What you need to know ...
There's speed to burn in the receiving corps, live arms abound
among the quarterbacks, and NFL talent in the backfield and on
the line. Now it has to come together after an inconsistent and
slightly disappointing season. JaMarcus Russell is the number
one quarterback, but Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux are each in
the hunt for meaningful playing time. Dwayne Bowe, Craig Davis
and Early Doucet will catch plenty of deep balls if the running
game improves enough to open things up. That could be an issue
with Alley Broussard and Justin Vincent each coming off torn
ACLs. The offensive line will be significantly worse than last
year, but it still should be among the best in the SEC if the
three new starters can be consistent.
Passing: JaMarcus Russell
188-311, 2,443 yds, 15 TD, 9 INT
Rushing: Justin Vincent
121 carries, 488 yds, 5 TD
41 catches, 710 yds, 9 TD
Star of the offense: Junior QB JaMarcus Russell
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior OT
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman OT Ciron Black
Best pro prospect: Senior WR Dwayne Bowe
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Bowe, 2) Russell, 3) RB
Strength of the offense: Speed, quarterback
Weakness of the offense:
Healthy running backs, running game
Has one team ever had a collection of big arms like LSU
owns? Ryan Perrilloux and Matt Flynn can throw, and then there's
JaMarcus Russell, who can flick his wrist and put the ball
anywhere in the stadium. The quarterback situation hasn't really
progressed into a full-blown controversy with Russell being named
the number one man when he's 100% healthy from a shoulder injury,
but many Tiger fans wouldn't mind seeing Flynn get the full-time
role or else take the good with the bad with Perrilloux until he
gets his kinks worked out. LSU can win and win big with any of
The key to the unit: Somehow keep everyone happy. The
second a game is in hand, the backups need to see action.
Rotating Perrilloux in a few plays here and there wouldn't be a
Quarterback Rating: 9.5
- JaMarcus Russell, Jr. - 188-311, 61%, 2,443 yds, 15 TD,
9 INT, 2 rushing touchdowns
The huge 6-6, 252-pound junior got knocked out of the SEC
Championship game with a shoulder injury and missed the Peach
Bowl, and now he's in a fight to keep his number one job. If he
doesn't have the best arm in all of football, and that includes
the NFL, he's in the top three. He showed last season the
ability to come through in the clutch, but he tends to
trust his arm too much and makes plenty of bad reads while
forcing things too much. He's not going to run for any yards,
but he can be a load in short-yardage plays.
- Matt Flynn, Jr. - 27-48, 56%, 467 yds, 7 TD, 1 INT,
12 carries, 44 yds, 3.7 ypc
Is he the team's best quarterback? He was the best quarterback
in 2005 spring ball and was the best, at times, this year, but
he's not really being considered for the number one job as long
as JaMarcus Russell is healthy. He's 6-3, and 228 pounds with a
great arm, more mobility than Russell, and a good command of the
offense leading the team to the Peach Bowl win over Miami
throwing for 196 yards and two touchdowns without an
- Ryan Perrilloux, RFr.
How much more patient can he be? Arguably the nation's top
quarterback recruit last year, many recruiting gurus considered
him a smaller, better passing Vince Young with 4.48 speed and a
huge arm. However, he's still the number three man in the mix
and will likely have to wait his turn until next year to make a
run for the starting spot. Considering that when he originally
chose to go to Texas he made the statement that he was
going to push Young for the starting job, he's the type of
player who wants to get rolling right now.
Good luck trying to figure out what's going to happen here.
Alley Broussard is coming off a torn ACL and has the talent to
be an All-SEC back, but does he trust his repaired knee? He
didn't seem to this spring. Justin Vincent appeared to be
getting his groove back at the end of last year before tearing
his ACL in the Peach Bowl. True freshman Keiland Williams has
first-round draft pick measureables, but is he ready to carry
the workload? Fullbacks Jacob Hester and Shawn Jordan are solid.
The key to the unit: Everyone has to get healthy. The
once loaded backfield is now a concern, and there could be
serious issues if Broussard and Vincent aren't ready.
Running Back Rating: 8
- Alley Broussard, Jr.
The 6-0, 237-pound junior ran for 867 yards and ten touchdowns
in 2004 highlighted by a 250-yard, three touchdown performance
against Ole Miss, but he missed all of last year with a torn
ACL. He's not just a power back, he has great speed when he's
able to rip through the hole. However, he struggled a bit
through his rehab and had to be talked out of leaving the team
this off-season after a setback. If he's right, he'll be among
the SEC's leading rushers.
- Fullback Jacob Hester, Jr. - 25 carries, 114 yds,
4.6 ypc, 2 TD, 11 catches, 63 yds, 5.7 ypc
The 6-0, 232-pound junior will be the starting fullback and be
used a bit as a tailback. He's a decent runner with great hands
out of the backfield, and he can also be a key special teamer.
while he's a good blocker, he's not an elite one.
- Justin Vincent, Sr. - 121 carries, 488 yds, 4 ypc, 5 TD, 9
catches, 61 yds, 6.8 ypc
Still trying to find the groove after his Sugar Bowl MVP
performance in the national title win over Oklahoma in 2004,
Vincent will need a while to come back after tearing his ACL on
a special teams play in the Peach Bowl. He became a key back in
the rotation over the second half of last season and has the
size and speed to be an effective back, but he has to be healthy
- Keiland Williams, Fr.
With the injuries to the top backs, this year's star recruit
will likely play a key role this year. He's 5-11 and 223 pounds
with 4.32 speed in the 40. He ran for 1,325 yards and 12
touchdowns averaging 8.28 yards per carry at Hargrave Military
Academy. He's a nearly perfect prospect.
- Fullback Shawn Jordan, Jr.
One of the team's strongest offensive players, he'll take that
weight room power to the offense as a pure blocking back behind
Jacob Hester. He has the hands to be used as a receiver, but his
use is for his run blocking and pass protection.
There's too much NFL talent here to be merely
average. The loss of world-class sprinter Xavier Carter to the
pro track ranks take away some speed, but he didn't do much on
the field. Dwayne Bowe, Craig Davis, Early Doucet and Brandon
LaFell all have next-level skills with size and too much speed
for 99% of the college secondaries. They also have experience
enough to grow into a special unit. The Tigers have decent tight
ends in Keith Zinger and Mit Cole, but they have to be involved
in the passing game.
The key to the unit: More consistency. There will be
plenty of big plays and lots of fireworks, but they have to come
Receiver Rating: 9
- Dwayne Bowe, Sr. - 41 catches, 710 yds, 17.3 ypc, 9 TD
The 6-3, 217-pound Bowe has 4.5 speed and led the team in
catches while turning into a tremendous deep threat. He missed
the opener against Arizona State and then was a steady scorer
with touchdowns in eight straight games, and that was without
being able to see well. After undergoing laser eye surgery, he
should be even more dangerous.
- Craig Davis, Sr. - 35 catches, 559 yds, 16 ypc, 2
After fighting through injuries over the first half of the
season. Davis blossomed into a consistent target finishing with
a 99-yard, one touchdown day against Miami. He finished second
on the team in receiving after leading the way in 2004, and now
his combination of 6-2, 199-pound size, fantastic hands and 4.4
speed should lead to a tremendous senior year.
- Tight end Keith Zinger, Sr. - 7 catches, 104 yds,
14.9 ypc, 1 TD
He was a little bit of time behind David Jones last year, and
now will be the main man even though LSU doesn't use its tight
ends all that much. He's a strong blocker at 6-4 and 259 pounds
and has good route running ability to be featured more in the
- Early Doucet, Jr. - 26 catches, 389 yds, 15 ypc, 5
Doucet started off last year on a high note with a 39-yard
touchdown catch in the final minutes of the thrilling win over
Arizona State, but his production dropped as the season went on
and then missed the Peach Bowl win with an ankle injury. There's
no questioning his skills with enough size and jaw-dropping
speed to make the NFL scouts drool, but he has to be more
- Brandon LaFell. RFr.
The star receiver recruit of last year will push hard for
time at the Z this season. At 6-3 and 181 pounds, he has the
size to outmuscle the smaller defensive backs, and with his 4.45
speed and next-level athleticism, he has the raw skills to blow
past the average defenders. He has the hands and the potential
to grow into an All-SEC talent in a big hurry.
- Trindon Holliday, Fr.
He's only 5-5 and 165 pounds, but he can fly. He was a Louisiana
state high school sprint champion in both the 100 and 200 meters
and has been timed at 4.27 in the 40. He'll see time at the Z
position and in three-wide sets to get the ball in his hands on
the move. He could grow into one of the return jobs.
- Tight end Mit Cole, Jr. - 1 catch, 6 yds
Mostly used as a blocker, the physical 6-4, 260-pound junior
will see time in two-tight end sets and as the main backup
behind David Zinger. He won't catch too many passes, but he'll
be a big player in the running game.
The Tigers lose three starters, but they're all-star
caliber blockers. There's size and talent returning, and an
emerging superstar in Ciron Black at left tackle, but you don't
get better by losing Rudy Niswanger, Nate Livings, and Andrew
Whitworth. Expect the front five to be a bit of a work in
progress trying to find all the parts to fit into the right
spots, but this young line should get better and better as the
year goes on.
The key to the unit: Get more production
in the running game. There's enough athleticism to be solid in
pass protection, but it has to provide more holes for the good
backs to fly through.
Offensive Line Rating:
- OT Ciron
He was a star recruit a few years ago and needs to shine right
away at left tackle taking over for Andrew Whitworth. He's 6-4
and 318 pounds with tremendous athleticism and NFL upside. While
strong, he could stand to get a little bit more powerful, which
will happen over the next few years in the Tiger weight room.
Will Arnold, Jr.
The 322-pound junior is one of the two returning starters up
front and has to be a rock on the left side. He's great in the
weight room with the strength to power over and through most
defensive tackles, and he has the experience to be one of the
team's most reliable blockers.
Brett Helms, Soph.
Can he handle taking over for Rudy Niswanger in the middle? The
former guard will get the first look inside where he has to live
up to his vast potential. He'll have to go through some growing
pains early on and will have to battle with Ryan Miller for the
- OG Brian Johnson, Sr.
Moving over from right tackle to right guard, the 6-4, 297-pound
senior is versatile and good at each spot. He's going to be
expected to shine as one of the leaders up front after a few
years He's a nice all-around blocker who'll need to blow
open more holes for the running game.
- OT Peter
He'll play one of the tackle spots and might get moved around as
the season goes on. He'll start out on the right side and will
be the top backup on the left. At 6-5 and 294 pounds, he has the
frame to be a solid pass blocker and the SEC Academic Honor Roll
smarts to handle himself well anywhere.
- OG Herman Johnson, Soph.
Johnson got in better shape over the last year dropping a ton of
weight, and he's still 339 pounds. Even so, he carries it
relatively well on his 6-7 frame and should move much better
after starting last year at 371. He'll back up Will Arnold on
the left side.
C Ryan Miller, Soph.
Miller could be the starting center if he can stay healthy. At 6-6 and 302
pounds, he's a bigger option inside than Brett Helms and has the
talent to be a steady performer.