Filling the void

One of the key components to LSU's championship team from 2007 was the outstanding play the Tigers got from its senior class. Heading into 2008 there are several guys who will be looked upon to fill the void left by those who have moved on and two that immediately come to mind are Demetrius Byrd and Tyson Jackson.

Byrd came on strong towards the middle of last season to give the Tigers another viable weapon in the passing game. He led the club in yards per catch (17.7) and touchdowns (7), and finished third on the team with 35 catches despite logging only four in his first four games.


The junior college transfer was known for being LSU’s deep threat last season but his focus during fall camp is becoming more of a complete receiver.


“I’m really trying to work on my short routes because everybody knows me for going deep,” Byrd said. “I want to be known for everything like catching passes across the middle, catching screens and everything. The deep ball is probably the easiest route for a receiver to run and I don’t want to be known as a guy who just runs straight down the field. I want to be known for everything.”


How successful Byrd is will hinge on the quarterback being able to get him the ball.


Who that quarterback will be is a question that no one has an answer for yet but if Byrd had his wish there would be more than one guy taking snaps over the course of the season.


“The quarterbacks that we have all have different things they can do,” Byrd said. “So, right now, using all of them really works in our offense. You have one who can throw really good and one that can run the options and stuff like that. With me as a receiver I like the part of rotating a quarterback like that because all of them bring something different to the offense. If it was up to me would still go back and forth with them.”


According to Byrd, the two players he alluded to were Jarrett Lee as the guy who throws well and Andrew Hatch as the option threat.


However, there is another signal caller that Byrd is interested in seeing more of in true freshman Jordan Jefferson.


“I’m interested to see how he does,” Byrd said. “I’ve been peeking in on a few practices when I leave and I see him running the options good and he has a good arm. I’m ready for him to come out here and show us what he’s got.”


While Byrd hopes to fill the void in the receiving corps left by the departure of Early Doucet, Jackson looks to have more of an active role on the other side of the ball as the defense must replace six starters from last season.


“We lost some real good players but we have a lot of good players that are ready to step up,” Jackson said. “Coach Miles has done a good job at recruiting and we have a bunch of young guys that were here last year so they’re familiar with our way of doing things and the expectations we have at LSU.”


One of those players that must be replaced is All-America defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey.


Dorsey brought so much to the table on and off the field, and is the type of guy that you don’t replace.


“You never replace a guy like Glen because he meant so much to the program,” said Jackson. “Glen’s always going to be a part of this place so instead of trying to replace him we just need guys to play their game. Ricky Jean-Francois is one we’ll look to and he showed at the end of last season that he is capable of playing just as good as Glen did.”


Along with filling the void left by Dorsey, LSU must also find two corners to replace Chevis Jackson and Jonathan Zenon.


The guys competing for those jobs have very little to no experience at the college level but Jackson feels they can get the job done with some help from the men up front.


“We have a lot of youth back there but those guys are pretty much veterans in a sense because they’ve been around for so long,” he said. “So they know what’s going on. They just don’t have a lot of game experience. Up front, as a defensive line, if we can get a lot of pressure we can help them out a whole lot.”

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