin Barrow and Kwon Alexander are both returning starters and should both be studs out on the field in 2013. But does Barrow move inside or does he stay outside?

Will we see an abundance of sophomores out on the field, like Ronnie Feist, Lamar Louis and Deion Jones?

Will Tahj Jones return from his suspension and grab one of those starting outside linebacker spots?

These are all realistic possibilities at the linebacker position for the Tigers.



Welcome to the "Jalen Show."

With Tharold Simon bolting early for the NFL draft, it looks like Jalen Mills and Jalen Collins are the early favorites to take over the starting cornerback spots for LSU.

The good news is that there is plenty of young talent surrounding this program, especially in the defensive backfield.

Once freshmen Tre'Davious White gets on campus, he should add another elite cornerback to the mix.



Craig Loston returns as the leader of this group after All-American Eric Reid decided to leave early and head to the NFL.

But the other safety spot is wide open and should be a position battle to keep a close eye on throughout fall practice.

Micah Eugene and Ronald Martin both saw some playing time last season and should be the early favorites to take over that other starting safety spot. But don't court out Jerqwinick Sandolph, a talented second-year player who has the skill to compete for a starting spot as well.

This should be one of the top position battles to watch this spring.


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