BLOG: In a "HAYS"

One word to start this blog – HOT. You can't help but feel for the big uglies on days like today, what with their massive frames and 10 pounds of gear.

Anyway, before we get to the practice action (don't blink, you'll miss that write up) I want to address the issue of the preseason ranking. In the last 2 days I've been asked my opinion regarding the ranking, and let me first say there shouldn't even be a preseason ranking. Put me in the group that says the AP and USA Today should release a Top 25 in week 3 or 4 – having said that, the ranking situation is what it is and I don't see it changing soon.

 

But for all that say if you're not in the National Championship your bowl game doesn't matter, LSU's #2 ranking is exhibit A to prove that wrong. Clearly the Tigers have loads of talent and (relatively speaking) a favorable schedule, but the 41-14 trouncing of the Irish and the subsequent #3 final ranking at the end of last season went a long way in setting LSU up at #2.

 

Forget everything else – the most important aspect of the ranking is the ability to recover from a single loss. Ask the Auburn Tigers of 2004 how important that is.

 

In lieu of reporting on how Early Doucet did his jumping jacks, how about something more interesting. Going into the August camp, what really needs to get accomplished? (other than keeping everyone healthy).

 

  1. Offensive line depth needs to come and come quick. Depending on which tea leaves you read, Will Arnold at best will probably be a part time tackle or guard. That means Lyle Hitt and/or Matt Allen (both underclassmen) need to be ready. The good news here with respect to fall camp is the entire offensive line is battling the best defensive line in college football day in and day out, so game day should be a break.

 

  1. Stop me if you've heard this one before – somebody has to catch the football not named Doucet. Brandon LeFell reported to camp at 6'3", 180 and looks smooth so far. Of course it's quite different catching balls when you've got any teams' 4th or 5th best cover DB on you like LeFell did last year. Also, D.J. McCarthy and Les Miles will need to see LeFell become a much more physical downfield blocker. Keep your eye on Ricky Dixon – it seems he's one of the forgotten redshirts from last year, but Dixon checked into camp at 6'2" 215 and that allows him to instantly compete with smaller corners. It wouldn't hurt if at least 1 of the Mitchells stepped up (my money is on Jared) coming out of camp.

 

  1. Depth on the defensive line. Just kidding…. Wanted to see if were still paying attention.

 

  1. The offense as a whole needs as much consistency as possible as quickly as possible. A new QB, new coordinator and inexperienced receivers don't help that situation, but if the line gels like many think it will the RB's gives the rest of the offense a bit of breathing room.

 

Injury update – looking at the big games in 2007, look no further than Virginia Tech on September 8. The Hokies suffered a big blow on Monday when starting right tackle Ed Wang (6'5" 312) fractured his fibula and had ligament damage to his left leg. Wang is out indefinitely and worsens an already thin depth situation on the O line.


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