LSU 2011

LSU 2010 Statistics

(SEC) The Tigers play on a grass field at Tiger Stadium (seats 92,400)

  • Les Miles is in his 7th year as the head coach at LSU.  He went 11-2 last year and while his LSU teams have always lost at least two games in a season, they still won a national championship in 2007.  So perhaps that’s part of why there’s so much national championship hype surrounding the Tigers this year.
  • Many think LSU can be a legitimate national title contender in 2011.  And I believe the strength of that theory rests on the fact that they had an 11-2 record last year despite struggling in many different areas.  Analysts look at their numbers and see a quarterback with an additional year of experience and a running back position poised to be even better this year, and think they are just two wins away from perfection so how can they not improve?
  • But here are some reasons to be cautious: First, while I think the running back position is in great shape, I don’t believe that the quarterback position will be greatly changed from last year.  It is the first year of a new system under offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe and I am very curious what he can do in one off-season which will significantly improve how the quarterback performs on the field.  Second, the defense loses their star in cornerback Patrick Peterson.  While Morris Claiborne is a great talent playing the other CB role, he will not have the same opportunities to create turnovers as he did when opponents had to worry about avoiding Peterson on the other side of the field.
  • The quarterback position should theoretically be improved, but by how much? In 2010 Jordan Jefferson had a 56.5% completion percentage, which ranked 83rd in the country.  This was a 5% decline from his performance in 2009.  And he wasn’t asked to pass nearly as much in 2010 as he was in 2009.  Last year’s 156 yards passing yards per game ranked 107th in the nation.  And I haven’t found any rhyme or reason to his completion percentage, but now that he is in his 4th year as a starter, he is expected to improve.  Jarrett Lee, who had about 1/3 of the passing attempts in 2010 will be back as well.  In addition to being more experienced, something will need to change with this offense in order for them to become more productive and perhaps the answer lies in new offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe.  Kragthorpe spent three years (2007-2009) as the head coach of Louisville.
  • If the offense does find more success, it may have a lot to do with their offensive line, which is more experienced this year. They only have to replace one player and have nine of their top ten back.  That will help in all aspects of the offense.  It will especially help with the running game and the new starter who is going to take over.  They have talented running backs in contention for the position, but I think whoever starts (perhaps Spencer Ware) is probably going to look a lot better than he is given the strength of the offensive line.
  • The defense has been decent, but when LSU won the National Championship in 2003 they had the #1 defense in the nation and when they won it in 2007 they had the #3 defense in the nation.  Last year they jumped up to #12 so if they continue to improve they could have another championship-caliber defense. 
  • What about defense this year? They lose two starters on the defensive line, which may be a good thing considering that this line contributed to the worst rushing defense in at least ten years, if not longer.  To go undefeated this team will have to be able to stop the run in addition to stopping the pass, especially because they will not be able to rely on their formidable pass defense to the same extent as they did in 2010 with Cornerback Patrick Peterson in the line-up.
  • Offense returns seven and defense returns six and like they did last year, to succeed LSU will need to: a) continue to win the close games, b) rely on the  strong rushing game they rediscovered last year, especially to take pressure off the quarterback and c) continue to get  their defense back in shape to where it was just a few seasons ago.
  • The season starts out with a bang on September 3rd in Arlington against Oregon, who is coming off of a loss in the BCS Championship game to Auburn.  I think LSU wins that game.   And if LSU can beat Alabama (in Tuscaloosa) they could end up playing for a national championship, despite their quarterback situation.  But that is a very big “IF.”

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  1. Auburn 2011 says:

    […] games against Mississippi State and Alabama as well as road games at Clemson, at South Carolina, at LSU, at Georgia.  It would be very difficult for an Auburn team that returns only 6 combined starters […]

  2. […] LSU‘s Four Brawl Players:  8/24/2011 According to “Randy Rosetta of reports that quarterback Jordan Jefferson was not directly involved in the bar fight.  Rosetta cites unnamed individuals close to the LSU program as the source for that information.”  And while no arrests or charges have been made or filed, no one has been cleared either. […]