LSU Football Fans Have Reason to Be Hopeful for the Rest of 2010

Brett StephenAnalyst IISeptember 17, 2010

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 14:  Stevan Ridley #34 of the LSU Tigers  avoids a tackle by Dominique Faust #21 of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Tiger Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 24-16.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

2010 has not started the way most Tiger fans had hoped, especially the progression of quarterback Jordan Jefferson.

But don’t fret, Tiger fans—there are some things to be very proud of thus far.

First, the Tigers are 2-0 and made it past the first of what could have been a stumbling block as they took on No. 16 UNC to open the season. It wasn’t pretty, but the Tigers' record stayed unblemished, and that’s really all that counts this early in the season.

Second, the run game has been re-established for the time being, as the Tigers ran at will against Vanderbilt in a 27-3 win last Saturday.

Stevan Ridley led the charge for the Tigers with 159 yards on 17 carries, including a 65-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Ridley hopes that his performance against Vanderbilt will make some Tiger fans forget about the fumble that almost cost LSU a victory against UNC.

As usual, and as I have been ranting about for months, Russell Shepard added another 30-yard touchdown run, proving once again that he is the biggest playmaker on the LSU football team and that he needs to get more touches.

Maybe head coach Les Miles wants to hold him back until serious SEC play begins, but sooner or later this kid needs to touch the ball and show the nation his true abilities. This Saturday’s matchup against Mississippi State could and should be that time.

LSU had four running backs that averaged over 4.5 yards per carry against Vanderbilt, showing fans that power running is not lost for good in Baton Rouge. Re-establishing the running game was a big part in the journey of getting the offense back to national championship contender status.

Finally, Tiger fans should be happy about the defense. John Chavis is finally giving us results on the field that we were accustomed to seeing earlier this decade.

The LSU defensive front seven has been phenomenal, constantly in the opposing backfield harassing quarterbacks. They have the speed and strength to dominate anyone in the country, and if they can continue to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks, the secondary should have a record-setting season.

Miles and Chavis need to keep the pedal to the metal and send pressure for 60 minutes each week. Letting up almost cost the Tigers the game against UNC, so let’s hope that the coaches learned a lesson.

Mississippi State should present a real challenge to LSU this Saturday in Death Valley.

Dan Mullen has his team back on the right track, and the use of two quarterbacks with different styles should keep the Tiger defense busy. However, neither should be able to do any damage if the LSU defense plays up to its abilities.

The fate of the Tigers is in the hands of the offense. If they can move the ball and put up some points in this game, they should be able to ride the defense to another victory.