Tiger Rag's Spring Sneak Peek: The Offense

Is it that time again? It seems like just yesterday the LSU Tigers were romping to a 40-3 win over Miami in the Peach Bowl. Many had written off the Tigers after LSU got shellacked in the SEC Championship Game by the Georgia Bulldogs.

But the Tigers second trip to Atlanta in less than a month's time turned out to be just what Les Miles needed to spring into year two as the Tigers head coach. LSU finished the season ranked No. 5 in the final poll and is projected by some to open the 2006 campaign ranked somewhere in the same neighborhood of that the way they closed out 2005.

 

National Signing Day came and went as LSU reeled in a top five recruiting class. LSU had needs to be filled most especially on the offensive and defensive line and Miles cashed in on top notch talent in the state of Louisiana in fulfilling those needs.

 

Now it is time to refocus on the playing field as Miles leads his Tigers into spring practice beginning this Saturday at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.

 

The storylines are pretty much already set as the battle for the starting quarterback position will begin between JaMarcus Russell, Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux.

 

Some key injuries in the backfield will give some redshirt freshmen the opportunity to prove their worth in the spring. Also on the offensive side of the ball, Miles will begin looking for those players who will step up and fill four vacancies left on the Tigers' offensive front.

 

THE OFFENSE

 

Quarterback:

 

JaMarcus Russell

Matt Flynn

Ryan Perrilloux

 

Our best guess (as the starter to open the season):

JaMarcus Russell

 

Why not get the debate going right off the bat? Most Tiger fans can contain themselves when discussing Flynn's outstanding performance in the Peach Bowl win over Miami. Flynn coolly led the Tigers to their most dominating bowl victory ever and played brilliantly after seeing limited playing time previously during his career. But remember, Russell is 17-2 as LSU's starting quarterback and don't expect him to be ready to just hand over the reigns to the offense. However, wrist surgery just after the bowl game may keep Russell totally out of the mix this spring giving Flynn an opportunity to get lots of reps with the first team. But toss in Perrilloux and this is where it gets real interesting. With a year under his belt in the system to grow, the ultra-talented redshirt freshman is going to be itching to get going, especially since he realizes he would be the starter had he went to Texas like he first planned. The job is safely Russell's until the Fall but that is when Perrilloux is going to put the full court press on to leap into the spotlight. It shapes up to be a great race. Unfortunately, it may end with one of the three quarterbacks eventually playing elsewhere.

 

 

Running Back:

Alley Broussard, Justin Vincent, Trindon Holliday, R.J. Jackson, Antonio Robinson, Steven Korte, Jacob Hester, Shawn Jordan, Quinn Johnson

 

Our best guess (as the starter to open the season):

Alley Broussard, Jacob Hester (FB)

 

Don't expect Alley Broussard to do much of anything this spring other than to run some drills and act as a glorified cheerleader at the spring game. Justin Vincent will not take part in spring drills due to a torn ACL in the Peach Bowl so expect to get a good look at R.J. Jackson and Antonio Robinson in the spring at tailback. The speedy Trindon Holliday will get some looks as a role player, but should serve as more of a threat as a slot receiver. The job is Broussard's in the fall, but expect true freshmen Keiland Williams and Charles Scott to make some noise for playing time once they arrive in August. LSU is very deep at fullback as Hester proves to be one of the most versatile players on this Tiger offense. It has been rumored that linebacker Quinn Johnson will get a look at fullback this spring as well.

 

 

Wide Receiver:

Dwayne Bowe, Xavier Carter, Craig Davis, Early Doucet, Brandon LaFell

 

Our best guess (as the starter to open the season):

Dwayne Bowe, Craig Davis, Early Doucet

 

Deep, deep, deep. The LSU receiving corps will be touted as one of the deepest and most talented in the nation come this fall. While the group does lose some star power with the losses of Skyler Green and Bennie Brazell, Dwayne Bowe returns as your dominant big player receiver and Craig Davis and Early Doucet are as good as you will find anywhere. It will be interesting to see if Xavier Carter is finally ready to be a football player and if Brandon LaFell was able to finally add the necessary weight he needs to be effective.

 

 

Tight End:

Kyle Anderson, Mit Cole, Keith Zinger, Doug Planchard, Andrew Wright, Alonzo Manuel

 

Our best guess (as the starter to open the season):

Keith Zinger

 

LSU is fortunate to have so many different types of tight ends ranging from pass-catching receivers to your blue-collar blocking ends. Zinger is the Tigers' best all-around tight end while Mit Cole, Doug Planchard and Andrew Wright act more like a sixth offensive lineman. Alonzo Manuel will get a new look switching from the defensive line to tight end this spring after he got lost in the shuffle on the defensive side of the ball.

 

 

Offensive Line:

Will Arnold, Ciron Black, Peter Dyakowski, Brett Helms, Paris Hodges, Max Holmes, Brian Johnson, Herman Johnson, Carnell Stewart, Garret Wibel

 

Our best guess (as the starter to open the season):

Herman Johnson, Will Arnold, Brett Helms, Brian Johnson, Peter Dyakowski

 

When most people talk about potential weaknesses for this Tiger team, the offensive line is usually the first thing that pops up. But if you really look at the depth of the players returning, there shouldn't be that much of a drop-off. Sure LSU must replace four starters as Will Arnold is your only first teamer returning, but Herman Johnson is poised to step in for the departed Andrew Whitworth and Brett Helms is more than capable as a replacement for Rudy Niswanger at center. Brian Johnson will take the place of Terrell McGill at guard, a position he played last season nearly as much as McGill. Peter Dyakowski will be listed as the replacement for Nate Livings at tackle, but look for true freshman Matt Allen and junior college transfer Phil Loadholt to push for that spot when they arrive. Also, watch for Carnell Stewart to make a showing on the offensive front after being moved to offense from the D-line.


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