Fiu, Cirminiello, Mitchell on TV - Campus Insiders | Buy College Football Tickets

2009 CFN LSU Preview
LSU OT Ciron Black
LSU OT Ciron Black
Posted Jun 29, 2009

CFN's 2009 LSU Tiger Preview, Breakdown, and Analysis.

LSU Tigers

Preview 2009

By Pete Fiutak

- 2009 CFN LSU Preview | 2009 LSU Offense
- 2009 LSU Defense | 2009 LSU Depth Chart
- 2008 LSU Preview |
2007 LSU Preview | 2006 LSU Preview 

Interested in blogging about LSU?  Let us know

Head coach: Les Miles
5th year: 42-11
8th year overall: 59-30
Returning Lettermen
Off. 23, Def, 23, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 17
Ten Best Tiger Players
1. WR Brandon LaFell, Sr.
2. RB Charles Scott, Sr.
3. OT Ciron Black, Sr.
4. LB Perry Riley, Sr.
5. DE Rahim Alem, Sr.
6. TE Richard Dickson, Sr.
7. QB Jordan Jefferson, Soph.
8. DT Drake Nevis, Jr.
9. LB/S Harry Coleman, Sr.
10. CB Patrick Peterson, Soph.

2009 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2009 Record: 0-0

9/5 at Washington
9/12 Vanderbilt
9/19 UL Lafayette
9/26 at Miss State
10/3 at Georgia
10/10 Florida
10/24 Auburn
10/31 at Tulane
11/7 at Alabama
11/14 Louisiana Tech
11/21 at Ole Miss
11/28 Arkansas

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction
2008 Record: 8-5

8/30 Appalachian St W 41-13
9/6  POSTPONED vs. Troy
9/13 North Texas W 41-3
9/20 at Auburn W 26-21
9/27 Mississippi St W 34-24
10/11 at Florida L 51-21
10/18 at So. Carolina W 24-17
10/25 Georgia L 52-38
11/1 Tulane W 35-10
11/8 Alabama L 27-21 OT
11/15 Troy W 41-30
11/22 Ole Miss L 31-13
11/28 at Arkansas L 31-30
Chick-fil-A Bowl
12/31 Georgia Tech W 38-3

Now that the bar has been set at National Championship Or Bust in Baton Rouge, the spotlight is going to be on to see if LSU, and more specifically, Les Miles, can get the groove back after a strange and disappointing year full of missed opportunities.

The Tigers have as much speed and athleticism as anyone in America, the shelves are stocked with four and five-star recruits across the board, and the coaching staff, now with the addition of former Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis, is in place to do some big things. However, the team might be a year away being at the special level it was at two years ago and Florida appears to be at now.

While this might not be the SEC's best team, it's good enough to have a puncher's chance against anyone in the league (more specifically, Florida in an SEC title game and on October 10th in Baton Rouge), and if you win the SEC title, you're in the discussion for the national championship.

But this year's team might need a break or three to move up the timetable. Remember, LSU needed a minor miracle just to get to the 2008 BCS Championship game, and this year's schedule is way too hard for anyone to get through alive. Even with a conference slate (with Georgia and Florida from the East, along with road trips to Alabama and Ole Miss) that would force most teams to make plans to hang out with their families for the holidays, there's reason to think this will be a bounceback year that should reestablish LSU among the elite.

The big problems of last year not only appear to be fixed, but might be strengths. The quarterback play that was so lousy at times and was directly responsible for two losses should be far better now that Jordan Jefferson appears to be ready to be a leader and a playmaker, and not just a caretaker. The defensive front that struggled to get into the backfield should be far more aggressive with Chavis directing the way, and that should help a fast secondary that didn't get a whole bunch of help against the better passing teams.

Even the weaknesses going into this season, like finding a sure-thing No. 2 wide receiver on the other side of Brandon LaFell, aren't that big a deal (star recruit Reuben Randle should shine early on and tight end Richard Dickson will pick up the slack). The kickers that have to replace PK Colt David and punter Brady Dalfrey, Josh Jasper and Derek Helton, respectively, are expected to be good, and some of the other key losses, like DE Tyson Jackson and OG Herman Johnson, aren't as glaring as they would be for most teams. Yes, LSU is loaded.

Is this a sleeper team in the SEC and national title chances? Considering the superpower that LSU is, a little bit. The Tigers won't win it all, but they could keep some others from realizing their dreams.

What to watch for on offense: Better quarterback play. Jarrett Lee tried his best, and was trying to get through his first season without collapsing after Andrew Hatch had injury issues. He collapsed. The 16 interceptions forced the coaching staff to adjust the gameplan on both sides of the ball to hide him, and then enough became enough. Lee was raw, but freshman Jordan Jefferson was really raw and extremely erratic. However, he showed signs of becoming a playmaker. This spring, Jefferson was far more consistent and far more accurate while top recruit Russell Shepard was solid. If LSU's quarterbacks were better last season, the team would've been 10-3 and would've beaten Alabama and Arkansas.

What to watch for on defense: More attacking. It's not like the defense was awful last year, but it wasn't the high-flying disruptive machine it was in previous years. This year's D should make far more plays in the backfield, it'll come up with far more takeaways, and it'll start to look a little bit like the defense that now-Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini put together. The speed is there and the talent is solid across the board, and now the defense that gave up a not-that-bad 326 yards per game last year should be a brick wall.

The team will be far better if … the passing game is more efficient. The quarterbacks will be better, particularly Jefferson, who'll be the main man and should be better after keeping the chains moving. If Jefferson is able to stretch the field a little more, after the passing game averaged a pedestrian 12.7 yards per completion, then the holes will be there for Charles Scott and the ground game after having major problems late last year.

The Schedule: LSU isn't exactly extending itself in the non-conference slate, even though it's not the program's fault that Washington stinks. The SEC schedule is nasty with Georgia and Florida to deal with from the East, while trips to Alabama and Ole Miss in November could end any hopes of winning the SEC West. Holding serve at home, even against Florida and Auburn, will be a must with three road trips in four weeks down the stretch. The battle against the Gators on October 10th could be a preview of the SEC Championship.

Best Offensive Player: Senior WR Brandon LaFell. Considered by many to be the No. 1 receiver prospect for the 2010 NFL Draft, even with Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant likely to come out early, LaFell is in a salary drive with the potential to be a top ten pick if he has another season like he had last year. Even with mediocre quarterback play, LaFell was able to catch 93 passes for 929 yards and eight touchdowns, but he also had Demetrius Byrd to help take some of the pressure off. A new No. 2 wide receiver will have to emerge, but LaFell will be great no matter who's on him.

Best Defensive Player: Senior LB Perry Riley. DE Rahim Alem should be the team's star pass rusher and he should be an all-SEC selection, while tackle Drake Nevis could grow into the special player to build around. But it's Riley who has the size, range, and experience to be the biggest playmaker in the more aggressive system and he should be a stat-sheet filler on the outside in a veteran linebacking corps.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore QB Jordan Jefferson. LSU is good enough to win the West even if the quarterback play is as shaky as it was last year. But is Jefferson is good, the Tigers could be a real, live threat to win the SEC title, and if he's great, the national title isn't out of the realm of possibility.

The season will be a success if ... LSU wins the SEC West. Just getting to Atlanta for the SEC title will require a war and a negotiation of landmines with road trips to Georgia, Alabama, and Ole Miss to deal with, along with home games against Florida and Auburn. But this is LSU, and to shoot for anything less than the SEC title is selling the team short after loading up with talented recruiting class after talented recruiting class.

Key game: Nov. 7 at Alabama. The Tigers can split against Georgia and Florida from the East and still win the West, but it'll take wins at Alabama and Ole Miss to get the job done. If they lose to the Tide, the game in Oxford will end up being to shake out the pecking order for the bowls. If they can beat their old head coach, Nick Saban, and get a little revenge after losing last year's thriller, then LSU will be in the thick of the SEC title hunt.

2008 Fun Stats: 
- Fumbles: Opponents 26, lost 11 - LSU 16, lost 2
- Interceptions thrown: LSU 18 for 461 yards - Opponents 8 for 51 yards
- Kickoff return average: LSU 19.5 yards - Opponents 17.6 yards

- 2009 CFN LSU Preview | 2009 LSU Offense
- 2009 LSU Defense | 2009 LSU Depth Chart
- 2008 LSU Preview |
2007 LSU Preview | 2006 LSU Preview 


Related Stories
Catching Up With Craig Loston
 -by  Jun 28, 2009
Sallee Blog: Top 5 SEC Non-Conference Games
 -by  Jul 6, 2009
Almost Complete
 -by  Jul 7, 2009

Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Football > LSU
[View My HotList]