With the 2014 NCAA FB season about to start, we take a look at a SEC favorite. The Louisiana State U Tigers with Coach Les Miles have managed double digit wins since back in 2009.
The Tigers will try to win 10 games for the fifth consecutive season and to do that, they will need a lot of help from the new players on the squad at key positions. The number of new players at key positions in 2014 is far more than in the past 5 years.
The LSU Tigers, on offense in particular, need some major contributions from new team members with very little or no NCAA experience in regular season play. So now they are calling the Tigers, the LSU New Team.
Some starting position challenges are the following. True freshman Harris and sophomore Jennings compete for the Quarterback slot. That position was vacated as 2013 QB Zach Mettenberger signed with the Tennessee Titans. Last season, Mettenberger accumulated over 3,000 yards for the Tigers. Just losing their QB is tough enough, and then they also had two 1,000 yard receivers, Beckham (Giants) and Landry (Dolphins) join NFL teams.
Coach Miles would like to get the quarterbacks to function and facilitate, and if they accomplish that they could have a good offense. The young offensive players were recruited to fill various voids on the team. The defensive unit returns more experience and their coach Chavis thinks the younger players he does have surely have the talent to compete for playing time at various defensive positions. In these cases, pure athletic abilities can overcome the lack of experience if everything is going in the right direction.
The things to watch for this season amount to five for the Tigers of Louisiana State:
- The Quarterback competition. Sophomore Jennings had the edge as he played in the Tigers final season game 2nd half against Arkansas when QB Mettenberger was injured and he managed a game winning touchdown drive. He played in the Outback Bowl against Iowa, whom LSU defeated 21-17 and the coaches were somewhat disappointed with his inconsistency in that game. The Tigers’ starting QB will be the one that separates himself from the other before the season opener with Wisconsin.
- The Louisiana offense this 2014 season will be a lot different, especially with the style of players, than it was in 2013. That’s because Harris and Jennings are more orientated to scrambling or running the option, which is positive for this offense.
- The defense backfield, as mentioned previously, returns most of the unit’s starters, and also a linebacker and defensive end are also returning starters.
- The running backs position returns two seniors with Hilliard and Magee who may be challenged by highly recruited freshman Fournette, 6’1”, 230 pounds, who ended his high school career with 88 TD’s while gaining 7,619 yards.
- Watch the returning receiver Dural who had limited play last season with seven catches, redshirt freshman Diarse, and true freshman Dupree, who are all competing for a starting position.