But for me, and lots of other sports writers, the football season began a long time ago.
When covering LSU athletics, the baseball season typically spills over in the month of June, prolonging the jump to football until midsummer.
Well, we know that wasn't the case this year.
With the Tiger baseball team in the tank by early May and Smoke Laval shown the door the first week of June, football season came early this year. While many fans are drooling over the notion of football again, after putting out our Tiger Rag Football Preview this summer and an entire month of Fall Camp this August, I have been footballing for some time now.
So after weeks of writing about football when there wasn't even any football being played, I feel as though I am as well versed in the 2006 Tigers as anyone.
With that being the case, as we enter the season opener this weekend, I am going to outline 10 things for you to be on the lookout for when the Tigers strap is on against the Cajuns on Saturday.
1. JaMarcus Russell. The Tigers' starting quarterback has put plenty of room between himself and second string quarterback Matt Flynn this August, all but silencing any chatter about a quarterback controversy. Russell is 14-2 as a starter and led LSU to 10 wins a year ago. But a wrist injury slowed him down and he feels he could have been even better. Look for Russell to more poised and focused in trying to prove a point that the starting job is his for as long as he is a Tiger.
2. The Revolving Door at Running Back. There is no secret that Alley Broussard is not 100-percent after last season's knee injury. Miles can say he is, Broussard can as well, but there have been too many precautionary measures taken and too many extra pounds on Broussard's frame to prove he is not completely back. Justin Vincent looks to be in the best shape of his life and even Jacob Hester is getting carries at tailback. Antonio Robinson could factor into the mix as well. Miles has said true freshman Charles Scott will play and the late-arriving Keiland Williams is even an option.
3. Freshmen in Action. Speaking of those true freshmen, keep one eye on the field and one on your game program for which newcomer is going to get into the game. With the arrival of Williams, Richard Murphy, Steve Singleton and Al Woods, LSU has 22 newcomers on campus. Miles said last week, somewhere between 15 and 18 of those players will contribute this season. Miles has kept not kept it a secret that Scott will play. Woods is already running with the second team at defensive tackle. There is little doubt that one or all four freshmen linebackers – Jacob Cutrera, Perry Riley, Kelvin Sheppard and Derrick Odom – could play due to a lack of depth at the position. Wide receivers Trindon Holliday, Jared Mitchell, Chris Mitchell and Ricky Dixon have all been mentioned for playing time as well.
4. Ciron Black. The major question mark on this team is its offensive line. Losing three starters – including Andrew Whitworth, Rudy Niswanger and Nate Livings – will be a tall task, especially the all-American Whitworth. Redshirt freshman Ciron Black gets the call to step in for Whitworth and protect Russell's all-important blindside.
5. Glenn Dorsey. The junior defensive tackle is being lauded as the next in a long line behind Booger McFarland, Chad Lavalais, Claude Wroten and Kyle Williams as the Tigers' standout defensive tackle. Miles has said several times Dorsey has been all but unblockable so far this August. We shall see.
6. ULL's "Other" L. Every since the former
7. Governor Kathleen Blanco. The dislike
of LSU by the
8. The Scoreboard. Did you know in 20 prior meetings with LSU, Louisiana-Lafayette has been outscored 912-19? It's true, just check out Marty Mule's column on page 21. The Cajuns are projected to have their best team in years, but it will still be a struggle to add to that running point total against this Tiger defense.
9. That ULL Hot Pepper. When the Ragin'
Cajuns visited Tiger Stadium in 2002, the "Pride of Acadiana," the ULL band,
didn't make the trip. There has been no word on whether or not the band will
10. Finally, Tiger Stadium's West Upper Deck. This
has gotten almost comical. Last year, LSU officials said the construction of the
new westside of
Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger
Rag magazine. Reach him at