The defending national champions take the field this week for a month of drills. Here are five hot topics to think about heading into the spring.
1. Which Tiger kicker will step up and be a constant, or at least part-time, deep threat on kick-offs?
It's not like the Tigers don't have a ton of options at the kicking position. There are seven listed kickers on the LSU roster going into the spring, but are there any that can at least get a few touchbacks in the '08 season? In exactly 100 kickoffs in the '07 championship season, only two went beyond the goal line for a touchback. Josh Jasper, Andrew Crutchfield and Sean Gaudet split time last year sharing the duties. Hopefully one of them developed a led foot this spring.
2. Which red-shirt freshman will emerge to contribute?
Coming out of high school in '07, Stefoin Francois and Phelon Jones were two of the most feared defenders in the country. A defensive secondary guided by grizzled veterans prevented these two from seeing any playing time during the championship season, but the torch has now been passed. Craig Steltz, Jonathan Zenon and Chevis Jackson are off to the league and the race is on to see which talented youngster will emerge to be ‘08's Chad Jones. Look for this pair of athletes to step up to the plate.
3 Can Ricky Jean-François be the next Glenn Dorsey?
I know. Ridicules to make that comparison right? After all, the only award Dorsey didn't seem to rake in last season was an Oscar. But don't be so sure Jean-François can't become as decorated as Dorsey was during his time at LSU. After missing all 12 regular season games last season due to an academic suspension, the Miami native came in and dominated the SEC Championship and eventually the BCS National Championship – taking home the honor of Most Outstanding Defensive Player in that game. With amazing athleticism, look for the defensive lineman to emerge this spring as a leader on a defensive line loaded with talent.
4. Will this be the year of the Trindon?
The question every Tiger fan wants answered: Will the LSU coaching staff ever find a way to utilize the fastest college football player in the nation? With a year under his belt, offensive wizard Gary Crowton has to be conjuring up some designs strictly for the miniature speedster in the off-season. LSU fans can only hope he doesn't take the money that the professional track world will be offering him.
5. How much work will
Well the answer is a lot if you are referring to their output on the diamond. The duel-sport athletes have just kicked-off the Baseball season and will be key parts of that squad as well as the pigskin team in '08. Don't expect the duo to be overly focused on spring football with baseball going on, but they will be balancing the two sports and participating in both according to LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri. How do theses guys find time to sleep?