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August 6, 2010

Tiger Links - Taking a Look at North Carolina, the LSU Tigers First Opponent and Good News About LSU's Quarterback

Updated Saturday, August 7, 10:24am

With LSU's opening game less than a month away, it is time to take a look at what media sources close to North Carolina's football program are saying about their team's progress.  

One article that really got my attention,  Tar Heels have some questions beyond NCAA's investigation  by J.P. Giglio in the Charlotte Observer, has two lines that I think LSU fans will find interesting:
"Senior quarterback T.J. Yates has to improve his decision-making (37 career interceptions) or he will be replaced by redshirt freshman Bryn Renner." Does "has to improve his decision-making" sound familiar?  Yates is more likely to throw an interception than take a sack. This weakness coupled with LSU's super strong defensive backfield may provide some interesting opportunities for LSU. 
"The offensive line, which had 10 starting combinations in 13 games, has to stay healthy and do an all-around better job, because the running game, ranked 79th nationally, was not great shakes either, in 2009." Like LSU, North Carolina had an offensive line that struggle much of last year.  North Carolina's problem was because of injuries.  Usually injuries do not play into an opening game so do not expect it to be a factor in the LSU-North Carolina game. Also consider the fact that more players on North Carolina's offensive line gained game experience last year while filling in for injured players.  I suspect North Carolina to have an improved o-line.

Still, with the Tigers struggles on offense the last two years, Tiger fans may be scratching their heads and wondering if the first team to score in the LSU-North Carolina opener will be the only team to score.  So far no one is predicting that and the game may very well be a high scoring game because both LSU and North Carolina offenses have something to prove and both team's defenses played well last year.

If what I am hearing from the first couple of LSU's practices is true, LSU players are determined and have prepare physically to return to the national stage that will put them in the BCS picture.
By all accounts LSU's wide receivers look flawless.  I am also hearing that fans need not worry about quarterback because Jordan Jefferson is taking charge and has worked on every single criticism that his critics have leveled at him.  Veteran LSU beat writer, Jim Kleinpeter of the Times Picayune, has seen the change in Jefferson and reports about it in his article: LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson is assuming control of the Tigers .  Here are my favorite sentences from Kleinpeter's article, just to peak your interest: "Quarterback Jordan Jefferson has picked up the leadership ball and started running with it Thursday. Miles has challenged Jefferson to make the offense his, and to understand there was much more to the quarterback position than throwing and running. The early returns were good." Read More

Against North Carolina's stout defense LSU's best bet may be to air it out and go for longer passes.  J.P. Giglio, in the article site at the beginning, points out that in two of the games last season that North Carolina lost Florida State and North Carolina State beat UNC by passing.  Pittsburgh managed to block the highly regarded North Carolina defensive line and a Pitt running back rolled up 159 yards against the Tar Heels in their last game of last year.  So LSU's offense may have some opportunities in the first game of the season. I hope Coach Miles gets form LSU offensive coordinator and  Florida State's  current head coach, Jimbo Fisher, on the phone to have a long talk about how to pass against North Carolina. And I'll bet that the LSU coaching staff has studied the other two UNC games.  Butch Davis, North Carolina's head coach, will certainly have his troops prepared for the opener.

Here are two other quick updates of how the North Carolina Tar Heel football team are doing in their first days of practice:  Opening camp: North Carolina by Heather Dinch on ESPN's ACC Blog and Rise to the occasion  by Briana Gorman in today's The Durham Herald Sun.

Some of the things that I learned from reading the three North Carolina articles that I have recommended will sound good to LSU fans.  It looks like the quarterback situation is so unsettled at North Carolina that they are considering the possibility of starting a redshirt freshman that has not taken a single snap in a college football game.  It is a remote possibility for the LSU game but, it means that North Carolina is not seeing improvement in their QB.  It also looks like the North Carolina offensive line may be in some flux because of injury prone tendencies.  May no mistake, though North Carolina may have some question marks and even though they did not play SEC caliber teams as regularly as LSU, North Carolina will come with some talent and come ready to play.  I still love the Tiger's opportunity to make this a statement game and I hope the statement is "We're Back and this year we are going to play with intensity for 60 minutes every game!"  From the reports, LSU players have come in physical shape to make that statement.


Anonymous said...

No doubt about the talent of this LSU team WR,RB,they look like NFL talent to me..If Les Miles is worth his salt, as a LSU head coach,this years LSU football team should have a big year.
This is one of the most talented, LSU football team, I have look at, over the many long past years.
This LSU team is loaded,and ready to play.

Anonymous said...

Funny how we always hear about how great the baseball tigers are hitting and pitching when they're playing in the Cape Cod leagues. Just never seems to show up in the Box (exaggeration, but it always sounds like those guys are going straight to the hall of fame off season, but cant seem to throw a strike or throw out a bunt during the college season)...

So, now all of a sudden Jefferson is a leader. Right... Amen, Amen. That is what you say after a prayer, isnt it? And our wide outs are all adonis' and our linemen are atlas'. Why I'll be we dont even have to play the Bama and UF games, at the coin flip, the other guys will just wet themselves at the sight of our 'men-of-troy' (LOL)...

Why is this year going to be any different... Cause our guys want to win a championship? What, they didnt last year? The other teams this season suddenly dont?

Its preseason. Flash... The starters look better than the backups in general... thats why they're starting.

Riddle this. Is Miles going to run into 9 man piles like last year? Are the defensive schemes going to attack, or rely on the excuse " we have to get a better rush from our up front four before we can blitz"..LOL.. And is our qb that had no clue last year, OR in the spring game, suddenly able to take his Underdog super-energy pill and discover leadership, decision making and how to count past ONE when checking on receivers.

But its great that the starters look better than the backups, it really is.

Anonymous said...

I feel to, that after Saban left for the pros.That if LSU would have hired a better head coach, LSU would have stayed in the first class seats in College football.
What happens next,is that ether Les Miles starts winning,because only winning matters, bottom line.
Or Les Miles loses,and he is fired, for not winning with some of the most talented college football players in this country.
A lot of wasted time, and good LSU football years,but nevertheless, LSU will be the winner,because LSU does get the best football players in, and around Louisiana.

Anonymous said...

This is the best over all football talent, Les Miles has had at LSU,only the QB is in dough....This team look much better, then last year LSU team.
If the LSU QB plays smart, and throws a safe pass to these talented WR,RB.
This LSU football team is going to win most of the hard football games, you guys seem to say they will lose.
I think LSU is going to have a very happy time winning college football game,this year.

RiseUpTigers! said...

Rise Up Tiger Nation, Rise Up!

Anonymous said...

Funny how the truth will win out,and show it self, no matter how hidden,or long it takes.
This coming college football year, is going to tell us, one and all, what college has the best football team, this year.
LSU is going to beat North Carolina.
We are going to see once again, if LSU has built them self's back up to the top of the heap,against Alabama,Florida.
I think LSU has enough talent, to make their chances 50-50,this year,for the SEC championship.

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