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August 28, 2010

Next Saturday Night: LSU vs. UNC

This is the last Saturday before another LSU football season begins. The eyes of the Tigers have turned from the hard work of summer preparation and are now squarely fixed on the North Carolina Tar Heels.  Which Tar Heels will play?  Will the big time NFL prospects take the field or will it be the talented backups that have been eagerly awaiting this opportunity?  While many are focused on which players will play for the Tar Heels next Saturday, Les Miles and the LSU players aren't.  

The weekend before the opening kickoff and after hard studying of everything that Les Miles has said about this team, this year, all you can say for sure is that there is something going on at LSU.  

I watched the ESPN College Game Day season preview and one of the guys picked Alabama to be in the National Championship, one picked Florida, and Kirk Herbstreit pick Oklahoma and Ohio State to be in the National Championship.  No one picked LSU to even be in the SEC championship game. I'll try to remember that when LSU wins the National Championship at the end of the year.

By this time next week, we will know what Miles already knows but has not yet clearly communicated.  

Last year the offense did not work.  The line couldn't block.  The running backs couldn't run. The quarterback couldn't make up his mind quickly enough.  And the defense carried LSU to 9 wins. Jordan Jefferson has manned up and admitted that had he played more maturely last year, the Tigers would likely have had at least two more wins.  That's fair.  Jefferson got hurt in the Alabama game and he played well in the Penn State game despite being slowed by field conditions that were even an embarrassment to my lawn guy.  But that was last year and next Saturday is a dawn for a more experienced Jordan Jefferson.

Being an LSU fanatic, I have read and studied every word that has been written about the Tigers and one recurrent theme that I like reading can be summed up in one word:  "chemistry."  This year the offensive line has chemistry.  They live together. They hang out together.  They are more than just teammates. They are "buds."  They are not going to let each other down.  

Jordan Jefferson and the receiving corps have chemistry.  Jefferson knows what these receivers are thinking and where they will be on the field. 

 At the end of last year Miles hired Billy Gonzales away from Florida for the sole purpose of improving the passing game.  Miles also hired Steve Ensminger to work with the tight ends.  Look at Ensminger's resume and you will notice that this guy has a whole lot more to offer as an offensive coach than just tight end coaching.  Also, somewhat under the radar, former LSU center and 2004 Rimington Trophy winner Ben Wilkerson has been added to the staff and working with the line all offseason.

Les Miles has not gushed about the offense this year.  I think maybe he learned that lesson last year when he said prior to the season that the LSU line was probably the best line he had ever coached.  Les Miles knows something about his Tiger offense this year, but, he is going to let them say it on the field this time.

John Chavis is in his second season in purple and gold.  Chavis had to come in and install a new system and shuffle some players around at the beginning of last year.  Last year his defense did fairly well despite struggling with some key defensive stats like turnovers.

There are two negative things that can be said about this year's defense:  many of the players lack extensive game experience and the defensive line starters are lighter than expected.  

Two often repeated positives about this LSU defense are: they are very fast, and they are fit and strong. 

LSU has leaders at each position level (DBs, LBs, and DL) with great experience, and speed can also cover freshman mistakes.  You worry about size on the defensive line primarily because of the concern that heavier players will fatigue lighter players as the game gets late in the second half but, LSU's defensive linemen aren't fat.  All descriptions of the defensive linemen report that they are strong and in great shape.  Add to that the fact that LSU has several defensive ends and at least two defensive tackles that can be rotated in regularly without any drop off and in this case size may not matter.

I wonder if Les Miles knows, but is not saying, that this team may legitimately have 10 or 11 or 12 or even 13 wins for the taking this season.  Do you feel the magic?  If you are not convinced yet, watch this outstanding video from the fine people at Ktown (Tiger) Productions.



Anonymous said...

Yes, LSU has a lot of good football players, this year..But the LSU fans do not know what to expect, because Les Miles can not coach!
A real catch 22..What can the LSU fans do?

Anonymous said...

Where has LSU head coach Les Miles been,these last two years?
LSU is going to walk it's beat against North Carolina,because NC is going to play (the game) with all the good Butch Davis football players on the bench.
The best out come we can hope for this season,is for Les Miles to simply get out of the way..Just stand there,do nothing.

Anonymous said...

I bet very few of the anti-Miles morons have ever been inside a big time football program.

There is so much that they just don't get.

Anonymous said...

There is so much that they just don't get.

This about sums it up bro! These anti-Miles guys have no clue what goes on. I feel something special this year..

Anonymous said...

The North Carolina game has now turned into a LSU set-up game, like the rest of the opening SEC games this Saturday.
College football team looking for the high grown,from where to attack one another from.Look more like war,then college football?

Anonymous said...

You know,there is some real weird-O out there, in tiger land,that think some of the LSU Tiger fans are how do they call them "Morons",for not appreciating the head coaching ability of Les Miles.
After all, the LSU football team is picked to be in fourth place in the SEC west this year...WhoooHaaaaa.

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