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August 13, 2010

The 2010 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic: LSU vs. North Carolina

Breaking News
Les Miles announced today (August 13) that starting linebacker (WLB), Ryan Baker sustained a serious broken jaw in practice today which means he will likely miss the North Carolina game. My guess would be that this means that Kelvin Shepard may move to the Will linebacker position and another linebacker, possibly Kevin Minter moves into Shepard's spot.  With the exception of Shepard the linebacker spot was already expected to suffer from a lack of experience.  Baker will certainly be missed and I wish him a speedy recovery.

Some Interesting LSU Player Statistics
Even though LSU released this information a couple of months ago, I think that you will find the following statistics interesting:

Four LSU defenders were hand timed at running the 40 (40 yards) in 4.25 seconds or less.  This supports defensive coordinator, John Chavis' statement earlier this week that LSU's defense this year may be the fastest that he has ever coached.  At LSU's media days earlier this week, Chavis pointed out that there were a few defensive ends on the team this year that run a legitimate 4.5seconds in the 40.

Chavis did not point out the fact that four players in LSU's defensive backfield that run 40 yards in 4.25 seconds and are expected to either start or be included in the regular rotation (Patrick Peterson - 4.20/40, Morris Claiborne - 4.25/40, Ron Brooks - 4.23/40, and Drayton Calhoun - 4.24/40).  Often smaller players have this kind of speed but all four LSU players are at least 6' tall and range in weight from around 180lbs. to just over 220lbs.  No wonder Peterson and Claiborne have been promoted as "two of the best starting cornerbacks in the country."

Another interesting item that comes from that older LSU media release are the statistic owned by redshirt freshman running back Michael Ford.  Ford was one of three backs that were heavily recruited by LSU two years ago.  The other two backs were Trent Richardson, who plays for Alabama and Christine Michael, who plays for Texas A&M.  In my opinion, LSU and many other programs ranked the three running back as Richardson #1, Ford #2, and Michael #3.  Saban got Richardson and even though he had Mark Ingram in the backfield, Richardson played his true freshman year, burning a year of eligibility.  Michael comes to mind because he played extensively for Texas A&M last year and gained more than 800 yards.  LSU had the choice between Michael and Ford and they took Ford.  Ford was redshirted which has given him time to learn LSU's offense, practice and work himself into top shape.

Ford has a 42" vertical leap, meaning that he has an extremely strong burst of speed.  Ford bench presses 425lbs. which means he has enough upper body strength to push away defenders and hold on to the football. Ford squats 510lbs. which means he is going to be very hard to take down. Ford can also clean 352lbs. which . . . . I think you get the idea Michael Ford has worked out to the point where he is pretty much in the category of "super human."  Ford is technically behind Richard Murphy and Stevan Ridley in terms of running back seniority but, it will be very hard to keep him off of the field this year.

What Others are saying about LSU and North Carolina College football editor, Mike Huguenin gives his assessment of the best players in the SEC in an article entitled "Tide takes up challenge of defending SEC title."

Baton Rouge Morning Advocate sportswriter Gary Laney has excellent news for LSU fans in his article:   "Chemistry no problem no problem for O-line."

Billy Gomila of And The Valley Shook has a good review of LSU's defensive line is his article:  "2010 Football Position Previews: The One Where Billy Chooses Theme Music - Defensive Line."

As for North Carolina Articles,  "The Real Truth: Why UNC Will Clobber LSU" by Cliff Potter in the Bleacher Report caught my eye.  This article is filled with stuff that LSU fans may to take issue with and I may devote a future post to a rebuttal.

An article in Tar Heel Monthly by Turner Walston entitled "Storylines:  Depth Beyond The Senior Class" may give LSU fans some real cause for concern.  Walston is exploring the mentoring system that Butch Davis has developed at North Carolina and points out the fact that most of North Carolina's starters are seasoned seniors this year. Special thanks to Charlie Morton for bringing this article to my attention.

And finally, J.P. Giglio alerts us to the fact that two of UNC's top senior players, offensive dynamo - Greg Little and defensive anchor - Marvin Austin, are still working out exclusively with the second team presumably because of fear that neither player will be cleared to play by the NCAA by September 4th (the LSU/UNC game).  In his article, "Austin, Little still practicing with 2nd team," Giglio also point out that the starting quarterback for the LSU game may also still be in question.

The LSU vs. North Carolina game is starting to really shape up as a game between a less experienced LSU squad eager to make a name for themselves and a veteran North Carolina team eager to prove the ACC's parity with the SEC.  LSU is playing this season to exonerate their head coach of accusations that LSU is slipping under his watch.  UNC is playing to prove that their head coaches system has matured with this senior class.  September 4th cannot get here quickly enough.


Anonymous said...

Miles better play Mike Ford and Russell Shepard. If he can't do it some coach will inherit some great players.

Anonymous said...

Last year he kept saying he couldnt understand why Shepard wasnt playing... Said that in three different press conferences after games.

Who knows, after all spring maybe Miles noodled that one enough to figure it out. But wouldn't hold out much hope for Ford. Could take years before Miles figures how to get that guy on the field, if past practice is any indication of future performance...

Its just not going to be any different... Its really not.

Miles' is thinking with the new talent that now he can do the offense he wants (run, run, short pass).. only this time it might work. He's not going to change things if he thinks he's got sufficient talent to do what he wants..

Watch... it'll be a recipe for last yr's leftovers served up again...

Anonymous said...

How fast is Noel Devine? Wonder if our D can run him down? Any body know?

Anonymous said...

Hey, Bob are you really Scott Hotard of the BR Morning Advocate? I just read a whole piece in BRMA that was written around the Mike Ford facts that you listed in this article.

Anonymous said...

You know I just read a Hotard Advocate article that used the North Carolina info. I think Hotard is reading Bob's SB for ideas. Bob's got a picture here that does not look like Hotard. And there is nothing wrong with getting ideas from each other. Bob wrote an article based on an email back and forth he had with Gary Laney.

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