2008 LSU Tigers Football Preview
LSU 2007 Record: (12-2, 6-2 SEC)
2007 Bowl: BCS Championship vs. Ohio State (W 38-24)
LSU Head Coach: Les Miles (34-6 at LSU, 62-27 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Gary Crowton
Defensive Coordinator: Doug Mallory and Bradley Peveto
Returning Leaders for LSU:
Other Key Returnees: LB Darry Beckwith, OT Ciron Black, WR Demetrius Byrd, K Colt David, TE Richard Dickson, DT Marlon Favorite, C Brett Helms, G Lyle Hitt, DE Tyson Jackson, G Herman Johnson, FB Quinn Johnson
Key Losses: DT Glenn Dorsey, WR Early Doucet, QB Matt Flynn, RB Jacob Hester, LB Ali Highsmith, CB Chevis Jackson, QB Ryan Perrillous, LB Luke Sanders, S Craig Steltz, OT Carnell Stewart, CB Jonathan Zenon
LSU does not rebuild, but this is as close as they will get to hearing that dreaded rebuilding term for quite some time. There are big losses all over the field, but none are as surprising and noticeable as the change at quarterback. Matt Flynn will try his luck in the NFL and Ryan Perrilloux was supposed to be his more talented successor. But then Perrilloux was kicked off the team and that leaves Harvard transfer Andrew Hatch and redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee to run the offense.
While the new quarterback is getting acclimated to life in one of the brightest spotlights in all of college football, the offense will depend on the veteran offensive line led by Ciron Black and Herman Johnson and the group of talented running backs. Keiland Williams is the team’s top returning rusher with 478 yards and six touchdowns, but sophomore Richard Murphy had a much more impressive spring and could handle the majority of the carries. Even with the loss of tackle Glenn Dorsey, the defensive line will be one of the best in the nation. Ends Tyson Jackson and Kirston Pittman are back and will cause plenty of havoc in the opponent’s backfield. At tackle Marlon Favorite, Ricky Jean-Francois and Al Woods will not be quite as productive as Dorsey, but those three will make a name for themselves this year.
The line will not have a problem replacing Dorsey, but what about replacing linebackers Ali Highsmith and Luke Sanders? Or corners Chevis Jackson and Jonathan Zeno? Or safety Craig Steltz? Sure LSU will reload, but there will be a lot of inexperienced players at important positions. Darry Beckwith will have another great season after earning second-team All-SEC accolades last year, but Kelvin Sheppard and Perry Riley need to step up if the LSU linebackers expect to be as good as they were last year. The biggest issue will be upholding the nation’s ninth best pass defense. Corners Jai Eugene and Chris Hawkins are the probable starters, but freshmen Ron Brooks and Phelon Jones are not giving up too easily. Eugene has amazing speed, but the opposition will certainly test him often until he can prove that he is capable of covering the best receivers in the SEC.
The Bottom Line for the Tigers:
The Tigers do not need their quarterback to be great, but they need him to be consistent and a leader…just like Flynn was last season. Even without Early Doucet, the receiving corps will help out the new man under center. Brandon LaFell could emerge as the new top receiver if he can get over his habit of dropping passes and Demetrius Byrd is a threat to score every time the ball is thrown in his direction. Overall there is enough talent to win another National Championship, but a whole slew of inexperienced players better be experienced by the time the big conference games come around.
2007 LSU Tigers Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 214.14 (11th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 225.29 (58, 5)
Total Offense: 439.43 (26, 4)
Scoring Offense: 38.64 (11, 2)
Rushing Defense: 106.07 (12, 2)
Pass Defense: 182.71 (9, 4)
Total Defense: 288.79 (3, 1)
Scoring Defense: 19.93 (17, 2)
Turnover Margin: 1.43 (2, 1)
Sacks: 2.64 (27, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 2.14 (66, 9)
By Joel Welser
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