LSU Football: Midseason Awards for Players and Coaches
The 2013 season has been an unconventional year for the LSU Tigers and the midseason awards reflect it.
With LSU's most valuable player hailing at the quarterback position and a defensive MVP hard to come by, Tiger fans have encountered foreign territory.
Posting 2,164 yards through eight games, Zach Mettenberger has given LSU's offense a pro-style quarterback that can sling it. However, the Tigers' inheritance of a 6'5" talented quarterback has been equally met by a struggling inexperienced defense. The defensive struggles have led to two losses, crushing the Tigers' national championship aspirations. So where do we stand through eight weeks?
Well, Mettenberger is "the guy," John Chavis' defense is questioned, Cam Cameron's revitalization of LSU's offense is praised, and one Tiger accomplished something that hasn't been done in college football since 1968.
Here are the complete midseason awards for the LSU Tigers.
Offensive MVP: Zach Mettenberger
Ole Miss game aside, Zach Mettenberger has been exactly what the offense needed.
Mettenberger has been sensational this season at taking care of the ball and making the correct reads, utilizing his strong arm and accuracy to shred defenses. Again, Ole Miss game aside.
What fans saw Mettenberger do against the Rebels was try to win the game on his own. Mettenberger forced balls that he shouldn't have and was picked off three times as a result. He rebounded in the second half with 172 passing yards, one touchdown pass and no interceptions.
Quite frankly, that's what LSU fans have grown accustomed to seeing from him. Excluding the Ole Miss game, Mettenberger has 1,890 passing yards, 15 touchdowns and two interceptions.
He's lit up scoreboards with his high-octane, gun-slinging style, and the Ole Miss game reassures the fact that he's the Tigers offensive MVP. If the Tigers are going to win, he has to take care of the ball, make the right decisions and place the ball where only his wide receivers can catch it. If he does so, the Tigers can hang with any team in the country. They've already proven so in encounters with Georgia, Auburn and Florida, where Mettenberger did exactly what he needed to do for victory.
Defensive MVP: Lamin Barrow
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Lamin Barrow is the one uncompromising tangible on LSU's defense.
Though Barrow was off to a slow start, he's asserted himself as the veteran of this defense and has given a weak LSU linebacker corps a steady leader.
Barrow leads the team in tackles with 57 and is fifth on the team in sacks with 1.5. The next two leading tacklers for LSU are D.J. Welter with 43 and Kwon Alexander with 38.
Barrow is on pace with himself from last season. Historically, Barrow gets stronger as the year goes on and through eight games last season he had 59 tackles.
The Tigers linebackers better hope Barrow can finish this season like last season, accumulating over 100 tackles. Because as it seems, Welter or Alexander isn't going to carry this unit. Barrow earned that No. 18 jersey this season, which is an honor awarded by the players in a vote to decide the team's leader.
Best Play: Odell Beckham's Field-Goal Return for a Touchdown
What fans witnessed in Tiger Stadium on Sept. 7 was historic.
Yes, Mettenberger's five touchdown passes were a school record, but it was Odell Beckham's electrifying play that stole the show.
On a short 59-yard field-goal attempt, Beckham trekked from one end zone to the other on a remarkable touchdown return.
The play is believed to be the first missed field goal return for a touchdown since Clemson's Rich Iuzzi did it in 1968.
Beckham finished that game with 331 all-purpose yards (third most in school history), and with that field-goal return leading the way, Beckham provided the fans in attendance with one of the most unforgettable performances in LSU lore.
Best Coach: Cam Cameron
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Every adjective you've heard about Cam Cameron this season is true.
He's added wrinkles to the offense and he's simplified reads for Mettenberger with play-design, but the greatest attribute of Cameron is his ability to maximize.
That's exactly what he's done at LSU. He's taken a toolbox full of hammers and nails, and he's found those loose screws and screwdrivers to construct an offense that utilizes every tool at its disposal.
The passing game compliments the rushing game, and when it has called for it this season, such as the Florida game, the Tigers have used the rushing game to pound away on opponents.
Cameron's dramatic improvement turned LSU's passing game into a weapon, improving the Tigers' aerial attack from 11th best in the league to fourth.
Most Improved: Zach Mettenberger
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I tried to pick someone else. I couldn't without regret.
While Ego Ferguson nearly convinced me to pick him with his 38 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss, which is twice as high as his career high heading into his junior season, I had to go with Mettenberger.
Cameron gets a lot of credit for Mettenberger's growth, as he should, but Mettenberger deserves an ovation from the LSU faithful.
It was Mettenberger that bought into the system, studied the playbook and to everyone's surprise became a great student of the game.
He surpassed his 2012 total for touchdown passes before September ended, and he's taking gigantic leaps in the perception of media draft boards as a result of his improvement.
Rookie of the Year: Tre'Davious White
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He's had his ups and downs, but Tre'Davious White has done more right than he has wrong.
White's elite athleticism gives LSU a cornerback that is physical, instinctive and fast enough to cover some of the best wide receivers in college football.
Heck, you try making the jump from high school ball to shadowing Donte Moncrief in a year's time. Growing pains are expected.
White has given up a few touchdowns as a result of his youth and inexperience, but he's equally broken up passes and has provided strong run support.
Give this kid some time, and he, along with another young defensive back—Rashard Robinson, will have LSU looking like DBU once again. With White gaining valuable playing time this early in his career, it's only going to make him better moving forward.
Surprise Star: Terrence Magee
Despite Mettenberger's emergence, Jeremy Hill's accelerated return, and Jerald Hawkins' ability to step into the starting lineup unexpectedly and be a solid offensive tackle, Terrence Magee's production early into the season is still the Tigers' most pleasant surprise.
Magee, who entered the season as the fourth-string running back, exploded onto the scene in Hill's absence.
In the first game of the season, Magee recorded 95 rushing yards and two touchdown rushes against TCU with the lights shining bright in Cowboy Stadium.
Here's a guy who has taken a humble approach in his career at LSU, silently changing positions last season from running back to wide receiver.
When his team needed him to make the switch back to his natural position, Magee helped his team out in a tough season opener. He's currently second on the team in rushing with 268 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.