Wednesday, August 29, 2007

SEC Preview, Part 11: LSU Expectations High as Les Miles Hat

There is no doubt that LSU has just as much talent as any team in college football. However, they have been saddled with such high expectations that even the New England Patriots would have a difficult time living up to the hype. To be fair, neither Les Miles nor the players asked to be ranked so highly or to be talked about all off season. The truth is this team will be very good, but they have TOO many questions to legitimately be ranked second in the country.

LSU has always done a great job of recruiting top talent to Baton Rouge even when the team has not been very good. Their three year average is eleven. Like the other contenders in the SEC, this team is loaded with talent.

Offense: The offense is the reason why I’m not totality sold on this team. I’m sure they will hang 50 plus on Mississippi State in week one, but I’m not sold on their week in and week out capabilities. My first issue with this team is at QB, where they must replace the first pick in the ENTIRE NFL draft. Sure, they may have lots of talent at QB, but how can anyone replace the first pick in the entire NFL draft? I would say it is a huge plus the new QB has been around for five years, but most of that advantage left with their offensive coordinator. All the players have been forced to learn a new offense that they were only introduced to a few months ago. Combine that with the fact LSU does not have a QB that has ever started an SEC game and there is cause for concern.

My second big question with this offense is the loss of Jimbo Fisher who many consider to be the best in the business. He is credited with forming the LSU offense that won the national championship and several SEC titles. Not only must the players learn this new system, but they must learn a totally different philosophy. The new OC loves to spread the field and throw the ball. LSU has had an offense that would line up and run over people. It will be an interesting transition.

Finally, this offense lost their offensive line coach. Not only must the new coach learn about the capabilities and weakness of his new players, but the new players must adjust to a totality new scheme of offense on top of adjusting to a new a new offensive line coach. This is much easier said than done and I would not be surprised to see some early missed blocking assignments.

There are also many things certain for this offense. The offensive line is very talented and will produce big holes for the running game. The WR is loaded with play makers that will score from every place on the field. This offense has the capabilities of being very good, but it may take some time to adjust.

Defense: Simply put, you will see no better defense in the nation. They will get pressure on the QB, stuff the run, and defend the pass well. I like this group a lot and I don’t see any weakness.

Lamar’s key to a championship

1. Does this team have a solid defense? YES. No doubt, no discussion, they have the very best.

2. Can this team run the football? YES. They have a very talented and experienced line that will block for very good running backs. This team should not have a problem racking up lots of yards on the ground.

3. Does this team have a proven QB? NO. Just because they have a QB who played well in the Peach Bowl does not mean they have a proven QB. Look at Matt Stafford last season, he was easily the worst QB in the SEC last year but he had a good Peach Bowl. One game does not translate into being a proven QB.

Conclusion: LSU’s defense could easily lead them to an undefeated season. But the biggest questions I have are on the offensive side of the ball. How will this offensive coordinator perform in close games deep in the heart of the SEC schedule? How will the new QB react to SEC game atmosphere? I think LSU has lots of talent and lots of questions.

Lamar’s pick: LSU will have an overall record of 11-1 and an SEC record of 7-1.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fear the hat!