A Look at 2010: Part Two

LSU graduates 24 players from their 2009 senior class, making room for new faces to step into the spotlight next season. TigerSportsDigest.com takes a quick glance at what to expect on offense in 2010.

A Look at 2010: Defense and Special Teams (Click Here)

Despite a number of veterans on both the line and at skill positions, the LSU offense sputtered in 2009. Under third-year offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, the Tigers ranked 112-of-120 NCAA teams in total offensive production (304 yards per game).

This spring could be the most competitive position battles have gotten in Baton Rouge in sometime, which hopefully ends in getting the best 11 players onto the field.

Here is our best guess as to the lineup that Crowton and head coach Les Miles field against North Carolina next September in Atlanta.

 

Quarterback:

Jordan Jefferson – 6’4”, 220, Jr.

Chris Garrett – 6’4”, 235, Fr.

Jarrett Lee – 6’2”, 225, Jr.

Barrett Bailey - 6’4”, 200, Fr.

Zach Lee – 6’4”, 200, Fr.

After starting in all but one game for LSU, Jordan Jefferson finished the year with 2,166 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Plenty of armchair offensive coordinators point to Jefferson’s lack of development as reason to look elsewhere, but the Tigers rode the Destrehan native from start to finish.

Will 2010 see a different approach?

Last spring, Crowton drilled Jefferson on not making the same mistakes Jarrett Lee made in 2008, which resulted in the sophomore taking little to no risks throwing the football – which hurt LSU possibly more than it helped.

This spring, Crowton should do Jefferson – and LSU – a favor by opening the position race up once again.

Chris Garrett will be a redshirt freshman, and the Magnolia State standout has impressed with his arm during workout sessions this past year. At the least, it should light a fire under Jefferson.

 

Running Back:

Stevan Ridley – 5’11”, 226, Jr.

Richard Murphy – 6’1”, 204, Sr.

Michael Ford – 5’10”, 207, Fr.

Drayton Calhoun – 6’0”, 175, Fr.

Jakhari Gore – 5’8”, 175, Fr.

Alfred Blue – 6’2”, 205, Fr.

Spencer Ware – 5’11”, 215, Fr.

When LSU lost seniors Charles Scott and Keiland Williams to injuries late in the season, fans got a taste of the future with Stevan Ridley.

Yet, while Ridley showed early promise, the running game proved to be no different than it had been the entire season: no protection from the line, which resulted in little consistency on the ground.

Ridley and senior Richard Murphy, who could be eligible for a sixth season, should be the feature backs when spring ball kicks up. From there, the young guys will have their chance to battle it out.

Will Michael Ford continue to add weight and be a guy that runs solely in between the tackles, or will he remain the back he was at Leesville – one that can take hit the middle or cut it outside for the big run?

Drayton Calhoun, who tried his hand at cornerback before Miles moved him to running back for good, is another redshirt freshman to watch. Of the aforementioned, Calhoun has a change of speed that the bigger backs don’t boast.

The same can be said for Jakhari Gore, the lone man in the LSU backfield that is under 5’10”. With a speed that the others can’t match, Gore could be a candidate for earlier playing time than most.

 

Fullback:

Thomas Parsons – 6’5”, 294, So.

Dominique Allen – 5’11”, 255, So.

James Stampley – 5’10”, 240, Jr.

Richard Dugas – 6’1”, 275, Sr.

Kellen Theriot – 6’1”, 227, So.

Brandon Worle – 6’0”, 245, Fr.

Houston Bates – 6’2”, 218, Fr.

The fullback position should be stacked thanks to position switches.

Thomas Parsons and Richard Dugas are former offensive linemen. Kellen Theriot signed on as a linebacker, while Houston Bates will arrive to campus as a defensive end prospect.

The lone scholarship fullbacks of the group, Dominique Allen and Brandon Worle, should get the early cracks, with Allen – who has been on campus since last June – taking the first reps.

Parsons, whose 6’5” frame makes him a handful for linebackers to block, should also continue to get looks in obvious running situations.

When Quinn Johnson departed after the 2008 season, a huge void was left that the Tigers were unable to fill in 2009. Another year of experience for the group means that LSU is one step closer to filling the shoes Johnson left behind.

 

Left Tackle:

Chris Faulk – 6’6”, 316, Fr.

Greg Shaw – 6’5”, 301, Jr.

Matt Branch – 6’6”, 272, So.

Ciron Black started 53 straight games at left tackle for LSU, topping the mark previously held by Andrew Whitworth. With Black lost to graduation, where does offensive line coach Greg Studrawa turn next?

From the reports back this season, the most likely candidates are senior Joseph Barksdale, junior Greg Shaw and redshirt freshman Chris Faulk.

Barksdale, who has started two consecutive seasons at right tackle, could slide to the blind side and allow Shaw to play on the right side.

If Faulk is the answer over Shaw, the redshirt freshman could move in on the left side immediately, leaving Barksdale with the start at right tackle for the third year in a row.

 

Left Guard:

Josh Dworaczyk – 6’6”, 281, Jr.

Will Blackwell – 6’4”, 300, Jr.

Cordian Hagans – 6’4”, 287, So.

Elliot Porter – 6’4”, 285, Fr.       

Josh Dworaczyk started all 13 games at left guard for LSU in 2009, though Will Blackwell stepped in and showed promise on a number of occasions.

Talk has swirled that Dworaczyk – a 6’6”, 281-pounder – could move to the outside of the line, which would give Blackwell the start.

Until spring rolls in, speculation is all that LSU fans can go by.

 

Center:

P.J. Lonergan – 6’4”, 300, So.

T-Bob Hebert – 6’3”, 285, Jr.

Cam Fordham – 6’4”, 245, Fr.

The position battle between P.J. Lonergan and T-Bob Hebert will be one of the best of the offseason for the second year in a row.

Last spring and fall, the two split reps in practice. Eventually, Hebert earned the starting job.

After getting the start against Louisiana Tech, Longergan made his move in Orlando, where he not only got the start, but also played strong from start to finish.

This could be a race that goes through fall camp.

 

Right Guard:

Alex Hurst – 6’6”, 332, So.

Josh Williford – 6’7”, 336, Fr.

Clay Spencer – 6’6”, 288, So.  

Lyle Hitt was one of the veterans on the line this past season, but there was no denying that Alex Hurst was making big strides.

By season’s end, Hurst was worked into the game more frequently, and the promise for the future was evident. The LSU staff has been high on Hurst since his strong showing last spring, and next year Tiger fans will know what the fuss is about.

 

Right Tackle:

Joseph Barksdale – 6’5”, 315, Sr.

Greg Shaw – 6’5”, 301, Jr.

Stavion Lowe – 6’5”, 296, Fr.    

Evan Washington – 6’5”, 285, Fr.

Much like the left tackle spot, this one depends on how the spring and fall practices shake out.

Joseph Barksdale has held the position down for two seasons, but a move to left tackle could be in the works. If so, that means that junior Greg Shaw impressed enough to warrant a starting job.

 

Tight End:

Deangelo Peterson – 6’4”, 240, Jr.

Mitch Joseph – 6’5”, 275, Jr.

Tyler Edwards – 6’3”, 234, So. 

Alex Russian – 6’5”, 232, Jr.

Travis Dickson – 6’3”, 240, Fr.

Nic Jacobs – 6’5”, 243, Fr.

The experiment with Deangelo Peterson worked, meaning that LSU has a reliable pass-catching tight end to replace four-year starter Richard Dickson.

Peterson’s biggest outing came against Alabama, where he hauled in a touchdown and was the target of a two-point conversion. 2010 should bring much of the same.

Watch out for Tyler Edwards and Travis Dickson, Richard’s younger brother. If Peterson stumbles, the staff will be in search of the next receiving tight end – and the choices will be between Edwards and Dickson.

Mitch Joseph will continue to handle the blocking duties.

 

Wide Receiver:

Terrance Toliver – 6’5”, 206, Sr.

Rueben Randle – 6’3”, 201, So.

Russell Shepard – 6’1”, 190, So.

Jhyryn Taylor – 6’0”, 175, So.

Chris Tolliver – 6’1”, 178, So.

John Williams – 5’11”, 185, Jr.      

Justin Hunter – 6’4”, 185, Fr.

Tharold Simon – 6’4”, 180, Fr.

With Brandon LaFell gone from the mix, Terrance Toliver is the feature man in the LSU passing attack. As a junior this past season, he racked up 53 catches for 735 yards and three touchdowns.

Expect much more from Rueben Randle, as well. The freshman became the primary No. 3 receiver in 2010, but finished the season with only 11 catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers should skyrocket.

Another name that is waiting on touches is Russell Shepard, who grabbed only five catches for 34 yards in his freshman campaign. First-year wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator Billy Gonzales molded Percy Harvin at Florida, and LSU fans expect the same road to be taken with Shepard, one of the team’s most explosive playmakers.

Behind the starting three, the battle continues. Sophomores Jhyryn Taylor and Chris Tolliver are currently the top two names to fill the spot, with Taylor the more impressive during workouts last spring and fall.

Of the freshman, Justin Hunter – who holds the nation’s high school record in the high jump – is someone to keep an eye on. If strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt can add weight to Hunter’s 185-pound frame, the 6’4” prospect could become a great red-zone threat.


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