PST Contributor: Des Boodram
August 11th, 2016
A year ago, LSU Head Coach Les Miles and his staff were in the process of fielding likely the best recruiting class of their tenure, yet no one was willing to crown LSU with the SEC championship and rightfully so. The writing was on the wall that the 2016 season would be the Tiger’s best shot at overthrowing Alabama, winning the SEC West, and firmly implanting themselves in the all discussions revolving around this year’s playoff picture.
Miles complimented last year’s class with another incoming class, which should provide plenty of depth, but the upper classmen and a select group of sophomores should be able to take it from here.
Note, this was before everyone knew how good Leonard Fornette would be and how average Brandon Harris would be as well. The ceiling is far from being reached for both players, so if they are ever going to max out their potential this would make their offense extremely tough to deal with this season.
Chip off the Old LSU Block
On the offensive side of the ball, all the chips are in place according to how Les Miles has recruited them, they simply need to execute. Fournette is an easy pre-season Heisman candidate, but no one in Baton Rouge will forget how Alabama’s defense stifled Fournette last season, forcing the Tigers to take the game to the air. This is precisely why Brandon Harris and his wide receivers need to be significantly better.
The good news is that Harris isn’t a fill-in or a walk–on or a transfer… He’s a highly touted highly recruited quarterback chosen by Miles who was in turn chosen by Harris to play at LSU. This season is the culmination of all that has gone into their relationship to this point. The QB position and its productivity or lack there of is monumental for the Tigers and how they measure up with Alabama.
Let’s hope that LSU’s decision to run a 3-4 for the first time in the Les Miles era doesn’t alter too much to the point of regression, though LSU hasn’t had a consistent scheme for over 5 years, so these kids should be able to adjust. The D-line is both mature and athletic enough to adjust and boast four NFL ready studs led by defensive ends Arden Key and Lewis Neal.
The 3-4 will give them more opportunity to be aggressive when pursuing the QB. Linebacker is thin, but what else is new in the SEC, as it’s the level on defense with the most versatility and turnover, while also being able to cover up deficiencies like a lack of speed. LSU will have numbers to throw at this position, but not much is set in stone yet, so hopefully multiple players will emerge.
LSU is loaded in the secondary, and needs to be in the fast SEC. The Tiger corners are Sunday players led by Jamal Adams and Rickey Jefferson, both whom should earn All SEC honors. This defense will be well coached and ready to go this season
LSU Going to have a Perfect Season?
As long as they don’t leave their helmets on the sidelines for the softer teams, LSU should have no problem finishing up conference play with no more than one loss. Going to Florida and Arkansas is scary, and it would be a huge mistake for the Tigers to overlook both those teams. They get Alabama and Ole Miss at home, but all four of these teams are in a row on the conference schedule, and it would be a tall order to expect LSU to go undefeated.
This is the year for the Tigers, if they handle the Crimson Tide they will be playoff bound, if not, mark them down for another great bowl.