LSU Football: 5 Most Important Takeaways from September
After playing five games in September, it's safe to say that offense is the new defense for the LSU Tigers.
Before scrutinizing and examining all of the strengths and weaknesses, let's simplify things, shall we?
Cam Cameron equals offensive explosion, while inexperience on defense produces a defense that is statistically behind Arkansas and Mississippi State in total defense.
Indeed, those are the substantial storylines for the Tigers in 2013, but when it comes to the biggest narratives of the month, these are the top takeaways.
5. Jeremy Hill Leads Tigers in Rushing
Jeremy Hill's reinstatement dominated the college football world before the season. Well, everything except Johnny Manziel, of course.
With him as the starter, Hill is giving the Tigers a "puncher's chance" in the SEC with his terrific runs. Pardon the pun.
After riding the bench against TCU, Hill won back his starting position by Week 3, and he now leads his team in rushing with 436 yards and seven touchdowns.
It's obvious that Hill is the best running back on the team, but with his future in doubt heading into the season, it's somewhat surprising that he's leading the team in rushing after the first month of action.
For that reason, Hill's successful return to the team serves as a glaring side note this season.
4. 'Freak' on a Leash?
Before LSU was DBU, the Tigers defense was always revered for its play on the defensive line.
This begs the question lurking on every Tiger fans' mind—where is the dominant force inside for LSU?
Anthony Johnson, whom I vehemently praised before the season, has come up short for the Tigers so far. After five games, "Freak" has 16 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss. He's on pace to finish the season with less tackles for loss than last season, and he's a full-time starter this year.
Why is his production so low? Well, the fact that he's getting double-teamed and that he's been battling nagging injuries, such as the leg injury he suffered against Auburn, states the obvious.
Still LSU fans expected more out of Johnson. Will he rebound in the second half of the season and cement his legacy as another Tiger great on the defensive line?
3. Dynamic Duo Helping Offense Soar at a Record-Breaking Pace
This LSU season is like watching the "opposite day" episode of Spongebob Squarepants over a four-month span.
Instead of playing commanding defense, LSU is racking up wins by riding the backs of Mettenberger, Hill and the dynamic duo—Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham.
Beckham is No. 2 in the nation in all-purpose yards with 215.8 per game, while Landry became the first player in school history to have a touchdown reception in each of the first five games of the season. Landry is tied for third in most touchdown receptions this season with seven.
As a unit, LSU's offense scored 30-plus points for the fifth straight game, which is a school record. The Tigers have scored 214 total points this season, which is the most by any LSU team through the first five games. What a difference having a true play-caller makes in a year.
We thought this LSU offense would be good, but who predicted it would set a record-breaking pace?
Zach Mettenberger, a Heisman campaign and pop culture could give ol' Mett the catchiest nickname in college football—"Heismanberger."
He's already thrown more touchdowns (13) than he did last season, and if he keeps gutting defenses with touchdown passes, he'll likely break the LSU record for most passing touchdowns (28).
As great of a start as Mettenberger has had, is a Heisman truly reachable? That's highly doubtful, as he'll need a lot of help.
While continuing to throw touchdown passes and protecting the football, he'll need assistance from the defense, as the unit needs to improve its overall game for the Tigers to run the table and win out. However, a Tigers SEC-championship riding the arm of Mettenberger could bring Heismanberger to life.
1. Growing Pains for DBU
The inexperience on defense already saw the Tigers drop one.
Without a great pass-rusher present on defense, a dynamic linebacker shutting down run games in the middle and a defensive backfield that would resemble DBU, the Tigers defense just gave its worst performance since getting thrashed by Florida in 2008.
The defensive backs committed huge errors against Georgia that were levied by poor communication and missed signal calls, and as expected, Les Miles alluded to the errors at his weekly press conference.
“Without much detail, I can just tell you that there was a signaling issue and player-to-player communication difficulty,” Miles said.
But before that game ever took place, the Tigers secondary had issues, like Jalen Collins playing poorly against UAB.
Tre'Davious White, the true freshman, was built as a potential replacement for Collins' position, but he showed his inexperience early against Georgia, giving up a first-quarter touchdown pass. From the young players learning technique to the player-to-coach/player-to-player communication blunders, the "Chief" John Chavis has plenty to work on moving forward.
Jake Martin is a Featured Columnist of Bleacher Report and a contributor for the The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials from The Sun Herald.