SEC Preview: LSU Looking To Reload

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of articles previewing 2008 SEC football teams.

Baton Rouge, La.--LSU became the first school to win more than one BCS National Championship with its victory over Ohio State back in January and since that joyous occasion down in the Big Easy there has been plenty of news surrounding Les Miles' program.

Some of the happenings were just what Miles needed to continue his successful run at LSU, where he has compiled a 34-6 record in three years on the job.

Miles has led the Tigers to AP rankings of No. 6, No. 3 and No. 1.

The Tigers reeled in the seventh-ranked recruiting class in the country, which is vital to maintaining an elite program.

However, Miles must now find a new triggerman to lead his offense after the dismissal of the only returning quarterback who had taken a meaningful snap at the college level in Ryan Perrilloux.

With Perrilloux out of the picture, the focus now turns to three inexperienced signal callers who will lead the Tigers on the field in 2008--- Andrew Hatch, Jarrett Lee and incoming freshman Jordan Jefferson.

Since Perrilloux missed all of spring practice, Hatch and Lee split time with the first team offense and after the spring game there was no indication given as to which guy was ahead of the other.

It should be a good battle when fall camp rolls around since each quarterback brings something different to the table.

The supporting cast the quarterbacks will have to work with should make the growing pains more bearable. The Tigers have what some consider the top offensive line in the SEC and one of, if not, the best collection of running backs in the conference with guys like Keiland Williams, Charles Scott and Richard Murphy toting the ball.

Demetrius Byrd, Brandon LaFell and Terrance Toliver also return from last season and will give whoever is delivering the ball three very talented receivers who have a good combination of size, speed and experience.

The defense has always been LSU's most reliable unit under Miles and things are not expected to change now that Bo Pelini has moved on to Nebraska.

Doug Mallory and Bradley Dale Peveto will serve as co-defensive coordinators and from all accounts there will not be much of a change in scheme.

Mallory and Peveto will have one of the country's top defensive lines with Tyson Jackson and Kirsten Pittman coming off the edge and a star-studded cast of tackles led by Ricky Jean-Francois.

There is some concern with depth at the linebacker position as Darry Beckwith is the only returning starter and the ranks were thin during spring practice while Jacob Cutrera and Perry Riley were out with injuries.

The secondary was also hit hard as three starters moved on to the NFL.

Curtis Taylor returns at free safety and will be joined by the hard-hitting Harry Coleman at strong safety. But who will start at corner?

That's a question the LSU coaches will likely not have answered until two of the top high school cornerbacks in the country, Patrick Johnson and Brandon Taylor, make it to campus. Both are expected to contend for the starting spots that Jai Eugene and Chris Hawkins nailed down during the spring.

Every program has question marks heading into a season and LSU certainly falls into that category. The good thing for the Tigers is that Miles has recruited well since he has been in Baton Rouge. But will the young pups be ready for the big stage?

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