There is a strong argument that LSU is the team of the decade. There have been some very good dynasties over the past 10 years. Miami, USC, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Texas have all won national titles and have appeared in the title game itself more than once. LSU and Florida, however, are the only teams that can say they have twice won the BCS national title. The Tigers also have the best record of teams that have appeared in at least four BCS bowls by being a perfect 4-0. They have won all four games since the 2001 season as well, making them a dominant force in college football.
Last season’s 8-5 record was a step back, especially considering that the Tigers were the defending champs coming into the season. LSU struggled at home in the second half of the season, something almost unheard of for the Tigers. They lost home games to Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia while struggling with lowly Troy State from the Sun Belt Conference. A dominant 38-3 bowl win over Georgia Tech (a virtual home game for the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta) eased some of the pain, but this is a program that expects to contend for the national title every year. Anything less is a failure.
LSU is led by senior wide receiver Brandon LeFell, who stands a very good chance being the first wide receiver picked in the 2010 NFL draft. It will be sophomore quarterback Jordan Jefferson’s responsibility to get him the ball as much as possible. The quarterback position was very shaky for most of last season, and that is why LSU struggled so much. Jefferson really started to come of age in the bowl win over Georgia Tech. He will be the key to a huge turnaround on offense if he steps up his play. Charles Scott was a 1,100 yard rusher a season ago that will return to take much of the pressure off of Jefferson.
If LSU’s offense can generate yards and stay on the field, the defense is more than capable of finishing games off. Last year was an off year for an LSU defense that is normally among the best in the nation. This year, the defense is full of strong, quick playmakers that can make a difference in the blink of an eye. Like so many good college defenses, it begins at linebacker. Jacob Cutrera is ready to step in at middle linebacker after having a fantastic spring game. Perry Riley, who was the MVP of the Chick-fil-a Bowl, returns for his senior seasons as one of the best linebackers in the SEC. LSU’s pass-rush, which was spotty a year ago, should be much better thanks to the emergence of Drake Nevis at defensive tackle. He has the ability to be a terror as an interior pass rusher, freeing up the outside end spots for Chancey Aghayere and Rahim Alem. The entire defensive unit will need to perform better against a nasty schedule, but if it does, LSU should contend for the national title.
Writer and editor, Freddie Brister, is a former high school football coach of 25 years. His love of the game of football is reflected in his words and memories of growing up in the South and playing football in the back yard with his brother, cousins and neighborhood friends. His biggest thrill is watching former high school players he has coached play at the college level. His favorite pastime is watching college football on TV and attending SEC games in person every chance he gets. Freddie Brister is a huge fan of the SEC and the LSU Tigers.
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