Okay, the 2014 college football season got off to a big bang for the LSU Tigers. Coming off a good 10-3 season and landing the nation’s #2 recruiting class has folks in Tiger country more than optimistic. At the end of last week, the Tigers took to the field for the first of several practices leading up to their annual Spring game that goes down on April 5th in Death Valley. There is no need to mention any names here.
If I did, I would only be referencing past performances and hearsay. Because as we all know, not much information (other than “oh he looks good in individual drills out there”) can be gathered during spring football practice.
We will all get a better look and a better feel on April 5th during the L-Club Purple and White Game. I’ve compiled a short list of things that I think LSU will have to work on in order to get to elite status.
1. Who’s gonna throw it, and who's gonna catch it? After a record setting year passing the football and with two wide receivers with 1,000+ yards, the Tigers offensive staff has their work cut out for them this off season. LSU says goodbye to a veteran QB that was a solid pocket passer, and more importantly, the Tigers lose the best WR duo in the nation. Not only did Odell and Jarvis catch the ball well, both players ran exception routes, both are very good blocking WR’s and both were solid contributors on Tigers special teams. Replacing these two with just a WR is not going to happen. Landry and Beckham Jr. could very well go down as two of the most complete players in LSU history. Think about it! Rob Bolden could become a quick go-to guy this spring, and former Neville star John Diarse has a serious skill set.
LSU has a legit QB derby battle on their hands. Tiger fans should feel more comfortable about the man in charge of grooming these young signal callers. Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron will have whoever he decides to go with ready for the first game of the season. What the QB’s look like in spring is one thing; what the starter looks like opening day is another. You get my drift, don’t you? So whether it's Brandon Harris, Anthony Jennings or someone else, LSU’s starting QB will not be asked to do everything by himself.
2. Find some D-Linemen! The last couple of seasons, the LSU interior defensive 'ine has not been up to par. I mean, if you’re considered the best of the best coming out of high school, a lot is expected from you on the college level. Far too many times last season, LSU could not get any heat on opposing QB’s, and that left a young secondary in bad shape. The best of the best DB’s have a good pass rush. The Tigers have to upgrade the interior D-line if they are going to be among the best in the SEC. Do I even have to remind you about the last quarter and a half of the Alabama game last November? I thought not!
3. Who will run with Leonard? He’s the best player in the land and hailed as one of the greatest prep stars ever in the history of high school football. But all of those accolades mean nothing now. Leonard Fournette is expected to perform at an extraordinary level at LSU. With one of the best RB’s in the SEC going pro in Jeremy Hill, Mr. High School Football could quickly become Mr. College Football. Am I putting too much pressure on Fournette? I think not. When you look at the QB situation at LSU, the time it will take to develop some go-to WR’s and the returning O-Linemen the Tigers have coming back, I think it is very fair to say that Leonard Fournette could have a breakout year. Who will be the next guy in line to help shoulder the load for the LSU rushing attack? If the Kenny Hillard of 2011 returns and the Terrance Magee of last year is back, LSU could have one hell of a backfield.