2003 SEC Football Preview- LSU

Today's edition of VandyMania's 2003 SEC Football preview takes a close look at Nick Saban's LSU Tigers.


Head Coach: Nick Saban (Career Rec: 71-38-1)
Offensive Coordinator: Jimbo Fisher
Defensive Coordinator: Will Muschamp

2002 Record: 8-5 overall (5-3 SEC)


Total Offense: 86th (350.00)
Rushing Offense: 29th (196.92)
Passing Offense: 102nd (153.08)
Scoring Offense: 75th (24.85)
Total Defense:8th (286.77)
Rushing Defense: 40th (134.08)
Pass Efficiency Defense: 5th (93.85)
Scoring Defense: 15th (18.31)

Louisiana State's quarterback Marcus Randall started Cotton Bowl vs Texas but will have to fight to keep his job. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez )


Offense (7):

LT Andrew Whitworth (6-7, 320, So.)
LG Stephen Peterman (6-4, 325, Sr.)
C Ben Wilkerson (6-4, 300, Jr.)
RT Rodney Reed (6-4, 280, Sr.)
TE Eric Edwards (6-5, 264, Sr.)
WR Michael Clayton (6-4, 192, Jr.)
QB Marcus Randall (6-2, 218, Jr.)

Defense (6):

LE Marcus Spears (6-4, 295, Jr.)
RT Chad Lavalais (6-3, 289, Sr.)
RE Marquise Hill (6-7, 294, Jr.)
WLB Lionel Turner (6-2, 255, Jr.)
LCB Randall Gay (5-11, 174, Sr.)
FS Jack Hunt (6-1, 189, Sr.)

* All-Star Candidates



Offensive line, defensive line.


. Running backs, linebacker.


September 20, Georgia. This is vital SEC game that may play a key roll in deciding who will take charge of their divisions.


"Number one question mark is what will the identity of our team be. Last year not finish season like we'd like. Had a great start. Had injuries and adversity to overcome but didn't have the competitive character to get it done. Hopefully this year have character and attitude you need. That comes from the individual players. I get asked about leadership all the time . . . we've had a lot of good leadership. But sometimes the players can hide and depend on the leadership to get them to do their jobs. Something you don't want to happen."

"We had two plays that exemplified this. We won a game on the last play of the game at Kentucky, the Bluegrass Miracle. We had another individual player with 30 seconds to go in game against Arkansas them 80 yards to go and no timeouts, gets the ball thrown over his head. A mental error allowed the football demons to snatch the Arkansas game away and the opportunity to go back to the SEC championship game."

"I know we'll look at paper and say this many offensive players back, this many defensive players, but if you saw Seabiscuit, that was the smallest horse with the least ability that won the most races because of what was inside. That was competitive character. The horse had ability but won on heart and character. In our league with all the good teams, all the parity . . . the difference is not what comes out on paper, but the team that can sustain over the long haul with consistency. That will come from the individual players that make that team character and that's the no. 1 thing that is a challenge for our team this year. Hopefully we can remember what it felt like in the Arkansas game in the locker room in Little Rock after we lost that game. A contributing factor to what type of aggressiveness we come back with."

"This is best OL we've had since I've been there. Feel good about QB position. Matt Mauck has continued to show total rehab, 100 percent able to do all the things that all the other players on the team have done. Had a good spring practice, continued to develop and make improvement over the summer. Feel good about his ability to feature the explosive players we have at receiver, mainly Devery Henderson, Michael Clayton and Skyler Green. Last year every game we played except Arkansas the highest rated quarterback efficiency won the game, and that was an option team. "

"I'm not happy coming out of spring, Didn't tackle well, didn't play aggressively or strike them at the line. All the things that have been trademarks of type of defense we want to play, we weren't good enough at. Had some guys who were injured, some of the leadership been accustomed to in past wasn't present, that's why we're trying to put the responsibility on every player to affect how he plays, so that we get more consistency especially on that side of the ball. We need to improve in that area (leadership)."

"I think I've always said that when it comes to freshmen, it's usually their maturity level that determines whether they can play as freshmen, not all about athleticism and ability. Can it be done, I think absolutely, would it be difficult, no question about it. Most important thing about freshmen is to get them not to focus on the results that they're getting but to focus on the process they have to go through to become better players. I think they get it, but they get it in different increments of time. Some guys understand it coming in, some see it quickly and understand, some it takes to mid-season, some it's next year."

VandyMania Projection

LSU has raised its talent level over the past few years. They could very well challenge for everything if they find a good quarterback. 8-4 overall. 5-3 SEC.


Aug. 30 Louisiana-Monroe, W 45-3
Sept. 6 at Arizona, L 21-20
Sept. 13 Western Illinois, W 34-0
Sept. 20 Georgia, W 31-24
Sept. 27 at Mississippi State, W 35-27
Oct. 11 Florida, L 24-13
Oct. 18 at South Carolina, W 17-13
Oct. 25 Auburn, W 21-17
Nov. 1 Louisiana Tech, W 35-7
Nov. 15 at Alabama, W 28-23
Nov. 22 at Ole Miss, L 37-31
Nov. 29 Arkansas, L 23-20

VandyMania.com Top Stories