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August 4, 2010

LSU Football 2010: Are We Landing or Taking Off?

-Thursday, August 5, 7:34am Update - 
Looking back over coach Miles' comments from yesterday, I saw this great bit of news about the 104 LSU players that reported in:

“Their conditioning is really good,” Miles said of the Tigers. “I want to say that there were three to five guys that didn’t pass the conditioning test. Three of those guys were freshmen. The veteran big men, the guys who have the most difficult time with it, all of them with the exception of one guy, made it. It’s really as good as I’ve been around.”

This team is in great physical shape and any coach will confirm that having players that have worked hard in the summer, who come to the opening day in great shape makes all the difference in the world.  Having the team in great physical condition means that the coaches can concentrate more on further developing the players' skills and game strategy. It also usually means that players are less likely to be injured in practice.  Let's hope that is true this year. 

- Wednesday, August 4,  Evening thoughts Are We Landing or Taking Off: 
I feel like I have probably read more about LSU's 2010 football season than just about any fan on the planet.  I have also seen all the LSU football videos.  (For those of you that want to get hyped for the season, I stand by my three favorite choices and you can follow this link to get hyped. )  I have also read each and every comment to every LSU football article written this year, comments to my articles and others.  And I have to say, kind of in response to a reader's comment, if LSU's fans could suit up and take the field, most of us would. We would also duke it out in the streets, if we thought we could get away with it.  In fact, LSU football fans are already duking it out among themselves in writing in my reader comment section and in forums and comment sections all over the Internet.  

This is a year of uncertainty for LSU football and though every year brings some uncertainty for football fans everywhere, for LSU the question marks seem to me to loom larger.  Most fans and experts agree that LSU has found the ground after flying to the highest heights in the 2003 and 2007 seasons.  All fans have been disappointed to some degree over the 8-5 and 9-4 win-loss records that have marked the Tigers last two seasons.  What fans know is that the LSU football program is on the ground.  The debate is over whether we are landing, crash landing, or just refueled and about to take off.  It is great to see, read, hear that all LSU's fans are passionate to win.  But the $64 million question is "what will this LSU football team do this year?".  Have we crash landed or have we just finished refueling so that we can reach the stellar heights of 2003 and 2007?  I will state my position now:  I believe that LSU football will return to form in 2010. 

Brett Stephen of the Bleacher Report wrote an article today entitled "LSU's Championship Hopes Very Much Alive"  in which he goes through last season's losses and makes a good case for just how close LSU was to a full return to being in the National Championship game.
Stephen's article articulates about half of the comments that have been left at the end of my articles.  Those comments are often in response to a number of comments that either say: "Les Miles is ruining LSU football and should go,"  "Jordan Jefferson is not the man," or "LSU is doomed now and for a very long time to come".  Sometimes all three of these ideas pop up in the same comment. Usually those comments are followed by other comments accusing the negative commenters of disloyalty or lack of faith.

All of this chaos and uncertainty about LSU's prospects for the 2010 season has prompted Jim Kleinpeter, a outstanding and well respected sportswriter for the New Orleans Times Picayune, to note that "When LSU opens its football season against North Carolina on Sept. 4, Les Miles will become the Tigers' first coach in 30 years to make it to his sixth season." ( LSU football: Les Miles feeling heat entering sixth season )  That one phrase says it all:  LSU fans do not tolerate losing.  Anyone that saw the Nick Saban interview just after winning the 2003 National Championship realized this fact.  Saban seemed almost down because he knew that the bar was now set National Championship high.  LSU fans expect to win and will not tolerate finishing behind Alabama and Florida.

What are the articles that will give LSU fans a good idea of our prospects in 2010?
Probably the best article that I have read that gives a sound and sober view of what  the 2010 LSU Tigers face is Jim Kleinpeter's article in the Times Picayune, LSU football: 10 questions facing Tigers in 2010 season.  Here is an excerpt from the article:  "Can the Tigers reverse course and climb back into the Southeastern Conference and national elite? There are reasons to look both ways as the team reports today for fall practice, which begins Thursday." Read More

The Baton Rouge Morning Advocate also provides LSU fans with a good idea of what to expect this year by looking at LSU's offense and defense in two separate articles that covered "Top Returnees," "Key (player) Losses," "Top Newcomers", and a brief "Outlook" for each position. The articles entitled LSU Offense By Position and LSU Defense By Position provide fans a great quick reference to who's who on the 2010 LSU Football team and provides a paragraph of analysis of what this all means.

Did I settle anything - Nope.  I'm a fan too and embrace the frenzy of debate, concern, and hope that make up LSU's preseason.   As a final thought, I will throw out there what I read from the last comment just before I began to write this article.  

Anonymous said..."Why don't we at least see how this #1 or #2 sophomore class performs on the field before we start pulling our hair out and crying. I know that tickets cost a lot of money and we expect to win every game but do [we] really think it is a good idea to run off a coach who had one 8-5 season and one 9-4 season because our new standards cannot tolerate anything less than perfection? No one ran off Saban and he had two season[s] with only 8 wins, even Coach Arnie [Bill Arsnparger] was only 8-2-1 in 1984. Those coaches were heroes."

While I am not satisfied with the "8 wins is OK" stuff, the first part about waiting to see how this highly touted sophomore recruiting class does may be something I can live with.  Now take your corners and come out swinging!  I can't wait for the season to get here!


Anonymous said...

Rise Up Tiger Nation, Rise Up!

Anonymous said...

OK, I will step back and see. I am not going to tolerate mediocrity. 8 wins is not enough and we cannot lose to both Florida and Alabama. And we better not lose any others.

Anonymous said...

Winning is every thing,If Nick Saban goes 8-5 for a few years the Bama fans will go sour..If Les Miles goes 8-5 this years, LSU just might need to get another head coach if they want to fill the stadium in 2011.
How many of you tiger fans out there really think,Les Miles is going to beat Florida,Alabama,NC,West Virginia,Auburn,Ole Miss?Taking off,
Miles just better hope to stay above water.

TigerGal said...

I think we aare about to crash land.
But I still hope that you are right, Bob.

Anonymous said...

I do not know about this tiger team,last year was such a big disappointment.
I hope they beat North Carolina!

Anonymous said...

The thing about saying 9 wins isnt enough is that its not ridiculous. In the NFL, 9 wins is pretty good. All the teams have equal resources to build from (theoretically).

But think about it. At LSU two wins are certain (McNeese and ULM). They might as well be teeing it up and Broadmoor HS and the state school for the deaf. MSU is nothing, and will remain so for years... its in Mississippi, and its in Starkville. Just aint gonna happen, so thats 3. Vanderbilt? Well, you can wax on about how they're good early, but fact is, thats win no. 4. Guaranteed... So, from that point theres 8 games to be played that to some degree are competitive.

Tennessee, they're down to their last Dooley and have a rebellion in their running backs corp. They can be good, but not this yr. Thats a non-competitive game. And win No. 5.

So, with 5 wins against outmanned opposition, it could be plainly stated that nothing, short of the AD getting revenue has been proven. Only we can beat lesser teams.

Now, 7 games to go... Bama, loss, UF, nother loss, OM.. fifty fifty, as with Auburn, put them together, you get another loss... Arkansas, loss...

So, you have left UNC and WV... UNC for all the hype, well, its just UNC... and WV... its just too hard to say... So, lets say we luck up and win UNC because we have the talent, and WV because TS is really big.

Your left going 8-4. Losses to Auburn or OM, UF, Alabama, and Ark. Thats four of the seven games that are even likely competitive bases on program strengths and talent.

One could reasonably say, thats a break even season. Four losses to the seven teams that had a chance to compete. And five games that suckers pay money to go see that in Basketball are called if not 'slam-dunks' are at worst 'lay-ups'

8-4? 9-3? If you dont beat Bama, UF, Ark, OM, and Auburn? Whats the point of the rest? Theres not.

8-4 is pathetic, and so is 9-3 when you front load a schedule with 5 non-competitive games.

Oh, save the 'our schedule is the toughest'... While it may be, it appears we're going to lose to all the tough teams on it.

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