Pre-Spring Offseason Forecast: LSU

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With the offseason officially underway, SDS will examine what’s next for spring football for all 14 teams. Next up, LSU.

What’s changing

One of the most head-scratching offenses in the country finally has new leadership, as Les Miles hired his long-time buddy and former Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron last week. Cameron is known more for having his name associated with the development of Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers and Joe Flacco compared to any offense he coached in the past. With Cameron’s hire, Miles moved Greg Studrawa back to coach solely the offensive line and transitioned quarterback coach Steve Kragthorpe into an administrative role, which will likely focus on recruiting. Cameron is a big name for LSU, a proven coach and coordinator, but what type of impact will he have at LSU? There have been rumors of Cameron being a control freak, and we’ll wait to see how that interferes – or doesn’t – with Miles. Ironically, Cameron was fired from the Ravens for not using the running back enough, and we know how much Miles’ run-first mentality dominates the game plan. Either way, Cameron’s sole task this spring is to develop Zach Mettenberger, and that hasn’t necessarily been proven it can happen yet. Hell, I would argue Mettenberger hasn’t even proved he’s the quarterback of the future, much less for 2013, and this spring is massive in terms of LSU’s future.

Position of concern

Although the underwhelming offense as whole is a concern, replacing three starting defensive linemen is of utmost importance to Miles and defensive coordinator John Chavis. LSU lost defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo, along with tackle Bennie Logan, to the NFL Draft. Backup defensive end Lavar Edwards is gone, too. So, the two-deep depth chart will look nothing like the way it looked in ‘12. The one staple and budding star is tackle Anthony Johnson, but LSU will have to develop ends Jemauria Raso and Danielle Hunter and tackle Ego Ferguson, too. The Tigers are always known for having a strong NFL-filled defensive line, and the development of this group is mandatory for the Bayou Bengals not to take a step back in 2013.

Emerging spring player prediction

The one primary concern on offense is along the offensive line. Two tackles who opened the season in ‘12 in Chris Faulk and Alex Hurst are gone. However, LSU signed arguably its top player in tackle and early enrollee Ethan Pocic. Pocic plays with a mean streak, and because of depth reasons, he will make an impact this spring. Pocic will exit spring as one of the most talked about players on this unit, for good reasons.

Three signees to be excited about

1. Tre’Davious White, CB: White enters LSU as a corner, but his biggest impact could be felt on special teams. He doesn’t arrive until summer, but White is a tremendous athlete ready to make a name for himself with his speed. LSU just reloads with future All-SEC corners.

2. Frank Herron, DE: Herron is a baller who has a massive 6-5, 260-pound frame already. Just wait until he adds 40 pounds of muscle. Herron will play immediately because of needs at defensive end.

3. Greg Gilmore, DT: True freshmen defensive tackles usually don’t make impacts in their first year, but Gilmore will be different, because he’s physically developed and filled out. Fast-forward three years, and we could be talking about how underrated the four-star was coming out of high school.

Biggest position battle

One position battle that isn’t exactly settled that ended the season very different than when it started is at running back. I know Jeremy Hill is a boss, as he rushed for 755 yards and 12 touchdowns, but what about Alfred Blue? If you’ll remember, Blue began ’12 as the starter before Hill ever emerged, and when Blue went down with his injury, it moved Hill up the depth chart one slot until he eventually broke loose. Blue registered two straight 100-yard games to start the season, and Hill registered four. And while we’re just finishing up taking about Hill and Blue, Kenny Hilliard reminded us he’s still here, too. Although Michael Ford and Spencer Ware are gone, it almost trims the fat of a very talented threesome in Hill, Blue and Hilliard.

Previous Offseason Forecasts:

Photo Credit: Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

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