2012 LSU Tigers Football Preview
2011 Record: 13-1 (8-0 SEC)
Head Coach: Les Miles, eighth season (75-18 at LSU) (103-39 overall)
Projected Returning Starters: 14
Spring Game: March 31st (Purple 24 White 17)
Notes: Whether you like him or not, Coach Les Miles is arguably the most interesting coach in college football. Miles has been famous for clock errors and time management issues, but he still finds a way to win. While at LSU, Miles has placed 42 players in the NFL via the draft, including five in the 2012 NFL Draft (Morris Claiborne [CB], Michael Brockers [DT], Rueben Randle [WR], Brandon Taylor [S], and Ron Brooks [CB]). Despite losses at key positions, LSU figures to be a favorite to win the SEC West.
BVTSB Take: LSU has won 17 straight games at Death Valley, with their last home loss taking place on October 10, 2009 to Florida. Steve Kragthorpe, former Louisville and Tulsa head coach, enters his second season as quarterbacks coach for the Tigers. Greg Strudawa is also in his second season in his position, as offensive coordinator. Despite the departure of Jarrett Lee (1306 passing yards and 14 touchdowns) and Jordan Jefferson (737 passing yards and 6 touchdowns), I like LSU’s passing game this year – starter Zach Mettenberger should have a great year. Mettenberger will be a vast improvement to last year’s quarterbacks. Stephen Rivers and Jerrard Randall figure to back up Mettenberger. Running backs Spencer Ware (707 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns in 2011), Kenny Hilliard (336 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns), Michael Ford (756 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns), and Alfred Blue (539 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns) all return this year – the four leading rushers in 2011. LSU has one of the deepest rushing attacks in the country, with more experience, but no seniors, the run game will be even stronger. The offensive line returns four starters – C PJ Lonergan (11 starts in 2011), RG Josh Williford (9 starts), RT Alex Hurst (14 starts), and LT Chris Faulk (13 starts). LG La’el Collins (7 games) is expected to start, although Josh Dworaczyk (13 starts in 2010) started part of last year, and will be back for a sixth season. LSU does lose Randle (917 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns) to the NFL’s New York Giants. They do return Odell Beckham (475 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns) and Russell Shepard (190 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns). Jarvis Landry should fill the remaining WR spot. Despite the departure of Randle, the receiving game should improve, especially with a better passer. LSU plays North Texas, Washington, Idaho, and Towson in non-conference – they should be 4-0. LSU does travel to Auburn and Arkansas, to open and conclude the SEC schedule, respectively. Those games could present a challenge. They also host South Carolina and Alabama. Despite the toughness of the SEC, I like LSU to return to the SEC Title Game.
2012 Early Projection: 12-0
To see the 2012 SEC composite schedule, click here.
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