Preview of the 2009-2010 LSU Fighting Tigers (Part 1 of 3)
Lets be honest, LSU's offense was pretty bad in 2008. It's hard to admit for an avid Tiger fan, but it is most certainly true. The struggles were blatantly obvious in the several Pick 6's Jarrett Lee threw last season.
2009 looks to be a different situation all together, what follows is a breakdown of the LSU offense into: QB, HB/FB, WR/TE, O-line, and Kicker. So here we go
QB: The Jarrett Lee days are behind LSU. Jordan Jefferson, who started the final few games of 2008, including the thrashing of Georgia Tech in the Chik-Fil-A bowl, will be the starter for 2009 season. Relatively untested still, Jefferson will have his work cut out for him as LSU faces a very brutal SEC schedule (more on this in a later article)
However, Jefferson may not be the only person in the backfield this season. As all football fans know, the hot trend of 2008 was the Wild Cat formation. LSU did not/could not run this formation last season. This season may be different however, with the addition of very talented and athletic Russell Shepard. Shepard could step in to run this formation if he is not redshirted this season.
HB/FB: Last season LSU was supposed to be "Run by committee," however Charles Scott really stole the Spot Light, and ended up carrying the ball most for the Tigers. Expect more of the same, in your face running by Scott in 2009. However, the Tiger backfield is again loaded for the 2009 season, and joining Scott will be a pair of seniors, Keiland Williams and Trindon Holliday, along with Junior Richard Murphy.
Don't be surprised if the running game is what carries this LSU team, especially early in the season. There is everything you want in a backfield at LSU: Fast (Williams), Run you over strong (Scott), and damn, what was that fast (Holliday). This backfield can burn you in so many ways.
In front of these talented backs will be Stevan Ridley, who did not carry the ball much last year (only 18 times for 92 yards). Ridley, will probably be a lead blocker mainly, but when he does carry the ball, it will be important, short yardage situations that LSU has to convert.
WR/TE: Again LSU is loaded in this position (as they were in 2008), led by Seniors Brandon Lafell, and Chris Mitchell, Junior Terrance Tolliver, along with Senior TE Richard Dixson, with new additions Rueben Randle and Chris Tolliver, look for the LSU Wide outs to have a much better 2009 season, especially with a new and more talented QB in the backfield. The Wide outs have both speed and size, Lafell and Terrance Tolliver are listed at 6'3" 209 lbs. and 6'4" 197 lbs. respectively, and both recorded 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Having both speed and size gives Jefferson a bunch of options, the receivers can beat you deep, or Jefferson can throw it up to a covered man, and he can out jump you for the ball. Plus, once they make the catch, they will be hard to catch, and even harder to tackle.
O-line: Even with the loss of Herman Johnson and Brett Helms, LSU still has a very talented O-line for the 2009 season. Returning three starters: Joseph Barksdale, Lyle Hitt, and Ciron Black. As for the two open positions: Josh Dworacyzk, who was first string in spring practice will likely be the other OG, while the open Center spot will likely be filled by Sophomore T-Bob Hebert, who was also first string in spring practice.
This offensive line is extremely large, all between 285 and 325 lbs. Look for Jefferson to have some time in the pocket when he does drop back to pass the ball. Plus, this line has something very important, experience, three returning starters could prove very beneficial as the season drags on
Kicker: This is an easy one. It obviously goes to Junior Josh Jasper who will probably perform both the Place Kicking and Punting duties this season. Jasper had a very solid average as a punter last season (43 yards), and will be looking to take over for the now departed Colt David.
All in all, I look for the Tigers to have a very productive 2009 football season, there is no lack of talent at both the halfback and wide receiver positions this year, which will make Jordan Jefferson's job much easier, and all signs point to the positive when it comes to Jefferson.
When asked about the new Quarterback, Charles Scott said, "[And] Jordan came in today and took control of the huddle." Scott said there were the mistakes associated with the opening day of practice, but was impressed by Jeffersons work ethic and buisness-like deamenor.
Coming up next will be the opposite side of the ball, which needs to be much improved if LSU wishes to contend in the 2009 season
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