Can the LSU Tigers get back to Atlanta? Find out in our 2013 LSU Football Preview.

One of the most consistent teams in college football, LSU’s 10-3 record from last season seemed to be just average. 10 wins for any program is a great benchmark number, but the Bengal Tigers seemed to not play with the same intensity as other teams in the SEC. This was evident in their .500 record against top 25 competition, which seems pretty lackluster last season, and many blame the loss of the Honeybadger for LSU’s apparent lack of identity a year ago. However, head coach Les Miles and his players realize they will have to play with a competitive spirit if they want to achieve more than an average season for this storied program.

Can the LSU Tigers get back to Atlanta? We examine that in our 2013 LSU Football Preview.
Can the LSU Tigers get back to Atlanta? We examine that in our 2013 LSU Football Preview.

2013 LSU Football Preview

With so many question marks on the offensive side of the ball, coach Miles will first have to learn how to maximize the efficiency of the roster he has…something easier said than done.

No one is a testament to this more than Zach Mettenberger. LSU’s signal caller had a rollercoaster season last year, sometimes looking the part as an efficient game manager. Other times, however, he looked like a freshmen who’d never seen the field. With a much less capable defense this year, Mettenberger will have to improve on his football I.Q. and decision making if he wants to stand a chance against a true SEC powerhouse like Alabama. But with so many weapons for Mettenberger to choose from, if he can win games early and gain confidence, LSU may be open to tweaking their offense to a pass-first mentality. Until then, LSU has to implement a simple playbook that relies on a good running game to maximize their chances.

As the Tigers look to establish the run early and often this season, running backs Kenny Hilliard and Alfred Blue will feel more pressure than any other players on the field due to the style of offense that Coach Miles looks to implement. Expect Alfred Blue to be slowly integrated into the offense until the Tiger’s coaching staff feels confident about his knee’s health, one year removed from a season-ending injury. Coach Miles has another question mark in Blue, and although he averaged 6.7 yards per carry just two seasons ago, it remains to be seen whether he’ll be able to pivot and twist through the trenches 10-15 times a game.

Until Blue can prove his durability for the Tigers, it is likely that the new-and-improved Kenny Hilliard will be the go-to guy for the LSU offense. Roughly 15 pounds lighter than last season, Hillliard has drastically increased his level of conditioning so he is ready to carry the ball 25 times a contest in the event that Alfred Blue might not be able to play the first couple games. Most of Hilliard’s work will be done between the tackles, and his success would allow LSU to diversify their attack and take a huge amount of pressure off of Zach Mettenberger. This simply allows the Tiger QB to throw more without being the key focus of the opposing defense.

Since Mettenberger has so many weapons downfield, defenses should try to limit the success of Hlliard and Blue and make Mettenberger make plays down the field. Even then, great cornerbacks will be a necessity to void one of the top five receiving offenses in the SEC.

The leader of this top-notch core, Jarvis Landry, knows how important he will be in games against great rival teams like Alabama. Landry does have some size he can use to his advantage, but his game is based on technically sound route running, blinding speed, and great catching ability. Landry won’t only be the team’s most potent offensive weapon, but also the face of the team after the falling out with the tough-minded Honeybadger; a player that brought a tough mentality to the team. For an example, take a look at last year’s game against Alabama. Landry didn’t try to beat the Alabama cornerbacks, he ran at the defensive backs. He wanted to beat them up. He felt confident he could impose his game on Alabama, and despite losing, this confidence rubbed off on his teammates. More than any position or player, a leader is what the Tigers need.

Lining up across from Landry will be Odell Beckham, LSU’s wildcard player. Beckham really isn’t a whole lot different from Landry, but as one of the quickest players on the team, Beckham will have a lot of room to work with as defenses will be so focused on shutting down Landry. And if it’s true that Landry is boosting the self-esteem of his teammates, Beckham will only get better and may develop in to the best second-string receiver in the SEC.

Like almost half the SEC, the Tigers’ defense was almost completely vacated at the end of the season. Everyone knows about Barkevious Mingo and Bennie Logan being lost to the draft, but in total LSU lost seven starters from the smash mouth defense they had assembled a year ago. Although coach Miles says that he likes the progress he is seeing, every coach will say that in spring. The fact of the matter is, this defense has one senior (FS Craig Loston), and only time will tell how they perform. The one saving grace for LSU is coach Miles and his masterful game-planning skills, something he will have to be exceptionally good at this season with such an unpredictable team.

Thanks for checking out our 2013 LSU Football Preview. Tomorrow we examine Arkansas.

—Special to the Capstone Report By Alex DeRemer

8 thoughts on “2013 LSU Football Preview”

  1. I would say that was a fair and objective analysis of LSU headed into this year’s season.

  2. The SEC needs LSU. They need them to not just be good, but be a stingy, physical, formidable foe. I can honestly say I like LSU when they’re not playing Bama…something everybody says but doesn’t mean. But I really do. I like Les Miles and everything about the imposing presence he tries to bring to the Tigers. It means something when you beat them, and that’s the way it should be.

    1. To last in Baton Rouge a football coach has to be one of two things: 1. A no nonsense guy like Nick Saban or 2. An eccentric goofball like Les Miles. Even though the LSU fanbase might question his game decisions quite frequently they seem to like the man personally. Thus, he’s managed to last at a school which has frequently chewed up and spit out football coaches even when they won games.

      1. Crassus, I don’t know where you are coming from or where you get your information but you are completely wrong in your assessment.

        First of all, to last in Baton Rouge, just like at any school in the SEC, including Alabama, a football coach only has to do one thing – be a consistent winner. It doesn’t matter how “eccentric” Les Miles is, if he wasn’t a consistent winner he would ge gone. Miles is still at LSU because he has in FACT been a consistent winner. in six of his eight season at LSU his teams have won at least 10 games. In 5 of his 8 seasons at LSU his teams have won at least 11 games including two seasons of 12 and 13 wins. Miles won more game in his first five years at LSU than Saban did, and his has won more games in his last 5 years than Saban did at LSU showing that he has been a consistent winner with or without “Saban” players.

        Secondly, the LSU fan base doesn’t question Miles’ game decisions any more frequently than any other fan base question their coaches decisions, Alabama included. Even with all of his success did the bama fans not question Saban’s decions to try so many long field goals in their 9-6 loss to LSU or his decision to pass the ball instead of running it on their last offensive play in the A&M loss? Arm chair coaching or quaterbacking and questioning coaches decisions is what every fan base does after their team loses a game. And the majority of LSU fans , myself included, don’t just “seem” to like the man personally, but we due “In fact” like the man personally.

        And last but not least, you are completly wrong and off base when you say LSU is a “school which has frequently chewed up and spit out football coaches even when they won games”. Since 1955 LSU has had 11 head coaches, oddly enough the exact same number that Alabama has had in that same time frame. Included in those 11 coaches for both LSU and Alabama is one interim coach that coached only one game and one coach that didn’t coach a single game. The difference is Bo Rien’s tenure ended in a plane crash, while Mike Price’s ended in a strip club. That means both schools have in effect had 9 head coaches since 1955. During that time frame 5 of those 9 coaches were consistent winners; Dietzel,McClendon, Arnsparger, Saban and Miles. Of those 5, Miles is still there, Dietzel quit to go to Army (a powerhouse team and program at the time), Arnsparger and Saban quit on there own to go to or back to the NFL. Only McClendon was let go, and that was after 18 seasons. All of the other four coaches, Stovall, Archer, Hallman Dinardo were fired after winning less than 60% of their games.

        Now compare that to Alabama who either fired or ran off Perkins, Curry and Francione who all won close to or more than 70% of thier games. Either way I challange you to find more than a handfull of programs who have had less coaches than LSU or Alabama since 1955.

        1. GMAFB, Junior. You obviously know nothing about your own football history. You mention Paul Dietzel leaving LSU for Army (which was NOT a football power) after winning a NC in Baton Rouge. How about Biff Jones leaving for Oklahoma because he couldn’t tolerate the interference of then governor Huey Long? How about Bill Arnsparger leaving after only three years and winning an SEC title because he couldn’t stand the atmosphere in Baton Rouge? I don’t give a shite how many coaches Alabama has had in that period of time. Everything I said about LSU football is true. They chew ’em up and spit ’em out in Baton Rouge. Ask Arnsparger, Mike Archer, Mike Donahue, Gaynell Tinsley, Gerry DiNardo, Curley Hallman, etc. Now go stick a red hot poker up your you know where. Worthless POS.

          1. Well Crassus aren’t you just another “classy” gump!

            Maybe I know more about LSU football than you know about reading. My comments were about the coaches at LSU since 1955, Biff Jones coached at LSU prior to that date, 1932-1934 to be exact.

            You are full of hot air and you will prove that to be true, but not being able to supply one credible souce to any of your claims.

            And I informed you, but obviously you can’t read, as to why Archer, DiNardo and Hallman were let go, because the weren’t consistent winners, or in the case of Hallman a looser.

  3. Les Miles is a fun guy and a good coach!!
    He is a reporters dream, you never no
    what the man will say or do!! LSU will lose
    3 or 4 games this year because they lost
    to much talent on defense to the NFL!!

  4. No team has taken more years off my life and caused me genuine health fears than LSU.

    LSU and Alabama have probably the most cultural identity in the SEC and are among the top in the country. But LSU in particular puts the “college” in “college football.”

    No other school’s culture feels more rock-and-roll-from-the-80’s than LSU, and I mean that in a good way. They party. They scream. They spend loads and loads of money. They battle. They burn effigies, throw urine-filled balloons, and pour sour milk from the top of the stadium (even if any of the stories are false, LSU has earned a repuation for being rowdy and crazy, enough that I have to respect them for their cultural identity).

    And they play some of the best football outside of Tuscaloosa. I am a fundamentalist. I like a battle at the line of scrimmage, and LSU always brings that. I like talent spread across every position so that even on plays with low results there is something to learn, and LSU always has talent and strength spread across their roster like a Marvel comic book.

    Don’t forget, LSU was nothing for a long time. I only say that because people consider Alabama’s recent run a dynasty, but LSU has been on a tear for a decade now and remain at the top. Saban revolutionized Alabama, and maybe he did the same thing for LSU, but they haven’t fallen off since. They are a modern powerhouse and a contender every year with no signs of slowing down, and they’ve done it all playing the kind of football I love the most.

    And Les Miles, for all the bad choices he’s made on play calls and deception, he’s the most perfect possible fit for LSU’s culture. He’s crazy. He’s fun. He’s loud. He’s LSU.

    I don’t love purple and gold but you don’t get to choose your colors, just your commitment, and at least with LSU their culture has earned the respect to be one of the best programs in the league.

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