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LSU Preview 2006

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 8, 2006


LSU Tigers Preview 2006

- LSU Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

2005 should've been the year.

New head coach Les Miles wasn't everyone's favorite choice to take over for Nick Saban, but he inherited a heater of a hand with as much next-level talent and athleticism as anyone in the nation. While the Tigers were able to survive Auburn, Florida, and road trips to Arizona State and Alabama, it couldn't deal with a big hurricane.

Was it a case of being mentally and physically cashed in the overtime collapse against Tennessee after having to move the Arizona State game to Tempe? Maybe. After all, many of the players had to deal with the Katrina aftermath.

Was the team running on empty at the end of last year in the SEC title game after dealing with a full season of tough battles as well as the daily world of hurricane problems? That's not giving Georgia enough credit, but the outside factors couldn't have helped.


Now the tremendously loaded team has on-field issues to face. If the Tigers couldn't win it all last year when it had defensive tackles Claude Wroten and Kyle Williams, offensive linemen Andrew Whitworth, Rudy Niswanger and Nate Livings, first-round draft pick running back Joseph Addai, star end Melvin Oliver, and leading tackler Cameron Vaughn, how is it going to win it all this year? Truth is, it's not.

Name anyone outside of the Pittsburgh Steelers that could survive road trips to Auburn, Florida, Tennessee and a much, much improved Arkansas team. LSU could be one of the three best teams in America, split the road games, and finish the regular season 10-2 and playing in the Cotton Bowl.

Head coach: Les Miles
2nd year: 11-2
6th year overall: 39-23
Ten Best Tiger Players
1. FS LaRon Landry, Sr.
2. LB Ali Highsmith, Jr.
3. QB JaMarcus Russell, Jr.
4. WR Dwayne Bowe, Sr.
5. RB Alley Broussard, Jr.
6. SS Jessie Daniels, Sr.
7. OG Will Arnold, Jr.
8.
CB Chevis Jackson, Soph.
9.
QB Matt Flynn, Jr.
10. QB Ryan Perrilloux, RFr.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
10-2

9/2 UL Lafayette
9/9 Arizona
9/16 at Auburn
9/23 Tulane
9/30 Miss State
10/7 at Florida
10/14 Kentucky
10/21 Fresno State
11/4 at Tennessee
11/11 Alabama
11/18 Ole Miss
11/25 at Arkansas

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
10-1
2005 Record: 11-2

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/10 at Arizona St W 35-31
9/24 Tennessee L 30-27 OT
10/1 at Miss State W 37-7
10/8 at Vanderbilt W 34-6
10/15 Florida W 21-17
10/22 Auburn W 20-17 OT
10/29 North Texas W 56-3
11/5 Appalachian St W 24-0
11/12 at Alabama W 16-13 OT
11/19 at Ole Miss W 40-7
11/26 Arkansas W 19-17
12/3 SEC Championship
Georgia L 34-14
12/30 Peach Bowl
Miami W 40-3

Does that mean it'll be acceptable to shoot for anything less than an SEC title and, if the world breaks the right way, a 2003-like campaign where the Tigers lose one game and get the benefit of the doubt from the BCS? That's not that far-fetched, but it would likely require everyone else losing at least once and for the team to be far more consistent.

The quarterback situation has to be settled and air-tight shut after this fall. Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux are more than capable of leading LSU to an SEC title, but if JaMarcus Russell has to look over his shoulder every time he tried to throw into triple coverage, the offense won't run smoothly.

Running back is a question mark with the top two backs coming off of torn ACLs, the lightning fast receiving corps has to make even more big plays and live up to all of its talent, and the offensive line has to deal with the loss of three stars while trying to get more push for the running game.

The defense will be amazing as long as tackles Glen Dorsey, Charles Alexander and Marlon Favorite do a spot on impersonation of Wroten and Williams, and as long as the starting linebackers stay healthy. LaRon Landry and Jessie Daniels are NFL safeties spending time in the college ranks, and corner Chevis Jackson is an All-SEC playmaker waiting to break out.

Yes, expectations are sky-high once again in Baton Rouge and Miles' honeymoon period is officially over. This will be a team to keep an eye on all season long, and it'll be even more interesting next year.

The Schedule: It's a relative walk in the park outside of the road games. LSU only plays four away from the friendly confines of Baton Rouge, but they're doozies having to go to Auburn, Florida, Tennessee and Arkansas. Barring a mini-miracle, or a meltdown against a fired up team like Fresno State or Arizona, the only home date to worry about is against Alabama. The four road games are all spread out with two home games followed up by an away game up until the end.

Best Offensive Player: Junior QB JaMarcus Russell. He'll make several bad plays, won't be consistent, and won't run for any appreciable yards, but he's fantastic in crunch time and has an arm that could throw a grape through a brick wall. Backup quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux are good enough to win a national title with, but it's Russell who has the combination of experience and talent.

Best Defensive Player: Senior FS LaRon Landry. Shouldn't he be off being a multi-millionaire? The senior will be among the nation's best defensive backs all season long and should be a first round draft pick next year. He has the perfect combination of NFL size, speed, and highlight reel hitting ability.

Key player to a successful season: Junior RB Alley Broussard. LSU always has running backs to spare, but things got dicey in a big hurry with Broussard still trying to come back from a knee injury and Justin Vincent tearing up his ACL in last year's Peach Bowl. Super-recruit Keiland Williams has all-world potential, but Broussard needs to be healthy and confident in his mended knee for the offense to shine its brightest.

The season will be a success if ... LSU wins the SEC West. It's not going to be easy, but after playing for the title last year, anything less will be a major disappointment. This is a national title team with a solid schedule, but 10-2 in the regular season would be a big accomplishment. Beating Florida and Tennessee on the road would be nice, and Arkansas will be frothing at the mouth at the regular-season finale, but LSU can't win the West if it doesn't come out alive on ...

Key game: September 16th at Auburn. The LSU version of the Tigers won a 20-17 thriller last season and has to come out of the conference opener with a win or face the daunting task of having to win in Gainesville and Knoxville to have any hope of playing for the SEC title.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Penalties: LSU 108 for 907 yards - Opponents 86 for 610 yards
- Field goals: LSU 14 of 24 - Opponents 13 of 25
- Fumbles: LSU 20, lost 13 - Opponents 21, lost 4


The Last Time LSU…
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Peach Bowl vs. Miami)
…missed a bowl game…1999
…pitched a shutout…2005 (Appalachian State)
…was shutout…2002 (Alabama)
…scored 50 points…2005 (North Texas)
…went undefeated…1958
…won a conference title…2003 (SEC)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2001 (Rohan Davey)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2003 (Justin Vincent)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2003 (Michael Clayton)
…had a first-round draft choice…2006 (RB Joseph Addai)


Related Stories
LSU Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 8, 2006
LSU Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 8, 2006
LSU Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 8, 2006








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