LSU Trying to Claw to the Top of the SEC Hill

John SilberContributor ISeptember 23, 2008

It looks like the SEC is the top overall conference this year, hands down. With five out of the top 10 ranked teams coming out of the SEC for the first time in history, it goes without saying that the road to the National Championship will include a team from the SEC.

LSU, as the current national champions, have no reason to believe that it can’t be them again.

However, losing some of their premier talent from that championship team and sending a much-touted replacement for Matt Flynn packing for off the field issues gave many cause to believe that they would not be capable of pulling it together for another run.

Well, if you tuned in and watched them slug it out with Auburn, then those naysayers may be having second thoughts. It’s often said that the winner of the annual LSU-Auburn game usually goes on to win the SEC West, and usually the SEC championship.

While there is still some serious work for the Bayou Bengals against some tough competition (Georgia, Alabama), they showed that they can make it work with a redshirt freshman quarterback and that famous LSU defense.

Coach Les Miles is either very lucky or is one of the most intelligent coaches in college football for some of the things this team has pulled off. It is probably a combination of both.

A key to the success of this team is refining Jarrett Lee and keeping him settled down. He has a better arm than the other half of the LSU quarterback committee, sophomore Andrew Hatch. However, he has little experience against those merciless SEC opponents (none before Auburn).

After a terrible first half coming in for the injured Hatch, LSU seemed doomed, and it looked like the other Tigers would prevail. Boy, did that young man prove that to be false. Coach Miles has to be impressed with the potential that this freshman showed.

Once the more maneuverable and more experienced Hatch is healthy, these two quarterbacks should compliment each other very nicely, and Coach Miles can keep his opponents guessing.

One particular thing that Coach Miles should work on is working with punt return specialist and wide receiver Trindon Holliday on holding on to the ball when back deep to receive kicks. Twice against Auburn, drops by Holliday nearly proved fatal had the Tigers not maintained possession.

Usually reliable, Holliday should have no trouble shaking out the cobwebs and getting it together.

It is a widely held belief that this year’s National Championship will be USC vs. some SEC team, and the LSU Tigers have no reason to believe that it won’t be them again.