2007 LSU Preview - Offense

Posted Jul 30, 2007

Preview 2007 LSU Tigers Offense

LSU Tigers

Preview 2007 - Offense

- 2007 LSU Preview | 2007 LSU Defense Preview
- 2007 LSU Depth Chart | 2006 CFN LSU Preview 

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.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Matt Flynn
12-20, 133 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Jacob Hester
94 carries, 440 yds, 6 TD
Early Doucet  
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 Carnell Stewart
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 star.

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 decision maker.
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.
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 season.
Rating: 8

Running Backs

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.
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.
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.
Rating: 8.5


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.

On the 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 potential.

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 passing game.

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.

The recruiting 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 a blocker.

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 to replace.
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.
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 one.
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.
Rating: 8

Offensive Linemen

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 blocker.

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.
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 tackles.
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 front.
Rating: 8


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2007 LSU Preview - Defense
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