Deke: Getting off to a good start will be key for LSU
by Deke Bellavia,posted Aug 4 2014 11:07AM
LSU is armed with the nation's best player, one of the best recruiting classes in school history, and the "Mad Hatter" is entering his 10th season as head coach. Tigers fans have plenty to be fired up about as LSU hits the practice field tonight.
A week ago, LSU was pegged as the nation's 13th best team in the pre-season Coaches Poll. In my opinion, that was a bit of a surprise considering the Tigers lost the overwhelming majority of their offensive production.
With a record year in offensive numbers chalked up to QB Zach Mettenberger, RB Jeremy Hill and WR's Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr, first year offensive coordinator Cam Cameron made more than a splash in his first season in Baton Rouge.
Cameron will have his work cut out for him, as all of the aforementioned players are now in the NFL. But the Tigers have a massive offensive line back, three good RB's in the rotation, and a load of incoming freshmen players that can make an impact.
RB's Kenny Hillard and Terrance Magee are back, but the buzz is all about freshman star Leonard Fournette. Fournette has been the nation's most sought-after recruit sine he exploded onto the high school scene four years ago as a freshman at St. Augustine High in New Orleans.
The luxury the Tigers do have on offensive lies in a veteran offensive line, two solid returning RB's in Magee and Hillard, and talent in all other places. Over the next month, Cameron will try and find his starting QB and then mold more talent around the Tigers' new signal caller.
Defensively, LSU should be better this season. The Tigers finished last year as the 7th best defense in the SEC in total defense, allowing 25 points per game. LB DJ Welter is the Tigers' leading returning tackler. In 2013 Welter was second on the team in tackles with 61 stops.
One thing the Tigers will look to improve on is turnovers forced. Under defensive coordinator John "Chief" Chavis, the Tigers have done a great job of forcing turnovers. In 2013, LSU forced 12 takeaways, but finished the season even in the turnover margin department.
And then there is the Tigers schedule. A huge opening game against Wisconsin has all LSU fans fired up with another bowl-like atmosphere expected in Houston on August 30.
Should the Tigers get by the Badgers, LSU could very well be 5-0 when they hit the road for two weeks to take on Auburn and Florida in back-to-back games away from home.
Getting off to a good start will be key for LSU. But settling in on a starting QB before they travel to Auburn and Gainesville may be even more important.