Five Things to watch for in LSU - North Texas Game
Jeff Palermo Reporting
LSU's 2012 season opener is finally here. Not even Hurricane Isaac could stop what is expected to be another
very entertaining season. Senior wide receiver Russell Shepard said the goal this year is to go 14-and-0. You can't
go 14-and-0 without winning the first game, so here's a look at my five things to watch for when the Tigers tangle
with North Texas.
1. Zack Mettenberger
The Messiah as some LSU fans call him, finally has a chance to start an SEC game. It's been a long road for Mettenberger
and he's looking to put on a display in his first game as a starter at Tiger Stadium. The Mean Green was dead last in pass
defense in the Sun Belt Conference last season and Mettenberger will look to take advantage of a North Texas defensive
secondary that has six freshmen and sophomores listed on their two-deep depth chart.
2. Alfred Blue
LSU junior tailback Alfred Blue is listed as the Tigers first-string tailback. Blue, who started last season as a third-stringer,
was able to move up the depth chart, because of fall camp injuries to Spencer Ware and Michael Ford. Even if they were healthy,
Blue put himself in excellent shape in the offseason to be the Tigers starting running back.
Running backs coach Frank Wilson said Blue put 15 pounds of muscle on his frame and he's a more complete player this year, no
longer just a change of pace back.
3. Jalen Mills
The freshman from DeSoto, Texas, takes over for the Honey Badger at left cornerback. Mills will be tested throughout the season and
this Saturday he'll go up against some veteran receivers. Redshirt freshman Jalen Collins will also see extensive playing time
Mills will not be the only true freshmen that will get a chance to his first collegiate action on Saturday. Linebackers Deion Jones and Kwon Alexander are two other freshmen that are expected to contribute a lot this season, especially since veteran LB Tahj Jones could miss games because of academic issues.
5. 4th Quarter Attendance
LSU is a 43-point favorite to beat North Texas, so this one should be decided early. Alabama and Michigan start an hour later than the LSU
game, so I would imagine a lot of Tiger fans will head back to the tailgate to watch the end of that one.