Preview 2007 - Offense
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What you need to know:
There's a little bit of nervousness among LSU fans with a major
change underway in the offense under new coordinator Gary
Crowton. There'll be more option, more quick timing patterns,
and quicker reads on the line. Fortunately, the loss of JaMarcus
Russell won't hurt as much as it would for almost any other
program with Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux returning to run the
attack. The backfield is loaded with options led by star
newcomer Keiland Williams working behind a great line with
enough returning experience to dominate. The receiving corps
won't be as productive without Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis, but
Early Doucet and Brandon LeFall will be a great 1-2 combination.
Passing: Matt Flynn
12-20, 133 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Jacob Hester
94 carries, 440 yds, 6 TD
59 catches, 772 yds, 8 TD
Star of the offense: Sophomore OT Ciron Black
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior OT
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR Brandon LaFell
Best pro prospect: Black
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Black, 2) RB Keiland
Williams, 3) QB Matt Flynn
Strength of the offense: Speed, starting offensive line,
running back options
Weakness of the offense:
Backup offensive linemen, proven number two receiver
Projected Starter: Remember, JaMarcus Russell had
to fight for his job, at least a little bit, before blowing up
into a number one-caliber draft pick. 6-3, 228-pound senior
Matt Flynn was the star of the last two spring seasons and
should be ready to shine in the new offense. While he might have
to throw it twice to match one Russell flick of the wrist, he
has a decent arm and brings more mobility. With just enough
career experience to not be completely green (completing 43 of
78 passes for 689 yards and ten touchdowns with two
interceptions), he's ready.
Projected Top Reserve: Sophomore Ryan
Perrilloux will fall just short of his infamously bold
prediction of being a four-time Heisman winner and would push
Vince Young for a job, the star prospect who jilted Texas a few
years ago appears to finally be ready to make an impact.
Off-the-field issues regarding his alleged involvement in a
counterfeiting investigation appear to be in the past, and he
appears to be a changed player both mentally and physically. He
has the 4.5 speed to become a dangerous runner in the offense,
while he has the 6-3, 222-pound size and arm to eventually be a
Watch Out For ... Flynn to be extremely effective.
While he won't throw for 3,129 yards and 28 touchdowns like
Russell did, he'll run for over 300 yards and become a great
Strength: Perrilloux. How many teams would like a backup
like Perrilloux, if, in fact, he is a backup? Getting every
chance to run the offense and make the future now, he's a great
player to have in waiting.
Weakness: Is there going to be a quarterback
controversy? Offensive coordinator Gary Crowton didn't exactly
juggle the quarterbacks well at Oregon, and if he and the rest
of the coaching staff decide to rotate Flynn and Perrilloux,
there could be the same consistency problems the Ducks faced.
Outlook: LSU can win a national championship with
either quarterback. Ryan Perrilloux will some day be the better
quarterback and an All-America caliber superstar, but right now,
Matt Flynn is the steady senior who'll lead the team to a huge
Projected Starters: Is sophomore Keiland
Williams ready to become the singular rushing star the
program has been missing? Oh sure, the Tigers have been able to
run well with a variety of backs, and now Williams is ready to
take over as a focal point of the offense after averaging 5.7
yards per carry rushing for 436 yards and five touchdowns
turning into a dangerous playmaker over the second half of the
year finishing up with a 14-carry, 107-yard day against Notre
Dame. He's 5-11 and 223 pounds with 4.32 speed with great hands
as a receiver.
Blocking for Williams, and doing a little of
everything else, will be senior Jacob Hester, the team's
leading rusher last season with 440 yards and six touchdowns on
94 carries. Fullback, tailback, special teamer, the 6-0,
228-pound veteran does what the team asks him to.
Projected Top Reserves: While Williams will be the
main man, 221-pound sophomore Charles Scott will see more
than his share of carries. While he's not a speedster, he can
get to the outside when needed and is the team's best power
runner. He only saw time in seven games getting a start against
Mississippi State, but he finished with five touchdown runs.
Gone is 250-pound senior Alley Broussard, who
returned from a bad knee injury, had a rough rehab, had to be
talked out of quitting, and ran for 281 yards and four
touchdowns in a limited role before deciding to leave the team
this summer after being the fourth
back in the mix. He said his heart wasn't in it anymore.
6-1, 198-pound redshirt freshman Richard
Murphy was one of the team's top recruits last year with
great speed and cutting ability. He's a pure runner who'll need
the ball several times a game to see just what he can do when
the lights go on. Backup fullback Shawn Jordan is one of
the team's strongest players and saw time in every game being
used as a blocker.
Watch Out For ... Williams to explode. We've seen
this all before with LSU from players like Justin Vincent and
Alley Broussard each supposed to be the next-big-thing after
finishing a year strong, but Williams appears to be different.
He has all the talent to grow into a superstar, and now it'll be
interesting to see what he can do as a workhorse.
Strength: Options. Even if Williams doesn't get the ball
25 times a game, there's Scott, Murphy and Hester who
can all carry the running game. All the backs should combine for
well over 2,000 yards.
Weakness: Using the backs as receivers. While Williams
and the rest of the backs have good hands, they haven't been
used enough in the passing game. Can they suddenly become
regular targets in the tweaked offense?
Outlook: Basically, the coaching staff has a slew
of good backs that'll all get the ball in one way or another
with Williams getting it more than anyone. The parts aren't
interchangeable, but there might be a new star every afternoon
if Williams doesn't become a workhorse.
Projected Starters: Senior Early Doucet
goes from being a nice number two target on the other side of
Dwayne Bowe to the main man. Second on the team with 59 catches
for 772 yards and eight touchdowns, he turned into a killer over
the second half of the season scoring a touchdown in four
straight games and ripping up Notre Dame for 115 yards on eight
grabs. One of the team's fastest players, he has the potential
to grow into the SEC's most dangerous receiving weapon.
other side in the X position taking over for Craig Davis will be
6-3, 194-pound sophomore Brandon LaFell. A dangerous
reserve catching five passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns,
he started the year with one catch for 58 yards and a touchdown
in the win over UL Lafayette, and ended it with one catch for a
58-yard touchdown in the win over Notre Dame. A huge recruit for
the program a few years ago, now he has to play up to his
The tight end job is up for grabs with four different
options. The apparent starter will be 6-4, 259-pound senior
Keith Zinger after returning from a stomach illness that
kept him out most of last year. He's a decent receiver with 40
games of experience making 12 catches for 158 yards and a
touchdown. Mostly a blocker, he'll be used more in the short
Projected Top Reserves: The coaching staff is
going to do everything possible to get the ball to sophomore
Trindon Holliday on the move. While only 5-5 and 165 pounds,
he's got world-class speed and it gone with just a little bit of
room to move. He'll be a kick returner, a running back, and a
receiver playing behind Doucet.
Sophomore Jared Mitchell
is a good baseball player who'll step in this fall to back up
LaFell at the X. He's a fantastic athlete with the talent to
quickly become the third receiver in the mix.
class was heavy on receiver stars led by 6-5 freshman
Terrance Toliver and top JUCO transfer Demetrius Byrd.
Byrd has 4.3 speed, while Toliver has NFL-caliber measurables
with 4.5 speed and toughness with the ball in his hands. Three
players will be in the tight end mix along with Zinger.
Sophomore Richard Dickson took over when Zinger went down
and made made six catches for 96 yards. The 6-3, 237-pound true
sophomore is a fantastic receiver, and now he has to be more of
6-4, 260-pound Mit Cole got two starts last
year and made two catches for 28 yards. He'll be the backup
blocking option next to Dickson.
6-4, 232-pound redshirt
freshman J.D. Lott is a fast, big-time prospect who'll
get every shot to see time.
Watch Out For ... the passing game to miss Bowe
and Davis in a big way. LSU is a factory for great wide
receivers, but it loses a special twosome that'll take a while
Strength: Speed. The receiving corps might even be
faster without Bowe and Davis with Holliday playing a bigger
role. The overall talent might not be the same, but this group
can blow past anyone.
Weakness: Proven number two. Doucet has to show he can
be the go-to guy after spending his career seeing single
coverage and being able to get open any time he wanted to.
LaFell will grow into a great one, and he has to do it from game
Outlook: There's too much speed, talent and
athleticism not to be explosive after the adjustment period when
everyone gets into their roles. Don't expect the same all-around
production as last year in the new offense and without big No. 2
winging it around, but it'll turn out to be fine.
Projected Starters: The left side of the line
returns intact with 314-pound sophomore Ciron Black at
left tackle and 6-7, 351-pound junior Herman Johnson at
guard. Black is on the verge of big things after an outstanding
freshman year turning into an ironman while keeping JaMarcus
Russell's blind side clean. As hard as it might have been to
foresee before last season began, he turned into just as strong
an all-around blocker as Andrew Whitworth. Johnson is shockingly
athletic considering his massive frame. He's able to shove
around most linemen without a problem and is better on the move
then he might appear. The only question is his ability to keep
his weight under wraps. He was strong at 339 pounds last year
after checking in at 371 earlier in his career.
Junior Brett Helms has the potential to be special. The
former guard moved inside to take over for Rudy Niswanger, and
he was fantastic turning into one of the line's better
all-around blockers. While he's not huge at only 6-2 and 283
pounds, he's strong with tremendous technique.
The right side
gets the replacements with Carnell Stewart taking over
for Peter Dyakowski at tackle and sophomore Lyle Hitt
replacing Brian Johnson at guard. The 6-2, 284-pound Hitt is a
former defensive tackle who's still a bit raw, but is quickly
taking to the job. He'll have to be hidden a bit early on by the
rest of the line, but he'll eventually turn into a strong
contributor. The 6-4, 294-pound Stewart also came over from the
defensive line and is also a bit green. He's physical, but it
remains to be seen how consistent he can become as a pass
Projected Top Reserves: While not listed on the
depth chart coming out of spring ball, 6-4, 319-pound senior
Will Arnold will play a big role in one way or another. A
possible starter who held down the left guard job over the first
half of last year, he had problems with ankle and knee injuries.
Once he's back to 100%, he'll take over one of the starting
jobs. He's too good to keep on the bench.
6-6, 318-pound junior
Ryan Miller is a far bigger option at center than Brett
Helms, and he might end up moving over to provide depth at
guard. He hasn't been able to stay healthy, but he has enough
experience and talent to step in and keep the line going without
missing a beat.
6-3, 284-pound junior Andrew Decker has
seen a little bit of time as a reserve and will see time behind
Hitt at right guard. He's a good blocker, but there's something
wrong if he ends up starting.
6-7, 284-pound redshirt freshman
Mark Snyder is a big-time prospect who'll spend the year
learning the job behind Stewart at right tackle. With a great
motor and excellent mobility, he could find his way into the
starting lineup after he gets stronger.
Watch Out For ... the right side to be more of a
problem than originally expected unless Arnold is 100% healthy.
Hitt and Stewart were fine in spring ball, but they still need
work. All will be find if and when Arnold is Arnold again. Stick
him in at right guard, move Johnson to left guard, and the line
all of a sudden becomes a strength.
Strength: The interior. Assuming Arnold is back, the
guards along with center Brett Helms should be dominant.
Redshirt freshman Matt Allen is considered a star of the future,
but he might not have a place to play this year. This is a
strong, experienced, talented group that'll own most defensive
Weakness: Proven depth. There are several good
prospects, but the experience is thin among the reserves. The
hope is for a few early blowouts to be able to mix more players
into the fold.
Outlook: It'll be the typically great LSU line
with four possible starters returning including two sure-thing
all-stars in Black and Helms. However, more has to be done for
the running game and there can't be a rash of injuries early on
or there could be big problems against Virginia Tech's defensive