LSU Preview

Win or lose, ASU's game against Louisiana State figures to be a memorable evening for those in attendance. Originally scheduled as a highly anticipated road game in Baton Rouge, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has forced a move in venue to Sun Devil Stadium. Emotions will run high for the fifth ranked Tigers as they take the field with the eyes of an entire state watching them, hoping to put the region's devastation on the back burner for a few hours and regain some normalcy.

The contest will mark the first ever meeting between both schools, and is now the official kick-off to the Les Miles era in Baton Rouge.

Louisiana State Tigers #5
2004 Record: 9-3 (6-2 SEC)
Head Coach: Les Miles; first year
Offensive Coordinator: Jimbo Fisher
Defensive Coordinator: Bo Pelini


*Projected Starters

WR Craig Davis (Jr)
LT Andrew Whitworth (Sr)
LG Will Arnold (So)
C Rudy Niswanger (Sr)
RG Nate Livings (Sr)
RT Brian Johnson (Jr)
TE David Jones (Sr)
WR Dwayne Bowe (Jr)
QB JaMarcus Russell (So)
RB Joseph Addai (Sr)
WR Skyler Green (Sr)

The Tigers are extremely blessed with a talented and deep stable of running backs. Junior Alley Broussard was slated to start but went down with a season ending injury in early August. The LSU backfield shouldn't skip much of a beat, however, as Joseph Addai should fill in nicely. The senior gained 690 yards and 3 touchdowns on 101 carries in 2004. Addai can catch very well out of the backfield, as 4 of his 26 receptions resulted in scores. Complementing him will be Justin Vincent, a back with great speed and big play capabilities. Vincent averaged a little over four yards per carry as a sophomore. Shyrone Carey, a senior, should see more touches this year after only carrying the rock 28 times last year. Fullback Kevin Steltz will be paving the way for the ground game and is an outstanding lead blocker.

LSU is equally, if not more, talented at wide receiver. Three of the Tigers' top five receivers are listed at 6'2" or above and possess great speed. Craig Davis was the team leader in receptions in 2004 with 43 catches that went for a total of 649 yards and one score. Davis will have to share receptions with Dwayne Bowe, also a junior. Bowe is the tallest of the group, checking in at 6'3". The junior saw the end zone 5 times out of 39 catches last season. Perhaps the most well-rounded receiver in the group is Skyler Green, a senior with great hands and blazing speed. Statistically speaking, Green didn't have that great of a junior campaign as he was bothered by an ankle injury but managed to catch 24 balls for three touchdowns. Early Doucet, a highly touted recruit last season, saw action as a true freshman and was named to the 2004 Freshman All-SEC Team. Doucet chipped in 2 scores on his 18 receptions last year. The fastest of the bunch is sophomore Xavier Carter, one of the premier track athletes in the SEC. Carter caught five balls in 2004, his only score of last season came against Mississippi State on a 67-yard pass. The sophomore combines with Green to give the Tigers a dangerous 1-2 punch in the return game.

Everybody knows that the Tigers can run the ball well with a loaded backfield behind an excellent offensive line, led by Rudy Niswanger and Andrew Whitworth, but can the ball be distributed to those talented wide receivers? That seems to be the million dollar question in Cajun country. It appears to be JaMarcus Russell's offense to lose. The sophomore is the most experienced quarterback but has left the door open for competition from sophomore Matt Flynn Russell, one of the biggest QB's ASU will see this season coming in with a 6'5" 248-pound frame. He threw nine touchdowns and four interceptions in 11 games as a redshirt freshman. His passing yards high in a game was 151 against Arkansas State. Back-up Matt Flynn has only seen action in garbage time. Should Jimbo Fisher not like the production from either one under center, true freshman Ryan Perriloux is number three on the depth chart.


*Projected Starters

DE Melvin Oliver (Sr)
DT Kyle Williams (Sr)
DT Claude Wroten (Sr)
DE Kirston Pittman (Jr)
LB Jason Spadoni (Jr)
LB Kenneth Hollis (Sr)
LB Cameron Vaughn (Sr)
CB Ronnie Prude (Sr)
FS LaRon Landry (Jr)
SS Jessie Daniels (Jr)
CB Mario Stevenson (Sr)

You will be hard-pressed to find a better pair of interior linemen than defensive tackles Kyle Williams and Claude Wroten. Both were members of the 2004 Second-Team All-SEC squad and figure to be strong All-American candidates this year. Williams finished 2004 with 57 tackles, while Wroten had 44. Both seniors combined for 24 tackles for loss in the backfield, 12 of which were quarterback sacks. Sophomore Glenn Dorsey is a talented tackle off the bench for the Tigers. Dorsey played in all 12 games as a true freshman last season. Flanking the dynamic duo at the ends are senior Melvin Oliver and junior Kirston Pittman. Oliver, a two-year starter, was the LSU defensive MVP in the Capital One Bowl last season. Kirston and Chase Pittman (no relation) have the unenviable task of replacing Marcus Spears on the edge. K. Pittman's specialty is the pass rush as he totaled three sacks last season in mostly situational duty in passing situations. Chase Pittman is now eligible after transferring from Texas and will be a part of the rotation of speed rushers on the line.

Three-year starter Cameron Vaughn has moved to middle linebacker. The junior tallied 63 tackles last season and will be a leader of the group along with senior Kenneth Hollis. The speedy Hollis is the starter at Sam linebacker after accruing 33 tackles and a trio of quarterback sacks in 2004. The Will linebacker was to be manned by E.J. Kuale but the senior is out with an injury suffered in pre-season camp. That leaves Jason Spadoni, a former running back, at the Will spot. Spadoni has a mean streak that the Tigers are hoping will fit in well on defense. Sophomore Ali Highsmith showed promise as a true freshman in 2004, playing in all 12 games. Highsmith finished the year with 21 tackles, one sack, and one interception.

Free Safety LaRon Landry is the undisputed anchor of the Tiger secondary in 2005. Landry is a talented playmaker with a nose for the ball. The junior was a 2004 Second-Team All-SEC selection after recording 80 tackles, three quarterback sacks, and a couple of interceptions. Strong Safety Jessie Daniels was third on the team in tackles last season with 64. Daniels also had 3 interceptions in 2004. The depth behind both safeties is rather green. Curtis Taylor emerged as Landry's backup after a solid spring but has no experience as he is a redshirt freshman this year. Sophomore Craig Steltz can spell Daniels but has played in only four games.

Of the four defensive units, cornerback has the most questions. Senior Ronnie Prude will be counted on one side after the NCAA granted him another year of eligibility. Prude was a productive nickel back last year but now moves in as a full-time starter. Senior Mario Stevenson has beaten out sophomore Chevis Jackson at the other spot. Stevenson, a JC transfer, is still a relative unknown after being sidelined with a broken foot last year two games into the season. Jackson played in all 12 games as a true freshman last season and was solid in his play, even providing a boost when Corey Webster was out against Florida. Junior Sammy Joseph is also in the mix at corner after transferring from Colorado as a starter there.


P/K Chris Jackson (Jr)
PR Skyler Green (Sr)
KR Xavier Carter (So)

Chris Jackson handles both punting and kicking duties for the Tigers. Jackson averaged 40 yards per punt and was 11 of 17 in field goals last season. The junior became the first kicker in school history to make two field goals of 50 yards or better in the same season. Junior Ryan Gaudet is the backup specialist and now kicks PAT's and short-range field goals.

Skyler Green is arguably the second most dangerous returner in the nation behind USC's Reggie Bush. The senior is capable of putting up big numbers on special teams now that he's healthy. Green led the nation in punt returns in 2003 with an 18.5 yard average. In 2004, he finished with 243 yards and one touchdown on 25 punt returns. Sprinter Xavier Carter returned 10 kicks for 203 yards, his longest return went for 42 yards.

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