Talented LSU Squad Will Be Hard To Beat

Switching gears to look at the defense, the first thing you notice is that the Tiger defense is loaded up front. Start with All-American Glenn Dorsey at defensive tackle. Dorsey is a probable first-round draft pick next spring.

LSU is a very talented and very physical ball club. Their physicality alone presents problems for the Tiger's opponents. The game scheduled the week after the LSU game will not be an easy one for LSU opponents.

The general consensus is that the LSU Tigers may be the most talented team in the SEC if not the country, but whether Les Miles is the coach to motivate the Tigers to live up to preseason expectations is an open question. Anything short of the SEC championship banner being hosted over Tiger Stadium in December in would probably have moving vans parking in front of Miles' Boot City home.

It's tough to win a championship - no matter how talented - with a first-year starter at quarterback but that's the situation the Tigers face after the departure of Jamarcus Russell to the Oakland Raiders despite his having a year of eligibility remaining. Russell was the first player taken in the NFL draft.

Russell's successor is Matt Flynn, a product of Tyler, Texas. Flynn has patiently waited his turn as Tiger quarterback and now as a fifth-year senior he takes the reins to one of the nation's most talented offenses.

Russell's successor is Matt Flynn, a product of Tyler, Texas. Flynn has patiently waited his turn as Tiger quarterback and now as a fifth-year senior he takes the reins to one of the nation's most talented offenses.

Flynn has one career start under his belt - the 2005 Peach Bowl - when he performed very well. If Flynn can come close to performing like he did in that game, the Tigers should be in the national championship game.

In addition to the normal graduation losses the Tiger backfield took a hit when extremely talented but oft injured senior running back Alley Broussard gave up football. Broussard was the 'big' back-type of runner. But even without Broussard, the Tigers still have enough horses in the running back stable to be a very effective offense.

Charles Scott was impressive in limited action as a freshman last season and should assume Broussard's duties. However, the Tiger running game begins with Keiland Williams, who established himself as the Tiger's feature back last season. Speedy Richard Murphy is the third-down back and could become a receiving threat. Jacob Hester is nominally a fullback but could see action in a variety of backfield roles.

The receiving corps is headlined by Early Doucet, a senior and a key receiver in the Tiger offense despiute having spent his first three seasons in the shadwo of NFL first-round draft picks Darrin Bowe and Craig Davis.

Doucet may be primed for an attention-grabbing season now that he's the main attraction. Doucet had an impressive effort against Tulane, making four catches for 36 yards and two scores, and adding a third TD against the Green Wave 17-yard run.

There are other talented receivers besides Doucet. Brandon LaFell, a sophomore, showed flashes of potential last season and should be the other starter. Sophomore Jared Mitchell adds depth.

Because of the loss of two starters, the offensive line is an area of concern. One of the returning starters, Will Arnold, has been hampered by iunjuries for the past few seasons but is still considered an all-conference caliber player. If Arnold is unable to go, it would be a major blow to the LSU offense.

Sophomore Ciron Black, the starting left tackle, made his mark last season. The other interior starters - center Brett Helms and guard Herman Johnson - are steady players. Carnell Stewart, a John Curtis product, has the right tackle job under control. 300-pounder Lyle Hitt is the right guard.

Stewart and Black both top the scales at about 320-pounds.

Switching gears to look at the defense, the first thing you notice is that the Tiger defense is loaded up front. Start with All-American Glenn Dorsey at defensive tackle. Dorsey is a probable first-round draft pick next spring.

Marlon Favorite starts at tackle opposite Dorsey and is not far behind. Tyson Jackson is Dorsey's equal on the edge.

Both Jackson and Favorite are probable all-conference selections.

The other end is handled by a rotation of Rahim Alem and Kirston Pittman, both excellent speed rushers off the edge.

Middle linebacker Darry Beckwith anchors the front seven. Will linebacker Ali Highsmith is quick but not as physical as the rest of the defense. Luke Sanders is the starter at sam linebacker.

The secondary will probably be the weak link of the defense as the Tigers have to replace All-American starting free safety LaRon Landry, a four-year starter, as well Jesse Daniels. Given the losses, some dropoff from last season has to be expected.

Landry's replacement is Craig Steltz, a Rummel product who played a considerable amount of time last season, and returned an interception 76-yards for a touchdown in the second half against the Green Wave.

Curtis Taylor is expected to be a consistent replacement for Jesse Daniels at strong safety.

The Tigers boast one of the better pairs of corners in the country.

Looking at the specialists, Colt David takes over all of the Tiger's kicking chores, and Patrick Fisher inherits the punting chores.

Trindon Holliday will share kickoff return duties with Early Doucet. Doucet takes over the punt return chores. Holliday may be the fastest player in college football and is a threat to score on every return.

The Tigers are a tough ball club. The Tulane-LSU ball game is going to take a physical toll on the Green Wave.


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