Waiting for the 2010 LSU football season to begin has been a roller coaster of wild emotionally charged speculation and tons of questions. Is Les Miles on the hot seat or is he the best coach to ever coach the Tigers? Is the offensive line going to be better despite having only one starter returning to his starting position? How will our fast but light defensive line play? How will our quarterbacks fair and who's third string? Will LSU be 5-7 or 7-5 or 10-2 or 13-0? All these questions and many more have left Tiger fans with the same resolve that we just want to get this season started and the sooner, the better. The season will be here soon and whatever happens, will happen but some things are certain while other things will have to be revealed in due time.
Les Miles is the Best!
Pat Forde of ESPN wrote an article a few days ago titled "Is Miles more or less?" While Forde does an excellent job of representing arguments for and against Miles, the arguments most compelling to me were the "Les is more" pro Les Miles arguments. It is a certainty that despite two off years Les Miles has the highest winning percentage of any LSU coach who has coached at least 20 games. Miles has a 77% winning average. The great Charlie McLendon had a 69% winning average. Paul Dietzel had a 65% winning average. And even the "Bear Bryant, Jr." aka Nick Saban had remarkable but still second place winning percentage of 75 as an LSU head coach. Forde makes a number of other arguments in his Miles evaluation article but this first one was enough for me. Les Miles is the best LSU coach ever and a couple of down years are not enough to convince me otherwise.
LSU is loaded with talented players!
From 2006 to 2010, Rivals and ESPN have ranked LSU's recruiting class in the top 10 every year except for one. LSU's 2008 recruiting class was ranked 11th by both Rivals and ESPN. Scout has included all of those same LSU recruiting classes in the top 10. It is a certainty that LSU has some of the best football players playing college football anywhere this year.
We have two experienced quarterbacks each of whom has exhibited a major flaw in their play as underclassmen. Jefferson took too many sacks and Lee tended to throw touchdowns for the wrong team. Whether either Jefferson or Lee will emerge having corrected his flaw is still a mystery. LSU's running backs were not regular starters last year and LSU did not run well last year with experienced backs. Some LSU fans are so worried about this mysterious lack of a running game that they have expressed frustration at the idea that LSU will even consider trying to pound the ball up the middle. LSU's offensive line is mostly new starters leaving us to guess at how good they will be. We will not know for sure if the addition of a new running backs coach, a new tight ends coach, and a new passing coordinator will bring the LSU offense to life until the team takes the field. I have a strong feeling that LSU will have very good offense this year.
The Defensive line and linebackers
LSU has very few returning starters on the defensive line and among the linebacker corps. Drake Nevis on the line and Kelvin Shepard among linebackers are the two leaders with experience. Pep Levingston has experience on the d-line but he has been moved from defensive end to defensive tackle. The good news here for LSU fans is that many of the players that will be starting and in the regular rotation at these positions were highly recruited talented athletes that would have started earlier in their college careers at many other schools. A certainty within this defense is that they are fast. Speed can often correct for defensive errors.
While the certainties are comforting, the number of mysteries is frustrating for LSU football fans. Who's ready for some football?! Is it almost September 4th yet? How about now?