5 Keys to LSU Tigers Success This College Football Season in the SEC
With the departure of Auburn's Cam Newton to the NFL's Carolina Panthers, now more than ever the SEC Title is up for grabs. We all know that the SEC is the super-conference of the current NCAA Football generation and that more years than not, the winner of the SEC championship game goes on to play for the National Championship and the coveted crystal football.
Most analysts have LSU and Alabama as the front runners to win the SEC in 2011, but in college football anything can happen, and losing just one game can ruin your chances at a BCS Championship bid.
Here are a few keys to the success of the LSU Tigers in the SEC this year.
5. Starting Quarterback
LSU Tigers Head Coach Les Miles needs to figure out who his starting QB is going to be. In the past Miles has gone with a two quarterback system, but the opposition has begun to figure it out. For the first time in a couple seasons Les Miles needs to select a bonified starter.
While Sophomore Community College transfer Zack Mettenberger is expected to challenge for the top job, realistically the battle will be between two young men in Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson.
After a not so great Freshman year taking the majority of the reps, Lee fell behind Jefferson as he took the reins in both of their second and third years on the team respectively. All signs point to Jefferson as the starter, but only if he fixes his touchdown to interception ratio.
We won't know until the first game of the season at defending PAC-10 and BCS Title game finalist Oregon who Coach Miles has chosen to toss the pigskin this season.
4. Returning Players
The LSU Tigers have an abundance of returning players from their 2009/10 Cotton Bowl winning team. With the exception of All-American CB Patrick Peterson who was selected fifth overall in this years NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals.
Overall the Tigers have upwards of 15 returning starters from last year including QB Jordan Jefferson, CB Morris Claiborne and Wide Receivers Reuben Randle and Russell Shepard.
The experience brought back to the team by these returnees will prove key in their quest for an SEC Title and leave them way ahead of the competition.
3. Strong Start
In 2011, the LSU Tigers made some interesting choices as to the scheduling of out of conference games. They went out of their way to book their first game of the season against the defending PAC-12 Champs and BCS National Championship Game finalist Oregon Ducks. Although the game is taking place in Dallas and not Oregon, you can count on Duck Nation making the trek down to Texas. They are also playing a tough Big East opponent in the West Virginia Mountaineers early on.
The Tigers have a strong schedule in 2011, and will need a strong start early on if they want to have any shot at an SEC title this year.
2. Spencer Ware
With the departure of running back Stevan Ridley to the NFL, there is a big hole at the position. Second year running back Spencer Ware seems to be the one who will be filling that void. As the number two RB for most of the 2010/11 season, Ware put up just 175 yards on 24 touches for one touchdown.
Despite a difficult regular season, Spencer Ware excelled in the Cotton Bowl with 10 carries for 102 yards giving Tigers fans something to look forward to in the upcoming year.
If the Tigers are going to have a successful ground game this season, Ware needs to use his powerful legs and compact size to power through the gaps and get the Tigers some scores this season.
The Tigers' Achilles heel the past few seasons has been their inability to be consistent. In college football, consistency can make or break your season.
Not only has Jordan Jefferson's play at quarterback been taken into question, but also that of the consistency of Les Miles coaching. He has had some questionable calls resulting in losses the past couple of seasons.
Consistency is what it all comes down to for the Tigers. They must play as well, if not better than they did in the 2011 Cotton Bowl, in the first game against Oregon all the way to their last game against Arkansas in the infamous Battle for the Golden Boot.
If LSU can be consistent, they will be a sure bet to be in the SEC Title Game and give themselves a great shot at the BCS National Championship.