Spring Practice Primer

Later this afternoon LSU spring football will get underway at the Ponderosa. TSD gets you ready with a full volume of stories, questions and videos previewing spring practice. Also included are our staff picks to several big questions surrounding the Tigers.

To begin the fun, we'll lead off with today's new content - TSD's staff picks to several big questions about the 2013 Tigers heading into spring ball.

After that be sure to scroll down for our full catalog of stories and videos previewing all the action you'll see for the next five weeks.

TSD Staff Picks - Spring Football Edition

1. Which player has the most to prove on offense this spring?

Ben Love: Don't think you can go wrong by answering Zach Mettenberger here, but at least he's going to return as a starter to the same position he played last season. The same cannot be said for La'el Collins, who Les Miles has announced will get first crack as LSU's starting left tackle. That's seismic news as college football in March goes. Collins has a ton to prove - not only that he can handle the transition mentally but also that he has the type of quickness and footwork needed to do the job. If this experiment is to stick for LSU, it'll be because Collins gave the staff confidence this spring.

Hunter Paniagua: Zach Mettenberger — I don't believe there's anyone that would say Mettenberger lived up to expectations last season. For that reason, he'll need to make major strides in 2013 for his LSU career to be considered a success. That will start this spring as he adjusts to Cam Cameron's offense and continues to build chemistry with his receivers. The offense will live and die in 2013 by how efficient Mettenberger can be, and he'll need to take full leadership and responsibility.

Austin Cooper: After having a questionable season from the receiver position in 2012, Odell Beckham will be heavily relied upon in his junior season. With players like Jarvis Landry and Kadron Boone having productive seasons in 2012, it's time that Beckham do the same, especially after his hands became a major question last season. From all accounts, he is working on doing that by catching balls form the quarterbacks on a daily basis.

2. Which player has the most to prove on defense this spring?

BL: I'll take a flyer here on Ego Ferguson. He's the much more uncertain link of the returning duo at defensive tackle expected to start. Brick Haley and the staff know what they'll get from the other - Anthony Johnson. I'm not sure that's the case with Ferguson, who's at times looked slow and lacked energy/activity. That's the opposite of what the LSU defensive line has been in recent years. If he can't do the job, Quentin Thomas and newcomer Christian Lacouture are chomping at the bit. For that reason, this is a big spring for Ferguson.

HP: Jalen Collins — With the sophomore expected to take over the No. 2 CB position, he'll need to show he's deserving of that role. He'll have plenty of competition for that spot in the spring and especially in the fall once Tre'Davious White arrives. He was inconsistent at best in 2012, and if he doesn't show the necessary improvements, it won't be a shock if he winds up out of the starting lineup.

AC: I think Jalen Collins has a lot to prove heading into his redshirt sophomore season. As a freshman, Collins always seemed to be in great position to make a play on the football, yet he allowed numerous big plays over the course of the 2012 season. His struggles came in his ability to find the football in the air. With Tharold Simon now moved on to the NFL, Collins will be expected to step up and lock down the field opposite of Jalen Mills. If he proves he can't handle it, there are plenty of younger players ready to push him for his job.

3. Which position coach/coordinator are you most excited to watch at work this spring?

BL: For my money it has to be Brick Haley. He's always one of the more vocal coaches out there, along with John Chavis, but I expect that to jump up a notch or two this spring with much of the veteran cast from the past few years graduated or off to the League. This guy has long been LSU's most underrated position coach, and he'll have to flex a lot of his prowess this spring (and in Fall Camp) to bring around a green group at both end and tackle. Going to be exciting to watch him mold (and scold, repeatedly) all this young talent.

HP: Cam Cameron — Who wouldn't be excited about a possible overhaul to the LSU offense? With Cameron now in control, most everyone expects things to finally change for the better after watching the Tigers grow stagnant for the last four years. The most interesting part to watch will be how much Cameron changes things. Will he completely revamp the offense or will he adjust to how LSU has always done things? We'll start to have an answer this spring.

AC: Following the Cam Cameron hire, one thing stood out to me. Can he get out of Mettenberger what LSU fans saw flashes of last season? It will be interesting to see how Cameron will go through the learning process with Mettenberger and the other quarterbacks. Offensive production has also been on the agenda for quite some time. While LSU fans shouldn't expect to see too much of the new offense this spring, they will have an opportunity to get a general idea of what it will be made of in 2013.

4. Name three players you expect to see leadership from this spring.

BL: I already covered this subject at length last week (see below in the story archives for my full response), but the top three for me would have to be Lamin Barrow, Jeremy Hill and Anthony Johnson. "Freak" gives the defense its vocal and emotional leader, replacing parts of Sam Montgomery and Bennie Logan. Barrow leads more by example, helping backfill for former quiet types like Kevin Minter and Eric Reid. And Hill is just in the best position of any of them to demand respect. It's time he capitalize off it, and I think LSU's newest star will.

HP: Jarvis Landry, Craig Loston and Anthony Johnson — Landry's already shown he can be a leader. He was behind the movement last season for the WRs to earn more trust from the coaches by doing extra work outside practice. Loston will be the most senior member of a very young secondary in 2013. Though his career hasn't panned out the way most expected, he'll have one last go-around to prove that he can lead on the field and off it. Though Johnson's still just a junior, he'll be one of the more veteran members of a young DL in 2013. He's held a lot of expectations since entering as the nation's top DT, and this season needs to be his breakout year. With LSU expected to count on several freshman on the DL, Johnson will need to become a stabilizing force.

AC: Anthony Johnson is one player that needs to step up in the leadership department this spring. He is entering his junior season and will be relied upon heavily for the first time in his LSU career. I expect big things from Jarvis Landry in the leadership department as well. LSU fans caught glimpses of it last season, but Landry is a guy that likes to lead by example. 2013 will give him an opportunity to do that. Lastly, with the departure of Josh Dworaczyk from the 2012 squad, the offensive line is in need of some leadership. La'el Collins is more than ready to assume that role after serving as somewhat of an understudy to Dworaczyk over the last two seasons. Collins told the media after the regular season in 2012 that he was primed and ready to take over the leadership role on the line.

5. What's the biggest storyline of this spring in your opinion?

BL: Will LSU develop toughness, cohesion and confidence on both sides of the line? There's no doubt the Cameron-Mettenberger relationship will draw most of the attention, but in the SEC games are won and lost up front. And, for the Tigers heading into 2013, there are questions on both the offensive and defensive lines. I think it will be paramount to monitor La'el Collins move to left tackle, Josh Williford's reemergence and Elliott Porter's debut practices at starting center. On the other side, just how good can guys like Jermauria Rasco and Danielle Hunter be as starters? We'll start to find out the next few weeks.

HP: The relationship between Mettenberger and Cameron — Though the two will only be connected for one season, LSU's offensive success will hinge on how well they coexist in 2013. Cameron stated in his introductory press conference that he would work with Mettenberger and build off what he does well. This spring, we'll learn how much Cameron has thrown on the quarterback, and how well Mettenberger adjusts to the change. There's no question LSU needed an offensive overhaul, but we'll see this spring just how different things are with Cameron at the helm.

AC: The obvious choice here would be the new offensive coordinator. However, with the departure of Kevin Minter, who will take over the middle linebacker position is very important to the well being of the LSU defense. It was apparent last season that Minter being in the game made a significant difference, as can be seen in the Florida game. The LSU staff has a couple of options in who could be his replacement. Lamin Barrow collected over 100 tackles last season and has been in the system for long enough to where the staff would be comfortable with him making the checks on defense. Kwon Alexander may also be an option to slide over from his outside linebacker position. And then you always have D.J. Welter. Spring practice will allow for some of these things to be hashed out and it should become clearer on who will lead the LSU defense in 2013.


Archives of Spring Preview Content

Tuesday, February 26: Spring Preview - New names to monitor

Thursday, February 28: Spring Preview - Two-deep depth chart


Monday, March 4: Spring Question 1 - Who's going to start at left tackle?

Tuesday, March 5: Spring Question 2 - How will the new-look defensive line fare?

Wednesday, March 6: Spring Question 3 - What alignment will Chavis go with at linebacker?

Thursday, March 7: Spring Question 4 - Who will step up as leaders on this 2013 team?

Friday, March 8: Spring Question 5 - How will Cam Cameron's presence affect the offense?


Monday, March 11: Video - Offense Preview

Tuesday, March 12: Video - Defense Preview

Wednesday, March 13: Video - Early Enrollees

Wednesday, March 13: Miles Pre-Spring Presser Tidbits

Wednesday, March 13: Q & A: John Chavis

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