POSITION BREAKDOWN: A look at the depth chart

Heading into this weekend's season opener with North Texas, Tiger Rag takes its best stab at a complete depth chart heading into Saturday's game. The obvious areas of focus will be at quarterback, running back, linebacker and in the secondary where starting jobs are up for grabs and injuries have resulted into some juggling of personnel.



No doubt the hottest topic of the spring summer and all of fall camp, coach Les Miles has answered questions about the quarterback position in virtually every press conference since he took the job on Jan. 3.


Miles should be commended for the way he has handled his three-headed quarterback monster throughout the spring and into fall camp. After Ryan Perrilloux spiced things up after signing with LSU in February with some rather controversial remarks, JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn took a fairly equal amount of snaps during spring drills.


Once Perrilloux arrived in Baton Rouge in June, the race for No. 1 was one.


Perrilloux quickly learned that the ranks of the SEC is a quite a jump from high school football. He admitted on media day he had quite a bit still to learn and Miles and offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher complimented the prize freshman on his maturity. While fans still yearned for Perrilloux's services, the job looks to be Russell's to lose.


While Miles referred to the play of the quarterbacks as "sloppy" in the final scrimmage of fall camp, Russell seems to have been the most poised and consistent throughout camp.


Flynn will battle Perrilloux for playing time as the second teamer and should see the first of mop-up reps as the back-up, but it will be hard to keep Perrilloux off the field as he matures in Miles system.





At most institutions, the loss of a running back the quality of Alley Broussard could affect the entire outcome of the season for a particular team.


But when Broussard was lost for the season with a knee injury during the first scrimmage of fall camp, the mood wasn't one of panic but more of whose next.


The Tigers boast arguably the nation's deepest and most talented backfield. When Broussard went down, LSU still possessed the services of Joseph Addai, Justin Vincent and Shyrone Carey.


Addai could be the SEC's most versatile player with his ability to run and catch the ball and rush with finesse or power. Justin Vincent is hoping to return to championship season form and Carey has added more muscle and appears to be in the best shape of his career.


Lacking a power back with Broussard on the shelf, Miles could turn to a fullback to line up in the backfield. Reports that true freshman Steven Korte might line up as a brusier back.





Miles seems to favor the fullback more than the previous regime.


His offensive philosophy includes the fullback not only carrying the ball more but catching the ball out of the backfield.


Jacob Hester will likely be the starter at fullback. His skill of catching the ball makes him more of a threat. Korte and Shawn Jordan are more of the power running type fullbacks while Kevin Steltz is the proto-typical blocking back.





You have to believe a team is pretty deep in terms of talent when a player the caliber of a Skyler Green can be considered a second teamer.


But according to the depth chart, Green is listed as a second team receiver behind Craig "Buster" Davis. On the other side, LSU's dominant receiver Dwayne Bowe is poised to have the season everyone has been expecting with a more chiseled Early Doucet serves as his backup.


Reserve wide receiver Amp Hill decided to take his talent elsewhere transferring after two years of injury to South Florida. But the likes of Xavier Carter and true freshman Brandon LeFell make for another group of the deepest specialist in the nation on this LSU team.





A unit that returns every starter from a season ago (if you count Rudy Niswanger who started the last four games at center), the LSU offensive has drawn praise around the country as one of the elite groups in all of college football.


Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who is on every preseason awards watch list, leads this group into the 2005 season having started 39 straight games. He is on pace to set the LSU record for games started in a career.


Niswanger has gained notoriety as well on award lists at center. Niswanger's versatility lends to the fact he can play literally every position on the offensive front.


At left guard, Will Arnold was a starter most of the season last year and is back as returning first teamer. However, redshirt freshman Brett Helms has pushed Arnold and is actually listed as the first team player on the official depth chart.


Nate Livings is slated at the right guard spot and Brian Johnson gets the early nod at right tackle. Terrell McGill has seen plenty of action and will rotate in and out as the sixth offensive lineman.





Senior David Jones is the likely starter at tight end.


More of the pass-catching type end, Jones has the hands of a wideout but the size of a small offensive lineman. Keith Zinger lists as his backup but is used primarily as a blocker.





With the media circus surrounding Chase Pittman soaking up most of the rumor mill this summer, Pittman was cleared of all charges after a incident at a Baton Rouge nightclub and he appears ready to replace Marcus Spears on one end.


Pittman rose to prominence during spring drills surpassing another Pittman – Kirston – by displaying a flurry of speed and agility. His off-the-field antics drew plenty of attention but it seems as if that is fading into the past.


It is ironic that Pittman was the center of attention this summer. A year ago, LSU's other starting defensive end – Melvin Oliver – was having legal problems of his own. Oliver rose above those problems and returns this season for his senior season.





It seems to be a popular trend when discussing LSU's personnel that a unit is regarded among the nation's best.


Take running backs, wide receivers, offensive linemen and add defensive tackles to the bunch. Featuring the best down-tackle tandem in college football, Kyle Williams and Claude Wroten could both be first round draft picks next spring. But right now, they prepare to wreak havoc on the rest of the SEC.





One interesting storyline this August has been the rise of former running back turned linebacker Jason Spadoni.

E.J. Kuale was being touted as a rising force on the LSU defense. However, an ankle injury has sidelined the juco transfer for six weeks and left the weakside linebacker spot up for grabs. There are plenty of possibilities, but the most unlikely of possibilities crept to the surface.


Spadoni was a stud coming out of John Curtis Christian School four years ago. A standout prep running back, Spadoni was lost in the mix of a flurry of gifted Tiger backs. But when Miles asked Spadoni to try out linebacker, the senior different expect possibilities this soon.


Spadoni is slated to start versus North Texas in Kuale spot. He has the build and strength to be a star on defense. Time will tell.


Cameron Vaughn will get the nod at middle linebacker and Kenny Hollis starts on the strongside. Key reserves will be Dominic Cooper, Luke Sanders, Ali Highmsith and Quinn Johnson.





LaRon Landry was thrown into the fire rather abruptly his freshman season.


The result – Landry helped lead the Tigers a national title and was selected as a freshman all-American. Two seasons later, he enters the season as the elder statesman of the secondary. Teamed with strong safety Jesse Daniels, this safety duo will try and overcome the loss of a pair of all-American cornerbacks in Corey Webster and Travis Daniels.





Senior Ronnie Prude finally gets the opportunity to crawl from Webster's shadow. Prude is assured the starting role at one cornerback position while Mario Stevenson and Sammy Joseph battled for the back-up spots.

Prude said Chevis Jackson has the inside track on the other corner slot.





Strong-legged junior Chris Jackson will handle all place kicking duties. However, Jackson did falter at times a year ago and Ryan Gaudet got his chance.


But Gaudet misfired from time to time as well. On the depth chart, sophomore Colt David is actually listed ahead of Gaudet. If Jackson is to falter, expect a revolving door here.

Jackson did handle the punting duties last year, but Miles has tried using Patrick Fisher this summer and Fisher has progressed nicely. Expect Fisher to get his chance to shine and possibly relieve Jackson of some responsibilities.

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